Politics and International Relations

QM Political Review: The SPIR journal by students, for students

Having joined the editorial team of QM Political Review, formerly QMJPIR, as Commissioning Editor last spring, I was asked by the School of Politics and IR to write up a blog entry describing how this student-led journal is put together and distributed. However, due to my relatively limited experience as one of the more recent members of the editorial team, I believe Editor-in-Chief Petros Petrikkos is in a better position to describe the kind of work that went into publishing the first two volumes, thanks to his more extensive and long-standing involvement with the journal. His thoughts about his experience with QM Political Review can be found below. I instead opted to write a few paragraphs discussing the motivations of the editorial team for getting involved in this project, as well as the values and goals that have guided the editorial process currently paving the way for the third volume of the journal.

These values and motivations form the glue that hold together the editorial team and guide our work. Reflecting upon my own motivations for joining the project, our discussions during editorial meetings, and the applications we have received from prospective editors, a few core values seem to constitute the driving force behind QM Political Review. These values include a commitment to promoting academic enquiry and engagement on the one hand, and supporting our fellow students by providing them with the opportunity to get some of their academic work published at an early stage in their academic career.

It is important to note that these values go hand in hand, and that the latter is shaped by the former instead of being driven by altruistic or charitable intentions. Indeed, the goal of the journal is to motivate students to do their best to engage with academic debates within the fields of Politics & IR, and it is only those students most successful in this endeavour who will be rewarded by having their work published. Therefore, while QM Political Review does seek to support students by providing them with an accessible avenue for potential publication of their work, it is by virtue of their own hard work and exemplary academic ability that they are able to gain the respect, not altruistic benevolence, of the editorial team consisting of their peers.

QM Political Review, then, is guided by a dual commitment to the promotion of exemplary academic enquiry and supporting our fellow students in their quest to reach their full academic potential. The role of the editorial team is to achieve the former by ensuring the latter, and it is this balance between the two that, in my view, continues to guide our work in anticipation of the upcoming third volume of the journal. These are also the values I encourage my fellow students to keep in mind when sending their essays to the editorial team for review. It remains our promise to promote and reward the best our fellow students’ exemplary abilities to the best of ours.

– Samuel W. Singler, Commissioning Editor, QM Political Review


The idea of forming a Journal was conceived when Alan Saritas and Carl Lentz first discussed this among their peers. They then decided to present it to the School of Politics and International Relations, with the Head of the School, Professor Adam Fagan, showing a keen interest in the project.

After raising it as an agenda item during one SSLC meeting in 2014, the Head advised them to attend and present their ideas in front of the Board. That was the moment when I first found out about the project.

I first started off as a PR of some sort. I was incredibly excited with the whole idea of having a Journal edited by students, so I felt it was my duty to try and help the project in any way I could. I was promoting the Queen Mary Journal of Politics and International Relations everywhere before, during, and after the launch of Volume 1 in 2015. The Team had managed to print hundreds of copies, all funded by SPIR, including the launch event. Lecturers and students were invited to attend the launch and receive their free copy. As we were left with a lot of copies from the launch, I decided to get a few copies and distribute them myself.

A few weeks later, I had decided to deactivate my Facebook, because of assignments and exam revision. The Journal Team, however, had been trying to get in touch with me (no one knew of my phone number). I accidentally bumped onto them at Ground café just a few minutes before they went off to Hive West for a meeting. They wanted to discuss their plans for next year. As the only first-year student, I was very lucky and grateful for attending that meeting, as I pitched in my ideas, discussed the potential plans for the growth of the Journal, and even had a good laugh and drinks with the rest of the Team.

After the examination period, I had a Skype call with Alan and Carl. It was decided that I would become the Commissioning Editor for the Journal. When we got back to QMUL in September, we had a presentation in front of first-year students about the Journal. I also happened to get in touch with Milica Apostolovic, a brilliant student and a good friend of mine. She was very keen on working as an editor, and by March, Milica and I both became Editors-in-Chief. We soon began forming our team for 2016-2017, with Samuel Singler, another incredible student, as the Commissioning Editor. The QM Political Review team now also includes Ilona Berchtold, Josef Lusser, Mercy Muroki, Andrea Nilsson and Lee Pedder.

