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struggling in first year law, I don't know if I can pass.

studying at a RG uni outside London
owing to many reasons, I have struggled considerably this year. I have spent much of my time trying to catch up on previous weeks' work while not being caught up on work for the next week. only recently have I actually caught up on most of my lectures, which as sad as it sounds, I'm sort of proud of having caught up. however I have missed weeks, even months of seminars at this point in some modules and have not completed the readings for them. I have very little experience too in writing essay questions and exam conditions, because of how few formative works have been assigned to me. I also skipped the last formatives I was actually assigned, but this was a long time ago by now. I just never expected the year to go by so quickly.
I have about two months to turn things around. I am caught up on lectures. I am not caught up on seminars, I am terribly behind in readings. I can't write essay questions, and the couple I have done were scored in the 50s. problem questions are better, I have scored in the 60s in the few I have done. my exams will be closed-book. this is a huge concern for me. I don't now how I can catch up on work like the seminars while revising and memorising content. I also have been given such little guidance on academic writing. I don't know if it's worth trying to catch up on all the reading I have missed on seminars.
I really don't know what to do. my tutor is so unresponsive. I don't see use in even attending the few seminars I have left - there's about two weeks left. would really, really appreciate advice from someone who has been in this situation. I don't know if I can pass.
there's not many places to post, so sorry if this is the wrong place.
50s and 60s is not a bad position to be in - 2nd class marks are perfectly good, especially in first year which counts for little or nothing towards your final classification and is meant to be an adjustment period.

I would recommend you speak with you personal tutor about what you've been struggling with and ask what recommendations they can make and what support the uni offers. For example, there are often academic writing support sessions run through the library or a writing lab run by the uni.
Original post by Anonymous #1
studying at a RG uni outside London
owing to many reasons, I have struggled considerably this year. I have spent much of my time trying to catch up on previous weeks' work while not being caught up on work for the next week. only recently have I actually caught up on most of my lectures, which as sad as it sounds, I'm sort of proud of having caught up. however I have missed weeks, even months of seminars at this point in some modules and have not completed the readings for them. I have very little experience too in writing essay questions and exam conditions, because of how few formative works have been assigned to me. I also skipped the last formatives I was actually assigned, but this was a long time ago by now. I just never expected the year to go by so quickly.
I have about two months to turn things around. I am caught up on lectures. I am not caught up on seminars, I am terribly behind in readings. I can't write essay questions, and the couple I have done were scored in the 50s. problem questions are better, I have scored in the 60s in the few I have done. my exams will be closed-book. this is a huge concern for me. I don't now how I can catch up on work like the seminars while revising and memorising content. I also have been given such little guidance on academic writing. I don't know if it's worth trying to catch up on all the reading I have missed on seminars.
I really don't know what to do. my tutor is so unresponsive. I don't see use in even attending the few seminars I have left - there's about two weeks left. would really, really appreciate advice from someone who has been in this situation. I don't know if I can pass.
there's not many places to post, so sorry if this is the wrong place.
Anon,

I agree with @artful_lounger. The main thing at the moment is rather than trying to catch up with everything is to focus on passing the exams. It sounds like essay questions are where you are struggling a bit, so expend your efforts there. Practice makes progress. Make the most of the final seminars to ask any questions you have about the exams or anything that is still unclear. Talk to your classmates and if some are planning to get together and go over topics you could join them or arrange your own study session.

It's easy to panic, but remember you have been able to catch up on a lot of material (!) and not everything is going to come up in the exams and the main thing is that you pass. A great score would be a bonus but you just need to pass.
After the exams are finished, it might be a good idea to reflect on what worked well this year and what didn't and what changes you might need to make for next year to avoid being in the same situation. It sounds like things have been pretty tough but you have made it this far (!) so remain positive, keep your energy levels up (sleep, food, exercise) and go for it!

