MCQ: Common mistakes to avoid

By Tobi Amoo.

 

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The Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) exams is part of the final bar examinations. It contributes 20% to your overall grading in each course. Basically, you will be required to answer multiple choice questions by selecting and shading the most appropriate answer.

You must however be careful to avoid some common mistakes that have been seen to re occur over the years. Here are some:

  1. No practice.

The student who excels in the MCQ is one who can achieve speed without sacrificing accuracy. The accuracy is a big one, however the speed can be practised and mastered.

You’ll be required to answer 100 multiple choice questions in 5 courses within an allotted time (60minutes; but prepare for 50). There will be scenarios to comprehend in order to answer the questions. There may also be registers which will involve selecting correct options to fit into an incomplete passage. Within the same period, you have to shade properly on the answer sheet. As you can see, the MCQ can be nicknamed ‘Need For Speed’.

The best way to overcome the challenge is to simulate the MCQ and practise for speed. Note that I did not say you should study the questions. No, please don’t gather past questions so as to predict likely questions. It won’t work!

Pick past MCQ papers; select a year; move to a place without distraction; put off (or put away) your phone; set an alarm (or countdown timer) for 60minutes (although 50 is better); note the time you start; START; if you finish before your alarm buzzes, that’s awesome, note the minutes you used; if the alarm buzzes while you’re still answering, stop yourself, note how many questions you still have to cover, practice again using other years till the alarm buzz no longer stops you; either you stop before the alarm buzzes or the alarm stops you, practise over and over till the exam day.

Please do not assume that you’re fast and you have speed in writing exams. It’s better to practise. And even if you are fast, you lose nothing in practice. Truth is you may be fast and all, but once in the exams hall, everything changes, time stops running and starts to fly. I had practised the MCQ so well that I was using about 35minutes to answer the 100 questions (oh yeah! 35), but in the hall I used the exact 60minutes we were given. As a matter of fact, as soon as I shaded the last box, the invigilators announced ‘Time Up’. So I wonder what would have happened if I had not practiced.

You still have to read your books though. Don’t use all the day practising only. Balance is key.

  1. Going late.

As clearly shown in no. 1, the time is not enough as it were, so you can’t afford to cut it short the more. I know you may be wondering how someone can go late for such important exams. But it does happen. Not because students sleep off or are nonchalant (although that can’t be ruled out) but because they want to read up some more or as they say “Make I just check one or two things. I dey come” and they end up going late.

A person who goes late has lesser time (i’m sure you know there’s no extra time) and is already unsettled from the start. So, ensure you’re punctual.

Also, make sure you know your exam hall before the exams day as it is another cause of lateness. A student who assumes he’s in Hall A only to arrive and discover he’s in Hall B which is on the other side of the campus, will end up arriving late. Don’t assume.

Then, in the event that you want to take a nap on the exams day, after your brain has been saturated from reading (which is not bad), please make sure you are not alone in the room and let your roommate(s) know so they can wake you up in case the nap becomes a celestial adventure.

  1. Using the wrong answer sheet.

Each candidate has an answer sheet with his/her exam no. printed on it. Normally, your answer sheet would have been placed on your desk before you enter the hall. However, you should ensure to cross-check and confirm that the number on the answer sheet on your desk is correctly yours before you start to shade.

You should also be careful not to soil or damage your answer sheet in anyway, as you can only have one and it is irreplaceable.

  1. Shading in the wrong order.

Be very careful and observant when you start shading. The order in which the courses are arranged in the question paper isn’t usually the same with the answer sheet. For instance, the Question paper may start with Criminal Law while the answer sheet may start with Property Law.

Confirm that you’re answering a course in the corresponding shading box on the answer sheet.

  1. Taking your answer sheet out of the hall.

At the end of the paper, you’ll be required to place your answer sheet on the desk, and leave the hall with your Question paper and exam no. printout slip. However, the sheet is very light, thin and may be a little sticky. So take extra caution to ensure that you do not mistakenly take the answer sheet out.

The implication of taking the answer sheet out and returning it for submission, is that it may have been ‘tampered’ with and therefore becomes ‘inadmissible’ in the court of the invigilators.

