I have finally received my first marks back from the two pieces of work I have submitted so far. Alright, it was about a week ago, but I’ve been busy. Video games don’t play themselves you know. You might remember me saying that I need to achieve at least a 2:1 to have any real chance of getting a position after the “education” part of my training.* You might also remember that my marks from the first academic year (or two, in my case) don’t count towards my final grade.
The marks are out of 90, and mean the following:
Anything over 70: A first.
40-50: A third.
My first mark was a 56, so a strong 2:2. I was a little disheartened by this at first. While my first year’s marks don’t count, I obviously want to be hitting the 2:1 scale before they start to count. Also, some applications for work experience schemes will ask how you did in your first year. Surely this was not an auspicious start.
However, I felt a lot better after reading the marking comments and discussing it with the tutor who marked the papers. The places where I lost marks really fell into two main areas. Formatting and quoting. Essentially, I didn’t annotate properly, and I didn’t realise that I should quote from legal journals as well. I knew the stuff. I found relevant cases and judgements. I realised what the important points were, and addressed them. I had actually read some of the journals for pointers, but incorrectly thought we were obliged to only quote cases.
I’m actually feeling pretty good about this now. I’m told that if I had known to address these issues, my mark would have been on the border of a 2:1 or a first. This means I’m on the right track. My only complaint is that I should have received the mark for my first piece of work before the second was due. I didn’t. When the second mark came back, it was marked down for all the same reasons (I got a 58, a shade off a 2:1). Had I received the first feedback in time, it would have achieved the magic mark.
All in all, I’m feeling pretty good about it. There is work to do, but there is every indication that I’m capable of doing it. Before the end of December, I’d not written an essay in about 12 years. I was really worried that the actual academia part of the degree. While these marks aren’t exceptional, they are an indication that I can do it. I’m feeling pretty good.
*Irony: Most lawyers I know say they learned all the important lessons in the vocational part of training.