I’ve had a few requests for a post detailing study tips for first year Law students (and first year Premed ones, which I had to look a little further afield to find), so that’s what ya girl has got for you today!
The above vid is a cute, cringe-worthy wee clip I made in conjunction with the University of Auckland Law School to show at Courses and Careers Day this year, and it – while very light – hits all the points I would’ve wanted to in any other video I produced on the subject. In my second blog post (way back when), I also vlogged about study tips, so if the above video doesn’t catch your fancy, then take a gander at Study Quips and Study Tips, which is (a) a massive throwback, and (b) to be found here.
There are a two big pieces of advice that I didn’t cover in either of those clips, but which I’ve found integral to studying for Law exams. So, without further ado:
- If you’re in halls, go to your PASS/Mentoring sessions
Peer Assisted Study Sessions or, as most of us refer to them, mentoring, are an excellent resource that I have certainly benefited from this year. We’ve had three Law mentors at O’Rorke, all of whom took 121 and 131 last year and received really great marks in them. One night a week, they would come in and work with us for about an hour, discussing what we had been learning in class and how, in the mentors’ experience, this related to assessment. In the lead-up to exams, we’d go through practice problems with them, either past papers or questions they had drafted up themselves (which were often hilarious). Some weeks, they’d just help us go over concepts. They gave us heaps of tips about structure – always use headings in Law essays! – and about how to attack questions (including a twenty-five step process of statutory interpretation).
Even if lectures were proving particularly dry – which, heads up, depending on your lecturer and what content they’re covering, will happen – it was worth going to mentoring sessions, just to touch base and make sure you knew where you were supposed to be at. (Sometimes I learned things from mentors before I learned them from lecturers, and even, on occasion, learned things better.) Mentors are excellent resources, especially because they’ve been in your shoes (very recently), and have the privilege of hindsight.
I know for a fact there are mentoring programs for Law and Premed, but I can’t confirm any others off the top of my head! I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt for you to do a cheeky Google if you were curious.
- Go through past papers
Even if just to know what to do, definitely go through past papers! This is less likely with Law, but some Arts subjects ask the same questions year after year, and you can get ahead by preparing answers to questions that are relatively certain to come up. Similarly, Law exams follow a more or less identical format each year, with only the percentage weighting on each section changing. Time can be scarce in exams so knowing what to expect – and relatively how long it will take you, if you’re particularly vigilant – is crucial.
Going through past papers is great for practice, but also great for peace of mind. Competitive courses always come hand in hand with an extra bucketload of stress. It’s unavoidable: even if you’re chill, your classmates won’t be, and that can emanate from them and sink into you before you register that it’s happened. Walking into an exam with an awareness of the questions’ formula is invaluable – you’re wading in, not diving in the deep end before you learn to swim.
I hope this has been helpful to those who requested it, and if there are any questions relating more to the Premed side of things (which is my best friend’s degree, but not mine), I’d recommend hitting up Sonna or Bekah!
Catch ya later, gang!