Category Archives: Study Skills

Preparing for, and Surviving, the Constitutional Law Exam  

A quick disclaimer: while the advice below is meant to be of general application, it may not apply to all streams. If in doubt, always ask your own teacher for their advice and preferences!

BEFORE THE EXAM

Issue Spotting

Issue-spotting is really important in the Constitutional Law exam. Why? Because put simply, you won’t get marks for an answer that applies the law to the wrong issue. And with an exam like Consti, where you spend more time on each question than you would during a shorter exam, a mistake at the start can result in hours of wasted time. Continue reading

Preparing for the Obligations Exam

Exam Notes:  How they Help 

Your Obs mid-semester assignment highlighted the fact that there is no such thing as “H1 Notes” (believe us, no one is reading and grading notes!).  In practice, working with someone else’s notes can get you into serious trouble during an exam –  trying to find the information you need in an unfamiliar packet of notes is time consuming and stressful. Definitions are missing, rule statements aren’t where you expect them to be, and there are loads of facts from cases that weren’t even in this year’s prescribed readings. You’d fast realise you might as well have brought your subject materials binder into the exam for all the help someone else’s notes will give you.

In light of this – and other – pitfalls first year students sometimes fall into here are some of the LASC’s tips on preparing for your Obligations exam. Continue reading

A Guide to Practice Problems

Note: This post in primarily directed towards hypotheticals problems, as opposed to essay questions. A guide to writing exam essays can be accessed here; a general guide to managing law exams can be accessed here.

After six years of high school, (at least) three years of tertiary education and the all important LSAT(s), chances are you’re familiar with the importance of doing practice problems. It should come as no surprise than that one of the keys to success at law school is doing… you guessed it, practice problems. Continue reading

Research Plan Checklist

Your first research assessment – whether its an essay, a memorandum or some other task –  can be hard. Not only are you trying conform to new writing conventions unique to law, but you’re also expected to use and navigate legal databases that you may not be familiar with.

Thankfully however, you don’t need to tackle this task completely by yourself. The MLS library not only runs numerous research workshops, but they have also developed a nifty checklist to help guide you through the different steps of planning, writing, editing and ultimately submitting your first paper. Continue reading

Getting Motivated for Group Work

It can be tough getting motivated for group work. You might find that your study and assessment habits don’t gel with those of your group members; that other group members don’t pull their weight like you do; or that negotiating with other members of your group (especially strangers) is difficult. You might also think (correctly) that collaborating for a single mark is antithetical to the highly competitive law school environment.

These feelings are common, and it can be easy to become frustrated with your group or the law school for putting you through the process. There are many reasons these assessments are made compulsory in your first year, so important to understand why your group work matters so you can stay motivated and make the most out of the experience. Continue reading

Avoiding Procrastination

Everyone is capable of working like a fiend when the need arises. Unfortunately, most people only manage to unleash the hulking study-beast the night before an essay is due. For weeks, even months before the assessment is due, people are often held back by procrastination. You may even be procrastinating right now. There is no silver bullet for procrastination. At a certain point, it just comes down to really wanting to improve. Nevertheless, there are a few strategies that can help you to keep it at bay.

Long-Term Procrastination Strategies

Continue reading

Assignment Timelines

The following materials are adapted from the Legal Academic Writing website.

All good legal academic writing shares common attributes: it is clear and concise, well organized, logical and persuasive, purposeful and relevant, and supported by accurate and current legal authorities.

However, the process of writing, and markers’ expectations regarding presentation, vary significantly, depending on whether you have several weeks to prepare an assignment, or a few days or hours to answer an exam.

Timelines

How long do you expect to spend preparing a 2,000 word hypothetical problem response? Or a 5,000 word research essay? Continue reading