Volume 19, Issue 11
Dear Regretful on Royal Parade,
In the words of our Lord and Saviour, DJ Khaled - Congratulations, you’ve played yourself. You’ve cooked this semester so brutally a college fresher is impressed. And to think if you’d just read my study tips in Week 4 this whole thing could’ve been avoided. Never fear though, I’ve always been attracted to hopeless cases so you’re in good hands.
First things first, ‘work smart’ is going to become your life. You do not have time to panic. If you must, a quick cry while showering is allowed, but otherwise remain on task. No use beginning the readings and lectures from Week One and just plodding through as if you have 3 months, you don’t, you have less than 3 weeks. Some serious efficiency is required.
What you’re going to do is set a timer for 2 hours. Right now – like your Year 9 English teacher, I’ll wait. Ok good. Now that the clock is running, open Canvas, the website you haven’t visited since March. For each of your subjects you’re going to get the subject outline with your list of topics to study and put them in some kind of word doc/table/list situation. Aesthetics are not important, as long it makes sense to you. Under each big topic you’re going to break it down even smaller. A simple example would be ‘Agreement’ in Obligations, split into Offer and Acceptance. Again, they’re your subjects so do it in a way that makes sense to you. Under each of those headings you’re going to list the cases and statute referenced as “required” on the reading list. Repeat for all subjects.
Now you effectively have a one- or two-page to-do list for each subject, you need to work out when it's getting done. Sit down in front of a calendar, write in your exam and any other non-negotiable time sucks between now and then e.g. week 12 classes, work, etc. Look at the gaps and slot in your subjects in Morning and Afternoon sessions. For example, Obligations in the Morning one day, Torts in the afternoon with a break in the middle. Once that is all laid out, block out the last 2 slots of each subject to do practice papers. Whatever is left is your note-making time.
Now regarding revision notes, MLS advises against straight up using someone else’s. However, I’m sure they’re also not fans of cramming the whole course in SWOTVAC, so take their advice with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, the choice is yours. The main priority here is ensuring your notes are functional for an exam. You’re not trying to rewrite the textbook – one of your lecturers already did that. You need notes that will hold your hand through the exam. I’m talking full-blown, finger-linked, palms cinched, knuckled embrace. The Success at MLS website has some great tips around writing effective notes so I’m not going to do a subpar rip off here. What’s important is don’t get bogged down in summarising case facts – get to the point, write it down and work out where it fits within the topic. The final 2 study lots should be fully dedicated to practice responses, which you can convert to pro forma answers if you’re so inclined. The whole point of an exam is applying the law. If you don’t practice that beforehand, even the most perfectly crafted notes are going to be as useless as Batsuit nipples.
Lastly, you’re not special. If you haven’t picked up on that at this stage, quite frankly you need to get out more. You are not the first, only or last JD student in this position, and most of them are doing fine. You can pass, you can even excel. But if you don’t, that’s also ok. Everyone loves a comeback story, just try again next sem. Maybe you’ll make it to the Week 4 readings next time!
Your Learned Friend
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of De Minimis or its Editors.