No, this is not an advice column on relationships and its ups and downs. This is about how you structure your studies when you are on your own without any institutional support behind you. This blog entry is for those brave souls who are so committed to self-study that they – as Captain Picard said – will boldly go where no one has gone before.
Let me start by saying, those of us who are studying towards our designations on our own, are a rare breed. We must be crazy or damn close to it. Nevertheless, here we are at the beginning of the academic year and it is the right time to discuss how we will survive it.
I can honestly tell you, having a study a partner is a must. To me, it was life-saving. My study partner lives in Italy and I live in Canada. You can imagine the logistics of setting up regular sessions between us. Thankfully, we only have 6 hours in time difference, just imagine if he lived in Australia. The key to a successful study pairing is having a plan. Here are some tidbits as to how you may want to set up a thriving study group:
- Have an outline of the subject you wish to study (the Study Guide would be the best place to start)
- Find a study partner who is committed to regularly connect with you
- Set up a schedule for calls (I do use Skype it works perfectly)
- Divide and conquer, split the workload up, choose certain chapters from the material you will be responsible for
- The calls should be a minimum of one hour if you can devote more time, even better
- Go through every exam question from the past 5 years, pick randomly and start solving them
- Be there for your study partner, there will be days when he/she may not feel up to anything, be supportive.
- Most of all enjoy your sessions.
For me, having a steady study partner was a revelation. I knew I would be successful overcoming any obstacle by sticking to our regularly scheduled study dates. It worked, and I am happy to say, we are back at it this year too. I will let you know how it went next summer when the grades will be in. In the meantime, have a wonderful year, go and kick some you know what!
Judit is studying the LLB by distance learning in Toronto, Canada.