Serena Chang is a future trainee at Freshfields and in this blog, she discusses her experience with the BPP GDL.
Read on for some top tips which make up her handy GDL survival guide!
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They start two weeks after induction (i.e. after you have the tutorials covering the preparatory materials.)
Tutorials for me were two days a week, with three to four hours a day. This was quite flexible and made my experience a positive one.
It does mean that you’ll have to spend lot of your time and effort preparing, as you will have to already understand the GDL course content before the class, and you need to rely on your preparation to discuss issues in the session.
Staying organised is really key – you can arrange your time as you like, but you do need to make sure you can fit everything in.
When I was doing my preparation, I generally focused on the problem questions. Problem questions are designed to assess whether you can correctly apply the law to facts presented.
Because these mirror the exam content, I realised that whether I could answer them correctly was a great indicator of whether I had understood the material.
I could also then add in anything I’d missed during the tutorial which meant I would have full examples to keep and learn from.
The GDL is not just about learning about different areas of the law, but applying legal principles, so looking back at my notes from the problem questions was really useful.
At the beginning of the BPP GDL, we were advised to consolidate the course as we went along. This is really good practice, and can save some revision time, but it’s also completely understandable if you don’t always have a lot of time to do this.
I would therefore try to do two things:
Run through the learning outcomes, and check I understood those
Listen really carefully to what tutors say during class, write this down, and check after each session that I understood those points
If there was something that I didn’t understand, or a topic that didn’t agree with me, I would flag it so that it didn’t get missed later.
Having another go during revision, or giving it some time to mull it over would then make it better. Also, never be afraid to ask your tutors questions, talking it through is very helpful and teaching staff are extremely supportive.
Quick Tips for the Core Modules of the BPP GDL:
Stay organised, stay afloat, stay with it
Try to understand the key concepts during preparation
Focus notes on the problem questions and use them as examples for how to apply the law
Ask tutors any questions you have
Consolidate as you go along if possible
Exams and revision
I found my tutors extremely approachable and organised in the BPP Birmingham centre, and this became very useful at exam time, when I had plenty of questions to ask them.
The first thing I wanted to be clear about was the format of the GDL exams – in particular the number of problem questions/essays on each exam, how many topics there were and how many questions you have to answer.
I wrote this all down at the front of my folder for each module, and then decided to revise four topics for each of the seven subjects, so that I could comfortably write my three answers in the exam.
Most people who do the GDL are not strangers to studying, and so already have an idea which study methods work for them. I also found that it is worth having a think about how to employ these studying techniques at the beginning of the course.
In particular, how to select key points from large chunks of material and set them up so that later it will be easy to revise and commit the facts to memory.
This might include making sure you can summarise what you have learnt in a few sentences, drawing flowcharts and diagrams or putting post-it notes on the sections you want to re-visit later.
One final word about permitted materials – this is a feature very particular to BPP. There is a statute book for each of the substantive modules (and for EU law) which you are able to bring into the exams, but with no annotations except highlighting and index tabs.
Reserve some time during revision for marking up your permitted materials, as especially in subjects such as crime where a lot of the information is contained in the statute book, it will be really helpful to be familiar with how the legislation is set out and where to find it.
Quick Tips for Exams and Revising for the BPP GDL:
Have tactics for memorising information
Try re-arranging the information in a different format to your study materials to check your understanding
Work with your permitted materials – they are your friends!
I hope you have found this guide useful and if you are considering the BPP GDL, I hope you enjoy what I think is a very interesting and rewarding course.
In part two of my survival guide, I will provide some more tips on how to go the extra mile; dealing with how to do your preparation, and also how to tackle all of the assessments aside from the core subjects which also form part of the GDL.
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