– Petros Petrikkos, Editor-in-Chief, QM Political Review

 

Presenting My Dissertation at the International Studies Association Human Rights Conference

I. Making my debut

On June 14th I had the immense pleasure of participating in my first academic conference; “Human Rights in an Age of Ambiguity”, arranged by the International Studies Association in New York City. Earlier this year my dissertation had been accepted for a panel on the media and human rights, and with the generous funding of the School of Politics & IR, I set out to subject my research to thorough scrutiny by one of the largest academic communities in politics and international relations.

Though I missed the first day of the conference as a result of a flight delay, Fordham University helped me get settled and prepared for the second day of the conference. I woke up to an incredible view of the New York City skyline the following morning, and was set for two days jam-packed with a host of different talks and panels, addressing a range of diverse human rights related issues.

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My debut at the ISA couldn’t have been in better company; Dr Joel Pruce and Dr Alexandra Budabin introduced their research on mass media and elite politics in human rights advocacy, whilst Sandra Ristovska tackled the use of visual technologies in human rights. Meanwhile, my own research set out to investigate whether experimental, digital technology forms of human rights governance can generate greater accountability than IGO-based human rights governance. Specifically, I looked at the effectiveness of human rights reporting “apps” such as eyeWitness to Atrocities and CameraV. 

Delivering the presentation to a room full of academics and practitioners had been an exciting prospect for me, particularly as this was an opportunity to discuss my ideas more concretely with people who were far more experienced and knowledgeable about these issues than myself.

I was very pleased to receive a lot of constructive feedback, which I intend to use in rewriting and developing my project further over the summer, in an attempt to get it published. The conference was far more than an opportunity to gather feedback however, and the individuals I met made for conversations about future collaboration, and potential work opportunities.

I look forward to seeing the aftermath of this experience play out, which for the moment has resulted in an invitation to participate in yet another media and human rights panel at the ISA 2017 conference in Baltimore.

 

II. During the conference

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Day 1
I spent the first day listening to a plenary talk by Elin Gursky (Senior Programme Officer on the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Health Practice), addressing the connection between global health crises and human rights. The talk concerned itself with what seemed to be a red thread throughout the conference: tensions between global norms and practices, and local iterations; the eternal conflict between universalism and the particular. A call for further independent review of health practices from within the state seemed to be the consensus amongst practitioners, though academics present at the talk, were more sceptic; who will fund these independent reviews? Do they really make a difference if the state doesn’t have the capacity to deal with its current global health-related issues in the first place?

The day continued with several concurrent panel sessions. I ended up attending one titled “Contesting the Universality and Indivisibility of Human Rights”, with Dr Daniel J. Whelan, Dr Itai Sneh, Dr Dennis R. Schmidt, and Dr Antoinetta Elia. Dr Sneh was a particularly ardent voice on the topic of maintaining the universality of human rights, and coming to terms with it (and indeed embracing it) as a western concept. Nevertheless, there was great contestation both within the panel and among the audience concerning human rights in principle versus human rights in practice, vis-a-vis pluralism in both definitions and practices.

I attended a final panel on “The Politics of Human Rights in International Organizations”, which introduced research on the politicisation of the Human Rights Council and the EU, before wrapping up my first day at the conference with a talk by the Gender and Women’s Rights Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Gaynel Curry.

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Violence against women is rooted in systematic discrimination as a result of stereotypical perception of women as being less than men.” – Gaynel Curry  

Curry recalled stories she had encountered whilst in the field, dealing with the pervasiveness of violence against women. She reiterated how, in recent history, women have been raped, killed, handled as cattle, and forced to carry babies against their will; how they had been disempowered by law, policies and practices.

With little time to fully process all the thought provoking insights, the final day was approaching, and after a quick meal in Hell’s Kitchen and walk to Time Square, I returned to Fordham to prepare for my panel.

Day 2

The first plenary talk of the morning was on the refugee “crisis” – an area that I’m particularly invested in. The talk, titled “Resisted, Restricted, Re-located”, was led by Norah Niland (former Director of human rights in UNAMA). It was a stimulating talk, addressing some of the push and pull factor, as well as the critique of treating refugees as bargaining chips, for example to the end of a Turkey-EU deal.

Prior to my own presentation, I also had a chance to listen in on the “Ambiguous and Uncertain Human Rights in an Age of Terror” panel, led by the inspiring Professor Monshipouri, who looked at the role of governments and human rights organizations, in tackling non-state armed groups (Daesh, specifically). As these actors are not subject to “naming and shaming” in the same way as states, how do we defeat them, or at least prevent them from committing human rights atrocities? Are drones part of the answer? Could a reform of the refugee convention aid in dealing with the human costs involved?

