How To Get Great Results On The LPC
The Legal Practice Course (LPC) is the last stage of training you will face before becoming a solicitor. You can’t mess it up now!
But don’t worry we’ve got some tips & tricks which could help you get more marks. Getting a good grade on the LPC is essential for several reasons.
Firstly (if you have a training contract) it shows your firm that you’re someone who puts in the maximum effort all the time. This can really help in your future legal career. Think long term! Some firms even offer a cash bonus for students who achieve a distinction.
If you don’t have a training contract then it’s even more important to get a good grade. The difference between a pass and a commendation, or a commendation and a distinction, could be the difference of whether you get a training contract or not. On this page we will also take a look at a few exam tips you could find useful.
Don’t think of the LPC in the same way you would think about your undergraduate course. Think of it as the beginning of your job. If you’re funding your own LPC you will have to start paying the money back at the end of the course. So it’s your job to make sure that you get a great grade to give you the best chance of securing a training contract. There’s a lot at stake.
The student loans you get for your undergraduate course need to be paid back too, but not until you’re earning. If you go onto the course half heartedly you may as well be burning a big pile of money. The same can be said for missing a workshop or tutorial. You’re only hurting yourself. So show some professionalism!
Organisation in note taking
You’re going to get given a lot of papers, books and websites. You’re also going to be making a lot of notes. If you don’t properly organise them then the time taken writing them down was worthless. Your notes are especially important. Personally I always write down a legal idea in my own words; something I understand. Reading this back before revision can help you remember and fully understand the basics of any legal topic.
This means you can spend more time learning the more advanced stuff (see our recommended way to learn legal topics as part of the GDL guide; the principles are the same but with less emphasis on case law.) Try to keep it simple – one notebook for each legal module / skill module. This ensures your notes don’t all get mixed up.
Don’t work too hard
Sometimes your brain just stops working. It reaches a point where more information just won’t be accepted. No matter how much caffeine you drink! This can lead to frustration and fear that you won’t be able to do your best in a module. The only thing you can do at this stage is something non legal based. Relax. Watch some episodes of your favourite TV show, listen to some music, or even have a nap!
Just taking 30 minutes to an hour from revising can work wonders.
It’s not always about working harder, but working smarter. You could spend 10 hours a day revising and not learn a thing due to your state of mind. So give your brain a break once in a while.
You could know an area of law inside out, but if you don’t know exactly what’s wanted from an exam then you could lose marks. You don’t want to go into the exam with an LLB question answering mind set. The best way to understand what’s wanted is to talk to your tutors.
They can give you a very good idea of what exactly is being looked for in the best answers. You can also consult your institutions marking schemes which should give you further ideas. When you’re actually in the exam read the question carefully. Yes, I know you must have been getting this advice for 22+ years now but loads of people still read a question as “Tell me everything you know about Law X”.
These exams are testing your practical legal knowledge, not your ability to remember everything. That’s why a lot of them are open book.
Manage your time well
Time is of the essence in LPC exams; you can’t waste a second. If you find yourself endlessly rooting through your notes and books, you’re not using the time efficiently – if you can’t find an answer straight away, come back to that question later.
Missing a couple of marks because you didn’t have time to go back is much better than not getting to the end of the paper because you couldn’t find the relevant information. The chart to the right is a rough visualisation of what we mean; you’re going to be getting more marks per minute at the start of the question compared to the end.
That’s why spending equal time on each question is so important…
Further exam technique
You should be an expert on this by now. You need to know exactly how long you can spend on each question; it’s no good writing an amazing answer for one question, and a poor one for the next question. Just divide your time equally amongst all the available marks.
Another tip (which is specific to the open book nature of the LPC exams) is to make sure all the material you are allowed to bring into the exam is well organised.
When you’re actually in the exam make sure you form nice neat piles too, and don’t bring anything you won’t need. You want to avoid a situation where you spend more time trying to find the right bit of information than you do actually writing the exam. Fluorescent sticky notes attached to the relevant page can help here.
Done your LPC and got great results Read where you can apply for in house training contracts.