#MyBarFinalsTestimony is brought to you by the MCQ APP in conjunction with Ekaete Hunter.
Name: Kadiri Ayodele Ashiata
Campus: Abuja Campus (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students; Sir Adetokunbo Ademola K.B.E, G.C.O.N Prize for the Best Student of the Year; Dr Taslim Elias G.C.O.N Prize for the Best Student of the Year; Justice Atanda Fatayi-Williams, G.C.O.N Prize for the Best Student of the Year; Nigerian Bar Association Prize for the Best Female Student; Council of Legal Education Star Prize Winner of the Year; National Association of Women Judges Prize for the Best Female Student of the Year; Justice Kayode Esho, C.F.R, 1st Prize in Professional Ethics and Skills; Prince Bola Ajibola, C.F.R., K.B.E, SAN Third Prize in Civil Litigation; the Stephenson Harwood Prize (6 weeks internship) for the Best Graduating Student; The Boinime Jackson Lott Foundation Prize for the Best Over-all Female Student of the Year.
University: University of Lagos (Second Class Upper)
About: Ayodele is a lawyer and a writer. She loves reading and meeting new people. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
First and foremost, I would like to say that I take no credit for my outstanding performance in the Nigerian Law School. That is the undiluted truth. God did it all. He singlehandedly made it happen. However, I would just briefly explain what my routine/strategy (or whatever you would like to call it) was like. I would be borrowing heavily from an article that had been written earlier by Ekaete Hunter and Seyi Mafolabomi. You can read that here.
Here it goes:
- There is nothing to be afraid of
It took me a while to discover this. I was really really scared – I didn’t find my rhythm early enough, I was seriously sleeping in class, I had not even completed my first reading when some other people were on the third, my notes were taking forever to come together, and I was easily frustrated. Nothing was making sense. Very early during the externship, I read King Hezekiah’s story – Isaiah 35 to 37, and I found myself in tears in the place of prayer asking God to help me deal with my fears. And God heard me. I drew inspiration from Daniel – whom God gave wisdom to interpret a dream he didn’t even know. I learned to trust God, believe in myself, enjoy the companionship of those around me, and also remain optimistic even if I wasn’t able to finish my drafts, even if I was forgetting my principles, or I didn’t score too well in my private practice of the MCQs.
- Know thyself
Oh, this is very tricky. I found myself changing my schedule and styles from time to time. It was at the middle of the second term that I found a steady routine. I am also a note making person. This takes time. I learnt to read while making my notes. My note making strategy was to make my notes so comprehensive that I didn’t need to revisit my texts or statutes anymore. I read while making notes, using my words instead of copying verbatim from the textbooks, puttting my principles in red ink, making tables and checklists, and even included some drafts, included important sections and even reported some of the cases as well. It took a lot of my time, but it was a worthy risk. When I found that this made learning easy for me, I stuck to it even though other people were on their third or fourth reading and I was still making notes. Once I discovered that I was a vegetable at night, I guarded my afternoons jealously. I made myself scarce in the afternoons, so I didn’t have to hate myself the next day if I slept early the night before. So, know yourself. You will meet really smart people – they reel off sections at will, they make really interesting arguments, and always have better ideas about certain principles. Don’t be intimidated. You only have to impress the examiner. If engaging in class makes you learn better, then by all means, take the microphone. If group discussions help you recall things easily, please go ahead.
- Hit the Ground Running
I wanted to say, ‘start from day one’, but seeing as this is a few weeks from the MCQs, I would just say ‘be diligent’. This is really not the time to procrastinate. These remaining weeks, I tell you, can make a whole lot of difference. Focus. I drew up a time table for my twelve weeks externship – two weeks for miscellaneous, two topics per week for the remaining ten based on our timetable in school, and past questions and drafts during the weekends. I would say I had a 65% adherence rate. I am being kind to myself here. Okay, 50%. The bottom line is just try your best. Do everything that you are able to. Take good care of yourself too. Eat when you should, sleep when you should, rest when you are tired. If you have a medical condition, use your medications when you should. A lawyer told me during externship to use anti-malaria and take multivitamins when I got back to school. You really do not want to break down a few days to the exam.
- Friends and Association
If there was anyone who gave my life some direction back at NLS, it was God. I gave my life to Christ many years back, but in 2016 I found myself responding to God in a different way. I found myself wanting to know God more. And this affected my attitude to my work. It was an epiphany – honestly. God just orchestrated everything – wonderful friends, the CLASFON family, supportive lecturers, amazing court attachment, and a relaxing chamber attachment. Everything fell into place – the support from all corners. There were a couple of times strangers would take in my white and black uniform in the chamber building and ask, ‘law school’, and when I replied in the positive. They will be like, ‘don’t worry, it is not difficult.’
Interestingly, CLASFON on Abuja campus had a corporate goal of producing five first classes and 200 2.1. Since my friends were also Clasfonites, we all encouraged each other, prayed, laughed, and cried together. There was always a constant reminder that there was a goal to achieve. It was a family affair. So whom are you surrounding yourself with? And what are you to others around you?
If I knew a secret formula or some magic potion or some other special activities that will help you finish with a first class or pass law school, I would tell you in heartbeat. The truth is there are no hard and fast rules. And honestly, right up until I saw my result, I had already accepted a 2.1. In fact after checking my result, I refused to reload the page. I saved the page on my system just in case law school would come back and tell me there was a mistake. What I would add here is ask you to give yourself a little credit.
Finally, I together with Dare Onakoya and Precious Ivongbe (both of whom finished with first classes) worked on providing the questions and answers on the MCQ APP. What we have done is to provide you with a much wider range of practice questions for your MCQs with technological advancement. The App is super cool – you can track your performance, which if you ask me can be a confidence booster; you get to pick as many questions you want to answer and the time frame in which you want to answer it, that’s flexibility; and the questions and answers are offline, that’s unlimited access. The key to easy MCQs is speed and accuracy. I had practiced my MCQ under exam conditions with shading sheets and pencils and I was able to finish comfortably in forty minutes during my private practice. During the exams proper, I wasn’t overly frazzled or anxious. You can get the MCQ APP from the Google Play Store.
I wish you all the best!!!