2:1 stands for Second Class Honours, Upper Division, in the British university grading system. To achieve a 2:1 in your degree at university your final mark needs to be over 60% (over 70% being First Class Honours). The final mark is usually based on the average of coursework and examinations throughout the length of your study, although in a minority of courses it is solely based on a final examination. Many employers ask for a 2:1 degree as a minimum requirement so achieving this mark can be crucial to professional advancement after university.
Pick a reputable university and a course you are interested in studying. To achieve a 2:1 you are going to need good teaching staff and tutors, and a passion for what you are studying. Do not be coerced into going to a university you do not like or taking a course you have no enthusiasm for. That is a sure way to fail.
Go to all the lectures. Unlike at school where teachers chase you up for truancy, at university lectures are optional. Make sure to attend. Only by going to lectures and taking notes will you get to grips with the subject you are taking. It is worth buying a Dictaphone to record lectures. This will aid your revision for end of year exams.
Use the library. All universities have a library. Those that never bother to find out where this building is are usually the ones that fail their course. Libraries do not stock enough copies of the course reading material for all students. Get to the library early in term time and take out the books you need to succeed.
Do not leave coursework until the last minute. Get a draft written early so that you are not panicking the night before it has to be handed in. The same applies for exams. Write out a revision timetable building up to the examination. Structuring your revision will help you achieve a 2:1.
Keep a track of your marks. If your coursework and exam results are consistently falling below 60%, speak to a tutor. Ask them how you can improve your grade. Their advice might be to work harder, it may simply be a matter of focusing your learning, sticking to a rigid structure. Keep honing your essay writing and revision skills and, come graduation day, you will achieve a 2:1.