Errors in grammar and spelling frequently keep students from achieving a 2.1. To earn higher marks students are expected to demonstrate an ability to write clearly and fluently. Small mistakes in grammar and spelling indicate that a student has neglected to take sufficient time to review their own work, and this will affect the examiner’s opinion. Be sure to proofread carefully, and if possible ask someone else to check your writing for errors.
Often the difference between a 2.2 and a 2.1 is simply due to the way the written content is structured. If all else is equal, the essay or assignment that presents a logical, linear argument will earn higher marks than one that presents the same details in a random or jumbled way. Try to develop an outline for your structure before you begin writing. Each paragraph should follow logically on from the one before it, and your points should accumulate to support your overall argument.
2.2 essays are often marked by excessive wordiness. Students who approach the writing task with the goal of simply meeting the required word count will often end up with work that is long-winded and not sufficiently analytical. To avoid this, take notes of your key points and the source material you can use to support them. This will allow you to compile enough concrete material to piece together into an overall essay, and you will avoid random or unnecessary statements in your essay or assignment.
Another common mistake that keeps students at a 2.2 level is the lack of sufficient source material. Undergraduate student essay typically require at least 5-6 sources, depending on the discipline. Students who use only two or three sources are less likely to earn a 2.1 because they don’t demonstrate sufficient research. In some cases they will include several more sources in the bibliography, but in order to earn a 2.1 the writing must directly refer to each of these.
Examiners will award a 2.1 when the student has genuinely demonstrated their thorough knowledge of the topic. This means that a good amount of research and a degree of analytical thinking can lift your mark. Try to read a wide range of sources on your topic and be sure that you understand its context within your field. This will enable you to write about it in a way that reflects good overall understanding.
Finally, the easiest way to lift your mark from a 2.2 to a 2.1 is to submit a draft of the work to your tutor. They will be able to provide you with specific feedback to improve your essay or assignment, and if you follow this advice you are very likely to achieve a 2.1.
Greetham, B. (2013) How to write better essays. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Northedge, A. (2005) The good study guide. [S.l.]: Open University Press.
Open University Course Team (2008) Thinking Critically. Milton Keynes: The Open University.