My time at the conference was incredibly rewarding, and it gave me great insight into what is perhaps the grievance of a practitioner, and the craft of an academic; the fact that there are an ever-multiplying number of unanswered questions in human rights (hence the title, “… in an age of ambiguity”), rendering it a wholly pluralistic, complex and often contested, if not controversial, discipline. I nevertheless look forward with a sense of encouragement, knowing that these questions are being discussed, and amidst the discourse giving birth to new ideas, initiatives and potential solutions. I hope to one day be a part of this, as I pursue a career in human rights defence and advocacy.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the School of Politics & International Relations, Professor Adam Fagan (Head of School) and Dr Lee Jones in Particular for supporting my participation.

 

My Life at QMUL

Having been born to Iranian parents in Denmark, I suppose I was bound to be somewhat of a cosmopolitan. Of course this meant that I always had an incessant desire to explore as much as I could from outside my country of birth. My interest in social justice led to an opportunity to become an exchange student in the US, and at the age of 15 I embarked on an experience, which would guide my trajectory towards a career in international politics. I’m currently in the third year of a BA in Politics with Business Management at Queen Mary, aspiring to go on to studying international human rights law. A lot of the afore-mentioned, particularly my parents being refugees, has led me in this direction. Crucially however, it’s the experiences I have had, especially while here at Queen Mary, that helped me on that path.

Besides the generous help received from the Students’Union in my first year when I endeavored to start a magazine venture tackling political apathy (Politics Made Public), the University’s Careers and Enterprise Centre helped me fund the development of ‘favourful’. Favourful, like most of my extra-curricular engagements, has a social purpose to fulfill; in this case, allowing for the exchange of services or favours, for gifts rather than currency. Working on favourful was invaluable, and proved very useful during my participation in the Cambridge Long Vacation Scholarship Scheme this summer.

Although the scholarship is given primarily for the purpose of conducting research towards one’s dissertation, I was eager to get involved with an actual human rights research project at Cambridge University. Having chased up a number of academics persistently, I got involved with an academic project called “The Whistle”, a digital human rights reporting platform, led by Dr. Ella McPherson at the Department of Sociology and the Centre of Governance & Human Rights, in its very early stages. I joined the project as an intern and developed the website thewhistle.org, and helped conduct extensive market research across the digital human rights sphere. Following the conclusion of the scholarship scheme, I was invited to stay on the project as a Research Assistant, and am still working with the project which has now received funding from a significant corporate partner.

 

 

University Scholars Leadership Symposium  working on issues such as poverty and refugees

University Scholars Leadership Symposium working on issues such as poverty and refugees

 

 

One of the most noticeable things about Queen Mary is the abundance of opportunities, if students choose to get involved. Having served as the Humanities & Social Sciences Faculty Representative in 2014/2015 put me in the fortunate position of being offered to fly to Hong Kong to participate in the University Scholars Leadership Symposium. The symposium gave 1800 students from around the world the opportunity to engage with leaders in the sphere of humanitarian affairs, to work with issues such as poverty and refugees. Crucially, the sheer diversity of nationalities and cultures present gave a truly holistic perspective on the concerns and issues surrounding the topic, as well as a platform to share experiences, which would serve as the cornerstone of potential solutions. I have never been at the center of such international and high profile networking. And yet, all of us could come together in our experience of the depravity we experienced volunteering in Mong Kok. In the aftermath of the symposium, several of the delegates, myself included, maintained our contact with the leaders and peers we had met, and started collaborating with them on various social ventures.

 

 

I was in the fortunate position of travelling to Hong Kong to participate in the University Scholars Leadership Symposium

I was in the fortunate position of travelling to Hong Kong to participate in the University Scholars Leadership Symposium

 

 

As I look back at my experiences at Queen Mary in the midst of writing applications for US law schools and postgraduate programmes in human rights in the UK, they all culminate in two realizations: The importance of networks, built through getting involved and meeting new and interesting people at university; as well as not being scared of saying yes to an opportunity, however difficult or out of your league it may seem.

