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How to try to prepare for the Attorneys Admission Oral Exams


You recently got your attorneys admission exam results back. If you received between 40-49%, you most likely have an oral exam scheduled in the next week or so. If this is your first time doing an oral exam, you may be concerned about how to prepare. We try to address these questions below, however, as it is an oral exam, you should be prepared to expect anything, as there is no rule as to how the orals are held or what could be asked. They are normal exam conditions except done orally.


Questions commonly asked


The following are the most common questions we get about the oral exams (and please note: we are not affiliated with any organisation - these are our views only therefore do not take it as the rule!):


What will I be asked in the oral exam?

Honestly- there is no set answer to this. The point is, you need to practice, practice and practice your theory and go over your exam in detail to try and see where you went wrong. You may also be asked other areas in the exam so make sure you go through all your study notes which you prepared prior to the exam. Bear in mind- you can be asked anything which would normally be examinable in the exam. This means you could be asked things which were not in your exam paper (it is normal exam conditions, except done orally). If you've forgotten what areas are examinable, look at the syllabus.


How can I prepare for the oral exam?

As above, go through your paper thoroughly and try to find where you went wrong. Of importance, make sure you read the legislation of source for all your study material! As we always say in our prep classes, when a judge examines a case, legislation is the first thing consulted when dealing with a matter, then case law, then material such as textbooks. For some reason, candidates that fail have in many instances not even consulted the legislation (in our experience). which has to always be the port of first call! This means for whichever paper you are taking, you need to familiarise yourself with the most up to date legislation, as well as case law developments, before attempting to understand or memorise notes. You can be asked anything, even something that was not in the exam but which is in the syllabus.


Some general advice

Don't panic! If you practice, study and work hard to see where you went wrong, you are already on the right track. You need to revise and study for a new exam- examiners might not only ask you questions from the exam, or in some cases, not at all. Try to do things that are calming. The examiners are normal people like you and me. Perhaps one day you might be an examiner too! Do things that make you happy, too. Do exercise, get a bit of sunshine, eat healthily, and do things that inspire you. Write down some words that encourage you such as "successful", "winner", "achiever", "brilliant", "talented" and put these words in big bright colours somewhere you can see it every day throughout the day. Write down on a piece of paper the mark you want to get for your exams and place it also in a place where you will see it. Keep reminding yourself that you are on track to become a successful attorney and you have what it takes to get through this! Get assistance from a tutor, or another attorney, if needs be. Practice talking through your exam paper in the mirror, and record yourself. Link up with a study buddy and test each other to practice. Also, when studying, make key words, and high light with bright colours. Try to learn the purpose of enacted legislation, and try to find resources that explain difficult concepts in layman's terms before you attempt to decipher difficult terminology or legislation.


Oral Prep Sessions for each paper @R295 per session

Want some extra assistance online in preparation for the oral? We will be running a once-off prep session for orals at R295 per session. You can book per below on our home page.

Paper 1- Court Practice

Paper 2- Wills & Estates

Paper 3- Attorneys Practice

Paper 4- Attorneys Bookkeeping


What happens if I fail the oral exam?

Don't let the feeling of disappointment overcome you. Yes, you will have to wait a bit, but you will get another opportunity to write the exam. It has happened to many candidates many times, and some people don't pass on a couple of attempts. Life happens. Work happens. Family happens. Sometimes there are circumstances outside of your control which can adversely affect your performance in any exam or event, which is completely a usual response. If you are going through something difficult, it is very difficult to perform as if you are not going through something trying.


If you feel that your life's circumstances are keeping you from being able to study, or that your anxiety is getting the better of you to the extent that you cannot study, perhaps speak to your doctor about it and how you can get assistance with it. The reality is, that we all go through various things in life at various stages, some which can be emotionally draining, and sometimes unfortunately, this happens when you need to be able to focus for your exams. Perhaps you have a principal who is less than understanding about your study needs. Perhaps your work environment is highly toxic, but you cannot get out of the situation. Perhaps your family life is strained, or your finances are stretched. There are so many reasons that life can sometimes get to you- but know this- you will get through these exams. YOU passed your law degree- so you can pass these exams. Find a motivation buddy, who can help you along with messages of encouragement, and perhaps have a study buddy too. And lastly, if you ever need the assistance of Spence Learning when studying, you know where to find us! Sign up for some of our courses online or email bookings@spencelearning.co.za .


Disclaimer: Please note the above is for information purposes and should not be regarded as legal, medical or any other kind of advice. The article is simply the views of the writer.



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