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How to succeed at university

By Emma
How to succeed at university

“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.” – Margaret Thatcher

Oh, Margaret, really? Is hard work truly the only way to succeed? We at The Student Guide are here to show that ol’ Magz is wrong, and prove to you that good marks can be blagged. Read on for our patented Six Shortcuts to University Success.

Slash your reading time

Academic books are so uninviting it’s hard to believe that anybody manages to actually read them. There are a few ways of cutting corners. Read just the introduction and/or the conclusion; the first and last paragraph of each chapter to assess which one is most relevant; or just the blurb. This will halve your library time and show your lecturer that you’re able to be ‘selective’ in your reading.

Select a reliable lab partner

Nobody wants to be stuck in a lab conducting research whilst Loose Women is on. Try and single out early on the person who is a) most in need of friends, b) most likely to enjoy doing lab work. Sweet talk them into sharing their results with invitations to the pub and vague promises that you’ll do the same for them one day.

Make notes at least once

A page of notes is an excellent prop in seminars. Make a couple of pages, and you can shuffle through them convincingly each time you’re asked a question. Do it early in the semester and you’ll save yourself loads of time later on.

Always, always speak in seminars

Much like encountering an angry bear in the wild, your first instinct in seminars will be to cower and hide. If cartoons have taught us anything, it is that this response is wrong. The key is to create the illusion that you know what you’re talking about. It’s best to just wade on in with bold opinions and unsubstantiated claims. Most seminars are so deathly quiet that it doesn’t really matter what you say; your tutor will be so grateful that they’ll forgive whatever crap you come out with.

Quotes: quantity not quality

Quotations are an important part of any essay. Beef up your bibliography, and you’re already halfway to essay success. Use your reading list and choose one relevant quote from a load of books rather than loads of quotes from just one book.

Hide books

You’ll soon discover that competition for books is fierce. There are never as many reading list books in the library as there are people on the course. Hiding books is dishonourable and backhanded, but is occasionally a necessary evil. Try and conceal it in a place where nobody would ever think of looking; Medieval Literature is always a good one. Always remember the book’s location! Once a book is truly lost in a university library, there is a good chance that it will never be found again.

SG Clause

These steps should probably only be used during first year, when your marks don’t actually count. To get good marks in second and third year and beyond, you probably will actually have to follow the Iron Lady’s advice and do some work...

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