Moosheepgirl
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Hey, I'm looking to apply for Law at Oxford this year. At GCSE I have 4 A*s, 6As and 1B and I'm taking 3 A-levels. I'm just not sure I'm the sort of person they're looking for. Is there anything I should be reading or doing that will help me in applying or might give me a deeper understanding of if this is a course that will suit me? Please help,
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Arbitio LNAT
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(Original post by Moosheepgirl)
Hey, I'm looking to apply for Law at Oxford this year. At GCSE I have 4 A*s, 6As and 1B and I'm taking 3 A-levels. I'm just not sure I'm the sort of person they're looking for. Is there anything I should be reading or doing that will help me in applying or might give me a deeper understanding of if this is a course that will suit me? Please help,
What is your motivation to study Law? If you appreciate the discipline for its academic rigour and the challenge it brings, then it is for you.

Oxford teaching centres on tutorials. Have a read about the Socratic method. If that appeals to you and you can readily see the value of such teaching, then it is for you.

I think you must relish the abstract nature of Law, its importance as a mechanism for the cause of individual justice and the governing force of human action. If you can see a certain elegance to the common law, if you feel that your talents and work should answer the duty to understand and develop the Law, then it is for you.

I can recommend Hayek's 'Law, Legislation and Liberty' if you are looking for deeper understanding of Law. It should make for a fascinating read.

As for practical matters, studying Law at Oxford will open pretty much any door. If you are serious about it, then you need to have very good AS levels and perform well on both LNAT multiple choice (the average successful applicant received 29 in 2016) and LNAT essay. Then of course the interview which will rely on your analytical ability.
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Moosheepgirl
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(Original post by Arbitio LNAT)
What is your motivation to study Law? If you appreciate the discipline for its academic rigour and the challenge it brings, then it is for you.

Oxford teaching centres on tutorials. Have a read about the Socratic method. If that appeals to you and you can readily see the value of such teaching, then it is for you.

I think you must relish the abstract nature of Law, its importance as a mechanism for the cause of individual justice and the governing force of human action. If you can see a certain elegance to the common law, if you feel that your talents and work should answer the duty to understand and develop the Law, then it is for you.

I can recommend Hayek's 'Law, Legislation and Liberty' if you are looking for deeper understanding of Law. It should make for a fascinating read.

As for practical matters, studying Law at Oxford will open pretty much any door. If you are serious about it, then you need to have very good AS levels and perform well on both LNAT multiple choice (the average successful applicant received 29 in 2016) and LNAT essay. Then of course the interview which will rely on your analytical ability.
Thank you for answering me.
I am motivated to study Law because it is all about problem solving and understanding different perspectives on a matter and the challenge it presents as a subject entices me. At your suggestion I have read about the Socratic method and believe it would definitely be very effective for me (I've always said I understand a problem so much better if I have a soundboard). Also I do very much like common law, at least as a concept.

I am serious about studying Law, I just don't know if my aspirations of going to Oxford are unrealistic as reading other people's threads on here has made me a little doubtful of if I've got enough going for me to even be considered. I did achieve an A in both As Mathematics and Music and am definitely working on my LNAT as I've booked it for the 13th of October. Practicing for the multiple choice I have found fairly easy and somewhat enjoyable. However, the essay section has been a little more problematic. I'm working on my essay writing but I currently struggle to organise my ideas in the time in a coherent manner. I just think of so many ways I could answer the question that I get nothing down and then have no time to proof read which I have deemed vital based on my attempts so far.

I'm not so much worried about the interview yet as much as I am about getting one in the first place!

I really appreciate your opinion.

Many thanks, Moosheepgirl.
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Arbitio LNAT
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(Original post by Moosheepgirl)
Thank you for answering me.
I am motivated to study Law because it is all about problem solving and understanding different perspectives on a matter and the challenge it presents as a subject entices me. At your suggestion I have read about the Socratic method and believe it would definitely be very effective for me (I've always said I understand a problem so much better if I have a soundboard). Also I do very much like common law, at least as a concept.