All the best,

Oluwatosin 3rd year student University of Huddersfield
Lots of sites offer help in academic writing for law students. Stop worrying about the seminars you have missed; they just explore key issues discussed in the lectures, nothing new is covered in seminars.

https://top-au.libguides.com/c.php?g=437650&p=3011811#:~:text=Academic%20and%20professional%20legal%20writing,clearly%20and%20accurately%20is%20important.

https://law-school.open.ac.uk/news/brush-up-your-legal-writing-skills

https://www.thelawyerportal.com/blog/how-to-write-a-first-class-law-essay/
Original post by Anonymous #1
studying at a RG uni outside London
owing to many reasons, I have struggled considerably this year. I have spent much of my time trying to catch up on previous weeks' work while not being caught up on work for the next week. only recently have I actually caught up on most of my lectures, which as sad as it sounds, I'm sort of proud of having caught up. however I have missed weeks, even months of seminars at this point in some modules and have not completed the readings for them. I have very little experience too in writing essay questions and exam conditions, because of how few formative works have been assigned to me. I also skipped the last formatives I was actually assigned, but this was a long time ago by now. I just never expected the year to go by so quickly.
I have about two months to turn things around. I am caught up on lectures. I am not caught up on seminars, I am terribly behind in readings. I can't write essay questions, and the couple I have done were scored in the 50s. problem questions are better, I have scored in the 60s in the few I have done. my exams will be closed-book. this is a huge concern for me. I don't now how I can catch up on work like the seminars while revising and memorising content. I also have been given such little guidance on academic writing. I don't know if it's worth trying to catch up on all the reading I have missed on seminars.
I really don't know what to do. my tutor is so unresponsive. I don't see use in even attending the few seminars I have left - there's about two weeks left. would really, really appreciate advice from someone who has been in this situation. I don't know if I can pass.
there's not many places to post, so sorry if this is the wrong place.
Hi there

I am sorry to hear that you have fallen behind on work, but is great to hear that you are trying to catch up. A Law degree can be quite demanding, I am currently a final year law student, and have often fallen behind on seminars and lectures as well. However, it is really important to keep going and stay motivated.

Scoring in the 50s and 60s right now it's not a bad position to be in considering you are only in your first year. However, I understand that you would like to improve your grades, which is a positive mindset to have. 😊I would recommend firstly focusing on the seminars that you are going to have in the future weeks, ensure you do these preparations fully, so you do not have to come back to them and catch up. For me it allows you to get more out of your seminars. However that is entirely up to you depending on how you work best.

When is your term break? I believe it should be starting fairly soon, meaning that you will not have further seminars to attend, and you can focus solely on revision and catching up. Making use of the term break can be key to catching up on missed seminars and lectures. I understand it is quite stressful, and i would recommend sitting down and creating a revision schedule. This will ensure that you are able to revise for all relevant topics before the exam. With a closed book exam, you can be quite strategic in planning which topics you will focus on more and which topics you will not go into as much detail.

I normally do this by looking at past papers, identifying common topics and themes. This will help narrow down your focus. In previous years, I have tried to revise for a lot of topics, which sometimes can be counterproductive, so decide how you want to revise before actually going through all of the seminar worksheets. You may find that you do not have to complete all the seminar readings, which may lessen your burden. Contrasted to coursework and assignments, exams are often marked more leniently, so it is a great chance to pull your grades up.

In terms of improving essay writing, reflecting on feedback is key as your module leaders can see previous feedback, they have given you. So always take on feedback and where this is unclear, e-mail and ask for an appointment to discuss this in more detail. Essay writing can be quite difficult, especially in first year. Perhaps you can ask for your seminar leaders advice on this, or ask for friends that have achieved well in the course for help.

Generally, I would structure my essays by giving an introduction which summarises my main argument and sets out exactly what order this essay will progress in. The analysis section of the essay involves a lot of independent research using case law, articles, and seminar readings. Make sure that you are considering both sides of an argument, an explaining why yours is the better position. My seminar leader advised me that in any essay, you should have an argument instead of sitting on the fence. You can probably find more guidance in your module’s handbook or marking criteria.

I hope this helps.
Chloe
University of Kent student Rep

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