How to Pass Bar Finals and Navigate Study Life in The Nigerian Law School Generally – Mayowa Adegoke


I hardly write articles, but today, in a pretty interesting twist for me, I’ve decided to write one… and not just any article, but a fairly personal article.

Usually, authors on this topic write from the angle of what you should do to succeed at the Nigerian Law School (NLS). I would, however, approach this from the angle of what you should not do. Also, every point I cover in this article would be from my personal, fresh experience. Let’s get started.

1. Overworking yourself

Ask any graduate of NLS of how bar finals was, and one of the first things you’d hear is: “Bar finals? Bayo, that exam hard die. I’ve never read for any exam like that in my life”. At that point, even Bayo who tops his/her class semester-in semester-out starts to get scared of if he would even pass well not to talk of topping the class again at NLS.

Luckily (I guess) for me, I didn’t ask anybody such question, so I went into NLS with the same confidence I started and had throughout university even when at regular intervals, it looked like one widely-dreaded course would give me my first carryover in uni.

I’m done with NLS now and looking back, I would strongly advise that you take things easy. It’s very difficult to stick to reading 3 hours a day when people around you read 5, 6, 7 hours daily, but resist the temptation. Passing bar finals or even knowing the law at all is not by the number of hours put in. It’s by you figuring out what you really need to know, how many hours your brain can actually work with, and what you get out of those hours you put in daily.

2. Going spiritual

As kinda weird as it sounds, some people I know became overly spiritual, to pass the exam. This thing is just like football. Going on 100 days dry fasting would not make Arsenal beat Liver(or VAR)pool not to talk of winning EPL as it stands now. And the bigger problem is the possible devastating effect on your trust in God when results are out, and it doesn’t turn out as you expect.

Be as spiritual as you have normally been before the exam. It’d save you a lot of ‘post-results trauma’.

3. Over-confidence

Not even sure if this is a piece of advice I should give because all (now ex) law students I know always say they’ve not read until you find yourself in exam hall still in page 4 of the answer sheet while they’re collecting extra sheets.

That said, if you tend to get too confident especially after you’ve covered the textbooks back-to-back to the point that you know what pages topics in the textbook can be found, cut it off now. Continually remain calm… at least till the results are out.

Always be confident. That’s why you’re a lawyer. But never be over-confident. Bar final results are very unpredictable.

4. Believing you must know-it-all

Long and short, even if reading na your hobby normally, NLS go use book tire you.

On any subject, there are tons of textbooks and materials, many of which are ridden with irrelevant and sometimes even wrong or outdated info.

Try hard to focus on the right amount of resources you really need to be familiar with and that your brain can handle without getting overloaded mixing even basic things up. Funny thing is: my bar finals’ questions, for instance, focused on just very specific topics, so someone who read & had strong knowledge in those specific topics had even more chance of acing the exam over you that had an idea of all the topics in the syllabus.

Thus, for the exams, be sure to define what you need to read and avoid the temptation of reading far and beyond what’s needed.

There are a lot more things to talk about, but I’d stop this article here, so it doesn’t get lengthier than it already is.

In the end, luck plays a huge role in whichever way bar finals turn out. While it’s a little hard to stomach getting less than you worked hard for, always remember that (provided you have realistically assessed yourself to know your strengths) whatever your results turn out to be doesn’t define you/your abilities. Don’t also try to convince yourself that “the top lawyers in Nigeria didn’t have a First Class”, rather, put your result aside, work hard and smart to get to the top of the legal food chain.

Wish you all the best.

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