10 Top tips for getting into Law Part II
Ah, Law Part II. Those words put fear into the hearts of every law student as they adapt to university life. We totally get that first year can feel as if you have skipped the tutorial on a video game and gone straight to 'advanced' mode, but even just a few common-sense tips will go a long way to helping you keep on top of your workload. Luckily for you, Momentum Tutoring is right here to provide them!
1. Embrace the feeling of being lost
Let's face it, the first semester of your law school career is going to feel pretty overwhelming; everything is new and different, from hand-in procedures to being out of school uniform for the first time. It's easy for this to become a source of ongoing stress.The best way to overcome this is to take it in your stride and make it a part of what makes university such a unique experience; it's pretty much the only time in your life where your only responsibility is to learn, so make venturing into the unfamiliar your mission statement for the year. Trust us, you will miss it when it's over!
2. Do the readings
Yes it's obvious, but we aren't insulting your intelligence; when law school gets busy with tests and assignments its very easy to let the weekly readings slide and to put them into the 'non-urgent' basket. However, it's VERY hard to catch up once you are behind as you are hit with work from other classes. Also, those readings go a long way to informing your own work and ongoing understandings of the course content, which you will be very thankful for come exam season.
3. Take proper notes in lectures
By this we don't mean writing down every word your lecturer says or that is on the powerpoint slides; that's hard work, and not very efficient in the long run. The key to success is sifting through to find the most important points which are core to the course content - a good quality lecture summary is usually about a page. Synthesizing information in this way early on in the semester will make exam revision or essay planning much easier than doing it a long time after when the information is less fresh.
4. Take advantage of the free library workshops
Library workshops are an under-utilized resource for many first years, and they offer information on the most important elements of academic practice that you most likely will not have come across in high school. Things like formal referencing or avoiding plagiarism are crucial to success at university, and its important to learn them sooner rather than later.
5. Go to office hours
Your law lecturers may seem scary and unapproachable, but they wouldn't be in the teaching position they are in if they didn't want to help! Even if you feel fairly on top of things, it's never a bad idea to pop by even just to introduce yourself; it's something which will set you apart in your very large cohort, and this is very important later on in law school when you may be chasing down letters of recommendation.
6. Make your calendar your best friend
We don't mean the freebee paper one that you stick on your wall and ever use; use a calendar app that you can sync to multiple devices and can colour code according to categories like classes, assignments, work, social events etc, and put EVERYTHING on there. It might seem over the top, but trust us when we say that when the semester gets busy, your calendar will become your lifeline to structuring your time effectively and making sure nothing is neglected.
7. Don't become 'that' law student
We all know who 'that' law student is; they are not at university to make friends but to get into law school, and that makes everyone competition. This can, in the experience of one of our team members, translate to behaviour as extreme as refusing to lend someone spare refill! Whilst it's important to go into this year with your eye on the prize, this kind of behaviour will only leave you isolated from everyone else in your classes and you will regret it in the long run. After all, you might one day be the one needing some help from fellow students!
8. Review course content as you go
It's tempting to leave your revision until the week before the exam, but trying to cram a whole semester or half semester's worth of law content into that time period is a mistake. Why? Because it isn't possible to synthesise that information to the best of your ability under such pressure. Instead, revise the key course content as you go so that by the time you get to the big day, all those cases are second nature to you. It will also really cut down on your stress levels!
9. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.
When you have finished an assignment, read it through. Then go back a bit later and read it again. And a third time. Proofreading is a skill that takes time to master especially when it comes to your own writing, and highly important if you want to prevent dropping points on easily avoidable mistakes like grammer. Even better, do a swap with one of your fellow law students and read each others, as its likely they will notice things that you won't.
10. Find the revision method that works best for you
The funny thing about the human brain is that it makes everyone learn differently; some people are visual learners, which makes flashcards or flowcharts a good strategy, whilst others find rewriting important points helpful. It can feel frustrating and time-consuming to figure out which method works best for you, but it's a great investment to experiment with different study styles and will make everything much easier in the long-run.