There is this point in everyone’s life which is not quite a mid-life crisis nor utter frustration borne of helplessness, but it has a striking semblance to both. To the typical Law student / Lawyer, Law School is that phase – that one stage that makes defeating Goliath seems like a warm-up.
Right! Let’s get to it. There are some essential tips for studying in Law School because this institution in itself is a different planet of experience the survival of which can do with a lot of guidance.
1. Manage your time well
When put together, the long hours of lectures, assignments, group activities, tutorials, personal studies and all other Law School activities can drive a person to insanity-and it indeed drives some – but I can confidently say that all that can be dealt with proper time management. The very breath you take should be timed to not overstep into the apportioned time for other activities. In as much as some elements will disrupt that roster, it will still be- if nothing – a sense of purpose and direction. There’s just something about timing your reading habits that makes the alarm at the back of the brain ‘unsnoozingly’ ring till performance of the intended act quenches it.
2. Make notes during lectures
Not copy, create. Listen to the lectures, understand, assimilate, then note. Go back to those lazy scribbles and notes you have jotted down; your examination questions are sure to lurk somewhere among those pages. Truth is law school lecturers do not just talk in vain. Giving your all during lectures is as critical as taking notes of important points especially ones emphasised on time and time again which is also as critical as referring to them when the time is ripe…during examinations.
I can confidently say that I learnt a lot of my examination points from random jottings and notes. They really come in handy. And when the lecturer is hammering on a point, never forget to indicate that the point is very important.
3. Participate in group discussions
Those groups assigned to us by Law School are not just for the sake of it, they were created for a purpose, and honestly, only the wisest will take full advantage. Attending group discussions for the sake of attendance is one thing, participating and making inputs- that’s another thing. I discovered a little too late that the knowledge I could have gathered from the different brains in my group I had been actively participating could have been enormous. The good thing is that the ideas discussed eventually rush back to you when in need. So bank on that.
Related: How to score an “A” with less than 10 minutes explanation from a friend
4. Attend tutorials; paid or free
Tutorials are a great way of stimulating the brain more so because of the mere fact that there are many other people around and you really don’t want to look like the empty-headed dumbo. Tutorials are an avenue for revising and getting information that could have been missed in class. You also move at a steadier pace because first off, you already have an idea and then, you can always make sure you get the point before moving on.
Some hold mock examinations before the papers and participating in that is highly encouraged.
5. Hold tutorials
Yes! You heard that right. Especially if you are someone like me who understands majorly for teaching others. When you assume the role of a teacher, it just sticks. So you can offer, probably during group discussions to moderate the topic for that day. Believe me, whatever treated, as long as treated well, has stuck forever.
6. Move at your pace
Just because Ada has covered criminal litigation and you haven’t is not a guarantee that she knows criminal litigation better than you. Ada might just be brushing through. Give time to yourself, do not rush the studies. You are going to be intimidated by a lot of people, some who are faster learners and some who speak like they know it but are in reality empty vessels. Once you let them get to you, you will be overcome by so much pressure, much more than you can bear.
7. Start reading on time
Cover all study materials in the form of lecture notes, notes from class and drafts on time. The earlier you start reading, the more you are sure to save your sanity by avoiding crash program. The tricky part of this programme is the deception of time, you may think you have enough time to read but in reality, time is actually against you. The clock never fails to tick so make every second count.
8. Practice, practice, practice
Practice those drafts like your blood circulation depends on it. There are very many documents to be drafted and be rest assured that a large number of them will appear in your examination. So you need to start preparing at the tender moment and keep on going.
9. The wise choose what to read
Sift through reading materials like flour. Some might be unhealthy o your learning as the law is dynamic hence many different changes occur daily. Make sure that whatever reading you do is a direct reflection of what you have treated in class, do not steer away or down information that is contrary. Not all texts are relevant therefore compare and choose one most similar to what is treated in class. Same applies to all other reading materials. Make sure all Acts, Laws and Judicial Precedents used are up to date and have not been repealed.
10. Rest, sleep
Rest both your body and mind. The human body is not a bag of bones. It is a composition of blood, muscle and sensations. Excessive reading will strain most if not all the senses and they haunt you in turn. And why not, when they have been deprived of their right to be at ease. Sleep when it’s time for it, eat when hungry, rest your eyes even if your brain is charged, rest your mind also even if your eyes are ready, relax your body even if your whole being says otherwise because, in the end, you will charge into that examination hall like a bull before a red cloth.
Very many people have been hospitalised and missed the bar exams because of stress and too much pressure. Some got sick emotionally, others, mentally and in a bid to avoid re-sitting their papers, they become absent entirely.