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Student Perspective Reflections on Study & The Course. 9 May 2014

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    student perspective reflections on study the course

    Student PerspectiveReflections on Study & The Course

    9 May 2014

    Please note: THIS MATERIAL has not been PREPARED BY the Lecturer, LPAB, or the LEC. THIS material HAS BEEN PREPARED BY An LPAB STUDENT, BASED ON THEIR EXPERIENCE IN THE COURSE. THE MATERIAL is provided as a guide only. It is up to you to choose A study METHOD you are comfortable with. 

    welcome to the law
    Welcome to the law
    • Intro
    • The law is a fascinating and practically useful in every day life.
    • Doctrine of necessity - Dudley v Stephens (1884) 14 QBD 273
      • On 5 July 1884, Four people, Dudley, Stephens, Brooks and a 17 year old boy had to abandon their yacht and board an open boat in the the high seas 1600 miles off Cape of Good Hope
      • They went 18 days without food and water, bar a turtle they caught, and rain water they trapped on their oil skins
      • Dudley and Stephens suggested they draw straws to see who should be sacrificed and eaten, so the others could survive. Brooks dissented
    • Dudley and Stephens (Brooks dissenting), suggested they killed the boy because he was the weakest.
    • Dudley with Stephens consent stabbed the boy in the throat and killed him.
    • The three men then fed on the boy’s body for 4 days.
    • They were rescued. On their return to England, Dudley and Stephens were charged with murder. Both argued defence of necessity (ie they had to kill the boy to survive).
    • Court held that necessity is not a defence to murder.
    • Lord Coleridge:
    • “Though law and morality are not the same, and many things are immoral that are not necessarily illegal, yet the absolute divorce of law from morality would be a fatal consequence; and such divorce would follow if the temptation to murder in this case were held by law to be an absolute defence of it. It is not so.”
    • “By what measure are the comparative value of lives to be measured? Is it to be strength, intellect or what…in this case the weakest, the youngest, the most unresisting was chosen. Was it more necessary to kill him than one of the grown men? The answer must be no.”

    Please do not video or take pictures of this presentation.


    Past exam statistics

    Why people fail or drop out

    Attending lectures

    Study groups

    Study expectations


    Assignment preparation structure

    Example assignment

    Example summaries

    Preparing for exams

    Exam technique

    Student and lecturer questionnaires

    What you get out of the course

    Question and answers


    I have completed 18 of the 20 subjects

    I have three children (youngest is 2 years old)

    My partner having completed law in Germany (a civil law system), completed this course in 2008. She now works as a Criminal Lawyer.

    past exam statistics
    Past Exam Statistics
    • Average over the last 4 years (8 semesters):
      • Legal Institutions - 28%, achieved a merit (65-74) and 4% a distinction (75 – 100)
      • Criminal Law – of those that sat, 32% achieved a merit and 5% a distinction
    • The purpose of this presentation is to give you some suggestions on:

    - How to avoid dropping out of the course, recording a did not sit (DNS) or failing

    - How to do well in the course

    why people drop out or fail
    Why People Drop Out or Fail
    • Don’t attend lectures
    • Don’t keep up with prescribed readings and summaries throughout the semester leaving to much to do before the exam
      • Stats show weeks 5-6 are often the critical weeks, when the first assignments start falling due.
    • Don’t spot the issues in assignment and exam questions
    • Don’t structure their assignments and exam answers properly (ie don’t use IRAC method)
    • Don’t answer the question in assignments or exams
    • Poor time management in exams. Running out of time and therefore failing to answer questions. This is the key reason people fail exams.
    time management expectations
    Time Management - Expectations

    Throughout the course allow approximately 9 hours of study for each lecture broken up as follows:

    Allow 3-4 hours for the readings (some take more) for each lecture

    Allow 1 Hour to review and tidy up your lecture notes after the lecture

    Allow 2 hours to summarize the readings, legislation and case extracts

    Allow 2 hours to prepare the final cut of your exam summary to 1 - 1.5 pages for each topic

    Assignment and exam prep are separate to the above

    time management expectations1
    Time Management - Expectations
    • Diarize when your assignments are due and the date you need to commence.
    • Diarize exam dates and date you need to commence your exam preparation
    • Set out and work to a project plan
    • Set your families expectations, their support and understanding is critical to succeeding this course. Sit down with them and let them know:
      • What you need to do throughout the semester
      • The weeks/ weekends you will be tied up working on assignments
      • The weeks/weekends you will be preparing for exams
      • The dates of your exams (fact you will be stressed beforehand)
    attend lectures
    Attend Lectures
    • There is a direct relationship between failing to attend lectures and failing

