Now that the autumn legal practice courses (LPC) have begun, trainee Hilda-Georgina Kwafo-Akoto shares some of her top tips for success.
‘The key is to have every key’ – DJ Khaled
Key number one: hit the ground running
The LPC is a volume-intensive course and it is very important to start preparing for seminars as soon as they become available on the virtual learning environment of the institution where you will be studying. This will enable you to be a week ahead and if you are very diligent even two weeks ahead before the teaching term begins. If you have completed the requisite reading and tasks for a seminar a week or two weeks ahead, this should mean you are not falling behind in your studies as a result of work or social commitments.
Key number two: consolidate your understanding as the course progresses
The LPC is a fast-paced postgraduate programme and one cannot simply “cram.” having studied the llb, I can assure you that there is a large volume of information that needs to be understood, memorised and correctly applied, so you should consolidate your learning as you go along.
To ensure you achieve a pass mark (or better!) in each module exam, try and avoid selective learning. To avoid the temptation of cherry-picking topics because you are running out time with exams a few days away, it is far better to have reviewed the material from every seminar within a day or two and made condensed notes. For example in the form of flow charts, spider diagrams or checklists. You can then use these for exam revision.
Also, rather than spend a lot of time trying to understand an area that still does not seem to have clicked as the examination date approaches, I would strongly recommend that you resolve any issues that you may have with the course material with your tutors as soon as they arise.
Invariably, there will be instances where you will not be able to review seminar material shortly after each seminar, but try and avoid falling too far behind in your consolidation.
Key number three: keep calm and carry on
There is sometimes a tendency to feel overwhelmed on the LPC, especially if you find yourself falling behind in the preparation for seminars. But don’t spend time worrying, just keep calm and carry on with next seminar in mind. To help with your preparation, try to understand the common threads that transcend topics in each module so that you have both breadth and depth of understanding.
To make best use of your time, don’t make verbatim notes of lectures as chances are you are unlikely to review your ‘transcripts’ in full when exams come around. Instead your time is better served striving to be fully prepared for seminars. This achieves the twin aims of being able to actively contribute in seminars and quell any feelings of panic when you are sitting in a seminar on a topic of which you have little or no knowledge.
Exams always come around very quickly but on the LPC the volume of material means that you may run out of time to memorise the information and familiarise yourself with the permitted materials if you haven’t been making your condensed notes throughout the course. This goes back to key number 2 which is to consolidate as you go along. It is impossible to apply information to a fact pattern in the exam if you do not remember the details because you have not memorised the information.
In the wise words of Conor McGregor: “Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.’ Prepare thoroughly for your seminars, check your understanding after each seminar, highlight and tab your exam-permitted materials as you go so you are familiar with them and can find the relevant provisions quickly.
Good luck for your LPC and I hope these keys will help you to be calm, collected and well-prepared.