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Tips for succeeding on a law conversion course

A law conversion course is the perfect option for those who haven’t studied law but are looking to forge a career in the legal world. Whilst a law conversion course can be challenging, it offers many rewards to you and your career. Below, we offer some tips on how to successfully navigate your course and get the best from your studies.  

By Grant Longstaff. Published 5 June 2024.

Understanding the law conversion course

The law conversion course, officially called the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL), is specifically designed for non-law graduates wishing to pursue a legal career. It’s a one year, full time course, and we offer the course both in person and online.

Overview and importance

The PGDL covers both the essential knowledge and fundamental skills you’ll need for working in the legal sector. During the course you’ll study key areas of the law and the English legal system, identified by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). These key areas also align with the Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) required for passing the  Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

Whilst studying law is no longer a requirement for taking the SQE, choosing to study a PGDL will make sure you’re in the best position possible to become a solicitor. That said, there are many careers in the legal profession, and the PGDL will leave you fully equipped to pursue your career, whatever role you choose.

Effective study techniques

You’ll have to cover a lot of material during your studies, so having a strategy in place can help when it comes to tackling your workload. Read on for our best law conversion course tips.

Active Learning and key resources

Active learning places you at the centre of your own learning. During your course you’ll begin to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and this can shape your studying. You’ll also need to consider how you learn and what techniques are most effective. One of the best ways to keep your learning fresh is to use a range of approaches. Reading, summarising, peer or group discussion, practice questions, mock exam papers, case studies, mooting – use whatever is at your disposal.

During your PGDL you’ll build a library of key resources, and it may include textbooks, case law, legal journals, lecturer documents, lecturer handouts and your personal notes and more. It might feel overwhelming at first, but creating your own system can help. Use coloured tabs, highlighter pens, use indexes to find key phrases and topics, explore appendices for additional content, listen to audiobooks and legal podcasts – – to learn on the go. Remember, you don’t need to read everything repeatedly. Design a system so you can read smarter, not harder.

Time management strategies

Balancing the demands of the PGDL with your personal life can be difficult, so effective time management for law students is essential.

Creating a study schedule and balancing life

Identifying your time, and your limits, is the first step to creating a study schedule. Use your modules to help build out a program. Consider what time of day is best and how long you’re realistically able to focus. It’s ok to build in a little flexibility too. There are times when important deadlines might come up or, conversely, there could be days when you have to forego your study plans.

Also, don’t forget the importance of breaks when you’re studying and revising. On top of breaks during your study it’s important you still make time for yourself. Exercise and rest are both helpful when it comes to your physical and mental health, mindfulness could improve your concentration, and socialising with friends or family can alleviate worries and help you unwind.

Building a strong legal foundation

Our PGDL is designed in a way that ensures you’ll build the strong legal foundation needed for your legal career. You’ll gain the necessary legal knowledge through modules on the English Legal System and Constitutional Law (including EU Law), Tort Law, Contract Law, Criminal Law, Administrative Law and Human Rights, and Land Law.

Focus on the key concepts and principles of these areas when it comes to your studies. Are there any leading cases? How have these cases changed or reshaped the law? What was the reason for these changes? The ability to not only understand, but critically analyse and reflect on the law is an essential skill to develop.

In addition to developing your knowledge, our students will also discover the key professional and personal attributes necessary for a career in the legal sector through the dedicated Skills and Behaviours module.

Overcoming common challenges

Studying is an ongoing part of your course and at times you could come up against challenges. Perhaps a revision technique is no longer working and you need to take a different approach, or you may need to review your study timetable after a couple of months. Don’t be afraid to try a new approach. Adaptability is a key component to your success.

There are times when we need help from others too. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and support on those things you’re finding particularly tricky. A lecturer could help break down a complex case in a few minutes, or a peer could help you understand a puzzling legal document or procedure. Law is a collaborative practise, so seeking help and supporting others is an essential part of your legal studies.

Preparing for exams

Preparing for an exam can be a daunting task, but there are some tried and tested methods to help you succeed.

Familiarise yourself with previous exam papers. This gives you an insight into the kinds of questions you’ll face. Practise answering the questions, ensuring you cover all necessary points to hone your ability to answer logically and concisely. Try working to a time limit. Recreating exam conditions can help you manage your time during an actual exam. Using past exams is also a great indicator of your progress and can help you identify areas you need to revise more thoroughly and spend more time on.

Everyone is different, so it’s essential to work out what works for you. Take a look at our advice for neurodiverse students, how to manage stress during exam season, and our study tips for law students. Ultimately, you’re more likely to stay motivated if you have a manageable study schedule, and it’ll avoid last minute, late night cramming and unnecessary worry.

There’s no denying the challenges you’ll face throughout your PGDL, however with the right strategies and mindset, you’re sure to succeed.

 

If you’re a graduate looking at a career in the legal profession one of our postgraduate law courses could be the perfect springboard for you.