    Benefit of attending lectures

    • The lecturer essentially:
      • Tells you what they what they want you to know
      • Summaries the course
      • Tells you the key cases to know for the exam
      • Often tells you the topics in the exam
    • You get to ask the lecturer questions
    • You get to form relationships with your peers, feel accountable to them, and stay connected
    exam preparation recipe for success
    Exam Preparation Recipe For Success

    Throughout the Semester

    • Keep referring to your subject guide. It is your course bible.
      • Print it out bind it, take it to lectures, refer to it all the time.
      • More on the subject guide later.
    • Step 1 - Pre read prescribed readings before the lectures (allow 3-4 hours for readings (how many pages can you read an hour)
      • Read prescribed text
      • Read prescribed legislation
      • Read case extracts.
        • Judgments are a Judges “EXAM ANSWER” for other judges.
        • The judge sets out the issue/s, relevant legislation, relevant precedent case law, apply the law to the facts, and come to a conclusion
        • The factual matrixes of exam questions are based on real cases
        • Reading case extracts helps you spot the issues in exam questions
        • Judgments often review the relevant key principles from other cases. So this is a great source of revision.
    exam preparation recipe for success1
    Exam Preparation Recipe For Success

    Throughout the Semester

    Step 2 - Attend the lectures take notes (see the recording feature in your word program)

    Step 3 – Review, and tidy up your lecture notes within 48 hours of the lecture – This helps you to really get and remember the content.

    Step 4 – Summarize the readings (prescribed text, legislation, case extract) in accordance with the subject guide headings. Settle the first cut of your notes for that lecture.

    Step 5 – Summarize the notes for that lecture to 1-2 pages maximum.

    Step 6 – Re read your notes before the next lecture and in the weeks before the exam.

    study groups
    Study Groups
    • Join a study group of 3 or more people
    • Assignment
      • Meet your study group 3-4 weeks before the assignment to discuss the assignment
      • Share a basic bullet point outline of the key issues in the assignment with your study group (do not share final version with anyone)
    • Exam
      • Meet your study group 4 -6 weeks before the exam (and then weekly) to commence going over past papers
      • Don’t meet your study group 3 days before an exam it can confuse you (lock yourself in a cave)
    assignment preparation
    Assignment Preparation

    For each subject you are assessed out of 100 marks. 20% based on your assignment and 80% your final exam.

    So the assignment is a great opportunity to put some marks in the bank. Aim for a 15 out of 20 (or better). This gives you a buffer in the exam

    Commence working on your assignment three weekends before it is due

    Allow 2 weekends for the reading

    Allow one full weekend to draft the assignment

    Allow one night, to sleep on the draft, and amend before submitting

    assignment preparation1
    Assignment Preparation

    Step 1 – Read the question several times

    Step 2 – Highlight the issues

    Step 3 – Read the relevant lecture notes (the lecturer is telling you what they want to see in their notes)

    Step 4 – Read the question again and highlight any more issues you see

    Step 4 – Read the text and relevant cases, and for extra marks try do some research (does not apply to first LI Assignment)

    Step 5 – Prepare a bullet point draft outline of the issues and law. Share with your study group and discuss

    assignment structure
    Assignment Structure
    • Step 6 - Provide a structured answer to the question (for each issue)
      • Overall introduction
      • Issue – Identify the issue
      • Law
        • Make reference to the statute law – identify which section you are considering (and why you are starting with that section). If parts or phrases of the section are particularly relevant to your answer identify those parts or phrases in your answer without writing out the whole section;
        • Make reference to the relevant case law – state the principle in your own words, and cite the case. The relevant law/case law will often contain a test that must be satisfied – state the test clearly using your own words
    assignment structure1
    Assignment Structure
    • Step 7 - Apply the law – Apply the law /test to the facts and come to a conclusion.
    • Step 8 - Conclusion – Briefly state your conclusion on the issue
    • Step 9 - Overall conclusion – If a number of issues, provide an overall conclusion – ANSWERING THE QUESTION
    • Step 10 - Complete citations, and bibliography
    • Step 11 - Review, polish and submit
    • Tip – In your assignment and exam, cite the cases referred to in lectures and in the subject guide (lecturers are looking for this)
    • Please note the above process may not apply to the first Legal Institutions assignment.
    • Example 1 - Contracts assignment structure
    reasons people fail in exams
    Reasons People Fail In Exams

    Don’t spot the issues

    Poor time management - running out of time

    Use the reading time to allocate the time for each question, and stop that question when the time is up!

