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”