Tag Archives : University


The End Of An Era, The End Of The BPTC, And The End Of Full Time Education

Yesterday was one of those days where not only did I finish a chapter of my life, but also finish the first volume. Yesterday marked the end of the Bar Professional Training course, or BPTC that I had been taking at MMU over the past year, which in effect was the conclusion of my 5th and final year in full time, university education.


The Bar Standards Board Sets Paper That Contained Questions Which Featured On Mock Taken By One BPTC Provider 15

The Bar Standards Board, the regulatory body who sets three of the exams required to be taken by students wanting to become barristers, set a paper whereby some of the questions and answers had been made available to some students before hand.


Off To Dine At The Inn

For those of you who do not know, this year I am undertaking the Bar Professional Training Course (or BPTC for short), in order to complete the first few steps in becoming a fully qualified barrister.

In order to become a barrister a student must join one of the four Inns of Court, and complete at least 12 qualifying sessions – this weekend I aim to complete three more.


What Will 2013 Bring?

Having just written a short post on what happened in 2012, I thought it would be a good idea to try and put down what I think will happen in 2013. The truth is that if I thought 2012 was going to be a year of uncertainty, I was wrong, and if any uncertainty of what the next 365 days has in store, 2013 is going to be it. There are several reasons for this, firstly in 2012 I knew where I would be at the beginning of the year, and had a very good idea of where I would be at the end of it. I would start the year doing my Graduate Diploma in Law, and results permitting, end the year doing my Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). There was very little chance of those things not happening as it was a natural progression from one degree to another. However as I enter in 2013 this is not the case. I know that I will start the year doing the BPTC, and halfway through, once again results permitting, I shall be called to the bar, however I honestly have no idea as to how 2013 will end. Once being called to the bar, baby barristers have to undertake a 12 month pupillage, a sort of paid practice session, after which they hopefully get offered tenancy in a set of chambers to which they can practice in. As with most students starting the BPTC, I know the likelihood of getting to that stage is an uphill struggle to say the least. Some statistics say that out of every ten students on the BPTC, one or two will make it to pupillage. Coupled with the fact that last years BPTC students get this years pupillage’s and so on means that the chances of 2013 ending with me being in a pupillage are low (but not impossible). Which of course begs the question, what will I be doing when the chimes of Big Ben ring out on 31st December 2013? I for one have no idea!


A Review of 2012

It seems like only a few days ago since I started to have to train my muscle memory to write /12 rather than /11 at the end of dates, and 12 months later now that I have finally mastered it, the time has come where I will once again spend the month of January writing the wrong year, crossing out, realising I’ve made a mess of whatever document I was writing on, and having to start again. Of course 2012 was not the just year of date based stress, various other events have taken place. This could be a blog post of all the political/world based events that have taken place (and I may do this later today if I remember), but it is not. It will simply be a brief outline of what I have been up to over the past 365 days. Lets firstly look at the biggest aspect of my life, education. After tears, stress and more tears brought around by exam time, I managed to pass my Graduate Diploma in Law at Manchester Metropolitan University. It was always the plan to then continue my law based journey at MMU and undertake the BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course) with the end game of qualifying as a barrister. As I write this I am halfway through my BPTC and I have to say, whilst I can’t wait to see the day where I don’t have to open up a copy of the White Book, all in all, the course is very enjoyable, especially the advocacy modules. The summer of 2012 was a summer of two halves, the first half involved a trip to New York, for the second time in 12 months. I had a fantastic time, and whilst I have not quite finished the photographs (or from the year before for that matter), I can honestly say that some of them are spectacular. Part two of summer 2012, saw me return to Masternaut, the place where I have worked for the past several summers. Unlike previous years there were people of my own age who worked in the same department as I did, meaning it was much more social. Even though I have not met up with my friends from Masternaut since the summer, I really hope to do so soon, as it would be great to catch up with them. When you write it down like that, its hard to think that one year can condense into only a handful of paragraphs. I think in January I may write a post of my expectations for 2013, then hopefully in a years time I can see where I am. In the meantime, all that I have to say is to all those reading this, I hope you have a happy and healthy 2013.


