You have decided to pursue a Law Degree, a step that hundreds of thousands of students just like you have leapt into for centuries. While the qualification itself, how its administered and the prospects you encounter may have changed over time, how you prepare for it and more importantly, how you succeed at it remains quite the same. Here are a few areas to consider, at the beginning of your semester.
Prepare Your Schedule
One of the most crucial aspects to get right at the very outset is planning for the academic year ahead. There are a number of students who have approached me for Fast Track programmes towards examinations who have unfortunately not done this first step properly. Law is a subject which demands discipline. Failure at that will eventually lead to unsatisfactory results. So, how should you prepare?
Work backwards from your examination period or your assignment submission deadlines. Consider the amount of material that needs to be covered on a mandatory basis (these include the syllabus outlines provided by your University, sections of Essential Reading as outlined in your syllabus etc.) followed by a reasonable amount of time weekly to ‘read around the subject’ (these include articles online, recent developments in caselaw etc.). Correlate this with your personal life and see where you can balance work with studying. Remember, clocking in the hours is only half the battle won. What’s most important is to allocate times for studying which you know you can focus. Essentially, reading for a Law Degree is more about understanding rather than simply digesting information verbatim.
Get A ‘Bird’s Eye’ View
Law is like a vast ocean which you as a student must traverse. If you are unfamiliar with sailing or for that matter which direction to head towards, you will end up traveling the wrong way or worse still, in circles.
It is due to this reason, it’s important to understand whichever subject you are studying as a whole, rather than reading sequentially. Seek the guidance of someone who understands the subject and is able to guide you on the best practices of studying it as well as ‘putting pen to paper’ when you attempt questions. A good understanding of the subject you’re getting into in the beginning will pay dividends later on in your semester.
A Law Degree is a powerful tool in your arsenal once you enter the profession. However, it is more than simply an entry requirement. It is an opportunity for you to learn how to think and express yourself differently. As such, aim towards not just passing the examinations, but understanding the principles themselves.
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