10 Brilliant UK Politics Resources for Students

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Leading up to A-Level UK Politics exams, we’ve put together the best resources for boosting you/your students’ revision and notes. A successful candidate will not only be give an example, but explain why it is applicable and show vital understanding in the process. So often examiners spend only a brief period of time skimming through a script. Sign-posting an answer with great examples and insights is thus vital.

*A star donates stellar content that ambitious candidates should be reading every day.

1. BBC Politics*:

You can’t really beat the Beeb. They cover every aspect of UK Pol, but their analysis is also fantastic. Vital for the lead up to the election and focus on parties. Gold-dust.

2. Radio 4 Today Programme*:

Even if getting up between 6 and 9am each morning isn’t your thing, listen back to the show on iPlayer Radio every weekday (and Saturday too – whoop!). I cannot stress enough how good this programme is for making you aware of everything going on in the political world. For instance, on Sat 28th’s show, they had an in-depth piece about Private Member Bills (a lesser known element of the AS Unit 2 syllabus). Also look out for A Week in Westminster on the same station.

3. UCL Constitution Unit:

Granted this is a bit dense for A-Level students, but it is full of outstanding analysis. If you’re looking to add some insights that will put you in the running for 100 UMS or a very high A grade, reading a few of their articles is essential. Look out for Profs Robert Hazell and Megan Russell.

4. Hansard Society:

They chronicle every event in Parliament. They also produce wonderful research reports. Many a pithy quote has been found and used in our revision.

5. Newspapers:

Keeping up to note with the news is essential for getting any decent grade in Politics. Reading a physical or digital copy online should be part of your morning routine. Recommended: Telegraph, Guardian, Times, FT.

6. Twitter*:

If you want Politics news delivered to your phone at the click of a button, then start following some great accounts on twitter. Here’s our favourites.

History of Parliament (@HistParl)
Patrick Dunleavy (@PJDunleavy)
Tim Bale (@ProfTimBale)
May 2015 (@May2015NS)
Neil McNaughton (@NeilMcNaughton)
Tiffin Politics (@TiffinPolitics)
Democratic Audit (@DemocraticAudit)
Oxford Politics and IR (@Politics_Oxford)
Phillip Cowley (@philipjcowley)
Ben Page- Ipsos Mori (@benatipsosmori)
Politics in Spires (@PoliticsinSpire)
Faisal Islam (@FaisalIslam)
Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn)
LSE Constitution UK (@ConstitutionUK)
PoliticsHome (@PoliticsHome)
#Politics (@HashtagPol) [of course]

7. Total Politics .com

I really like this one. The tone is more lighthearted than most, but it provides a welcome sense of perspective.

8. Blogs:

For a more opinionated take on political events, read blog posts. These ones below are well-researched and enjoyable to read. 

Guido Fawkes
LSE Europp
LSE Politics and Policy
Conservative Home
Left Foot Forward

9. Democratic Dashboard*:

Run by the LSE, this is the best place to find out what’s going on in your constituency. Its pregnant with glorious stats.. Nothing better than a great stat to illustrate your point in an essay.

10. Politics.co.uk

A very good, impartial site for news, comment and up to date information

Are you looking for a Politics tutor? Do you want to become a #Tuition Tutor? Visit our homepage.  Check out our past blog posts page for more great articles!

Keep Debating.

JP

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10 Brilliant UK Politics Resources for Students

8 Insider Reasons to apply to LSE

Angelina Jolie at the LSE
Angelina Jolie at the LSE

1. It’s a World Class Institution

LSE was ranked second, for the second year in a row, by The QS World University Rankings in Social Sciences. We may have lost out to Harvard, but we only really care that we beat Oxbridge. Love your social sciences? LSE is the place for you.

2. Choice of Programmes

We have approximately 140 taught master’s programmes. With each programme there are a further number of combinations students can opt for. 

The flexible nature of some of the undergraduate courses is also a godsend. Trust me, no one wants to spend all their time doing abstract math or statistics, so you are free to choose an option/s (depending on your course) from pretty much any other department in the university. If you want to study math and economics but graduate as a fluent Spanish speaker, you can at LSE. Just saying

3. You’ll meet the real celebrities

Fancy bumping into Danny Quah or Chris Pissarides on your way to lunch? Well those dreams can become reality. LSE is full of world renowned academics and Nobel Prize Winners. Students have even been lucky enough to be taught by the likes of Paul Krugman and even Amartya Sen (although this was more than a few years back).

