Preparing For The Emotional Rollercoaster Of Awaiting Exam Results


Man holding sign saying 'lawyered'Have you seen the episode of ‘How I met Your Mother’ where Marshall is waiting to see if he passed the New York state bar exams?  The conflict is that he lost his password and can’t log into the candidate portal, which means he was to wait even longer to see if he passed or not. The writers did a masterful job building suspense and tension. If you are waiting for exam results, you might feel the same way. Everything is on the line while you wait.

Sometimes waiting for results feels more stressful than taking exams, but no matter, all you can do is sit tight.  I try to keep calm, but for the first few weeks that’s virtually impossible.  Here is how I have learned to cope.

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Are You Behind in Your Studies?


Man at deskWhen writing fiction an author has two ways to create a sense of tension and urgency in a reader and set the pace of the story. One is a time lock. The other is an option lock. A time lock means the character has X amount of time to accomplish Y and avert the consequences. It’s a race against the clock. An option lock means the character has to make a choice between two or more options to achieve their goals and avert disaster. If you are feeling behind in your studies, chances are the narrative around your dilemma contains an element of both time and option locks.

Writing science says that groups of people respond in different ways to each kind of lock, but more about that another time. For those of us engaged in post-graduate study I think the two get conflated. To solve the option/time lock we have to answer two simple questions. How much time do I have to prepare, and if I do option A, B, or C what results will I get? The consequences and looming potential for disaster are self-evident. So, how do I assemble my resources and move past the time/option lock that inevitably comes before exams?

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Structuring Answers to Exam Questions


I’m sitting behind a mountain of study materials trying to work out an effective revision plan.  For me, revising is not the same as studying. It requires a very different attitude and awareness about what I want to accomplish. When I have a good understanding of those goals, I can then develop a plan to approach my materials.

My study materials include primary texts and essential reading, recommended reading, study guides for each module, and my notes. That’s a lot of material to collate and use together effectively. You can see why a clear goal about outcomes is very helpful. So how do I start?

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How to take Good Notes!


super-g“Law school is no joke.” That’s what a friend of mine said when we last talked about my study program. He wasn’t lying. He’s a professional athlete, a downhill skier. He inspired me to think of note-taking like one of his epic runs to the finish line on a Super-G (super giant slalom) course – a combination of precision, technical expertise, and speed.

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How Will I Choose My Courses?


I have wanted to say Happy New Year for a few weeks now but felt I really had to work this out first. Sooooo, I’m sitting here in post-fact America trying to decide what courses to select for the new term.  There are a lot of excellent options to choose from. This required a good think. I came close to pushing the registration button a few times then paused to consider how my choice will help me interpret and contribute to the world around me. For me, those opportunities are the point of education generally and of post-graduate legal education particularly. I’m going to invest a lot of time in this as a student and as a professional.  It’s important to get it right.

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Literature and Legal Studies


Literature and legal studiesNext week I will tell you about how moving and starting a new job drove me to distraction. This week I would like to say a word about how studying law has already helped me quite a bit in personal and professional projects. One reason this course appealed to me is its application to my work managing nonprofit organizations. It helps me to be better informed and be a better advocate. It does that in a few ways from subject knowledge to critical thinking and reasoning skills. That is really wonderful. It is the reason I chose this course. But there is something even better and more satisfying that I didn’t expect. Legal studies made me take notice of a few things in my vocation moonlighting as a novelist.

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Embracing the Chaos


Chaos We are sliding into autumn and registering for another year of study.  I am also in week two of a new position and we are moving to a new home. It has been a wonderfully interesting year as being a first year post graduate law student is bound to be. The professional and personal pandemonium certainly added a bit of zest to the excitement of legal studies.   The process of shifting house and starting a new position at the same time is a bit hair-raising so you can appreciate why I decided to wait on exams. As the Hermione Granger of law school – the one who looks forward to taking exams – I had to overcome my disappointment at missing them.

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Ability, Motivation and Attitude


Quote 'For success, attitude is equally important as ability'One thing true about independent study that is also true for many goals is the natural inclination to ask ourselves if we can really do something. To set a goal, we have to evaluate our ability, our motivation, and our attitude. For me, one important thing about studying in the University of London International Programmes is how responsibility for outcomes is my own. I guess that can be true of other study models, but for me it is magnified in this one. It is one reason why I enjoy the program so much.

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Am I Ready For My First PG Laws Exam?


Are you ready for exams?Anytime you come home from a holiday and have to immediately use the words plumber and electrician you might feel like closing the door and heading straight back to your summer idyll. Long story, but it comes down to having no light in my office and no functioning sink in the kitchen. I knew when we returned that things were going to get a bit hectic but did not expect the need to wedge home repairs in to my schedule.

My professional office is based at home, thankfully.  It gives me a great deal more flexibility that would be difficult to do without, even if I have no lighting and only limited espresso at the moment.  And I did a lot of reading and studying along with my ordinary work while enjoying a change of scene. Still, the phrase Exam Registration Will Open On August 25… is right up there with requiring a plumber and an electrician upon opening the door after a few weeks away. That sinking feeling in the stomach is exactly the same.  Repairs are underway as I debate the merits of registering for exams in October or waiting until May to sit my first paper.

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Studying on Vacation is the New Normal


Image of LighthouseCape Cod is such a lovely place. It has been some time since we visited the area and I forgot how beautiful the seashore is here. Several years ago I lived in northern New England and once again, I forgot how much we enjoyed it. I could very easily live here some day.  But, on this trip it feels wonderful to visit our old, favorite places and connect with friends. It is also quite nice to pack a picnic basket, pitch an umbrella on the sand, and enjoy a good beach read while sunning myself lobster red. What does all this have to do with studying Postgraduate Laws? Let me share…

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