How to not fail your English degree

English Lit sounds like a doss compared to A-Levels. Reading piles of novels, plays and poetry every week, and only 6 hours of contact time? Dreamy. But be cautious – like with any Arts degree, the workload is a lot higher than it initially seems, and missing a seminar could mean missing out on vital information.

Keep on top of your reading 

It might sound obvious, but it’s so easy to let the reading fall behind when all the assignment due dates start creeping forward. Do your best to keep up to date with the reading! I’d also recommend using audiobooks instead of physical books; they really come in handy when you’re struggling through a novel.

Stay organised

Try to keep all your notes and assignment dates organised so when it comes down to it, you’ll know where everything you need is; trust me, any way to save you extra time will be so important. If you’re someone who struggles to work to a deadline, write down that it’s due a day earlier, that way you’ll have an emergency extra 24 hours if you need it. This will come in extra handy with your dissertation.

Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions 

It’s easy to feel embarrassed or worry whether you’re asking stupid questions, but the chances are you probably won’t be the only one thinking it, and even if you are, if it’s going to help you with your degree it’s always worth asking.

Make the effort to go in 

Again, this might sound really obvious, but you’ll soon find that most people don’t go a whole week without missing a lecture. Just remember it’s what you’re paying for, so take advantage of everything that is going to help you through your English degree. If lecturers offer one-to-one sessions, take the opportunity.

Alex Eastland

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