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How to Prepare for HSC Legal Studies in Term One

Leading up to the half yearly exams in April, Legal Studies students finish the core topic of Crime and progress onto studying the second core topic Human Rights. The syllabus for Legal Studies is vast and complex, thus it is challenging for students to summarise concepts covered in class at the same time as learning new material. With the start of Term One less than a week away, here is a checklist you can use to ensure you have set yourself up for success in HSC Legal Studies in Term One.

  1. Finish your Crime summary notes. It is advisable to structure your notes in the same manner as the Board of Studies syllabus to ensure you have enough detail to satisfy each syllabus dot point. It is important to consider factors which promote and limit justice in your summary, since in addition to discussing the law in theory it is required to explore the effectiveness of the law in practice. It is necessary for students to prepare notes concerning the ‘Themes and Challenges’ presented in the syllabus as these are the areas from which essay questions are drawn. Students should address the ‘Themes and Challenges’ to ensure their content covers the investigation, trial and sentencing stages of a crime.
  2. Write up a list of legislation. The number of pieces of state and federal legislation for students to recognise and explain in the Crime syllabus is substantial. Accurately naming pieces of legislation including the year and whether it is state or federal is vital in Legal Studies. Although some Acts are encountered often throughout the syllabus, others are only mentioned once since they cover a specific area. Students cannot rely on knowledge of the overarching pieces of legislation, but must be familiar with these specific Acts as well. In the Crime essay each concept explained must be accompanied by the relevant and most recent piece of legislation.
  3. Research statistics and articles. In addition to citing legislation, the arguments raised in your Crime essay must be supported by other documents and reports. Statistics and articles are the most common forms of such documentation. Statistics, such as the percentage of individuals released on bail or the number of people accessing alternative methods of sentencing provide insight into how law reform is affecting society. Newspaper articles reveal how different groups in the public sphere react to the law, as well as calls for various areas of reform and the effectiveness of the existing law.
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