Looking to successfully complete your Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course? The GDL course, formerly known as the Common Professional Examination, is designed for non-law graduates who would like to become a barrister or solicitor.
Many students beginning this course have no prior legal knowledge and are successful in completing this postgraduate degree. The degree has been designed to give you a foundation of legal knowledge as well as the confidence to exhibit law theory through application. Consider the following tips when starting your GDL course.
1. Form a foundation of legal knowledge
The postgraduate GDL law course is intended for students who may not have any previous legal training. The course is intended to give you the support and training you need so that you graduate with a strong background of legal knowledge.
A main part of this course is developing a framework of legal information. The modules taught during this course focus on the following subjects of law:
• Equity and Trusts
• European Union
• Public, and
You must develop an understanding in all these areas so you are able to move on to the applications of your learning.
2. Prepare for classroom lectures
Learning throughout the GDL course takes preparation. To gain the most out of your classroom experience, it is useful to prepare for classroom lectures. After leaving lectures, you will have more insight and materials to further your studies.
• Complete assignments and reading for your module
• Review notes and classroom materials
• Ask your instructor any law questions you have
• Focus on what you will be learning next
• Concentrate on the subject matter by listening, asking questions and discussing the topic with fellow GDL law students
• Take meaningful notes; decide on what to write down and what to leave out
• Create a list of study objectives for assignments and understanding difficult material
3. Learn with others
The best way to comprehend complex legal during your subjects and GDL course is by discussing them with your peers. Consider forming a weekly study group where you can go over legal topics together. Also, hearing yourself discuss concepts will help you remember classroom theory.
If you do create a GDL course study group, it is helpful to determine a process and schedule for the group. For example, determine where you will meet each week, learning objectives as well as certain questions you would like to answer throughout your meeting.
Try to assemble a group of peers with varying backgrounds, commitment towards the course and finally shared responsibility in terms of study discussion.
4. Practice what you learn
Although the Graduate Diploma in Law course is heavily weighted in theory, the remainder of the course focuses on application methods. If you are looking to become a solicitor or barrister, you need to put your learning to practice. This will only build your confidence further, so that you will have no trouble starting work once you join a firm.
Most courses will provide you with the opportunity to practice through mooting, debating and pro-bono work. For example, at Kaplan Law School in the UK, students are encouraged to enhance their learning through a legal advice centre. They are given the opportunity to give legal advice to members of the public.
Also, training providers often offer mock courtrooms for students to put their legal training into practice.
5. Use online learning resources
Universities will often supplement your learning with online materials and resources. These will help you revise for exams as well as better comprehend challenging subject material.
Online examinations are a great resource for students. Taking mock exams throughout your course will allow you to track your progress and identify weaknesses in GDL course content. You can also save your responses and make a print-out of them for future reference.
6. Conduct an independent project
Finally, you find you will be most successful in your GDL course study through an independent project or dissertation. This will give you the opportunity to focus on an area you are passionate about and challenge yourself academically.
Many schools offer the GDL law course will encourage you to conduct a legal research project. Such projects will focus within and outside of the curriculum subjects, to ensure you receive a comprehensive foundation of law training.
You will often find that through your independent project you will discover a job opportunity or area that you would like to specialise in professionally.