The next blog in our series comes from Karen Whyte who was recently recognised at the CILEx National Award Ceremony for Achieving the highest overall grade in the Level 6 Law and Practice exams. Now let’s hand it over to Karen to give you her view…
Hi! I’m Karen Whyte from Larkfield in Kent. I currently work as a Lawyer in Property and Regeneration for Mid Kent Legal Services, which is the shared legal service between Swale, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils. Along with being a Lawyer I am also the proud mum of Sinead (12) . When I’m not working or at home I enjoy going to the gym, yoga, going for coffee and days out with friends and family.
The reason that I was first drawn to law as a profession was that I wanted to do something that would make me a role model for my daughter. I had always been interested in legal work particularly with finding out how laws were agreed and made.
I decided to get into it a little later on and coming into law as a mature student with a family, I needed the option to be able to study flexibly, earn a living whist studying and also have the ability to study at a speed that would be suited to me. Flexibility was the main want for me when searching. I knew that realistically a university degree course followed by professional studies would not have met the criteria that I was looking for. After searching and looking through the various options I found that CILEx was perfect for what I was looking for… Flexibility!
The CILEx route allowed me to earn the money I needed to support my daughter as a single mother, whilst progressing my career through further study. This felt to me like the best of both worlds.
Leading up to my first exam I remember feeling very nervous, this may even be an understatement. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not the most confident person and as such I was always nervous before exams – but I certainly found that feeling this way helped motivate me to study hard. Being given the award for highest overall grade in the level 6 Law and Practice exam was an incredible achievement in light of all the nerves that I felt going into each exam.
When it comes to revision for exams I have my own mad method that works for me. I’m not sure that I would encourage anyone else to try it but it may work for some people who think like me. Initially I always make sure that I am very organised with a study timetable, I make sure that I create a study plan for at least 2 months before the exam. On this timetable I would include time to explain something that I have learned to someone (even if they don’t understand it), discuss topics with other students from the course, studying past papers, reviewing tutor feedback and also planning in time to rest from studying to let all that you have learned sink in. Managing my time, including rest breaks, is what has worked well for me with revision.
Since studying with CILEx I have been able to progress in a career that I love whilst developing my knowledge, skills and confidence. I could not recommend CILEx highly enough.
My advice to anyone who is about to take their exams, whether it’s for the first time or the tenth time would be this – DON’T PANIC! It is much easier to give this advice than to take it but just make sure that you are not worrying too much about what others around you are doing and just focus on you.