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?
How to make a study plan working towards the exams.
Firstly, you must decide what your aim in the upcoming examination session is. That is, do you wish to just ‘pass’ or are you working towards exceeding your own expectations and truly succeeding. If a pass is sufficient for you, then relax and continue to do what’s working for you. If you wish to succeed in the true sense of the word, then continue to read.
“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.
Happy New Year friends across the World!
Hope 2017 has been a great year thus far with many more happy days to come!
That time of the year has come and if you are like me, then you are already beginning to stress yourself. Exams are just around the corner, so this is our time to pick our lazy butts off the couch and begin to do some serious work.
By now we should have at least had a first reading of all the modules we would be taking in May. If not, don’t worry, you still have a number of days to do so in January. I believe by February, we should be doing a second reading of the materials and linking it to past papers, if you haven’t already begun doing so. That is, read the past papers and the study materials together with an aim to answering the questions. In other words, let everything begin to come together and make sense.
Attending law school has been in the back of my mind for quite some time. Now that I am a law student, every time I sit down to study I tend to react like someone opening a surprise gift from a loved one. It is a wonderful feeling. It helps me keep track of my goals and how I want to use this education. One of my chief goals is learning to think like a lawyer.
I work in nonprofit management with an international NGO. It’s a good match for me. After years of trying I caught on that I really don’t have a corporate soul, so to speak. But I do have a somewhat corporate way of thinking, meaning I like a methodical way of approaching issues and having a plan. It helps to approach things like a lawyer, to apply this particular structure to my critical thinking process.
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.
The availability and affordability of pursuing an LLM are two enticing reasons to further your education when the opportunity arises. However, pursuing an LLM on the basis of furthering your education alone will bring no immediate and possibly no long term joy to you.
This week I have been thinking about the importance of challenging myself. You might think that enrolling in a postgraduate laws programme is a sufficient challenge, but it really runs deeper than that, especially in self-directed study in a discipline that is rather new, at least for me. Challenge can represent different perspectives. Goal setting and obstacles can both be viewed as challenges. Over the last few weeks, we have had some changes in our family, which really started me thinking about challenges and how we manage them.
Jelly Bean on a happy day
First, I must share some sad news with all of the wonderful friends of Jelly Bean who so warmly embraced my canine study buddy. In March our sweet Jelly Bean died after a brief but severe illness. A very good friend who manages an animal shelter happened to be visiting on that gloomy day. She told me about a young dog who had been at her shelter for over a year. His story is much like Jelly Bean’s in that respect.
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.
Jelly Bean the Highly Motivated Collie Dog
Well, we’ve done it. Jelly Bean and I have officially enrolled in the Postgraduate Laws Programme. Our registration is complete, our module is selected, and we have just passed a rainy evening downloading study guides and examiners’ reports. Although I did my best ETNJ planning, I have had a case of the butterflies since making the commitment to enrol in this exciting programme. Jelly Bean is a great listener, a comforting little friend for stressful days, and as you can see, she is highly motivated to get the reward coming after our training session. She is just the kind of study buddy you want to have around.