Monday, July 30, 2007

Study approaches

I take my study of law in three main approaches. This may perhaps also help me when I start fully preparing for the bar exam next year. Here it is:

1. Procedural

Study the exam itself. Ask yourself:

a. How is the exam administered?
b. How are the questions asked?
c. What are the ideal answers? What is the examiner looking for in an answer?
d. What were the usual legal areas or topics asked in the past exams?
Reign on your study habits and methods.
a. How do I improve my memory skills? Cognitive skills? Note-taking style?
b. What is the ideal study environment for me? (venue, music,scent)
c. What is the appropriate study schedule for me? (fulltime or working) How do I pace myself? (not being complacent but not putting to much pressure on myself)
d. How do I physically condition myself? (food, vitamins, exercise)

Practice good writing, analytical and problem-solving skills. The vehicle of your message is as important as the message itself; meaning, your communication skills matter. Knowing how to express your answer in a manner easily understood by the examiner is as important as knowing the answer.

2. Substantive

Study for the exam. What use is your knowledge of the battle terrain and tactics if you are not properly equipped and worse do not know how to use your weapons. Following are the factors which to me are important:

a. Discipline - As one law student would put it: "Studying law is like training to swim for hours in the sea without a life vest. You must feel at home with the law like you must feel at home with the sea." And it requires a great deal of discipline to do this.
b. Habit and culture - Watch out for habits that may distract you from your studies. Flirting with your pretty hot chick-seatmate could make you lose focus. Be loyal to your girl.
c. Selection and availability of study materials - Good books and other references matter a lot. Make sure you have the essentials. If you cannot afford them, borrow. The bottomline is, you must have them.
d. Time - Make sure you have the time to study. What good is a schedule if it's not realistic or if you can't stick to it. As they say, time is of the essence. Read, read, read! That's the only way to learn.

3. Finance management

The last thing you need is a money problem. If you have a financer, better. If you can finance yourself, great. If none of the above applies to you, find a way to get those bucks short of stealing. You may borrow and use as your collateral your law education. Tell your creditor, "When I become a lawyer, pro bono ka na!"

Tags: Bar Tips

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