Posted Aug. 19, 2020
Finding out what to expect from the exams during your LLM course is a good way to plan how and when you do your studies.
However, exams are not the only assessment you will have during your LLM program, and some students will find that they are taking exams even before they accepted into law school. This blog will examine the exams you could expect as an LLM student.
Many law schools around the world require students to sit entrance exams. These law schools are mostly in the US and Canada, but increasingly law schools in places like India also use these exams to separate students with similar qualifications. These are standardised tests that are usually sat at exam centres, so you sit one examination and the result will be sent along with your applications. The most popular test is the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), but there are others and you should check which test the law school you are applying to prefers.
LLM module exams
The main part of the assessment process for most LLM modules will be a combination of course work and then the exam. The exam will take up the largest part of the assessment of the module and usually takes the form of a written exam. The exam often comprises of two essays taken from a choice of six and the exam is often undertaken in a couple of hours. Most LLM students will be familiar with the setup and have their own strategies for completing the exams. If you are returning to studying after working for a while, then you might want to familiarise yourself with what the set up is in your law school and remind yourself of different strategies for approaching the exam period.
How Important are the exams?
The exams are an important part of the assessment process, but they are not the only way students are assessed. The course work – which can come in the form of essays or presentations – is a substantial part of the grade and then most LLM programs will also have a dissertation. This piece of writing will allow you to show off all that you have learnt and what you have discovered during your research. The exams are important, but there are other ways for you to improve your grades if your exam results are not quite what you were hoping for.
LLM by Research
There is an option to avoid examinations entirely and that is undertaking an LLM by Research, however this is not necessarily an easy option. Research students spend a great deal of time studying and researching by themselves, and many miss the comradery of being on a taught course. However, if you want to consolidate a career's worth of legal understanding or wish to focus on an area of the law that is not traditionally offered in a taught LLM, then an LLM by Research might be the perfect option. There are considerably less LLM students that choose the research option as this table illustrating the number of postgraduate law students in the UK in 2018/19 shows..
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