Tips for surviving the GDL

Tips for surviving the GDL

In part two of our series to help you navigate your law school journey, former law student, Chandi Pandya gives you five top tips to help you survive the year of the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law).

For more tips, check out our surviving law school guide



Surviving the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law)

The GDL at times can appear particularly daunting especially when people like to remind you that you that its "like three years in one" – not helpful. Although the GDL is intense, these tips will help you stay level headed and navigate the year with ease:

1. Prepare for your tutorials

The better you prepare for your tutorials the more you can take away from them. This does not mean hours and hours of preparation but enough for you to be able to answer some questions as well as ask questions as this is the time to clear up any confusing areas!

First work out what kind of learner you are, do you find yourself remembering more material when you listen to it, rather than reading? Do you think systematically and find flow charts useful? Though this may seem ‘obvious’ it’s the best way to know how you can stay on top of your studies. Following this consolidate what you have learnt from your tutorials straight after the tutorial. Rereading over your notes and highlighting certain areas is huge help.

2. Keep the exams in mind from the beginning

Exams may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, however by making sure you nail down structures for certain problem questions as the more practice you get writing in the way the markers prefer the better. Getting to know the cases and where to put them comes in as part of this – you may want to make flow charts which you can easily memorise for exams.

Alongside this make sure to the consolidations. These can be a huge help, especially when deciding what topics within each module to do in the exams. Also if you don’t understand something these are a great way to make sure you do understand it sooner rather than later. Failing that make sure to email your tutors or catch them after tutorials – they are your primary resource so don’t forget to use them!

3. Persist with constitutional and administrative law

Though just a quick tip, this is one is important. You might be inclined to disregard this at first, however, despite constitutional and administrative law seeming difficult at first if you persist, the penny will drop.

4. Exercise can make you smarter

Readily available research has found correlations between healthy lifestyles/exercise and intelligence/academic performance. We aren’t suggesting a gym membership, however walking rather than getting the bus, regular breaks from studying and making sure to keep a healthy diet can all factor in to better academic performance. Why not tackle two birds with one stone and walk while listening to audiobooks, your self-dictated revision notes or a meditation session, for both mind and body stimulation.

5. The end is in sight

Remember, yes, this is a year of tough hard work, but it is a year to get the legal ball rolling and a great opportunity to meet other people all in the same boat as you. Not only will you be starting your legal career, but you will also form some great friendships!

For more tips, check out our surviving law school guide

*This article was originally published in September 2019.


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