Advice for incoming Economics students – OurWarwick

Advice for incoming Economics students

Post summary:

  • Don’t completely neglect year 1 modules just because it doesn’t count towards your final grade as it will massively prepare you for 2 year and getting used to the style of learning at university.
  • To get ahead with the most time-consuming module, I wish I had read and bought Power and Plenty ahead of studying World History of Economics and so if you have time, it might be a good idea to read this.

In the last post, I gave some tips on how to spend your first year preparing for Economics as an incoming undergraduate where I focused on career prospects i.e. thinking about getting your CV ready for spring week applications if that interests you. Now I turn to the more module focused advice ahead of first year.

I will give 2 main reasons for not neglecting your first-year modules, however, I will admit that prioritising spring week applications can be beneficial because of how tough the process is. Preparation might take the form of trying to gain as much information as possible in terms of:

  • How to prepare my CV
  • Writing cover Letters
  • Networking with people in industry
  • Understanding which firms to apply to
  • Mastering online tests
  • Preparing for competency questions
  • Commercial awareness interview questions

I have made a website called if you are interested in finding out more about the above steps, but I promise that’s the end of the career advice and will probably be planning a post on the downsides of pursuing a career path like investment banking sometime in the future.

Here are the reasons why taking your first-year modules seriously can pay dividends:

Firstly, even though first year doesn’t count towards your final degree (although you still need to pass and it may be important if you want to take a year abroad etc), getting to grips with the university way of studying takes a bit of getting used to and first year is your opportunity to do this. Aside from getting into good study habits and getting used to the university way of learning, the module content can be very interesting and will prepare you for second year (especially Maths and Statistics modules).

Secondly, first year exams prepare you for second year exams. With COVID striking when I was in first year, we didn’t have final exams, which alongside being a blessing, meant that second year exams were a bit of a shock and there was some adjusting needed as I realised by early April that I had underestimated them. Had I prepared for first year exams, I would have realised this misjudgement in first year when the year did not count to 50% of my degree which would have meant a much less stressful exam season during year 2.

Having emphasised the importance of taking your first-year modules, I will move onto how you can best prepare if you have some time ahead of your first year of Economics at Warwick if you are taking this course. I would focus on preparing for the most time-consuming and at the same time most interesting module in first year which is the compulsory Economics World History module. One of the compulsory readings of this module is Power and Plenty, which is an extremely dense book packed with a lot of information. Although this information is very interesting, balancing it with spring/insight week applications and society involvement can be very difficult to maintain, so if you were to read the chapters over summer and make summary sheets, that should save you a lot of time.

Finally, if you have the extra time, you can read “A History of the Global Economy: 1500 to the Present” which is another compulsory reading and is easier to digest. There is a risk that these 2 books are changed, but they have been the same for the last 2 years running. Also, just to re-emphasise, I would also strongly consider investing time into preparing for spring week applications before university and getting the pre-application components prepared even just to gather some momentum on real experience that will help you contemplate your future career path.

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