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Even though it feels like I only started the Legal Practice Course (LPC) yesterday, I am somehow already preparing to take my mock exams.
With this in mind, I thought I would discuss a key part of your learning during the LPC, and an even more vital part of the prep for exams – consolidation.
Preparing for mocks
Before I started the LPC, everyone stressed to me how important consolidation is. As the LPC is only a year-long course, it’s very full-on (to put it lightly) and therefore it’s important to try and consolidate as you go along instead of attempting to cram everything at the end before exams. But to be honest, I’ve found this incredibly challenging!
The small amount of room left in my brain at the end of the day is taken up by preparing for the next week – it certainly isn’t looking backwards at the classes already completed. I want to be completely honest about this because I know that the relief I felt when I learnt that my classmates had also been neglecting the consolidation tasks was palpable.
So, if you’re reading this and feel the same – whether about the LPC, your undergraduate degree or any other course – I’m sure you are not alone. Berating yourself for not managing to complete everything all of the time is not going to help, but I know how easy it is to do when you realise that your exams are suddenly not that far away and that while you have been focusing on simply staying afloat, you seem to have got further away from the safety of land.
To find out how to manage your time, read this LCN Blog: ‘Inbox management – get started early’.
So, what am I doing about this?
Well, I can’t change the past (and honestly, I can’t see how future me will have the time for all of the consolidation activities either), so now it’s time to deploy the age-old strategy of study gurus everywhere: “Work smarter, not harder”.
I could kill myself trying to work 15 hours a day to complete all the proscribed consolidation work, but that isn’t going to achieve much when I’m so tired and burnt out, I can’t even fathom the questions in front of me.
This feeds into how I’m preparing for my mock exams because in my eyes, consolidation is simply another word for revision. And at the age I’m at, I should know what revision techniques do and don’t work for me.
This means it is pointless following the prescribed consolidation activities if I know that they aren’t going to help me personally – I don’t have time for that now. While I’ll read the suggested activities, I will prioritise doing work that I think will help me the most.
I also need to remember that my exams are open book, so I do not need to be spending my time and energy memorising content. Instead, I will be focusing on creating a slimmed-down set of notes which will be easier to refer to in the pressurised situation of an exam.
The LPC is far more practical than my law degree, which means that the definition of ‘notes’ must also be adapted – for me, this means ‘out’ with mind maps and lists of critical analysis, and ‘in’ with checklists and exam answer templates.
Finally, most – if not all – of the LPC modules also rely heavily on statutory references, so it is important that I have these all to hand.
This represents two preparatory tasks:
In short, I’m coming to believe that consolidation means to you what you need it to. Either way, it is an important part of the learning process and therefore needs to happen at some point before exams start.
Whether you prefer to call it consolidation, revision, or something else, as long as what you are doing helps you to cement your understanding and make your exams easier to navigate, then you are doing something right.
Good luck to everyone sitting exams, mock or otherwise, soon!