Survivor: BPC Edition
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
“Volume-heavy, anxiety-filled and intellectually stimulating,” these were the words of Aina Noor Azman when she was asked to describe the Bar Professional Course (BPC).
A current student at City Law School and a member of Middle Temple, Aina shared that the BPC has been a challenging journey as the workload is significantly heavier than her undergraduate studies.
“You know those thick hardcover books that look like they weigh a tonne each? You need to read those and bring it to some lectures and classes,” she said.
During her undergraduate days, she could still get away by relying on lecture notes and articles, but this is no longer the case for the Bar course.
When asked about her decision to do the BPC, Aina shared that she chose to do it over the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) because the former “offers a more practical approach to becoming an advocate”. Through the support provided by the course, she would also be able to grow professionally.
“Besides, there are events at Middle Temple which ranges from dinning sessions to music nights where one can mingle with barristers, judges and peers alike. These give you an insight into what the legal practice will be like.”
Another factor that contributed to her decision of doing the BPC was because it allows her to attain her Master of Law (LLM) simultaneously. She will hence be spending nine months studying for her Bar course and another three months to write her dissertation for her master’s degree.
“Although my current plan does not include venturing into the academia field, I would like to think that the LLM puts me at an advantage in the future, should I decide I want to quit legal practice and turn to a teaching career.”
The BPC has raked a reputation for its intensity and Aina mentioned that time and stress management were the most challenging aspects of the course even though her course runs a three-day week.
“Do not mistake the days when you don’t have any classes as free time as off days are work-days, catch-up days and also mental health days.”
Nevertheless, despite the challenges along the way, Aina still finds it manageable as she believes that “the most important thing is to have your priorities in line, understand the value of your time and what you can or cannot do.”
While she admitted to occasionally leaving her class preparations to the last minute, but she would not recommend doing so unless you’re in for an adrenaline rush.
Other than that, the 22-year-old also added that teamwork is another important skill necessary to survive Bar school. This is a true case of “teamwork makes the dream work”, as cliché as it may sound.
“Trust me, you are not in competition with your mates and you’ll need each other to get through this.”
Aina noted that teamwork has helped her tremendously by sharing notes with her friends and teaching each other on topics that are harder to grapple. Sometimes, she wouldn’t have the time to prepare for all of her classes but having a supportive group of friends made all the difference as they would make sure that she would still be able to pull through.
Evidently, clichés are clichés for a reason.
On tips to survive Bar school, Aina advised that one should be ready, both physically and mentally, as the course is known to be intimidating and intense for a reason.
“You should also make friends, always share what you know and book your qualifying sessions in advance,” she added.
Personally, Aina finds the course very fulfilling as it has helped her in many aspects of building her character. Hence, if one’s financial circumstances permit, she encourages law students to consider taking up the course as their postgraduate studies.