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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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'[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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very useful bought it cause I'm a law student who wants the best and already its proving very usefulPublished 10 months ago by Charlotte Boughey
Readable and amusing. Full of helpful hints. Clearly structured and offers personal insights. Would definitely recommend to any new undergrad.Published 11 months ago by Annie Hoyle
Great read...but the proof of the pudding will definitely be in the eating. It does feel like this chocolate fondant of a book will produce the intended gooey centre... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Paul
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 usefulPublished 22 months ago by TheSagaContinues
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... Read morePublished on 4 July 2014 by Kai 7
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... Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2011 by Study Shortcuts and Exam Tips from Oxford Grads