Next month on Tuesday 1st August 2017 , just like has been the norm for the past few years, law graduates are going to sit the Law Development Centre pre-entry exam to be admitted for the Bar course at the Law Development Centre as per the Legal Notice No 17 of 2007 as amended by No 12 of 2010. Normally, only a quarter make it making the paper very adrenaline stirring.
Having had the privilege of passing the test last year, a number of friends have been reaching me, wondering what it really takes, and I decided to simply ink an article and share. Now from the onset, to be honest, I do not have any magic formula or I cannot claim to hold knowledge of some guaranteed trick on how to make it, but at least I know what I did, and this is what I’m sharing here though it is not, by any heaven shot, sacrosanct;
- Know the Basics.
I was forced into this by understanding who I am, and what were my limitations. First of all, while at law school, I had juggled school with student politics going up to the national level, meaning I did not have as much contact time with my lecturers and books as did my colleagues. Beyond this, I also knew that despite “reading” being my hobby, I struggle to read academic literature, as I find them boring. Therefore to overcome this, I ensured I master most importantly the basics of every tested course unit.
By basics I mean, I listed down all the topics under a given subject, (a reading list can help) then under those topics, looked for the general rules, their exceptions, then the ‘locus classicus’ cases under them while referring to statutes of course. I did what I call ‘Must knows’ in other words things that you cannot claim to have gone through law school or a class of that course unit if you do not know them. For example you cannot claim to have gone through a class of the law of Torts, specifically the topic of Negligence if you do not appreciate the case of M’ALISTER or DONOGHUE (Pauper) v. STEVENSON and the principles lying thereunder. On these ‘Must Knows’ my focus rested, going topic after topic.
Now of course it’s better, if you can, to attempt and know much more than the basics, but the knowledge should be cross cutting and systematic. But if you have challenges like mine, the method can do. Do not risk to leave out any basic even if you do not divulge all there is under it.
- Revise the past papers.
This is a trick which has never failed me throughout my education journey. In high school, through the university, I never read beyond the official reading hours yet my results were/have always been above average, first division, first grade in that league. Besides attending classes, my trick was in revising past papers. Rather than just read and get bored, I would get past papers, then seek for answers, the curiosity would keep me going. Suffice to say that there are many times when I would meet the very paper I revised set again as an exam. For some reason (not ruling out laziness of teachers and lecturers), the questions rarely change, maybe the phraseology but the principles tested are always the same. So I got LDC past papers and solutions to the questions then revised them extensively.
- Be fast but NEVER Rush.
Now we have entered the exam. Thanks to panic, too much confidence or nonchalance, common sense eludes us, we give obvious responses and lose the point. My dear friend, do not lose any mark to indifference or rushing. Even a single mark is too important to be lost, and the examiners are always tapping into your carelessness. Read through the question at least three times, try to interpret and comprehend it in various angles before answering. Questions are set as an aptitude test and therefore have a lot of trickery. For example what would be your answer to this question of 2013?
“In Uganda, the following is supreme: (circle the correct answer).
A. The Constitution.
B. The President.
C. The people.
D. The Supreme Court.
E. The commander in chief”
In the above question, many candidates would circle ‘A’ because throughout law school, the song is, the constitution is the supreme law of the land. What they would not realize is that in the instant question, we are not ranking laws, only. The answer to the above question lies in the first article of the Ugandan constitution. You should therefore watch out. I started with the last two sections of aptitude and values because from those I needed all the 20 points, then went to the first section and battled on. Why would you lose any mark on the values question (s)?
- Pray to ‘your’ God.
As is almost with everything, there is also an element of blessings and luck in these things. Whichever God you worship, pray to them for guidance. I prayed and asked my parents to pray for me too. (In Islam the prayer of a parent holds much) So do the same, make peace with the relevant people. If you don’t believe in God, then at least, understand that there is an element of chance and fate. Do not despair if you do not make it, keep throwing the nets whenever given chance.
With that, I want to wish you the best compatriots, see you at the Centre…