The tale of two law students
They have the same legal knowledge and understanding but one gets a much better law exam mark because they have better exam technique
I’ve been marking law exams at University level for 17 years, including the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course. I’ve marked thousands of scripts over a wide range of subjects, including: Business Law and Practice (Tax, Insolvency, Partnership, Company) Public Companies and Equity Finance, Commercial Law, Public Law and Equity and Trusts. I also teach all of these subjects. I have designed courses and exams and been a moderator and re-marker – where my role is to re-mark failed scripts and ensure that marking is done to a consistent level across all markers.
I have seen over and over how having good exam technique can prove decisive. Two students who appear to have the same legal knowledge and understanding can end up with startlingly different results simply because one has good exam technique and the other does not.
On numerous occasions, I’ve marked two students back-to-back who appear to have similar legal knowledge and understanding and have spotted the same number of issues but one has passed and the other has failed. The failed student would have passed if only they had shown better exam technique, for example, by making a consistent effort to apply the law to the facts.
Likewise, I’ve marked back-to-back papers where one student might end up only getting a pass when they could actually have done as well as the next student, who gets a commendation. Again, so often the difference has been a matter of employing key exam techniques which ensure that candidates give the examiner what he or she wants to see.
Then there are students who get a commendation but who actually knew enough law such that if they had consistently employed better exam technique then they could have got a distinction.
What I am saying here is what I always say to my students: ‘good exam technique is so important to exam performance.’
Moreover, if someone was able to point out to you examples of bad exam techniques which you currently demonstrate, then…
…you would have to be insane not to change your behaviour to improve your results. Well, I have written a FREE e-book to have just that effect – to improve your exam results by improving your exam technique. In the Lawyers of Tomorrow PREMIUM courses, I expand upon the ideas introduced in this book and show students how to implement the techniques from day one of their legal studies to make them immediately stand out in class as high performers.
Don’t get me wrong, technique is no substitute for knowing your subject and what I’m about to tell you in this report is not going to mean that you do not have to revise your subject thoroughly, practice past papers (where such are available) and generally make sure that you are a master of the course material.
You DO have to do all of these things.
However, having good exam technique can prove decisive and can elevate a student exam paper by as much as 10% i.e. a whole category:
A fail becomes a pass
A pass becomes a commendation
A commendation becomes a distinction
‘Really?’ I hear you say, ‘I don’t believe you’.
Well, click here and read on