Hi, sorry we did not publish anything last week, even bloggers need to take a break !!! thanks for bearing with us. As usual please like and share the link, don’t copy and paste!!!

 

ON ETHICAL DILEMMA

By Tobi Amoo

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Hello folks. Hope you are having a great time in your Law office. Please ensure you are polite and show some form of responsibility in your office. Make sure you leave a good lasting impression there, for it maybe the first place you’ll come knocking for a job after your call to bar.

“…I am still a bit confused about what the ethical dilemma is about or how to tackle it. Please could you elaborate a bit further on it?”

The above is one of the similar mails I received with regards to the essay on ethical dilemma. So I will attempt to break it down. As you know, you are required to write two essays – one on law firm management and the other on an ethical dilemma.

The word ‘ethical’ refers to matters of (professional) ethics and rules, while the word ‘dilemma’ refers to a state of confusion or uncertainty as to what choice to make. Therefore, in simple terms, ethical dilemma is a state of uncertainty as to whether a choice will be ethically right or wrong.

The main purpose of the essay on ethical dilemma exercise is to test your knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the application of the Legal Professional Ethics, particularly the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) for Legal Practitioners (2007). In other words, can you apply the RPC to real life scenarios? Can you determine whether an act or omission by a legal practitioner is ethically right? And in the event that there is confusion as to what step to take, can your mastery of the RPC enable you guide the confused aright?

In your essay on ethical dilemma, there are only three basic contents you need to include, as follows:

  1. Introduction

Your name; Reg. No.; campus; and the title ‘An Ethical Dilemma’. All in bold letters.

  1. The Problem

Compose a story (or use a live event you witnessed during externship) that reveals an ethical issue or dilemma for a lawyer or a judicial officer. However, be sure that the problem you’re creating can be solved by one or more rules of the RPC.

Here are some examples:

♦⇔ An accountant who later proceeded to study Law and was subsequently called to the Bar. He wants to practice both Accountancy and Law at the same time.

♦⇔ A lawyer having been properly briefed by the client, refused to show up in court on the day the matter has been slated for, without writing to (or informing) the court.

♦⇔ A lawyer is manifestly rude to the Judge in court.

♦⇔ A lawyer wants to enter into partnership with a marketer who will source clients for him, in exchange for sharing the legal fees.

I hope the above examples have given you an idea. The point is, your facts or story should reveal an ethical problem (that has already occurred) or dilemma (that is about to occur). This is where you put your creativity on display.

However, to the Nollywood scriptwriters, please try not to make your story too complex. Also, avoid raising too many dilemmas, so that you can properly conclude.

  1. The solution

Here, you produce the necessary provision(s) of the RPC and then apply same to the problem you have created.

In the examples we gave above, the solution will be:

♦⇔ Rule 7(1), RPC. A person cannot practice Law and another profession at a time, except as permitted by the Council of Bar

♦⇔ Rules 14 and 16, RPC. A lawyer has a duty of diligence, dedication and commitment to his client’s cause, which involves going to court anytime the matter is slated.

♦⇔ Rule 36, RPC. A lawyer must be polite to the court.

♦⇔ Rule 53, RPC. Rule against sharing legal fees with non-lawyer. As well as Rule 39, RPC. Rule against touting for clients.

Once you have identified the necessary rule(s) and judicial authorities (if any), you will then comment on the ethical proprietary or otherwise of the said act or omission, and draw your conclusion.

Here you go! With the above three steps/contents, you have successfully prepared your essay on ethical dilemma.

Addendum:

On essay on Law Firm Management.

The purpose of this is to test your appreciation of the topic ‘Law Office Management’ in your Professional Ethics Course. To effectively prepare the essay, study the topic in your text/note and apply same to the law office where you’re observing your externship.

For instance, the topic says there are different organisations of law firms (e.g Sole Proprietorship, Partnership etc), so your essay should identify what organisation your office can be categorized into. Your essay should also describe your law office with regards to other areas of the topic such as Rooms in a law office; Number/Status of lawyers; Location of office; Office supplies, equipment and machinery; ICT in Law office etc.  

