Well, we are just into a new year and I don’t want to bore you with a long blog on academic dexterity. So I will just include the most common tips that are followed by toppers to boost academic performance.
Being a law student is one of the most challenging things. I know this. You know this. But the World never accepts!! Well later about this perspective issue. First, let us justify why being a law student is challenging in the first place:
- Historical background of a concept of law (Origin)
- Theoretical foundations of a concept of law (Essentials/Elements)
- Legal Maxims associated (You have to remember maxims in Latin!!)
- Scope of a concept (When it applies/Exceptions to the rule, etc)
- Landmark cases (quite a lot of them!!)
- More cases (the recent and latest judgements)
- Authoritative sources to justify your viewpoint (Reports of Commissions, etc)
This list is however not exhaustive. Still, these are the basics.
Now take any example of a legal concept. In most cases you will find that you can frame an answer on the above-mentioned pointers. And, in most cases, if you properly arrange and divide your essays in this manner then you will indeed get good marks.
Writing a good answer reflects your understanding and critical thinking process. Further, this also helps if you want to publish yourself (Journals, Book Chapters, etc) or take part in competitive examinations (Judiciary, UPSC, etc).
This enhances your research skills and thus you have more chances of getting it right as an Advocate.
But, in most of the cases the student has to learn the art of answer writing on their own. Usually there is no guidance in this respect. Did you think of Note Books?? Those ready reference books available in the market?? Well, you also know that if you want to ace the exams then just reading those will not probably help. Because it might be that everyone is reading them, cramming them and finally writing from them on their Answer sheets!!
Therefore, you need a strategy. So strategize your journey to the top. And I guess you already know the perks of a good academic report card. So how do you start from scratch? See below:
- Essential Resources: First, have a fair idea of which books to study for each subject. This is the most crucial aspect. However, while covering a Syllabus, it becomes very important to know what to study, from where to study and how much to study. Else, only a complete memorization of every page in a book may have sailed you through!! In most cases 70% of the Syllabus can be covered from one single book. Try to find this book from your library. It’s always in the library. Usually this is one of the most celebrated and popular text books on the subject.
- Additional Resources: Next, you need one or two additional reference books. Usually these are the most serious academic works in the particular subject. These are bulky, quite exhaustive and may be difficult to understand in the first reading (depending on your mastery of the subject). Don’t be afraid. You just need to jot the points which you find useful and in addition to what you already know from your previous book. Additional tip: try to find reproductions of other classical works which are cited in such books. If you can effectively use this book, you have much higher chance of writing a good answer.
- Understand and Practice: Remember the saying that every question has its answer hidden in itself?? Well, in law school exams you can surely help yourself by analysing the key terms in the question. Look for terms like Critically evaluate, Evaluate, Explain, Discuss, etc. Before attempting your answer, try to understand the meaning of these words. Students often loose marks not because they do not know the answer, but because they do not understand the question. Next, practice your answers or at least the foundational points well before the exam. Legible, well structured answers with correct spellings and grammar will mostly fetch a bit extra marks.
- Consistency: Your efforts must be consistent. Remember, consistent good performance will always add up to an overall good performance.
- Evaluation: Scrutinize your understanding of a concept on the above mentioned parameters. This will ensure that your preparation is better than most of the other people with whom you will compete!! Also try to find your drawbacks and work upon them.
- Further Resources: Latest case laws and citations from Reports, etc can be used to substantiate your viewpoint or your concluding paragraphs. However, it takes time before you understand how to cite these sources. Also, this part of your answer will probably differentiate it from others.
While I have discussed some key points, I left out others. This is to keep the document short and crisp. However, these are the basics or the first step you can take towards writing a good answer. Other tips may include using quotes, citing from judgements, citing jurists, etc. (More on these on follow-up posts)
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