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Posted Oct. 18, 2021
Ways to achieve LLM success
Studying postgraduate law requires you to have complete dedication, as it involves a lot of hard work and at times can be all consuming and rather stressful.
Whilst studying your LLM program you may well come across numerous challenges especially if you’re an international student, such as language barriers, cultural differences, foreign bar exams and a new legal system that you need to be at par with. To be successful you will need to be fully prepared and sacrifice your time to intense reading and studying. It’s a good idea to read ahead of the topics in preparation for each class so you can fully understand what you will be learning in class. Here are some other ways that you can achieve LLM success.
1. Do a life inventory
Is there anything you're currently committed to or doing that you could cut out for a year a two? On average, most people spend two hours on social media every day, have a look at how you relax and check to see what you could reduce. If you have a job, speak with your employer to see if you are able to delegate any of your work, you never know what might come from an honest conversation with your boss about your current responsibilities.
2. Understand LLM commitments from the start
Find out everything you can about being an LLM student. Speak to current and past students from the course you are embarking on and chat with academic staff and administrators. Find out in advance when essays, exams and other assessments will be due, so you know where you are before you start.
3. Prepare friends and family
Do your friends or family have an annual event that is going to clash with your studies? Let people know in advance, so you don't feel guilty about letting people down. If your friends and family know and understand your commitments, then you'll find they are much more supportive. It's always handy if you can get a former student to speak with your nearest and dearest, as sometimes it's easier to understand a change in lifestyle when it comes from a third party.
4. Join a study group
Study groups are useful in various ways. If you are struggling on your own or you are having a hard time grasping some concepts in different lessons; consider joining a study group. It will help you in terms of social support, perfectly explaining out concepts and rules and positive peer pressure. Students often form study groups when they need to understand better what was taught earlier. You can make use of the study group to do revision or read ahead of the lecturer. Not everyone likes group discussions and you may be one of them. It is totally fine if you prefer reading on your own in a quiet place. But as an LLM student, it will really benefit you if you joined a study group. However, you need to be careful when reading in groups, as it may easily turn into gossip or social groups. An LLM program requires support from peers to relieve stress as well as to bounce ideas off each other. On-campus students can do this in real life in the law school libraries and student union cafes and bars. Distance learning students can make use of online group chats and weekend sessions to make contact with their study peers. Associating with people undertaking the same course as you can help generate new ideas and reduce pressure.
5. Focus on your grades
You need to perform well academically if you wish to be successful when studying law. Your grades will determine the type of internship you can get and how to improve your chances are at getting a job at the end of your studies. Put as much focus as you can in your school work so you achieve the grades you deserve.
6. Read around your specialism
Your success as a student of law will be determined with how well you understand your course. You need to acquaint yourself with all that is relevant to the study of law – and particularly in your specific field of study. That is why, LLM students can read hundreds and hundreds of pages in a day. You need to realise that you are reading to understand and not simply to memorise concepts. If you memorise them, the chance are you will forget with time. Most law schools give open book exams to their students because their aim is to test your thinking and not what you know at a specific moment in time.
7. Be punctual
As an LLM student, you cannot afford to be late for lectures or miss classes. All that they teach in class is vital in your study and missing out will make you lag behind. To put it simply, you cannot excel in class if you keep being late for lectures and seminars and missing valuable teaching time. Update your timetable and if you need to be sure to set alarms if you are likely to forget an early morning lecture.
8. Be well organised
The best way for you to balance your life as an LLM student is to be organised by establishing a routine that gives you time to study and also allows you to have a social life. If you focus too much on one and neglect the other, then you will lack balance. Organise yourself in a way that you make efficient plans by taking breaks when necessary and never underestimate the importance of exercise.
9. Establish a good relationship with your tutor
It is in your tutor’s interest that you realise your maximum potential with your studies. Make sure to exploit this advantage. While there is so much emphasis on individual work in the LLM coursework, it is crucial to interact with your teacher often for guidance and advice. A healthy student-teacher relationship is paramount, especially for distance learning students or those studying a Master of Laws degree by research.
10. Attend networking events
In your first term at law school, try and make the time to meet the people in the career services as this will really help you make the most out of your law school experience. Tell them your dreams and ask them to help you achieve them. It would be best to get a mentor who will work with you closely – they should be able to advise you of any upcoming networking events and internship opportunities. Always attend seminars that are relevant to your course work, and do your best to create connections with those that have already established a career in your field of study. Get tips from them on how to be a successful lawyer in future. Make an effort to integrate into your community and show that you care. It will be beneficial to you as a law student and for your future career.
11. Keep fit and healthy
Last but not the least, it is important that you stay fit and don’t feel stressed! Seasonal weather changes are likely to cause cold or flu but make sure that you are following a healthy diet and allocate time in your diary for physical exercises. It doesn’t mean that you have got to spend hours in the gym or make fresh food for lunch and dinner each day. What you require is a daily dose of exercise, which could involve bit of yoga or jogging to keep you energised and motivated to study. Plus, try not avoid junk food wherever possible – snack on oranges and apples rather than crisps and chocolate bars, and try and eat balanced meals.
How much time should you spend on your LLM studies?
So, just how much time should you be spending on studying when doing a Master of Laws?
Number of hours
Full-time online or distance learning
32-36 hours per week
Part-time online or distance learning
16-18 hours per week
Full-time on-campus learning
6 hours of teaching per week, plus 30-34 hours preparing, researching, reading and writing
Part-time on-campus learning
3 hours of teaching per week, plus 15-18 hours preparing, researching, reading and writing
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