Graduate Life

It has been a while since I last posted, I think my blogging duties must have gotten a little lost along the way in a sea of law books, dissertations and deadlines. BUT I have finally GRADUATED from Queen Mary with my Law degree and have successfully made it to the other side. The grass isn’t that much greener over here…

I am currently involved in what I like to think of as the Hunger Games for new graduates. We are all warned how tough and competitive the graduate job market is, but I don’t think it is possible to realise just how tough it is until you make it into the arena. I have applied for over 60 jobs at my last count and I have had 9 interview invitations. I have made it to the final 4, the final 3 and the final 2 (!) but I am still waiting to find the right opportunity for me.

I have predominantly been applying for jobs working for a Member of Parliament. My law degree taught me many things, including that I am not passionate about a traditional legal career. I have also applied for the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme, and beat out 600 other contenders to make it to the final 2 for my matched Member of Parliament, only to fall at the final hurdle. I also made it to the Assessment Centre for the National Graduate Development Programme before falling here too. It is extremely tough, but I am convinced it will be worth it in the end. Plus, every interview and assessment centre is experience gained and makes the next interview (slightly) less nerve-wracking.

It has only been two months since graduation, so I’m not resigning myself to the graduate scrapheap just yet! Hopefully my next blog will be about my first week in my wonderful new job!

Finals and Wrapping Up

The semester is drawing to an end and the library is inundated with kids cramming for the week which decides whether it’s an A or a B. Finals Week on campus is a huge deal, and like last semester, people are freaking out and going crazy. On that basis, it’s a good time for me to update this blog with what I’ve been doing recently.

Saturday saw me and a group of friends take a day trip to New York, taking a 2am Megabus and returning at 9pm the same night. It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, and I would definitely recommend it as a way of saving on accommodation. Being my second time in the city, it was way less stressful and I got to see some things off the beaten track, like the shops/cafes in Greenwich Village and the Highline Park on lower west-side. I really got to see a different side to New York than the previous crazy tourist hub, from when I last visited in November.

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Sunday saw me get to see my absolute favourite band, Foals, for the second time. I’m sure you British have heard of them more than the kids here. It was at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Boston, it’s a really cool old building with an old style decor and rustic red seats. They played with Cage the Elephant and it was pretty fitting that my final gig in the US was my favourite band.

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It’s been a couple of months since I last posted and there’s been a few small events which I’ve been involved with. I participated in a program called BC Splash, where a couple of hundred high school kids are invited into BC for a day of classes, which are all taught and composed by students here. I taught a class on studying abroad and moving away from home which got a great turnout and was a really cool opportunity to share my experience and hopefully intrigue kids into going abroad while at college.

This semester has also seen my rise to world Wiffleball champion. (Educate yourselves: http://www.wiffle.com/). This hybrid rounders/baseball game has been a hilarious way of proving to myself how I should definitely stick to football (soccer). Intramural sports have been a really good way to keep up with staying active while here at BC, playing soccer on a team last semester then wiffleball and dodgeball this semester.

The end of classes has passed and it’s actually been sad to see my last BC classroom. This semester I’ve heavily concentrated on human rights/international politics/security/globalization which I’ve really enjoyed and feel like I’ve started to develop strong understanding on a lot of key topics, both macro and micro. One class which was absolutely great, has allowed me to help draft a UN Human Rights report of the Maldives which will hopefully be submitted to the relevant UN  branch which has been a great experience to work on. As much as this year abroad has been a fantastic opportunity to travel and see new things, I’ve tried to stay academically focussed and this semester especially, I’ve really enjoyed the classes I’ve taken.

So as I finally stop procrastinating and get around to studying for my impending finals, I find my self becoming nostalgic of a huuuuuge 9 months, preparing head back to God’s back garden. (aka. North Yorkshire).

Hopefully I can collect my thoughts a couple more times before I leave the States on the 21st of May!

 

Aran

Midterms and Spring Break

Two alien concepts to us Brits: Midterms and Spring Break.

 

Professors love nothing more than making you struggle mid-way through the semester and making sure you stay on top of all the work, rather than leaving it to a huge coffee-induced cram session the night before a big end of term exam. These tests in the middle of exams are to be expected in all classes, and it’s indicative of the American system’s insistence on keeping education better monitored, with less onus on the individual. As I sit typing this, 5 hours after my final exam until the end of the semester, I’m happy to be focussed on packing for SPRING BREAK, which starts for me, on Friday evening.

