It’s that time of the year. With only two months left to the commencement of the University of London International Programmes (UOLIP) examinations, examination period stress must have set in for students already. I graduated last year but even I’m feeling tense already. Around this time, last year, you could find me in the corner of my house, cramming for exams and panicking like no other. While you will find a lot of posts giving you studying tips, this post is here to give you key tips on how to survive the examination period stress.
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.
Hello I am Janathri Weeratunga and I am from Sri Lanka. I am currently a 2nd year LLB student with the University of London International Programmes. As many students, I too started my first year straight after my A/Ls and I was pretty enthusiastic (at least in the first few months). I was a newbie to law and I thought that it would be as easy as any A/L Art stream subject (which was a big mistake). My whole concept of university life and higher education was pretty much based on English novels found at any bookshop in Sri Lanka. So of course, without any doubt, I was imagining hard work, long walks, a bit of romance, fun and a load of new friends.
However within a few months of lectures I was forgetting all the hard work and just simply enjoying life on campus and my new found freedom. It is of course very easy to get carried away with the whole concept of “University” and the life there and I did learn my lesson in the hardest way possible. So I am writing this post now just to make sure that all of you first years know exactly what you are getting into. Trust me; an undergraduate degree in Law does require a lot of hard work . If you do not put in those long hours of work you will regret it in August when results come. We are about 3 months away from what I would describe as the most competitive exams I have ever faced.
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.
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.
Cape 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…
My last papers have come and gone.
For now, I have finished.
I am certain that there are some people that haven’t finished yet.
To those people I say, hang in there. It’s almost over. Just make sure to do your best.
Keep calm. Breathe and focus.
Here are some tips for how I handle myself in the last few hours before the exam.
For the day before the exam, I read lightly and just do my best to go through some past years’ questions quickly. I don’t like to stress myself out before the exams so I read lightly. Mostly, I focus on trying to calm myself because I tend to get stressed rather easily. This works for me. But if you feel like you can and want to read more or practice more, go ahead. My tips are just how I handled it and I just want to share it out to see if other people might find them useful.
Here in the USA we are celebrating the centennial year of the National Park Service. President Theodore Roosevelt along with leaders like John Muir, Charles Young, and Stephen Mather worked to establish the park system. Quite fortunately, though coincidentally, I just returned from a business trip to Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is an absolutely extraordinary place, inhabited for over 11,000 years by Native Americans and first protected in 1872 as a national park by President Ulysses S. Grant. It is a fabulous place to see wildlife and is home to some of North America’s iconic species like Bison, Elk, Wolf and Grizzly Bears. The change of scenery offered a welcome diversion, even if it was for business rather than pleasure. It reminded me how much a small change can provide a very different perspective.
It has been a little hectic these last few weeks working to balance home, professional, and study responsibilities. One of the most helpful things about self-directed study, especially at the postgraduate level, is the ability to manage my schedule and focus on shifting priorities. As we enter exam time, study and revision will become time management concerns. Now, as I settle in to law studies on this cold and rainy day, all of my essentials are beside me – my favourite notebooks and computer, the indispensable phone, a steaming espresso, and my sweet little dog. Although I will not be sitting exams this time, it is a great time to learn from other students and become familiar with study resources.
Since I have completed my first two weeks as a PG Laws student, I have had a chance to see how my reasons for enrolling match the reality of study. I have four principle reasons for enrolling. One is the quite common goal of pursuing a new career path. The other three might be unique and personal. I am studying law to improve my verbal skills, develop special knowledge of European history, and to reduce stress.
When my study materials arrived, it gave me a chance to dive into my course in Western European Legal History. The study skills materials that the university sends to new students are comprehensive and very helpful. My packet included the three books of essential reading for Foundations: Roman and canon law 500 -1100, the course study guide and the PG Laws handbook.