Once again, and after much anticipation and uncertainty, the NCA Exams are upon us! Despite this summer sittings' significant departures from the standard NCA format — exams are online and now four hours long rather than three — your preparation method and mindset will be important to your overall success.
Whether you are writing one NCA or multiple and whether this is your first NCA sitting or your last, its good to remember how manageable these exams can be with proper preparation and an optimistic outlook. The Transition is here to help with a collection of past blog posts to arm you with the tools you need for success.
Exam Topic Overviews
Based on my personal NCA experience, I've written seven NCA Exam Overviews outlining what areas to focus on and what tricks you would be aware of for each topic. I also include links to helpful online resources I've found which made digesting the information easier for me. You can find all seven overview blogs, covering the five core exams plus the Ontario Family Law and Evidence Law electives, by clicking here.
Tips for Effective Preparation & Approach
During NCA prep it can be tempting to read as much as possible, but avoiding information overload is actually key to success. It's much better to focus on properly understanding enough information to pass rather than reading volumes of information that you don't fully grasp. A few months ago I wrote a blog post dedicate to narrowing down the information you need and properly organizing this information so it is useful to you in the exam room. You can read "Avoiding Information Overload" by clicking here.
Additionally, your approach to answering questions on the exam is very important. Not only can finding a structured approach to questions provide a much needed grounding for staying calm, but focusing on how to use your reading time effectively, managing your time efficiently, and making the IRAC format work for you can greatly increase your chances of success. If you master these skills , your answers will be succinct and clear, putting you in the best position to get top-marks for your work. You can read more about this in "How I approach the NCAs & Succeed" by clicking here.
Staying Calm in the Last Mile
Once you get down to the last week of study and the exam week itself, staying calm and in control of your mentality will help you avoid unnecessary stress and exam-day jitters. That's why I wrote two blog post dedicated to the steps you should be taking Seven Days before your first exam and during Exam Week itself. I encourage you to check them both out as you get closer to exam week to ensure you are prepared, calm and ready to rock those exams!
I know for many of you, the last few months have been trying and stressful due to the pandemic and all the uncertainty surrounding the NCA Exams and your future legal careers. However, as you enter the summer NCA sitting, I encourage you to put all these worries aside and focus on what you need to accomplish now — a passing grade — so you can move into the next phase of your legal career. If you find yourself struggling to focus during this stressful time, I encourage you to read about my personal approach to "Focusing During Uncertainty" by clicking here.