Category Archives: Assessment

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!


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

Surviving Your First SWOTVAC At MLS

I know what you’re thinking: “is it seriously week 11 already? Didn’t I have my first PPL lecture just last week? What do you mean I have three 70% exams where basically every topic is assessable? Where am I and how did I get here?!”

Ok calm down. Take a deep breath. I can wait a minute while you compose yourself. No seriously its fine, take as long as you need. I’ve got nothing but time.

You’re good? Alright, where were we? Oh yeah, SWOTVAC is coming up! That’s right, you’re first semester at MLS is almost at end, and that came mean only one thing: Exams. Continue reading

Self Assessment – Evaluate Your Research Essay Before Submission

The LASC has developed a rubric (a document that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the criteria, or what counts, and describing levels of quality from excellent to poor) for legal research papers that may help you to assess your own writing before you submit.

This rubric was not developed specifically for the dispute resolution paper, but does provide guidance on the criteria for a research essay.

You can download the rubric here: Research Essay Rubric

This document should be used in conjunction with the Legal Writing Checklist, and any criteria that appears on your assessment task. Continue reading

A Timeline for your Syndicate Assessment

*The following materials have been developed for the Principles of Public Law, Constitutional Law and Criminal Law and Procedure syndicate tasks in the Melbourne Juris Doctor. They have been in part adapted from materials used in the Legal Academic Skills Centre (LASC) syndicate task presentation.

For general information about assignment timelines, see the Assignment Timelines Post here.


Setting the Scene

All assignments in law school take time. But syndicate tasks can be particularly protracted and frustrating if you don’t have some sort of timeline in place to keep your group on task. There are a number of variables that may pose a challenge, like: 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

Preparing for Exams

Now that we’re past the half-way mark of the semester, it’s time to start thinking about exams. It might seem like you have plenty of time right now, but the earlier you begin preparation, the better.

Isn’t it too soon to start thinking about exams?

No, now is the best time. The later you leave it, the more stressful the last couple of weeks of semester will be. This is especially true if you have been skipping readings or classes while writing your interim assessments.

But I need a break.

I’m not saying you can’t take a weekend off, or that you can’t catch up with the friends and family that you have been neglecting over the past couple of weeks. What I’m saying is – don’t assume that you don’t have to do anything more until week 12. Preparing for law exams takes much longer than you’d think, and it is best to spread the workload across many weeks rather than 2 or 3.

How do I do that? Continue reading