Legal Studies is probably one of the most content-heavy HSC subjects. It is also one of the most interesting subjects which encourages you to think critically about Australia’s Legal System. Below are a couple of tips which from my experience, helped me to achieve a high Band 6 in the HSC.
- Access the syllabus – there are four topics in Legal Studies in Year 12 including Crime, Human Rights and your two options (which are selected by your school). Make sure that you have a copy of the syllabus for all four topics as this is your cheatsheet of everything you need to know, as well as ALL the possible questions that may be asked in your exams. You should also be writing your notes using your syllabus as a guide.
- Themes and Challenges – often students disregard the beginning section of the syllabus – the ‘Themes and Challenges’. Make sure that you are always referring back to these as they are incorporated all throughout the entire Legal Studies course content. The ‘Themes and Challenges’ slightly vary for each topic but are mostly the same. One ‘Theme and Challenge’ dot point may be a long essay exam question in itself, so it’s so important to be aware and know all aspects of your syllabus very well.
- Possible essay questions that can be asked – in your HSC Legal Studies exam, essay writing makes up 65% of your total mark (15 mark essay for Crime, and two 25-mark essays for options). Therefore, you should ideally shift your focus to preparing for essay writing and dedicate most of your time collecting and gathering information for these extended responses. But firstly, you should be aware of what sorts of questions can be asked. For essays, any directive terms in the ‘Students Learn to’ column of the syllabus that is ‘analyse’, ‘describe’, ‘evaluate’ and ‘assess’ are possible questions that you may see in your exam. Syllabus dot points which has higher order terms (as aforementioned) directs you to go into a great level of detail and depth, therefore there may be possible questions in your exam. As such, you should focus your time and attention on these dot-points and pre-plan and practice writing responses beforehand if possible.
- LCMIs – underpinning this subject is the acronym ‘LCMIs’ which refers to legislation, case law, media and international instruments. Documents are also useful to know. To do well in legal studies, you always need to refer back and think about LCMIs – these are used as evidence or examples to support your reasoning/thoughts in your writing. Markers constantly look for whether you have effectively integrated a wide range of LCMIs into your work. Therefore, throughout the entire Legal Studies course, you should keep track and compile lots and lots of LCMIs. When you see any relevant media articles on social media, make sure to save them! Also try to keep up to date with the News as this may also help you build on your LCMIs. Additionally, you may be caught up in trying to memorise certain titles of legislation or media articles – try to stay consistent and continuously revise over your notes so that you don’t spend the last minute cramming random titles and names into your brain!
- Practice!! – there are so many past papers out there (trial papers, HSC papers, and from other schools). A quick google search can lead you to so many questions that you can practice. You should spend lots of time practicing writing essays to a whole wide range of questions – for me, the most effective way was not writing full essays but writing essay plans (listing out my main ideas and arguments, structuring my essay, identifying and naming relevant LCMIs and drawing links back to the question).