 

It’s one of those things that everyone has wanted to do, fly into California and road-trip the coast. It’s very weird to think that this will be me this weekend, leaving far behind the sub-zero temperatures of New England. Staying in San Diego, with the luxury of a car, trips to LA, the coastal towns, beaches and parks are going to make up most of my 11 days away from Boston, as well as the normal California sightseeing. Everyone here is hyped up for Spring Break, and unlike our reading weeks at home, everybody seems to be going away. The Caribbean looks to be the main destination of choice, Punta Cana seemingly the most popular. The obvious choice of Mexico also crops up, with BC kids looking to find some sun, and legal drinking for many, in Cancun. Even other trips around the country, to DC, New York or Chicago are all hotspots for the week-long rest at the start of March. I can’t deny that I’m more excited for this than anything else on exchange thus far.

 

But I’m not going to lie, I’m already dreading the influx of new Facebook profile pictures, cover photos of cocktails and over-filtered instagrammed beaches.

Del Mar Beach, San Diego

Del Mar Beach, San Diego

 

Aran

First Six Months in America

I think this may be the only British student abroad blog on the site, so here goes…

Six months into my year abroad, I feel like its time to summarise what I’ve learnt so far and reflect on this crazy experience. It’s difficult to succinctly describe the process of moving to another country and assimilating into a new way of life, but I’m going to try anyway. With two thirds of my time away already complete, it feels like I’ll be back in the UK in no time at all; hopefully the process of maintaining this blog can slow down those somewhat depressing notions…

Gasson Hall

Academic Life

Boston College as an institution is ranked within the top 35 or so universities in America, and as a $60,000 a year university, its certainly not a holiday. Classes are much more orientated around the professor, and rather than a syllabus devised by a department, the teacher as a lot of leeway in terms of how the class is taught and assessed. It  has both pros and cons in my eyes. It means that teachers can model assessments based on the structure of a class, for example the small class sizes are conducive with a syllabus which often includes small group presentations and projects. Also teachers adapt their classes on a yearly basis, to follow student recommendations or changing topics within  the subject field. The other side of this, is that teachers have substantially more say on your grade than at home, meaning that office hours act as a perfect opportunity to share thoughts and raise questions which help build you as a student in the eyes of a professor – who ultimately will give you the grade.

The system of classes is very different here. At BC there’s whats known as a “core” (although all schools don’t require this). This encompasses a range of subjects meaning that all students have sufficient grounding in math, theology, history, cultural diversity… etc etc, which works well to ensure that all students have  knowledge of numerous areas of study. Taking only history and politics classes here had meant that I’ve been able to specialise heavily on those subjects, but the typical experience will see a vast selection of modules in other areas. For me, the amount reading is huge, and days are often 10 hour work days, with work on weekends too. The small classes make it difficult to avoid the reading, but  the sheer work ethic of so many of the students here acts as a form of motivation, to contribute to class and to really engage in what you’re studying. To put it bluntly – it is more difficult here. The depth of knowledge required to hit the top grades is immensely high, and professors don’t like to dish out the best grades unless they are truly deserved.

Bapst Library

Social Life

One of the reasons I chose Boston College over other schools, was the quintessential American college campus which I’d be living on, in and around Americans and international students alike. As much as I want to dispel all those stereotypical “myths” about what university in America is like, I genuinely don’t think I can. Yes people drink out of red cups and yes there is a crazy amount of American patriotism.

On most campuses in America, sport in some capacity acts as a social structure, but also a point of real competition and energy, especially in relation to local school rivalries (sucks to BU). Whether it be ice hockey, football, basketball, or even less popular sports, some of these huge occasions can be the highlight of the week, drawing in huge crowds and an electric atmosphere cheering the team on. Even if you don’t like sports or are completely indifferent towards them, they truly provide an integral part of the social life here and some of these events have been in the highlights of my year so far.

Aside from sport, there are hundreds and hundreds of organisations around campus which cater for all niches or hobbies, and it’s easy to find something that fits your needs, whether you can dance, sing, draw or  talk for hours, or even if you don’t have a hobby but jut want to help out a charity or give something back to the community. I hate the cliche, but there genuinely is so much going on – thus there probably is something for everybody.

