A third in second year and still trying to graduate with a 2:1?


I am trying to assess the odds of applying to the Big 4. I had a horrible year and I am still aiming for a 2:1. Is it impossible?

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You can always apply. If you have other attributes (such as work experience, social activites, sports, etc) on your CV these could counteract your poor grades.

If your second year grades are very poor, you could consider making an application after graduating. If you work very hard in year three, and get the 2.1, your year 2 grades wouldn’t really matter so much - you’d have graduated with a good degree and be able to put this on your application.

This would mean taking an extra year out after graduating… but depending on how you use it, that could be quite a good thing!


well i think where u have to put down ur module by module mark/yr percentages ud probably be rejected, only kpmg just ask for predicted grade and u can predict yourself a 2.1. Plus doing applications anywhere will take up alot of ur time which you need to dedicate to reading and revision e.g. prep for interviews etc.

I was in a similar position to you having graduated this yr, i got a low 2.2 in my second yr, and forget about all jobs/drinking in my 3rd yr and worked my ass off to get a 2.1 and currently i am still applying for 2008 entry as there are lots of vacancies at the big4, so u could be in my position this time next yr with your 2.1 in the bag and able to apply.

Also it depends what percentage your 2nd yr is worth, if it is more than 30% it’ll be hard to push ur average to 60 imo, but if u got 48/49 and ur second yr is worth 30pc, you only need about 65% to get 59% overal which should be rounded up to a 2.1.

Good luck, choose modules strategically and work hard.


Hi musee,

Since the base to Big 4 is around 2:1, I think you could focus on pushing your average this year to 2:1 and temporarily aim for others acc firm accept 2:2 or third. Since you still have a lot of time after graduating while you just got only one chance to improve your average in final year (which take up 70%). Once you get expected score, put all of your effort to apply in big 4, from interview to group assesment. I think your chance will be very high with strong skill in interviewing and test, coz 2:1 is just a door through screening stage.
Good luck


Thank you for the advice! I will go ahead with the applications since i’ve got the summer to work on them… if i do fail the first cycle then i’ll re-apply once i’ve got term results that hopefully show my improvements… If i can atleast get past the initial online testings, it would relieve some of the pressure and I can concentrate on my final year. It is going to be hard work, but I’m up for it! I have to get a 62% average, thats achievable… i think!


Hi Musee,
62% is not a big deal. If u really know the way to study and how to get high scorea, added with Effort and hardword and your objective is in your reach. Search for seniority to ask them some methods to study and there u go, buddy


It is possible to improve your average by 15-20 percentage points in the final year - especially as it is usually worth double the second year.

I know many people who finished their second year with an average of 60/61 that really knuckled down in the final year and churned out results of 75+ leaving them with a fairly comfortable first. The same thing happens with 2:2 - 2:1 and so on.

62% is a very achievable target providing you work hard. It takes a lot of discipline and determination to produce a good final year, but the rewards are great - not only do you get a better degree classification, the experience looks very good on your CV, and gives you an excellent answer to interview questions such as “Tell me about a time you overcame disappointment” or “What do you do when hit by a set back”.



I got 83% in my first year, (5% in final classification), 58% in second year and 76% in Third year made final 68% so final classification a good 2:1. But I really work hard in 3rd Year. So, its possible.


I think if you work hard you can achieve a 2:1 and the big firms will certainly consider you. If you don’t do so well it’s important to be able to justify yourself and also have a good extra curricular record, it will strengthen your application if your grades aren’t too good. On the whole I don’t think you should worry too much, companies are looking for good grades of course, but having relevant experience and being active in societies, sports and organisations is also important and maybe more so if you don’t get the marks you want.


Thank you for the advice and encouragement everyone! Seeing how hard people worked in their final year makes me feel like ‘I can do it too!’. I felt like I was in a huge hole and you guys helped me out of it! Much appreciated, many many thanks!


Hey, I feel like I’m in a similar situation. Im in my 2nd year currently on a 2.2 (54%), can I still make it to a 2.1?? If so, what percentage do I need to push myself to , to make it??? thanks


Depends on your university’s classification system, every uni has different structure but 50% of the uni’s choose last two years percentage. if your uni choose last two years then you need 66%, but some uni have different percentage for classification e.g. 65% for 2:1. and like my uni 5% of first year, 45% of second year and 50% of third year decide classification. Good luck


my uni is 30% of 2nd year and 70% of final year and to get a 2.1, you have to get 60%… so is it still the same?


If that’s the case then you have 16.2% weighted for your second year towards your classification, then you need 63%.


16.2% out of 30. thank you. I NEED TO work my ass off for this coming year. thank u so so sooooooo much.
how did you calculate it please? in case my friends want to know also.


Simple 0.3 (mean 30%) of 54 is weighted 16.2% on scale of 100 and 0.7% 63% is 44.1% add them up and you got 60.3% don’t target exact 63% try for 65%+ you can gain good marks in project if it’s a double module.




I’m a Law graduate and have finished with a 2.1 although my second year average was 52% so it certainly is possible with 54% average Brown. Plus I now have interviews with a quite a few (not Magic) but large international firms and I do not have any mitigating circumstances. But I’d advise getting as much work experience as you can, to counteract those poor earlier grades, you don’t want to look like the kind of person that only puts the effort in when it matters. Rather than dent my chances with the firms I wanted to apply for TC with (plus not having a hope in hells chance) I applied to smaller or regional firms for work experience, so atleast I can say I was focused. Then incase they pull me up for appearing like I am interested in small deals/transactions, said I used the experience to confirm my aspirations to work in a more complex/intellectually stimulating environment…


Hi ooh. That’s good advice. I’m aware that most law firms (unlike other industries) ask candidates to put down percentage grades from each degree module on their application forms. Did you find/do you think that your lower second year grades effected your applications?


Just focus on getting a 2:1. You will get a fair chance. They’re not going to turn down someone who does well on the interview.