Picking next year’s modules can be a daunting and stressful process. Here are some top tips to ease the stress and help you to make informed choices.
Chat to people who have done the particular modules you are interested in taking. If you don’t know anyone in the years above, then the law society is an excellent place to get information. Module leaders and tutors are also a great place to find out more about the technical details of what the module entails and the general assessment rates from previous years. Also, if you have access to a central exam paper bank then check out some of the old assessment questions to see if they match your expectations of the things you will be learning. Your law school may also offer a module choice fair to allow you to discuss the modules with the people that teach them.
The assessment type is really important. I perform much better on modules that are entirely coursework assessed, so this factors into my decision about modules. Also, look at the weighting of the assessment. If a module is 100% exam-based and you know that you don’t perform well in exams then perhaps look for another module that you think you would enjoy that is 50% exam and 50% coursework or entirely coursework-based. The assessment type should not fully influence your decision as it is important to pick subjects that you will actually enjoy but make sure you are also strategic in your choices.
If you get to choose a variety of modules in the second year, think about your third-year module options too. Some require that you have studied certain pre-requisites, and you don’t want to find that in the third year you can’t do the modules you wish to because you missed an option in second year. Talk to tutors and module leaders about how flexible these pre-requisites are. However, bear in mind that not taking them could potentially affect your ability to do well in the later module.
Picking all criminal law-related modules because they are easy or coursework-based may seem like a good idea, but if you end up applying for commercial law jobs, employers will wonder why, on paper, it seems that your passion lies in criminal law. Unless you have a good reason for the switch, keep it varied. That being said, it is not absolutely vital that you pick all commercial-related modules. I think that recruiters would rather see you do well in the subjects you do choose than pick subjects you have little passion for and do poorly in.
It is a lot easier to get stuck into a subject when you actually enjoy it. Picking subjects relating to modules that you have enjoyed in previous years will pay off in the end. You will be more motivated to attend the lectures and seminars if you are interested in the topic. This will also encourage you to read around the topic more, allowing for better answers. Long days in the library won’t feel quite so difficult if you are enjoying what you are learning.