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Preparation for exams.

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Presentation on theme: "Preparation for exams."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparation for exams

2 Preparation Know what to expect Learning the material
LPAB website Learning the material Summaries Approaching open book exams What to take in Technique

3 Know what to expect Time-table Structure and timing (cover page) Past papers Exam fit

4 Learning the material Open book What to learn
Do I need to learn the material? What to learn Lectures Readings Summaries

5 Why summaries? Preparation of summaries helps you:
Organise material in a clear and logical manner Structure your thoughts and ideas Test your understanding of course materials – if you don’t know it you can’t summarise it Reduce your notes to a form useful for study and open book exams Learn course materials

6 ORGANISE You will have assembled a lot of material – lecture notes, case notes, notes of readings, etc Your summaries need to organise this in a way which is accessible and useful

7 Organisation requires editing
As you summarise, you should select the most important points you need to remember These points should be organised around topics, or themes, or grouped together with similar ideas, in a way which makes sense to you. Rewriting your notes is NOT preparing a summary – you also need to RETHINK your notes

8 An organised summary is:
Brief – ideally, every topic should be dealt with in only one page Headings only – your summary should be key points or headings which remind you of the main material to be covered, not a complete restatement of the course material Supported by relevant authorities (cases/legislation)

9 STRUCTURE “Black holes” are very dense and full of matter.
There is so much matter in a black hole that once you enter there is no escape.

10 Avoid Black Holes A summary which is a complete rewrite of the text book and all your lecture notes is a black hole - it will suck up all your time and energy and give you nothing back. Summaries should be brief, cover only the main points and be a rethink not a rewrite

11 A good structure: May be different for every person – as we all think differently. Should be able to work as an essay plan, or a check list to make sure you spot and discuss all relevant issues raised in a question Should be structured logically and supported by relevant material

12 A good structure: Will use headings and dot points
Won’t use so much information that the reader gets lost in the detail May cross reference to other summaries if ideas overlap, or you want to link to related ideas

13 UNDERSTANDING A key purpose of summary preparation is for you to check you have understood the course material. The process of summarising should expose gaps in your understanding – and give you the opportunity to fix them, before the examiner also looks for any lack of understanding.

14 Understand before you summarise
The process of preparing a summary will help you learn, if you check and develop your understanding along the way. If your summaries are nothing more than rewrites of material you do not understand then they are not learning tools – but exercises in penmanship. You need to rethink for a summary, not simply rewrite.

15 Understand what you summarise
For some people reading the text or other recommended reading will be sufficient to understand the lecture material. Others may have to go wider to other sources to build their understanding. Ask questions, read widely, do whatever it takes to make sure you understand the material. You need to summarise your knowledge, not your ignorance.

16 Self preparation Because summaries are prepared so that you can check your understanding – and to help you demonstrate that understanding in an exam, the best summaries are self prepared: made for you, by you. Every summary may look different, but be equally useful to the person who prepared it.

17 REDUCE Once you understand the material, then you can reduce it into a usable summary. Summary preparation is a process of distilling down lecture notes, case notes and readings into a very abbreviated summary, which reminds you of the key points at a glance.

18 Summaries of summaries
Because summarising is a process of building understanding rather than just rewriting notes, the best exam summaries are often summaries of summaries. Preparing summaries is not a one-step process.

19 LEARN Now your summaries are ready, the last step is to learn them.
Writing the summary is only part of the process You must also know what is in the summary, so you can use it in the exam (and in practice.)

20 Aide memoire A summary is an aide memoire
The purpose of a summary is to remind you of the law you already know Summaries cannot teach you law in exam conditions with which you are not already familiar.

21 How to? Start by reviewing (and if necessary rewriting) your lecture notes, case notes and the notes of other readings from texts or other sources. Make sure your lecture notes are complete and that you have read enough to understand the material covered in each lecture. Your lecture notes are the best basis for your summary preparation.

22 Examples: Legal Institutions
Legal Institutions is a thematic course with a spiralling curriculum which looks at a number of issues and concepts. One useful structure would be to prepare a glossary of terms and concepts commonly encountered in lectures and in your reading. Attempting a one sentence explanation for each of the concepts listed on the next slide (and others you may add) is a useful approach.

23 Concept glossary Bicameral Legislature
Concurrent power/exclusive power Constitutional Monarchy Democracy Division of powers Federation Independence of the Judiciary

24 Concept glossary Manner and Form provisions Parliamentary sovereignty
Plenary power Repugnancy (of Colonial laws) Representative government Responsible government Rule of law

25 Concept glossary Separation of powers Judicial Power Executive
Legislature s15AA/s15AB Ambiguous

26 Other LI structures You could also consider using:
The course outline as the structure for your summaries The powerpoints – construct a summary around the issues noted in the powerpoints A time-line – especially useful for the historical material and highlighting the important developments over time

27 Approaching Open Book Exams
Study Skills Approaching Open Book Exams

28 Before you start writing
Set up a time schedule Read through the whole exam paper once Think before you write

29 Writing and answering Get right to the point Develop your argument
Aim for compactness, completeness and clarity Summarize in your last paragraph

30 Review (if time available)
Complete questions left incomplete Review, edit correct

31 Run out of time? Out line what you would have said

32 OPEN BOOK TESTS In an open book exam you are evaluated on understanding rather than recall and memorization You will be expected to: Apply material to new situations Analyze elements and relationships Synthesize, or structure Evaluate using your material as evidence

33 Open book exams Do not underestimate the preparation needed for an open book exam: your time will be limited, so the key is proper organization in order to quickly find data, quotes, examples, and/or arguments you use in your answers.

34 What not to bring Open book exams generally allow any non-electronic materials in the exam room (but always check the details first.) What will you bring? Selection of materials is the key to success Why bring the whole library when you will have neither time nor room to use it.

35 A Good Answer: Reads and responds to the question carefully
Isolates all relevant issues Is clearly structured Is well supported Provides sufficient detail to answer the question

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