Law at university level might be a large step from A-levels in terms of independent study, so you must make the most of your law tutorials.
Tutorials are a key part of studying law at university. They’re where you’re able to check that you’re on top of your studies. You will be tasked with questions related to your lectures and reading lists beforehand and will be expected to actively engage in small group discussions of around ten other students and a member of staff.
People sometimes overlook the importance of these sessions, but seminar questions often come up in exams, as they are what module leaders tend to focus on!
You should make the most of them by using the sessions productively, unlike most students who attend, passively listen and go about their day without referring to their notes until exam season.
Read on for some top tips on how to make the most out of your law tutorials from one of our contributors.
The sessions may be filled with extensive reading lists, just like many other lecture handouts. When asking students in older years how they approach seminars, some say read everything on the list, whilst others advise you to focus on journal articles.
Being the eager first year everyone hates, I decided to attempt reading every single page of the reading list. I was wondering why my seminar preparations would take days, and why it would only take a couple of hours for other students.
This was not a good use of my time, so I had to learn to prioritise certain things. You should do the same.
Focus on academic commentary or journals, as they are essential when it comes to establishing an argument in essays.
By reading more of them and understanding the academic’s point of view, you will be able to form your own opinion which will give your grade a boost!
Focus on cases for this. Cases will be the only type of authority you need when answering problem questions.
However, do bear in mind that you need to focus on the point of law the case focuses on instead of remembering the facts.
Actively engage in conversations with your peers, as this will help you understand how others have interpreted the seminar questions and you’ll be able to form your own opinion too.
Hopefully, you should have formed some opinions when reading and preparing for the seminar itself. In a successful seminar, leaders will be there to facilitate discussion and will not turn it into a mini-lecture.
Remember to not actively take notes during the seminar, as you will have already done most of it during lectures. Instead, learn and participate; if you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask questions because understanding and solidifying your knowledge is what a seminar is all about.
It’s a good idea to jot down some of what the seminar leader focuses on, as it is very likely these topics could come up in future assessments or exams.
Don’t be afraid to visit your seminar leaders’ office hours. Staff put this time aside for a reason. They’re often in their offices waiting for students to approach them for tailored, individual advice.
Make sure you revisit your notes and compiled them into a large document along with your lecture notes, so that you can refer to one single piece when revising.
Try to answer the questions directly when material for the topic has been covered. This will ensure you know exactly how to answer exam-style questions.
Words: Gwyneth To
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