Understanding how every single AOS links together and how to answer questions spanning multiple dot points
VCAA LOVES to mash up 4 dot points from 2 different Areas of Study and give us a painful painful question. It’s not seen just in Legal but in a lot of content heavy subjects. Here are some examples from the past few years.
VCAA 2019 Exam
Here you could talk about express rights, referendums, the High Court and also Parliament’s ability to create law!!
Here they require you to combine your knowledge of the Civil Justice System with the division of powers, literally spanning across both the Units in a very short question.
The reason they do this is not to make your life harder, but to truly gauge whether you have engaged with the content and have the ability to analyse situations that require you to think about multiple dot points at once. Essentially, they are trying their best to catch out people who memorise answers. So that being said, do not memorise answers. Please. Instead, memorise the content from your notes. Once you have the basic knowledge in your head, it will be a lot easier to combine knowledge because you truly understand each and every piece separately.
Another way to get the hang of these questions is lots and lots of practice. Actually, attempt doing them yourself, start off with looking at your notes and then move on to doing them closed book and timed. Remember, there is no shame in looking at your notes, in fact it does help you form better answers because it allows you to look at details and write them down. The more details you actually incorporate into your answers, the more likely you are to remember them.
Mind maps, another amazing way to be able to link different dot points together. Start off with a key word, for example: VCAT and see how many different things you can relate it to. For everything in unit 3, and I truly mean everything, try and link it to Principles of Justice. It is very likely that you will be asked to link something to the POJ’s and so this activity will truly help you. Here is an example of a mind map for VCAT:
That’s everything I’ve got for today! Remember you do have to understand everything individually and in separate pieces before combining everything in an answer. Also don’t shy away from bringing in different dot points, even if the question doesn’t specifically ask for it. I’m not telling you to bring up completely irrelevant things (that would not be good at all!!), but if you find yourself thinking hey! Maybe I can discuss political pressures as well as the role of VLRC in this question that’s just asking about how the public can influence law reform, then for sure go ahead and do that!! For broad questions, I think they are looking for how you understand everything and then tie it all together in a nice little answer.
Read the examination report to get a clearer idea of what the examiners are looking for and what they expect of you!!
Good luck!! I hope all you’re staying on track with all of your work, and if you’re not don’t worry!! You’ve still got plenty of time to get everything in order
Have a question?
In the final weeks before exams Risha will be hosting 2 Live Q&A sessions to help everyone get fully prepared for exams. If you have a question on how to best get prepared, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content, then send it through here, and Risha might answer it live!