By Laura Wellbelove
Have you started, or do you plan on starting the LPC soon? Well here are some of my top tips for how to excel in the LPC and get the most out of the year.
This is one of the most important stages of building an understanding of a certain legal topic. Before any SGS’ (‘Small Group Session’), you will be required to undergo some preparatory work. This usually includes watching lectures, reading chapters, and completing the prep exercises. Sounds like a lot… I know. The work is completely overwhelming at first and it took me some time to get used to the workload. This is why the organization is key.
To perfect the preparatory work, ensure you have set aside time for each SGS topic. On average BPP recommends about two to three hours per topic when undergoing your prep work (but this depends, I once spent about five hours trying to prepare for my first tax session). Nevertheless, I would try and schedule at least three hours per topic in my calendar. If I spent less time, then great I could do some online shopping… I mean keep improving my commercial awareness.
Important tip: Please do not waste time on making a load of notes from chapter hand-outs. BPP does NOT examine their students on information mentioned in the chapters – it is completely different from an undergraduate law degree. I would go through the chapter alongside watching the lecture and pause the online lecture if I needed to quickly re-read something to aid understanding. I also scarcely made notes from the lecture as the majority of the information is already within chapter hand-outs. The key part of the prep work is just to give you an initial understanding of the topic and for you to try out some exercises independently before the SGS. I promise you that everything will be confirmed within the SGS itself. The SGS will hopefully solidify any confusion you had from the preparatory work.
Moving onto the prep activities – just try your best. Use the information you have learned from both the chapter and the lecture to try and complete the exercises. If the answers are not already online then they will be explained to you in the session, where you can re-cap if you had made a mistake. Some activities will be harder than others, but never impossible.
These are the lovely sessions where your group meets up and spends a couple of hours together each day. I made some amazing friends on the LPC, so I encourage you all to enjoy these sessions.
During the SGS often your professor will go over the topic you had prepared for, and then you will normally have various activities and quizzes to complete. These are great as you can all work as a team to decide upon the answers.
Important tip: Be ready to make notes in case your professor says something really important! During my SGS’, I would make notes of everything that was said because SGS work is highly examinable – so be on the ball at all times. Never turn up without a laptop or even some paper like the good old days. Another reason I made notes of everything was just in case the slides or any information were not available elsewhere – so it’s great to be prepared.
The last pointer – If during your prep work there is something you are unsure of, then try and make a list of questions for your professor, which you can ask in the SGS. There is little point saying, ‘I do not get it’ as this is too ambiguous. So instead, find out what you find confusing and try to compose some questions from it.
If you are to take anything away from reading my article, then let it be this. Consolidation is by far the MOST IMPORTANT part of your studies.
After each SGS I would create a separate document to summarise all of the important parts. This often included how to answer certain exam-style questions, cases we had to learn, the important parts of the law, and any examples to help my understanding. I often spent most of my time consolidating because it is so key. This meant that when exams were around the corner, I already had summaries from each session – so I could re-cap very easily. I then made revision guides for each module by simply collating each SGS summary into one large document (this is not essential, but I have always done this through my legal studies as it works well for me).
By consolidating after each SGS it saved me so much revision time. I already had my notes, so it allowed me to spend more time on practice questions – which I think are one of the best ways of revising anyway. So, your professors may keep banging onto you about consolidating, but they are right, I cannot stress how important this is!
Of course, these are just my tips as a guide for you, there is of course no pressure for you to follow exactly in my footsteps. Many people have asked me how to prepare and do well in the LPC, so I thought why not write about it.
I hope this helps and GOOD LUCK!