How to study the GDLWatch
As the title says, I need some insight into how to study the GDL.
I find that the vast amount of information on the BPP Study Notes, combined with the lectures and casebook, make it hard to take concise notes.
Can someone please advise me on a good way of approaching note-taking?
P.s. I am aiming for a commendation.
Your help is appreciated!
I personally would use the study notes in terms of how to structure the answers and for the information that you need. The casebook is very useful to use alongside when reading about the cases/making notes about them. The lectures don't have as much information/often omit a few cases and points that are in the study notes
So, would you make notes using the study notes and then watch the lectures?
It depends on how you work, whether you prefer audio or reading etc, but start with what you find resonates with you most. Using my own experience as an example, I found the most effecetive way to study was (in order):
1) Buy one of the revision guides and casebooks ahead of time. I used GDL Answered for BPP which I found to be very good. Use this to understand the structure of how you need to answer the exam questions. Structure is absolutely key - if you know your stuff but don't know how to apply it in an answer, you will automatically limit your possible grade.
2) Back up the notes you make from the guide with either reading from the uni study notes, or from the online lectures. This is key, as the revision guides do NOT contain everything, and very ocassionally there is a mistake. I'd say it contains roughly about 80-90% of the case law you need to know, but if you're aiming for a distinction then you should consolidate this with further reading. I found the study notes to be the best way of doing this as they contain everything you need, but often there is too much to get through as a primary source.
By using the notes as a cross reference tool I was able to see areas where I might be able to pick up extra marks (eg, for understanding Lord Sumptions reasoning in Cavendish v Makdessi as opposed to just knowing the case name).
3) if you are still struggling to understand a specific topic/area, listen to the lecture as it will usually clarify it to an extent. Also to note, the adjustable playback speed for the lectures is a VERY useful tool. 1.25% faster allowed me to get through more stuff more quickly.
4) When it comes to exams, find 3 topics per module that you like the most and revise these until you have case law spilling out of your head. Do not trust anybody that says they have revised every topic for every module (7 topics for 7 modules), there is no need to do this and it would be a gargantuan waste of time. Your tutors will tell you that only revising 3 topics is a high risk strategy, and it is. But there is so much case law to retain that it really isn't conceivable to do more than this considering exams are usually in close succession.
If you look at past exam papers and find that a topic you like is usually presented in a very difficult question format, then MAYBE consider revising a fourth back up topic in case things go pear shaped in the exam. But again, you likely won't be able to do this for every module.
5) Practice papers, practice papers, practice papers. DO THESE. I would say out of my entire class, there were 2, possibly 3 people that finished every single exam in the alloted time. I was not one of them (I finished 6 out of 7 in time. In the topic I didn't complete it was only one question that I didn't quite manage, so I almost did it!). Timing is a massive issue, practice your timing relentlessly by doing mock papers in timed conditions, or you will come unstuck during the exam. If you do this, you will be fine.
Finally, good luck. The GDL is hard, not really in terms of content per se (although land law still haunts me), but just in sheer quantity of material. If you work hard and keep on top of weekly tutorial stuff, you will be fine. I may be in a minority but I think it is vastly, vastly more challenging than an undergraduate degree, and should be reflected as such in pupillage applications, but not everyone will agree with me. I did the GDL full time from Jan - Sep 2019, while working full time, and managed to graduate with a distinction after some time away from education. It can be done if you put your mind to it. Hope that helps.