Home of the Red Sox

Home of the Red Sox

Boston: The City

Sometimes downtown Boston acts as fantastic respite from the bubble of campus life, and it’s a city which is actually fantastic. Taking the public transport system, affectionately (or not so) known as the ‘T’, the centre of the largest city in New England is easily accessible. For me, Boston has a great mix of touristy hotspots and great little quirks around the city, giving it a composition which I really like. It’s not too busy that it’s claustrophobic or where you have to fight to walk down a street, but there’s vibrancy and life here so that something is always going on.

Currently in the grip of (another) winter storm, it is freezing. Averaging about -5 degrees celsius which is nippy, not to mention the relentless snow which persists. It’s nice to still have 4 seasons, even if it means spending a significant portion of my year all wrapped up and wishing warmth still.

Boston City Centre

Boston City Centre

Travelling

So far, I’ve been to New York, New Jersey, Niagara Falls and Toronto in Canada which were all incredible. I have so many plans to visit places, but its all about finding the time (and money) around college. America is HUGE, something which I underestimated for definite, you can’t just drive to Florida, or get a train to Chicago – its all about flights. This makes things more expensive, but making friends along the way (hopefully) and begging for free accommodation cuts the cost of travel substantially. My best two trips are yet to come however, California for Spring Break (yes it’s a real thing) and then Florida at the end of the academic year. Still have a huge bucket list involving DC and back up to Canada for Montreal/Quebec perhaps, but I’ll worry about that another time if the opportunity arises.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

New York City

New York City

 

What’s Next?

Currently in the midst of mid-term hell (midterms are exams halfway through the semester), should I come out of this fortnight alive, spring break in California at the start of March awaits, which looks to be the highlight of my entire year! (Touchwood). Then with Florida at the end of the semester, I have some really cool things to look forward to, not to mention the culmination of the ice hockey season, and the famous Marathon Monday, where the Boston Marathon makes its way past BC around Easter time.

 

I’m going to try and keep this updated after eventually getting round to doing it. I hope there was some insight in there!

 

Aran

Looking forward to the final year

It is kind of scary to think that in one year I will be a graduate about to start a career in the real world. University so far has been so full of experiences that time has gone by really quickly, and I haven’t even fully realized it.

Still, I really am looking forward to starting my third year. So far I had only been able to choose my Politics modules, while all the Economics modules I had to take were compulsory (the technical term is “core”). This is because I am on a joint degree, but single honours Economics students have more choice also in their second year.

But now I have had the opportunity to choose all my modules for the next academic year. This is amazing, because it really allows us to pick the areas we are mostly interested in, and I really cannot wait to start. I chose mostly Macroeconomics subjects for what concerns Economics, as I am really passionate about governmental policy-making. For what concerns Politics, I am going to do Electoral Behaviour and Parliamentary Studies. The latter is a workshop-based course which will include a trip to the Houses of Parliament, and I am really, really excited.

In the final year we also have the possibility to write a dissertation on a topic of our choice. In my case, this was compulsory for Politics (but I would have done it anyway, I love the idea of working on my own project) and optional for Economics. Unfortunately, I find that one dissertation is challenging enough, so I will not be doing the Economics one. But the great thing about joint degrees is that they give you a more global view about several issues, and my knowledge of Economics will certainly be really useful in writing my Politics project.

It will be a hard, probably the hardest, year. But I am sure it will also be the best one!

Assessment and grades at Queen Mary

The way in which we get our grades at Queen Mary is not particularly different from what most of us were used to in high school. For every module we take, we get part of the grade during the academic year, and most of it at the end of the year with the massive “finals”.

The format of the assignments you are given during the year will  vary according to the course you choose. Generally speaking, for what concerns the School of Economics and Finance, the most common formats of in-year examinations are written tests (sometimes these can be multiple-choice quizzes, other times more open and problem solving questions), oral presentations (which can be either individual or as a group) and projects which you need to prepare before a certain deadline. Altogether, the assignments you carry out during the year are usually worth between 20- 30% of your total grade for that year.

The remaining 70- 80% is graded with final exams that take place during the last term (April-June). April is the so-called revision break: there are no classes, apart from the occasional revision session if a lecturer organises one, but do not mistake it for a long holiday! Any student will tell you that it is a very demanding month, during which you have to revise everything you have done in order to be prepared for the finals. These usually start at the end of April or the beginning of May, and are spread over a few weeks. For an Economics student who takes 8 modules per year, there will be 8 corresponding finals.

This is a challenging time (as you should expect at university), but don’t be scared: it is also extremely rewarding!

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