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!!!

 

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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 ♥♥♥?

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT

By Tobi Amoo

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Hello guys, I learn’t you’ll be concluding your court attachment this week. How time flies yeah! It’s countdown to your return to school, and you SHOULD start thinking about your portfolio assessment.

The portfolio assessment is an integral part of the training and examination of students at the NLS. Although it does not contribute to your grades at the bar finals, however you must score a minimum of 70% in the assessment for you to be called to the bar. In other words, if you do not meet up or failed to attend the assessment, even if you scored a First class at the exams, you would have to repeat the externship programme and wait to be called the next year. Most of you are being called ‘barrister‘ ‘the law‘ already, so I’m sure that’s not an option for you. You must therefore take the portfolio assessment very seriously.

While the portfolio consists of essays on ethical dilemma/law firm management; confidential report and Power point presentation, the following commandments will focus more on the power point.

1. Thou shall not write what you know nothing about. 

It’s not unusual for you to start calling your seniors to request for their power point slides. However, it should be a guide and template, not to be copied word for word. So if you’re using someone else’s slides, don’t copy slavishly as the panel may quiz you on any area of your slides.

Particularly the ‘skills learnt’ slide, don’t include a skill you know nothing about. For instance, if you don’t know how to move a motion (and you SHOULD!), don’t insert “I learnt how to move a motion” in your slides.

2. Thou shall not use an uncommon font.

Although some campuses allow you to bring your laptop computer and connect to the projector, majority of the campuses only require you to bring a flash drive containing your power point presentation to be inserted into a provided computer system. I know some of you are graphic artists, calligraphers, special effect gurus and all, but please keep the fonts simple and popular. The danger of using uncommon fonts in your slides is that they (the fonts) may not be installed on the provided computer system, hence converting your slides to Chinese.

Also, be careful with your font colours and backgrounds. Use black font on white background. You may also use white font on a dark background. Avoid font colours like yellow, orange, green et al.

Your fonts should also be legible in size. Don’t make the panel strain their eyes to read.

3. Thou shall not prepare a sermon

It is a brief power point presentation and not your final year thesis. Be as brief and concise as possible. You may adumbrate with your mouth if you choose (and you’re given the opportunity) but only key points should be in your slides. No stories or essays please. They’re called bullet points for a reason.

Your power point presentation should not exceed 16 slides, including the title slide and the ‘thank you‘ slide.

4. Thou shall practise with your slides.

After you have prepared and perfected your power point presentation, begin to practise with it. Don’t wait for the D-day. Familiarize yourself with the contents and slides, such that if the panel asks for a particular slide, you can produce it immediately.

Rehearse the presentation in front of your mirror or a friend, and work on areas of improvements. Make sure you can answer any question(s) that may arise from your slides.

5. Thou shall be computer literate.

If someone is preparing the power point slides for you, you’re not helping yourself. In fact, it defeats the purpose of the exercise.

If you’re not computer literate, it’s not a sin (wait a minute! In 2016?! It sure is a sin.) but please get yourself tutored. Learn the rudiments. How to plug in and eject your flashdrive. What a USB port is. How to open folders and files on the system. How to make your power point full-screen and how to activate the slideshow.

Please, challenge yourself to prepare the slides by yourself. You will be better for it.

6. Thou shall not use a virus infected flashdrive.

I’m sure you know how Law school is tough on schedule. They hardly reschedule students for portfolio assessment. You don’t want to be the one that infected the school’s computer with virus. You also don’t want to open your flash drive in front of the panel to see files-turned-shortcuts because of virus.

Take precautions to ensure your file is properly saved on the flash drive, and the flash drive is virus free. I would also suggest you borrow a friend’s flash drive, save your presentation on it too and take it along as backup.

7. Thou shall not miss your scheduled time.

Each student will be scheduled by date, time and venue and the schedule will be published for everyone. Make sure you note your date, time and before which panel you’re appearing.

Except for health reasons (for which you must call your mentor or SRC President ASAP) please don’t miss your scheduled time. If you miss it, not that you may not be rescheduled, but it will cost you precious time going from office to office to plead for reschedule.

8. Thou shall dress well

The shortest way to say this is to say: dress like you would for the dinner.

Gentlemen, wear your black suits please.

9. Thou shall bring along all required documents

This is the reason why it’s called a portfolio. Your portfolio should have your court and law firm log books; your essays on ethical dilemma and law firm management; your assessment of court and law firm; and a confidential report to be filled by your law firm. Make sure to go for the presentation with all of them for submission. They have their marks too.

Importantly, please note that the confidential report by your law firm must be SEALED. It’s natural for you to be curious about how you were accesses by your law firm but if it was given to you sealed, please DO NOT unseal it, as it may be rejected. If your law firm gives you the report unsealed, please make sure to seal it before returning to school.

10. Thou shall be bold

The panel consists of two members – 1 NLS lecturer and 1 independent (private practitioner) member. They will throw questions at you from both your slides and all areas of law.

Be calm and be bold. Even when you don’t know the answer, show confidence. Note that I did not say ‘arrogance’. Be polite but be bold.

Make sure you don’t allow yourself to be unnecessary ruffled. It’s not unusual to see students breakdown in tears especially when they cannot answer the questions thrown at them.

I will be willing to share my essays and slides as template. If you need, write me at iamtobiamoo@gmail.com with the subjectRequest for Portfolio Assessment Template“.

Also, if you have question(s) you want me to address on this blog, send it to my e-mail address above.

hey guys, I’m sure you are wondering if Tobi Amoo has taken over the blog or whether Ilemona is strictly for Nigerian Law School Students. NO, and NOPE! Ilemona is “randomly random” (yea, you can roll your eyes at that), and it’s why we are featuring these special editions for the Law School Students. And don’t you worry, for those who think Law is boring (seriously, where are you from ø_ø?)keep watching this space something is coming soon.For the Law School Students, if you missed the former editions click here and hereDON’T FORGET TO SHARE, YOU JUST MIGHT BE HELPING SOMEONE WHO WILL SAVE YOUR BUTT IN THE NEAREST FUTURE.