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How to Get a First: The Essential Guide to Academic Success (Routledge Study Guides) Paperback – 5 Aug 2004

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4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 171 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (5 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415317339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415317337
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'[How to Get a First] is the title of an excellent guide by Thomas Dixon ... it is a compilation of what he wishes he had known before he went to university.' - The Daily Telegraph

'This is not some sort of get rich (top grades) quick scheme but a collection of good advice.' - Physical Sciences Educational Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Dixon has taught at the Universities of Cambridge and London, and is now a Lecturer in History at Lancaster University.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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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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This is a very quick and easy to read book (just two three hours (with breaks)). I thought of myself as quite a competent student but there were a few gaps...like, how do I organise my study? How much time should I be spending on each part of my study program? I've been hitting the high 2:1 grades but apart from once in my first year (I am now in my 2nd year), I have not yet managed to creep over that line into the First Class category. I knew I was missing something but I didn't know what. Having read this book I now feel I do know what it was I was lacking and feel confident that I should be able to tweak my essays and confidently get those higher marks. Only time will tell. I have twelve assignments over the next year and two exams. I shall update this review once I have my final year two grades to let you know whether this book has worked.
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