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11 Reviews
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential buy for everyone who wants a First!
With interest in becoming a clinical psychologist I need to achieve a First, or at least a 2:1. The total mark for my essays last year was 2:2, so I decided to make an effort and bought Thomas Dixon's book hoping it could help me. Today, I got my first essay back for this year and it was marked... FIRST!! I consider myself an average student, but as Dixon emphasizes...
Published on 15 Nov 2005 by Miss Demant

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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars read it in the shop but do not buy it
the reason i have given this book 2 stars is because it is basically common sense. It is nothing new. Students are getting ripped off reading basic material that they already know. This is a waste of money. We all know that to get a first you have work very hard. How to use word processor and the library - i mean come on, he must think students are thick. We are...
Published on 13 July 2010 by sean harrison


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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential buy for everyone who wants a First!, 15 Nov 2005
By 
Miss Demant (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
With interest in becoming a clinical psychologist I need to achieve a First, or at least a 2:1. The total mark for my essays last year was 2:2, so I decided to make an effort and bought Thomas Dixon's book hoping it could help me. Today, I got my first essay back for this year and it was marked... FIRST!! I consider myself an average student, but as Dixon emphasizes in his book: you don't need to be a genious to achieve a First! It is definitely a book worth buying, it explains very well and simple in details how you should structure your essay, what to include and not to include, and simply just clarifies what a First-class essay contains and HOW to write it!! It is an essential buy...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's clear, 9 Oct 2011
My instincts were not good on recieving the book; it looked small, overpriced, and largely not what I'd expected.

Then again, what was I expecting? After a few hours perusing the book I began to see its usefulness: for Arts students or those in the social sciences.

The greatest strength is in its absolute clarity. Everything is explained as succintly and simply as possible, without ever shortchanging you.

I could go on, but simply... I was very impressed, and for students who need to write essays constantly, in exams and submitted assignments, I think this is an excellent place to find succint, useful knowledge. His strength lies in clear and direct explinations of concepts you maybe half-knew but never got that full clarification on.

That's my honest opinion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book got me a first, 19 Oct 2011
I know without this amazing book I would have never have got a first. I was always geting 2:1's until I read this book and carefully followed its advise, and from then on I always got firsts! Thank you Thomas Dixon!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful, 3 Sep 2010
By 
Charlotte Hood-Fredriksen "Anest" (Southport, UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book because I felt I needed some help achieving better results. I'm a mature student who has come back to University and, as my first degrees are from the USA, I felt I required an additional understanding what markers in this country want from students.
This book helped - it contains practical ideas for improving your grades and is broken down into useful chapters (I didn't read the whole thing cover to cover, but instead used it as a reference for revision and etc.). A lot of it is fairly common sense, but it does help get you into the mindset of the people who make the decisions about your marks. I would recommend this book for most students, but especially those in desciplines where a great deal of writing is required (History and Law spring to mind).
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it works, but at a cost..., 10 Aug 2012
By 
Listen up, fools: Academia's just a game, and Dixon's here to turn your sorry ass into a playa!

This review is for those that like a bit of a personal story. I bought this book in 2006 just before heading back to uni as a 'mature student' to get my BA at the age of 26. I was determined to get a first-class degree in History at my local red-brick university and then go on to Oxford/Cambridge for my masters before finding my dream supervisor for a ground-breaking PhD marking a glittering entrance into the world as a high-flying academic.

Since the book's author is a historian, this was a perfect fit. I must admit that my average grade was a 2:i/occasional first before I began using it, but with the advice it contains, I was able to (usually) push my grade up to a first. My problem was that I got too good at learning the book's basic 'trick' to getting a first in a humanities essay, i.e. setting up a (sometimes non-existent) prevailing orthodoxy which you then 'heroically dissent' from with an original insight. Driven by the obsession to get a first, I sometimes argued points I didn't really believe in mere exercises of sophistry. I was able to become somewhat Machiavellian and calculating in my approach. Dixon's honest advice on how to manage your professors helped a lot here, as it remains a sad fact that many academics do have a weirdly self-inflated idea of themselves and their publications. The book also shines in the essay style chapter, where you learn how to cut off all the fat from your argument and present it in clear, elegant English. I like Dixon's impatience with academic jargon... if only more academics agreed with him.

In my first year I had the highest results in my year. By the second year I was less happy both personally and with the Eurocentric approach of 'Intellectual History' at Sussex, so my grades dropped down to the dreaded 2:i and I decided to transfer to another uni for my final year in an all-or-nothing gamble. (My degree classification would rest entirely on my 3rd year in a totally different history dept). Turning once again to the book (my secret weapon in those years) in the larger stage of the University of London I was able after much stress to finish with a first and secured an offer from Oxford to read for my Master's there in the field of Global & Imperial History. So I can say the book worked. I felt I'd made good, finally, and this book was a key part of that. But at Oxford I realised that academia was not for me, and that living almost totally in my head wasn't where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. This was about half-way through the masters, but I wanted to finish it and so with the lessons of Dixon's text etched deeply on my brain I dug deep, accepted the pressure and stress of Oxford ("get in there, do you time, and get the f--- out, mate" was the advice of a friend from the saem state school who'd done his BA there a few years prior) and was able to complete the degree with a masters thesis praised by my profs. I let out a long sigh of relief and left that world determined to focus on creativity and emotions, the subconscious, and give the intellectual realm a break for a good while... and I've never been happier. Having shared all that, however, the fact is that if you want to get a first in a humanities subject at a British uni, then this is by far the best how-to manual for the job.

The year I started at Oxford my then girlfriend asked me for the book, having seen it 'work' for me, as she was about to begin her degree and I told her sure, take it, follow its advice but don't forget to also give yourself to what you feel is right, and properly follow through on the intellectual positions that you believe in, no matter how radical or likely to drag down your grades because this book works a little too well, and it's easy for the student using it to get into the pursuit of firsts at the expense of the free intellectual exploration that is what uni should all be about.

Have fun...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good guide, 4 July 2014
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This is a must for any student embarking on degree level study. However it is the type of book you would benefit more by purchasing and reading before the course begins to get the results
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, 10 May 2014
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nicola power (Firenze, Italy) - See all my reviews
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I would recommend you buy this book BEFORE you go to university and not when you are half way through like I did. I didn't know this book existed and I could have done with all the advice that this book has to offer before I started. However, it is very useful now. I am on my 3rd year and Im sure that it has helped my grades and will help in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the better books out there, 6 Dec 2011
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This is one of the better books out there, and contains a lot of very useful advice. The great thing about it is that it's written by someone who has "been there and done that".

My only criticism is that it can be a bit "dry" and a bit "serious" at times. The content is very good though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars useful, 22 Sep 2014
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TheSagaContinues (Just around the corner) - See all my reviews
Interesting read. I am a science student and although this book is not aimed at science students in particular, it does provide general advice that is useful
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful book, 19 July 2007
Bought this book at the start of my final year, but wished I had got it earlier. Contains some really useful information on common grammer mistakes, the importance of analysis and synthesis in academic work etc....with examples provided.

Would buy it again.
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