But if you have a different idea of ‘celebrity’, don’t worry. It wasn’t long ago that Angelina Jolie paid us a visit to launch the New Centre for Women, Peace and Security, along side with the even bigger celebrity, William Hague.

 4. You’re in London

You can’t be bored in London. It’s impossible. In fact it’s the best place to be if you know where to go. Despite common perceptions London is full of affordable entertainment for young adventurous students ready to take on the world. And if you’re not into the partying scene or the crazy life… Well… you can always take a bus tour.

5. It’s truly international 

The LSE Student body represents over a 150 nationalities! Non-UK students make up for 65% of the undergraduate population and this gives you unlimited opportunities to interact and socialise with people from all walks of life. But the best perk of being so ‘international’ is definitely the international food festival at LSE’s Global Village week. I mean, it is free food from every part of the world. What more do you want?

6. Employability

No you don’t have to go into Investment banking to get a job out of LSE. Overall, LSE has won University of the Year for Graduate Employment in The Times and The Sunday times LSE 2015. Also, the average salary of an undergraduate is £9000.00 higher than the national average. No complaints from us on that. 

And yes, if you do have an intense, burning, Hollywood movie style passion for the financial world your starting salary is significantly higher. Not that anyone from LSE goes into banking...

7. The societies

Are you passionate about Politics? Economics? Banking? Or are you more into gaming and cider? It doesn’t really matter because LSE has you covered. The societies you can join range from cider appreciation, to gaming, fashion, dance… You get the point.

8. It attracts World Class speakers

Now there’s no point in me just listing all the amazing speakers that have come to LSE but as you must have noticed by now that’s not going to stop me.

We’ve welcomed Natalie Bennett, William Hague, Ed Miliband, David Miliband, Theresa May, Amartya Sen, Paul CollierAung San Suu Kyi, David Cameron, Vikram Seth, Michelle Bachelet..this list could continue forever so I’ll stop…of and of course Angelina Jolie..Have I mentioned that she came to LSE already? Can’t remember…but yes Angelina Jolie was here.

Thinking of applying to LSE? Talk to us at #Tuition to help with your application. We’ve also got more articles on Oxbridge, Eton and our top tips for studying. Click this link to check out our past blog posts!

Suyash Raj-Bhandari, LSE First Year Government and Economics Student

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8 Insider Reasons to apply to LSE

10 Things that ruin Easter Revision

We’re about to give you the greatest excuses for all that procrastination you’ve been and will go through. Here’s our theory, it’s not your fault! Our thoughts and thus our choices are shaped by our environment; our architecture. Don’t believe us? Then read Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. If there’s fruit on offer instead of cake, we choose the healthy option. If you put a target in the centre of a urinal, you get less spillage. And if you get the architecture wrong, your productivity suffers. Here are our

1. Your Bed:

Studying in a room where your bed is nearby is a recipe for disaster. Or rather, a recipe for falling asleep. You associate your bed with rest and relaxing. Having that thought right by your desk will only lead your mind astray.

2. TV:

Working near a TV may seem such a great idea on the surface. You may think it will keep you stimulated and working for longer. That won’t happen. You’ll just abandon work and end up watching another episode of Breaking Bad or the live football.

3. The Internet:

The Internet is much too abundant with distractions like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. ‘It’s a research tool’ you may say. Yes, it is. But it also can be the source of many funny cat videos, memes and embarrassing photos of your friends. Avoid it if you can.

4. Rowdy People:

Don’t work near your friends. They’ll just start talking to you/making funny faces/poking you profusely. Unless your friend is super keen and has a cataclysmic fury which prevents you from disturbing them, keep your studying an individual affair.

5. Sugar:

Okay we’re being a bit hasty here. Some sugar is good. You need lots of fruit and carbs to power your day. But don’t binge on sugary snacks and drinks. They’ll simply make you hyper (and thus unable to work) before crashing (and thus unable to work). You get the picture.

6. The Great Outdoors:

Two issues with this. Firstly, if you’re reading this in the UK, we so rarely have the weather for an outdoor retreat whilst studying. So we advise being less idealistic. Secondly, working outside always gets messy. Be it papers being blown away, an uneven work surface or simply the thought of lying in the mid-day sun, desks indoors were invented for a reason.

7. Hunger:

Your body needs fuel. See point 8. Not eating properly will also mean you snack badly. Eat well and regularly – mealtimes will also act as targets in the day to aim towards.

