Hi everyone! Welcome back if you’re an existing student and welcome if you’re new! I hope that you’re all settling in well. Today I’m going to talk about three key differences that I’ve noticed between  second year and first.

1. The Reading Length 

In first year, I’d say the average reading length was somewhere around 20-25 pages. In second year, I’ve already noticed this average start to rise. I’ve even had a couple of readings that were 70-80 pages in length! Granted, this this is what I expected but it was still a bit of a shock! Don’t let this concern you though, you’ve just got to make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare. I assume the reading lengths have increased because there is more information that we need to learn and not all of this can be conveyed in the lecture and seminar time. Personally, I’m fine with this. I love learning!

2. The Essay Length 

I knew this was coming. In second year (on my course at least) each of your essays are 3000 words in length. I read this in the handbook last year, but I can’t believe I’m now in the position where this is my academic reality. I did have to write a couple of essays of this length in first year so I can’t really say I’m that bothered by this notion. In third year I believe the essay word count increases to 5000 words, and then there’s the optional 10,000 word dissertation. I’d rather be eased in gently this way with a gradual word count increase than be surprised later on!

3. The Stakes

On my course your second year results count towards 50% of your final degree classification. I’m not going to lie, this feels like a lot of pressure. In first year, I just had to pass each module at 40% or above in order to progress. The grades I get this year have the ability to partially dictate what I do with the rest of my life. That’s scary. But hopefully, if I continue putting in lots of effort, the hard work will pay off!

Let me know in the comments the things that you’ve noticed about moving into a new year!