You may conclude the essay on law firm management by either commending the Law office and recommending that subsequent externs be posted there or by condemning the Law office and recommending that externs should no longer be posted there.

images (1)So, here, you have it! Your essays on ethical dilemma and Law office management.

Five False Myths About Bar Finals

By Tobi Amoo

First off, let me make some comments concerning the last post about the Portfolio Assessment.

One. Let me start by NOT THANKING you for your e-mails (I mean you can’t give an offer and not expect to be taken up on it?! LOL!). I received hundreds of e-mails (stopped counting after 200) but I tried to personally reply them all. It was a sacrifice but i’m glad I could help (You want to know how to pay me? Ace the bar finals). If I did not reply you, it was either inadvertently or your message was delivered into the spam folder. Please download and go through the Externship handbook (Click here) for more details on the essays, forms and presentations.

Two. SIMPLE INSTRUCTION!!! Understanding and following instructions is what sets the bright students apart from others. The instruction was simple: “…with the subject: Request For Portfolio Assessment” but a lot of you decided not to head your message while others used a variety of subjects. As your exams approach, note that instructions in the exams are key. It’s not only enough to get it, you must get it in accordance with the instructions.

Three. The posts remain the exclusive copyright of the publishing blog (ILEMONA) and it’s All Rights Reserved. Please refrain from doing ‘copy & paste’ and sharing on other platforms like whatsapp, BBM, Facebook. I know you all want to share it with your friends and group members which is cool but please kindly share the Web link with them. I have been directed to inform you that if the ‘copy & paste’ continues, they will pull the plug! So let’s cooperate. Thanks.

Now to the myths. I want to talk about some stories and doctrines making the waves about the bar finals that are not only false, but have no iota of truth in them. I wonder where some of them were generated from. So, in no particular order, meet the myths (pun intended :-D):

1. You must use different ink colours.

The myth is that you have to use the blue/black pen for your principles and drafts, use the red pen for judicial authorities, and use the green pen for statutory authorities.

Hello! You’re no longer in the university. Besides, the bar finals is not an art competition. If you choose to use them, by all means please go ahead. But it is only a matter of style. It has nothing to do with your marks at the bar finals. Provided your answers are legible enough and correct, you will earn your marks. If using different inks will slow you down, please stick to one. You can write your authorities in uppercase letters.

I know some of you will still doubt. So here’s my story, I used only a black pen throughout my exams! Yes you heard read right – principles, drafts, authorities – black pen only. I guess that settles it yeah.

However, please note to take extra pens along. You don’t want to be stranded if THE ONE starts messing up.

2. Negative marking

The myth is that negative marking is employed in grading the Multi-choice Questions (MCQ) exams, therefore if you don’t know it, leave it blank.

It’s totally false. You get marks for the ones you shade correctly and nothing more. Take your mind off that myth please. If you’re not sure it’s the right answer, shade it all the same. Don’t leave any blanks because you’re afraid they would deduct marks if you’re not correct.

Also, in the event that there’s an error in the options (No correct answer or there are two correct answers), please shade a box (or circle) all the same. Remember, bonus can only be awarded to candidates that answered.

3. No new questions can be formulated.

The next time someone tells you that the Law School has exhausted her questions and have no choice but to recycle Past Questions, go to your phone contacts and change his name to “Sorry“.

Don’t join those people that study past questions and do permutations and predictions. It’s a recipe for failure.

The examiners are way more creative than you think. Let me give you a perspective. You remember all those little class tasks and assignments you did? Or those questions the lecturer asked that turned the class to a legislative debate on the floor of the National Assembly? Most of them were formed in class! Yes, improvised and spontaneous. So imagine what they can do if given time to properly set questions.

If you try to predict questions by looking at topics that were not tested in the last exams, you’re heading the wrong way. It won’t work. Just study your books, and cover all areas.

4. Lagos campus students always do better.

Shout out to my friend Kenneth Okwor (of Lagos campus) who not only had a First Class but was the best graduating student and also set record with the highest number of prizes won by an individual (Ten!). But I strongly believe it’s a product of his personal academic excellence and not campus location.

