W223: Company Law — got a distinction!

That was unex­pec­ted! I got noti­fic­a­tion yes­ter­day that I’d been awar­ded a dis­tinc­tion on the Open Uni­ver­sity law course I did last winter: W223: Com­pany law and prac­tice.

The dis­tinc­tion was an unex­pec­ted pleas­ure as I thought I was only in 2:1 ter­rit­ory — I didn’t think I had quite the grade aver­age neces­sary across the marked assign­ments — the Open Uni­ver­sity gen­er­ally requires that your clas­si­fic­a­tion for a course will be the lower of your achieve­ment in the final exam / end–of–course assign­ment, and of the aver­age of your marked assign­ments through­out the course — though I knew I was only a per­cent­age point or two short.

So, les­sons learned from this course:

  • Don’t overly con­cern your­self if you think you’re one or two per­cent­age points short. Don’t use it as an excuse to drop your stand­ards.
  • Take time on end–of–course assign­ments. Everything you need, fac­tu­ally, is there. What can get you the bonus marks is a mat­ter of look­ing a little fur­ther — research the cur­rent state of the law and aca­dem­ic com­ment about the ques­tions at hand. Incor­por­ate these into your answer, and cite every asser­tion you make.
  • Make sure your bib­li­o­graphy and ref­er­ences are full and accur­ate: include every paper you read and found to be rel­ev­ant, even if you didn’t use it. You nev­er know when some­thing has uncon­sciously slipped through.
  • And finally, again, take time. Whilst mak­ing sure you can sub­mit on time, use the last day for a re-read. Out loud. It’s amaz­ing how many little gram­mat­ic­al slips you can find that way.

I enjoyed this course, and didn’t find it a slog at any point. But have to admit I’m very happy with the res­ult.

Calculate your Open University degree classification

I have just found this and though it worth a men­tion and link: Cleveret’s Open Uni­ver­sity Degree Class Cal­cu­lat­or. It seems to do all the hard work cor­rectly, includ­ing cal­cu­lat­ing the qual­ity assur­ance scores.

Very use­ful if you want to work out what grades you need — there­fore also what aver­ages you’ll need to achieve in your course work over the course of the year. Accur­ately know­ing the tar­get you need to hit is pretty much essen­tial, I think.

Writing the assignment answer you want to

I’m back on the marked assign­ments again — I’m around a week ahead of sched­ule, which is good. Like the last one, this one too is one of tight word–counts: 800 for each of two ques­tions.

I have writ­ten 932 words for one of the ques­tions, and I am around 250 from fin­ish­ing. I’m also find­ing it the easi­est ques­tion I’ve attemp­ted in ages.

Nor­mally, when answer­ing assign­ment ques­tions, I spend more time wor­ry­ing about the struc­ture and the edit­ing than get­ting the con­tent down on paper. Work­ing out what I need to say from what I want to say is a pro­cess that can drive me into para­lys­is. This time, I’m just not caring. Sep­ar­at­ing the writ­ing phase and the edit­ing phase turns out to allow me to write the answer I want to, then edit it into the answer that’s actu­ally needed for sub­mis­sion to my tutor.

This isn’t a tech­nique that will neces­sar­ily work well in exam con­di­tions, how­ever the tech­nique of writ­ing an answer plan first is sim­il­ar, if in reverse. But I am going to con­tin­ue to use it for the rest of my assign­ments, to see if it is a meth­od to get around the para­lys­is I often feel when writ­ing — what my friend Simon Pride described as my “inner cen­sor”. I hope it does.

How I now take notes while studying

The pro­cess of try­ing to cap­ture what I’m learn­ing is a pro­cess that is still under a degree of tri­al and error, here. When I was at school and last study­ing at uni­ver­sity level, it just kind of went in. I didn’t care about the pro­cess. Now, a few Open Uni­ver­sity courses later of vary­ing dif­fi­culty, I find that I need to pay some atten­tion to the tech­niques of study­ing, in order to find ones that suit me best. Con­tin­ue read­ing “How I now take notes while study­ing”