On this site we can offer some useful advice on doing a degree having myself done two very different first degrees and also got a post-graduate distinction. This advice is on getting the best degree from the best universities with the highest standards. Now many degrees may have lower standards, but you will do best if you work to the highest standards you can !
Your degree level book needs should hopefully be dealt with by your college library. If not, then maybe you can use another college's library or a public library. And failing that you might have to buy, from a local bookshop or online as from Amazon.co.uk or even Ebay. You may also be able to learn some from the internet, on which some advice is below and on our PC-learning page.
The degrees I did were Biology with Chemistry, Sociology with Economics (including a year of Philosophy) and post-graduate Socio-Legal Studies. Some of these degree subjects chiefly require fact learning, and are examined on the facts that you learn or fail to learn. But crucial marks in many degrees depend on Essays, Papers and/or a Thesis - where you formulate your views on a topic. It is to doing such degrees that my advice below chiefly applies.
References, references, references. The crucial basis of your degree marking may rest on essays, papers and/or a thesis. And at that level, these always score better if most of the main points that you make are backed with good supporting references. I often scored As, largely by taking care to use good references.
All degree level essays should have at least 3, and up to 10, good supporting references. And a good thesis should have around that number per chapter.
A good degree essay structure might basically go something like ;
1. This is the question that I am considering.............
2. Point A, I consider......(with supporting reference)
3. Point B, I consider......(with supporting reference)
4. Point C, I consider......(with supporting reference)
5. My conclusions deriving from the above are.........
The degree level essay and thesis requirement for references is not just some silly quirk of lecturers. Unaided your views are just your views and, though you may produce a good argument, you argument cannot be a STRONG argument unless you can show that its key elements have substantial support from others. You must quote where Albert Einstein supports your opinion's basics to get an A for it, though you may NOT need any reference that supports all of your argument - especially not for your logical deductions to your possibly novel conclusions !
References do not all have to be books, though they should include at least one from a book that your lecturer has recommended. Otherwise use any good relevant books, informed magazine or newspaper articles, informed TV programmes and/or informed website references.
Book references ?! Always try to include at least one supporting reference from a book that your lecturer has recommended - so always take note of such recommendations and at least get a glance at some of those books. Your college library should carry such books, and if not try maybe a public library or another college library or buy if you must from maybe Amazon ?!
Magazine, Newspaper, TV programme references ?! Good magazines, newspapers or TV programmes that may regularly or occasionally use experts can be used as support references successfully. On a post-degree course I used a number of Mensa magazine references helping me to get a distinction ! (but in that magazine the general quality of contributions may have dropped somewhat in recent years.)
Website references ?! Use the web to get some good references for your essay, paper or thesis. To do a good internet search, first get clear what you want and use a good search engine - the best search engines now use Bing. If you like 'Great Fun Search' or 'Student Search' as your homepage, then just add the Alexa search toolbar that uses Bing and which you can download at the bottom of our Bid page. If your essay purports that King Charles the Second was crazy/lazy/stupid, then try typing in your search bar eg "King Charles was crazy" INCLUDING the apostrophes. But you may need to try a few variants on that. And internet search results on some subjects may largely produce websites by government and other official type sources, of which there are many. Letting your references be dominated entirely by these looks unintelligent, so in that case do look somewhat further down your search result list. And do NOT use Wikipedia as a reference as its content is not by Wikipedia but by anonymous writers - its quality can also vary wildly but in some cases it will give external links that can be good references. (I know some good social science and politics students are using another of my websites for an essay reference or two on some issues - www.social-exclusion-housing.com )
NOTE :- It is assumed that you write well with few spelling mistakes, so using a PC and an appropriate Spellchecker is advised.
PS. I have put an example degree essay of mine on here for those who may be interested, a 6-page economics essay with marking (on Ricardo's falling rate of profit ideas) that may be some rough guide on essay length and form needed for top marks - to view click Ricardo Essay. Or if you are interested in science and especially physics then see 'New Science Theory' or buy it together with the new improved English translation of the first real science book William Gilbert's 1600 Latin 'De Magnete' at 'On The Magnet'.
When it comes to sitting exams, specific references will not be needed but it will pay to develop good exam technique which is explained in Sitting Exams.
IF you might be interested in doing a degree online, then read this article on it - Choosing A Degree ? (it is a US article, but online you can do a USA or UK degree - but do check that it is a real degree as there are websites offering fakes.)