I am serious about studying Law, I just don't know if my aspirations of going to Oxford are unrealistic as reading other people's threads on here has made me a little doubtful of if I've got enough going for me to even be considered. I did achieve an A in both As Mathematics and Music and am definitely working on my LNAT as I've booked it for the 13th of October. Practicing for the multiple choice I have found fairly easy and somewhat enjoyable. However, the essay section has been a little more problematic. I'm working on my essay writing but I currently struggle to organise my ideas in the time in a coherent manner. I just think of so many ways I could answer the question that I get nothing down and then have no time to proof read which I have deemed vital based on my attempts so far.

I'm not so much worried about the interview yet as much as I am about getting one in the first place!

I really appreciate your opinion.

Many thanks, Moosheepgirl.
I'm glad my musings have inspired some research

If you indeed long for an academic study that prioritises open inquiry with rigour emblematic of serious problem solving, then you are making the right choice with Law. I add that Law develops your mindset towards a very interesting thought pattern: you get to appreciate the abstract with a dose of pragmatism. You cannot reduce legal reasoning to a system of pure logic, say like Maths. Instead, you consider the senses of meanings which are malleable. So the satisfaction is not akin to a getting a solution to a maths problem (being right because it is right), it is rather that you are right because 'you' were right. And weirdly enough, I think that instils a great dose of humility because you know that you always have to open to find a better solution.

And if I may extrapolate: if you are capable at Maths and Music, then the above should absolutely apply to you.

As for the essay, I understand the sentiment. It is absolutely vital to have a clear and logical structure. So I will focus on this aspect.

1. Plan: this is half the battle. Your aim here is to identify the issues of the topic, consider various argumentative planes, and critically appraise the arguments: which are the strongest? Then, you devise a meta-structure to the line of argument you have chosen (the line has to be thematic) - this is about reducing the essay to a deceivingly simple syllogism, so that the reader if he agrees with your premises, has to concur with your stance. Then you consider any flaws, any major counter-arguments to this meta-structure - this will tell you what counter arguments are worth exposing and batting away in your essay. At this stage, you should have very clear definitions of your leading concepts/ideas upon which your argument rests - this is what you put into your introduction (which needs to be short and to the point). And that introduction concludes on a small synthesis, letting the reader know which path of argument you are taking him down.

2. Developing the argument: it is essential that you keep focused on the question and present a sustained and progressive treatment of issues. You don't want to be running around from one idea to another. Your paragraphs are only as long as the argument requires, and each ought to end on a mini-conclusion (one of the steps from your meta-structure).

4. Distinctions: the consideration of counter-argument only works if you are able to draw sharp distinctions between your argument and the counter-arguments. Otherwise, you risk losing persuasiveness.

4. Persuasiveness: there is an element of language involved here, but you should let your argument speak for itself. Don't try to be overly rhetorical. Instead, focus on choosing precise language that matches the connotations of your points. Consider placing somewhere an 'arrow-phrase' - a turn of phrase that will be etched in the reader's mind, which expresses some essence of your argument (for example, a famous one is 'Who guards the guardians'). I have always found that an argument, which launches itself immediately with the concepts and reasonings that are clearly relevant and material to the issue, wins people over. Academic pondering is reserved for different purposes and different settings (a pub, perhaps!).

5. Communication: consider the clarity of your expression. You can use complex vocabulary, but only if you truly know their definitions and if it matches your general style of expression. The best of essays are succinct (500-600 words) so you employ language only because it provides meaning (emphasis) to your argument.

6. Conclusion: this is where you showcase your independent critical judgement. You have thrashed out the issues, you have considered the internal consistency of your adopted line of argument, so you have to have a matching conclusion. It must be more than a restatement of your main points, it has to be that overarching synthesis which brings it back to what you signalled at the end of your introduction.

7. Originality: you should consider it an enviable strength that you can think of numerous angles for the essay. Most of the candidates will go for pretty banal arguments, which will inevitably be repeated in some form by many. Tutors don't want to be bored. If you take the less favourable stance, that can earn credit. It is not about what's proper or expected, it is about what excites.

With practice, the discipline to your argument will come. Do balance your preparation for the multiple choice with essay writing. After all, numbers don't lie
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