    Remember the easiest marks are the first 80% (16 marks) of the allocated marks for that question, don’t go over time chasing the last 20% (4 marks)

    Don’t structure their answers and use IRAC

    Tip - Following exam, apply for an interview to meet with the lecturer to see what they are looking for and what you can do to improve

    pre exam preparation
    Pre Exam Preparation
    • Start your final preparations for the exam at least 6 weeks before the exam - assuming you have completed the first summary of the prescribed text and your lecture notes.
    • Prepare for the exam like it is a closed book exam! Open book exams give a false sense of security. Note under exam conditions you don’t really have the time to look things up.
    • Step 1 - Summarize each lecture/topic (ie lecture notes, readings and summary) of the course to a maximum of 1 – 2 pages (ie 12 lectures in the semester = a final summary of 12-24 pages for the subject).
    • Step 2 – Review and start memorizing your final summary (key sections of legislation, principles and cases)
    • Step 3 – Time yourself – how long does it take you to hand write 1 page of typed notes. Plan your time and answers accordingly.
    • Step 4 – Review past exam papers and do two questions on each topic (allow 2 hours for each question)
      • Prepare complete answers by hand
      • Practice applying the law to the facts
    pre exam preparation1
    Pre Exam Preparation
    • Step 5 – Do at least three complete past exam papers under exam conditions (that’s 9 hours)
      • Do this under exam conditions, by hand, with a stopwatch
      • This gives you an idea of time limitations.
      • Practice applying the law to the questions. Critical!
    • Step 6 – Prepare an overview “MAP” of the subject linking relevant principles etc. This locks in the course
    • Step 7 – Print out and bind the subject guide, your final exam summary, and first draft of your summary. Create an index on the first page of your final summary so you can find things quickly
    • Step 8 – Tab the relevant sections of your notes, legislation and prescribed text for quick reference in the exam.
    • Step 9 - Calculate the time you can spend on each question and part thereof
      • 3 hour exam with 4 questions = 45 mins a question
      • Less 5 mins reading = 40 mins a question
      • At 20 marks for 40 mins - a 5 mark part to a a question is worth 10 mins of time
    pre exam summaries
    Pre Exam Summaries

    Example 2 – Conveyancing Subject Guide

    Example 3 – Conveyancing Lecture summary

    in the exam
    In The Exam

    Step 1 - Carefully read each question

    Step 2 - Choose the questions you want to answer

    Step 3 - Read the question again – highlight the issues

    Step 4 – Prepare an answer plan

    Step 5 – Answer the question for each issue using IRAC method

    in the exam1
    In The Exam
    • Step 6 – When the allocated time is up for that question, stop and move to next question. This is critical. The 80% (16 marks) of the marks are the easiest to get.
      • Running over time, equals less time for the next question, equals less marks, and can lead to panicking in the exam.
      • Eg in a 3 hour exam with 4 questions worth 20 marks each (ie 45mins a question), just running 5 mins over for each of the first three questions, means you have 30% (15 mins) less time to spend on the last question, which is also worth 20 marks.
      • Don’t run over time on a question chasing the final couple of marks for that question. Pen down move on to the next question.
    • Step 7 – Write legibly – allows examiner to give more marks. Write on every second line if you have bad hand writing.
    • Tips – the examiner wants you to succeed, they want to give you marks.
      • If you can’t remember a case name, state the principle – the examiner will give you marks for this
      • Provide structured answers (quality not quantity)
      • Underling key cases citations and legislative sections – helps examiner
      • If you are running out of time at a bare minimum:
        • State the issues – they will give you marks for this
        • State relevant principle and case citation – more marks
    student questionnaires
    Student Questionnaires

    4. Please see student questionnaires.

    lecturers questionnaires
    Lecturers Questionnaires

    5 Lecturer’s questionnaires on why students fail

    6 Lecturer questionnaires closed book exams

    what you get out of the course
    What you get out of the course

    An ability to get straight to the issue of work related problems

    An appreciation of your time, and time management

    A new career in law/or appreciation of the law in your current role

    Greater opportunities in your career, based on the respect the workforce has a law on your CV

    Personal satisfaction. Studying law is immensely rewarding.

    what you get from the course
    What you get from the course
    • An opportunity to meet a range of people you would not normally meet (my library friend)
    • A different way of thinking
    • Admission to an incredibly well respected profession
    • Two success stories
      • Graduation ceremony
      • Admission ceremony

    You can find a copy of this presentation, student and lecturer questionnaires, and other material on the LEC Website – under the “notes” section of Legal Institutions.


    good luck
    Good Luck

    Thank you for your time

    Enjoy your studies and good luck!