Useful Software & Services For The 21st Century Student

Having spent four years at university (and going into my fifth year in September), I have have been at the cutting edge of technology for the 21st century student. I rocked up for my first university lecture with my trusty black Macbook, and over the years the piece of technology  that joined me has changed, moving through the MacBook Pro range, iPad and now the MacBook Air, which is my note taking device of choice. However the student of today has to do much more than simply take notes in lectures, they have to write essays, draw diagrams and plan their time. Over the years I have tried most of the software out there, and in order to help the student of 2012 on their way (which yes includes my baby brother who this year flies the nest), I have complied this list of student friendly software. Due to the fact that I am a mac fan, the majority are exclusively for the mack platform, however if you head over to http://alternativeto.net you are bound to find something that suits your need.   SugarSync – Problem Solved: Backup/Data Sync – Price: From £0 Just like its direct competitor DropBox, SugarSync is one of those programs where you simply set it and forget it. Unlike DropBox you need not move your files from their original location, you select which folders you want to upload to the cloud, and whenever they change, the changes are synced to the cloud. It is unlikely that your tutor will accept the same excuse for an essay being late that was accepted in high school, so a backup solution is vital. Once SugarSync is set up you don’t need to worry about anything. If your computer ever gets lost/stolen or broken you have a backup of all your vital documents that can be downloaded in a matter of moments. Since documents are stored in the cloud, the web interface allows you to work on your documents from any computer (provided it has an Internet connection and the file type is compatible with the local machine). Gone are the days where you need to worry about carrying a USB drive with you, and keeping it updated with the latest copy of your work, simply logon to SugarSync, download your work, do what you need to do, re-upload it and it will be back waiting for you on your machine when you get home. SugarSync has mobile apps of every variety out there, so your documents are available on the go, perfect if you have your revision notes on there and a moment to spend whist waiting for a bus. The free version of SugarSync gives you a 5GB data allowance, which is more than ample for text documents, the odd photograph and diagram. However if you are studying an art, design or media based subject where file sizes are significantly larger more storage is available at very reasonable prices.   Evernote – Problem Solved: Mobile Note Taking/Documents On The Go – Price: From £0 There will be some documents that you will wish to archive yet keep to hand. Documents such as your timetable, copies of your tenancy agreement, statements/receipts of important items, Evernote is perfect for this. As well as being able to write notes in the application itself, you are able to drop in files, that are not only synchronised across your mobile devices but are available online. However that is not all. Evernote has released browser plugins (or extensions) that allow you to clip articles directly to your Evernote notebooks. Data such as the site where the article was taken from and the date it was accessed are automatically stored alongside any pictures that the article contains, making referencing at a later date easy. For me I use Evernote as my ‘important document store’. Amongst my notebook collection I have notebooks for university (and then tag each note be it with a subject or event), personal and interesting articles. Since whatever you put in Evernote is backed up in the cloud (and replicated on any other device you have), I also drop in essays and reports. After all it can’t hurt to have another copy of these important documents saved can it? The free version of Evernote gives you 60mb worth of uploads each month, which for standard text and text based files is more than enough, and I for one have never required more. However if you want features such as being able to upload up to 1GB of data each month and offline notebooks this will set you back £35 a year.   OmniFocus – Problem Solved: Task/Todo Management – Price £27.99 When at university, there are going to be hundreds of things that need to be done. Some such as the steps required to complete some tutorial work only occur once, others such as remembering to put the bin out occur on a weekly basis. OmniFocus looks after all these tasks and puts them into groups depending on what is required to do them, which are called Contexts. For example, you can set up a context called ‘Library’ (and an alert can even be set up on the iPhone app to alert you through location services when you are at the library) to remind you to renew a book, check out another book and get your photocopying done all in one go. Similar tasks such as getting all your emails done in one go etc etc can save time as you are focused on one process rather than flitting between several different things. Tasks are sorted into projects and can be sequential in order or concurrent. A sequential project would be for instance writing an essay, the proof reading can’t be done until you have written the first draft, and the first draft can’t be written until you have done your research. As such the proof reading and first draft tasks won’t show up until the first task of research has […]