In that same set, out of 976 candidates who sat for the exams at Lagos campus, 176 failed and 37 had a Conditional Pass (roughly 22%).

So, Dear Lagos students, I hear you’ve been bragging all around saying Lagos students don’t fail. Please take a chill pill and prepare well for the exams, because in the marking hall you (and your script) are On Your Own- O.Y.O! 

Dear others, please stop the pity party, regretting why you were not in Lagos campus. You can excel from any campus. It’s one Nigerian Law School remember.

As a matter of fact, history tells us Lagos used to produce one of the poorest results before. Anyways, that’s history.

Point is, your result is personal. Forget about the myth. It’s false. You can have a First Class (or 2:1) from any of the campuses.

5. You can’t cover the syllabus

100 topics! 2000+ authorities! Bla bla bla. You may have seen the picture displaying those statistics. Did it scare you? Oh! No, it shouldn’t.

Yes, the course content is wide, but it can be covered (more than once). You’re not required to read all in one day or week after all.

The most ridiculous part of the myth claims that the people that ‘manage to’ achieve the feat of covering the syllabus do not sleep! Maybe they even told you they neither brush their teeth nor have their bathe. I think they should also add that they do not eat. It will make perfect sense.

Serious talk though, you can cover the syllabus both intensively and extensively. How do you overcome this myth? Look at the time you have before you, compare it with the volume you intend to cover, and draw a study schedule that will enable you cover the volume within the said period. For instance, you want to cover 10 topics in 2 weeks. You can schedule 1 topic per weekday (10 week days in 2 weeks) and use the weekends to rest and work on past questions. However, note that drawing the schedule is not as important as having the discipline to stick to it.

The truth is many of you haven’t covered much because you’re not disciplined enough! Leave those distractions for now: Bellanaija, Linda Ikeji, Diary of Jenifa (or is it Jenifa’s Diary now), Youtube, Facebook, Snapchat, Keeping up with the Kardashians (keep up with your books please), Instagram, movies, video games, regular hangout with friends (who are not preparing for any exams) and other kinds of distraction you know. They will still be there after the exams.

Discipline yourself to silence or switch off your phone when you want to study. Tell them at home you don’t want to be disturbed for the next couple of hours. Discipline your mind to stop wandering all over (you can travel all over the world later), and you’ll be surprised at how fast you will move, and ultimately cover the syllabus.

Now that you know the truth, there is no stopping you. You can ace the exams. All the best!

Hey, we know y’all are grateful for this editions and want to share with your friends. And of course, we are glad you are doing that. But please use the share buttons below or share the link only with your friends. Please do not copy the post and share. Thank you. We still love each other, right ♥♥♥?

How to overcome the fear of Barphobia

Barphobia -the fear of bar finals

By Tobi Amoo.

This article is only for a set of people. If you’re not concerned you may not bother reading. This is for those who are scared out of their wits about bar finals; those that have given up or about to give up on the bar final exams. So if you’re very confident about your preparation and capability to ace the bar finals, you may exit your browser now.

Let me lay a very important foundation here: There is no person who has gone through the NLS that was never scared at one point or the other. Just ask around. So if you’re scared, you’re not weird. But you can overcome it!

Here are some tips I believe will help you win the war against that monster called ‘Fear’.

  1. Be interested

I know some of you were coerced, pressurized or enticed to study Law. I know some of you can’t wait to finish Law school and do something ‘more meaningful’ with your life. But let’s forget all that for now please. The fact is you’re here already and what is worth doing, is worth doing excellently.

If you want to overcome the fear, you’ve got love reading the texts. Don’t make reading a chore. Making learning fun so in the the process it doesn’t look difficult. For guys, you know how you read up on the football leagues, the rankings, transfers, managers/coaches and all. How you keenly follow Goals.com and know everything happening in the English and European leagues. For ladies, you know how you follow up on channel E and the kardashians or for some others Bellanaija.com.

I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the drift. Can you analyse Interlocutory injunctions like you would the English league? Do you know Corporate Law procedures like you know all the members of the Kardashian family and how many times they’ve divorced and re-married?