8. Sleep:

We said our thoughts are a product of our architecture. Yet our thoughts are also a product of our rationality (without getting into a philosophical debate). Basically, the part of our brain that acknowledges our future selves and includes them in our thinking doesn’t work as well when we’re tired. So sleep.

9. Messiness:

A cluttered workspace means a cluttered mind. Start your day by tidying your workspace and/or room. In the process, you’ll probably start structuring your thoughts and how you’ll attack the day.

10. Human Nature:

Be it your recent infatuation, thoughts of lunch or simply imagining that big sports game tomorrow, our own brains are our own worst enemies. We can’t combat our own desires. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. The best advice is simply to put mechanisms in place like those above to make sure your architecture inclines you to be productive rather than lethargic.

Want to avoid procrastination? Book a #Tuition tutor for Easter Revision today!

Carpe Diem,
AB

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10 Things that ruin Easter Revision

10 Essentials for Writing an Essay

You’ve written the title. Your pen is poised at the paper. You’ve chewed your pen lid copiously, itching like a stallion at the starting gate. And then, ‘oooh, doesn’t that cloud outside look like a rabbit!’ We’ve all been there. Writer’s block. In fact, most have this every time they write an essay. But here’s the secret (whisper it quietly)…essays are quick and easy. Once you follow these tips, you’ll polish off that beast in 2h max, maybe even less.

1. Understand:

Essays require you to be in control of the material. Your clarity of thought manifests into your clarify of prose. Or at least, your ability to waffle constructively (a sign of a great essay writer). The first step is understanding your title, what it means, what it is hinting at. Start with a piece of paper and just brainstorm ideas. Even if you don’t reach the right understanding, you’ll at least have a clear interpretation of what you’re trying to argue.

2. Plan

Great plans come from great understanding. Take all those different threads and start to weave them together. Decide your argument.Then choose the arguments on both sides that you want to employ. Next, start to see the links between them and how your essay can flow.

3. Skeleton

Your essay has to flow. Don’t be all creative with your structure. Keep it rigid. We suggest this:

Intro: Set out the framework of the debate and what you will argue.
Major Argument: Your big point, theory or contention. It should bind your whole essay together.
Counter Arguments + their rejection: See point 6. for more details. The trick is to mention and dispose of the other side’s points.
Connecting secondary argument : Another big point that backs up your argument, maybe just supports.
Maybe tertiary supporting argument: Same as he above, if you have time.
Conclusion: Bring everything together and add some perspective. Don’t just repeat what you’ve said prior.

4. Read Around

If you have time (and mostly you will not) investigate the topic. Reading books can be too time consuming. Instead, read articles, journal pieces or academic summaries. It’s by knowing the nature of the beast that you’ll be able to conquer that essay. Otherwise you may miss the key point that disqualifies (or maybe enhances) your whole argument.

5. Writing style:

Here are some pointers taken from our previous post: 10 Rules of Writing. Succinctness is a sign of a writer in control.

– Short and punchy sentences
– Using connectives to start sentences
– If you can cut a word or sentence out, do so
– Don’t use stale imagery
– Don’t use analogies are used to seeing in print
– Enliven your vocabulary (or buy a thesaurus)

6. Straw-men:

This is a great way to knock down the other side of the argument. Caricature their argument, make it seem extreme and attack its exposed flaws. Make it seem simplistic. You always want to criticise an opposing argument in the context of why yours is better.

7. Paragraphing: signpost

Your structure still needs clarity. Start every paragraph clearly by saying what you are trying to achieve in that verse. Don’t make it simplistic, something like ‘Yet now let us establish this to reject that’ or ‘Furthermore, this is disputed due to x fact’ will do perfect.

8. Argue!

Be opinionated. Take a firm stance (even if it’s a balanced one) and attack from that perspective. Have that fiery side in your essay, your points and counter-arguments will benefit no end.

9. Evidence:

Empiricism is a weapon. Like your straw-men arguments, evidence is yours to be interpreted and used as you wish. Your points cannot exist in the ether, they have to be backed up.

10. Revise: Heuristics for checking

We all make grammatical or rhetorical errors. Try reading your essay backwards or in a different font. Your eyes may be used to reading what you’ve composed so it’s good to look at things from a different perspective.

Take a break before finishing your essay. Leave it for however long you can (not an excuse to procrastinate) and then reevaluate critically. Do you need that paragraph? Can I cut you those superfluous words? Does my argument flow?

And if all else fails, our tutors are brilliant at working on essay-technique. Make an enquiry today!

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10 Essentials for Writing an Essay