Just in case you aren’t tired of seeing/hearing about law student tips and advice, here’s some more…
During my first year as a student, I did not pay much heed to tips and advice given during the first few weeks. I thought I had it all figured out - I was going to attend all the lectures, make notes, do the readings and in my view, this was a sufficient way to keep up. Just three weeks into my first year, I found myself trailing behind because my technique was working effectively but it was not efficient. I did not factor in the preparation time needed for tutorials/workshops and once they began my method proved to be ineffective.
The first tip I would like to give is to go through the tutorial questions once released. The questions are typically released before the lectures on the topic begin. What worked for me was the fact that I read the questions before attending the lectures. I started connecting the rules and cases being taught which made it easier to apply to the scenario at hand. Furthermore, the readings which were assigned started making more sense as I was looking for an answer while reading and was not just reading away for the purpose of completing my reading - I was searching for answers. When doing further readings such as the articles mentioned in the tutorial sheet, I found it helpful to briefly summarize what the article is about. This way when assignments are released, I was able to quickly look through the summary and decide whether I can rely on the academic work to support my argument or analysis and further delve into it. I found re-listening to the lectures particularly helpful, I was able to pick up points I may have missed when I first listened to the lecture.
Another lesson I learned during the first year is not to leave assignments till last minute, although this may work for some people, the process itself is quite stressful. The university provides an ample amount of time to work on assignments, so taking advantage of it was helpful. When the assignment is released, I go through this process and, depending on the word count, spread out how much work I need to complete per day. This way I avoid overwhelming myself. My tip is to first breakdown the question and highlight parts of the question which seem important. Then put the IRAC method to use and draft a skeleton. First identify the issue, secondly figure out which rule applies, thirdly analyse by applying the rule to the facts of the problem, and lastly and most importantly conclude the answer. After drafting the skeleton, I determine how I can put the work of academic writers to use and support my arguments. Then I conduct further research and try to improve my answer.
As I find myself in my last year of university, the most important advice I would give is to pay attention to the feedback given on the assignments. I try and arrange a meeting with one of the module contacts or the individual who marked my assignment. This ensures I go through the feedback and enquire about ways I can improve. From personal experience I can say this method has proved to be successful - I have been advised about what I have missed out on, what my strengths/weakness are etc. Such sessions provided me with confidence and helped me improve my answers for the next assessment period.
Overall, I have managed to learn a lot about myself during the three years at university and so will you. All in all, it does not hurt to follow the advice or tips, so always keep an open mind and aim for the best.