In short, develop interest for the course outline and you will no longer fear it.

  1. Use the elevator over and over again.

Okay that’s only a metaphor. You know how you were scared the first time you entered an elevator. How your heart was beating faster than a jet. And then the second time, you were still scared but not like the first. Then the more times you used it, the less you got scared.

If you’re scared of (or having issues with) a topic, read it again and again and again. If you scared of (or having issues with) a draft, practice it again and again and again.

The more you have contact with it, the more it gets de-mystified. Surround yourself with Law school stuffs – notes, texts, drafts, pasts questions and all. The trick is that your body will get more relaxed around them.

  1. Run Flee from negative people.

If you have reading pals or roommates who are always talking about how impossible it is to have a First Class or how miraculous it is to ‘just have a pass and go’, please flee from them. Honestly, these people will sap your energy. Avoid having such conversations with them.

They tell you stories of people that ‘read for Africa’ and still failed but they won’t talk about guys that ‘read for Nigeria’ and had a 1st or a 2:1. They tell you nobody can learn all the RPC rules and all those fable tales.

I don’t blame them actually, because they most likely have been infected by some other negative people either from previous sets or otherwise. But if your friend (even your brother) has a flu, you don’t have a duty to contact same from the person. So, run…no FLEE from them.

  1. The end justifies the means

The most important thing is that you deliver in the exams hall. Don’t let anybody despise your study method.

Whether you have to sing it like a nursery rhyme or you have to write it over and over again. Whether you have to learn it in bits or you have to explain the principle to yourself in your local language. Whether you have to highlight your text like a lady applying eye shadow pencil or you have to learn it in a systematic way. Once it works for you, that’s all that matters.

Don’t allow somebody tell you that’s not a good way to work. By the way, Excuse me! That person hasn’t passed the bar finals yet. So if he has another method. Fine. But he can’t breathe it down your throat.

In short, be comfortable with your style.

  1. Talk to lawyers

They were once in Law school. They had the fears you have (some even worse). Talk to them about your fears. They will encourage you and share their testimonies with you. They can also help with any principles you are having issues with.

However, if you come in contact with a lawyer that tells you it’s very okay to ‘just have a PASS and go’ please apply no. 3 above.

  1. Look around. Look everywhere.

All over the nooks and crannies of this country, from North to south and from East to West, there are lawyers everywhere. Lawyers that passed through the same Nigerian Law School (there’s only one in Nigeria).

If everyone of them could pass, then why not you?

To the best of my knowledge, there is no Law school set that has ever recorded as much as a 50% fail record. In other words, in every set, at least half (and usually more) always record a pass degree (1st, 2:1, 2:2, Pass). So if you’re scared, just look around – from your village, neighborhood, church, family et al – all the lawyers you see and tell yourself “If they could pass, I can too”.

Look at people that went through Law school in more difficult circumstances (married women, pregnant woman, aged people, business men et al) and still passed. Let that encourage you.

Don’t look at people that failed. Look at folks that passed.

  1. Pray

This is res ipsa. I need not say more on it. PRAY!

I believe you can make it. Yes YOU! You can ace the exams.

(Additional notes by ayo)

  1. Please and please read very well during this externship (at least try and cover the 14 weeks previously taught) trust me it will go a long way, devote at least 4 hours a day. failure to do that will leave you overwhelmed during the third term in school.
  2. Also play a little, all work and no play they say makes jack a dull boy, however in law school it will make Jack go mad.
  3. Know yourself and your strengths, just because Tamedu  reads 24 hours per day does not mean you have that grace, don’t deceive yourself.
  4. Don’t let those ‘i too know’ intimidate you, most of the time you know more.
  5. Rest, Sleep and eat it will help you in the end.

One more thing before i forget, attend revision classes its very very IMPORTANT it will help you know how to answer questions, don’t mind those that skip it and view it as a complete waste of time.

 Authors Note: in case you didn’t know or you were wondering what gives him the right to dole out advice; Tobi Amoo graduated with a first class in the Nigerian Law School in 2015. Yup! that certifies him, don’t you think ?

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