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Resources for politics and international relations students

Politics worldwide is experiencing a period of rapid transformation, which makes it both fascinating and challenging to study at undergraduate level. To help you through the first year, we asked students on our politics student panel a few questions about how they think you can get the most out of your degree. You'll find some of the best answers on these pages.

Basic advice for your politics degree

Basic advice - be prepared! That means to do the readings before the lecture and not after, the lecture will make a lot more sense then.
Rizwana Bi, Aston University

Read the core readings, you may be able to get through the year without doing them, but the accumulation of knowledge helps in the coming years.
Muhammad Gohar Altaf, City University of London

Ensure you know how to use library system.
Georgia Marchbank Peterson, Coventry University

I would advise to have a good basic understanding of the main theories in politics, in order to be able to understand what the professors are talking about on a deeper level in the first few weeks.
Shirel Gertan, Free University Berlin

The foundation of political science is an understanding, and appreciation, of theory. Though your first year grade will not contribute to your degree classification, it will provide the theoretical basis for your future success.
Jordan Auburn, University of Bath

Look for work experience opportunities, by emailing your local MP and asking if you could take part in shadow work or looking for writing opportunities at an online website.
James Nixon, City University of London

First year is the least intensive so try to get involved in as many activities as possible. Try to go for politics related activities so that your learning is not just academic.
Arushi Prasad, University of Nottingham

Pay attention to the module choices! Usually your university will allow you access to this long before the application process begins, do take this chance as you do not want to find yourself in a situation where you are essentially forced to learn material that may not be at all relevant your career path.
Adetokunbo Adebayo, University of Bath

Keep up to date with current affairs and keep an open mind.
Ciaran Hehir, University of Limerick

You get out as much as you put into a politics course. The people who lose interest are those who never fully engaged with the subjects in the first place.
Maria Rafferty, University College Dublin

Get to know your tutor, as they are there to help you when you need it. For example, if your marks are lower than they should be because you were unwell during your exams, your tutor can argue that you should not be obliged to repeat an exam, or even, in your final year, that the class of degree you are awarded should be higher than the marks suggest. Of course, this can only happen if he or she knows you and has a good idea of your ability.
Azhar Chaudry, Exeter University

Keep up with current politics - it will make learning political theory much easier and much more fun!
Dora Vrkic, University of Bradford