Hello! I’m Benjamin, a 3rd year Law student from Vanbrugh College. Studying is an important aspect of university and it is quite different to studying at school, college or sixth form! In this blog, I will talk you through my methods of study, what it is like studying Law, how to prepare for seminars, and the independence given to you by higher education. Hopefully, you will enjoy this blog and it will be useful to you!
I find it easier to study through discipline rather than sudden bursts of motivation. For example, for me, it is best to do a little bit of revision or essay writing a day, rather than leaving a lot of work until the last minute. This gives me more structure in my essays and practical questions and makes me more assured that I have addressed assessment questions and the topic to the best of my ability.
One of the most important aspects of any degree, regardless of the subject, is to reference – this means to back up your arguments with clear evidence. Referencing styles will have different formatting across subjects, but you learn more about this after you commence your studies!
Studying Law at York
Studying Law does involve analysing legal documents and cases from courts, but it is also a lot more than that. For example, Introduction to Law & Society in the first year of LLB Law at York consisted of explaining different legal topics and concepts, such as criminal responsibility. Also, York Law School is the only law school to have problem-based learning as its primary focus, and this is why having teamwork skills is helpful for studying Law at York. Therefore, having a friendly but professional atmosphere with other people, whether that is at college or in other places, will stand you in a good position for studying Law at York.
Additionally, it is important to have a clear separation between your subject modules, but this does not have to be complicated! This can be done by having different folders for all modules on Google Documents for example, and this has helped me to locate the work I need to do in any particular week.
Preparing for a seminar
When preparing for seminars, I inspect the reading list, ensuring the points I make are supported by journal articles, which are long pieces of academic literature. This greatly helps me in contributing positively to the group. Even though I was most definitely nervous when doing my first seminar, and that is fine! Everyone in my seminar group was in the same boat, and icebreakers will be conducted by the seminar tutor. This allows you to better know the other students in your group, which will be a useful skill in studying and work.
University study is more independent than school study. Lecturers or seminar leaders will not chase you up to complete deadlines, and it is the student’s responsibility to complete their own work. I believe that this has benefited my study skills, as I can research more specific areas of interest to me. Even though it was surprising to have less daily study structure, it gave me more flexibility to pursue different areas of interest.
Time for extracurricular activities
Overall, a significant part of studying is having breaks and interests outside of academia, such as being part of a society or a club. For instance, being involved in the Darts Club has enabled me to learn how to better balance my academic and other extracurricular interests.
Good revision techniques at school/college/sixth form can carry over to university! Try to implement these early, and university will be less challenging! Also, try to create a clear space for revision, with your phone turned off, which will help you keep concentrated on your specific task. I wish you the best of luck for your assessments/exams and York is an amazing place to be and study in!