On August 9, 2012, I received an email from the University of London that I was accepted into their LLB International Programme. It was a moment of ecstasy. Before I applied for the programme, I had doubts whether or not, at the age of 31, I would be too old for such undergraduate studies. However, on induction day at London, I was surprised to meet people of different age groups who were reading law for the first time. Apparently, I was not the only working adult who wants to spice up his career with an LLB.
Before long, I was busy working out my study plan. As I did not have any insight as to how much time I would spend on each chapter per subject guide, I initially found myself constantly revising my study plan. It was difficult to keep the reading limited to the amount of time I have set for the relevant chapter. The reading being asked to be done often seemed to be in such huge amount that it was hard to squeeze everything within the time frame I had estimated. An example would be that there are always case reports which would be better to be read in full than in summary form, especially key cases referred to in the subject guide and this can be quite time-consuming.
In addition to the reading required, I’ve also signed up for a support programme with the CILEX School of Law which also provided quite some work to be done. These all combined to create quite a lot of stress especially from November onwards. I finally quit my job in December and started my own company to see if I could better manage my studies by combining it with running my own business. That fortunately helped in covering all the subject guides towards mid-February.
However, I found myself in March still completely not done with reading the text books as required and this was quite worrisome. One must make notes while reading and later condense these notes into more compact forms to be easily reviewed later. I also made flash cards for all the key cases and statutes I needed to memorize. Luckily, by consistently attending the London Study Support sessions, I managed to glean a lot of useful information from the law lecturers about the important knowledge one has to know for the exams. Often during such sessions, one also gets to meet other like-minded students who are able to give each other tips and exchange opinions regarding the studies of the law. The support sessions helped tremendously in strengthening my understanding and memory of materials learnt before.
After a few months of studying, the time came for the revision and exam preparation from March onwards. I got busy with getting my notes on order, revising what I’ve learnt, going through whatever further reading I could still have time to do, reviewing the comments from my tutor and practicing the past year exam questions. I was lucky enough to participate in the Cambridge Residential Course for four days followed by a revision session run by QED Law in preparation for the exams in May. Along the way, I’ve met some pretty fantastic individuals and learnt quite a bit about the law.
Eventually, much to my relief, I found out I’ve passed all my papers. It has been a tough but rewarding year. Reading law is like running a marathon. One has to find it interesting and be willing to make certain sacrifices and persist in doing the required reading and writing in order to excel. I hope I’ll get better marks next year.
Note: As an editor of a new legal journal called International Law Journal of London, I am now accepting articles from interested students or academicians who want to contribute to the journal. Check out the site: www.internationallawjournaloflondon.com
Daniel Tan, LLB