open book

I got bad grades- what should I do?

No matter what your pathway into law was (hot ATAR/IB score, tremendous GPA, rocking the STAT, etc), Law can be a bit of a curveball.

Some people go from straight A+ grades throughout their secondary education to just scraping through for a P, or even failing. Others have the same difficulty in Law while getting HD’s in their other degree (over 70% of law students are studying a double degree).

Although some of us law students might convince ourselves that this happens because the Bachelor of Laws is the degree of the gods, this doesn’t help the dwindling aspirations of getting the dream GPA or the fact that employers look at our academic record and cry for the future of the profession.

Regardless, bad grades can leave us feeling confused, disappointed and may require a cold shower or two to wash away the feels. However, bad grades don’t necessarily mean that we’re incompetent or that markers are out for blood; sometimes law can just be a bit tricky.

Luckily, the University has provided us with facilities to try to help you do the things and get the (grade) points.

Consult your marker

If you think your markers are little angry people who live to write short crushing messages in your assignment feedback and give you bad grades… well, they probably don’t see it that way. Your marker should always be your first port of call to discuss your mark – if their name is not clearly indicated in your feedback consult with your course co-ordinator. They may be able to explain where to improve next time.

University resources

That said, there’s nothing that says you can’t make them to give you better grades using these resources.

For instance, if your writing skills are not quite up to the almost superfluous standards that law school demands, you’ll probably find the Writing Centre to be a big help. The Uni provides this resource to help students improve their reading, writing, note-taking and referencing skills.

These abilities are required in all degrees, but in Law their importance is paramount. The Writing Centre is open to all students and provides great support for domestic and international students alike, whether they speak English perfectly or not. For more information about the University’s Writing Centre, including opening hours and location, seek light at:

If your writing skills are perfect (highly unlikely) but your grades are still not satisfying, then you’re probably struggling with content, even if you don’t realize it. If this sounds familiar, well, the University has you covered with PASS classes.

How do you know that it works? If you think about it, would someone have taken the time to devise a combination of words (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) that form the acronym PASS if they didn’t think it could help you do exactly that? I don’t know either, but I’ve been to some of these sessions and they’re really quite good.

They’re run by high achieving (distinction and high distinction) students to help you understand the key concepts involved in each topic. These sessions cover all most first year subjects (including Contracts and Property), are open to all students and are hella dope. For more information, check out PASS at:

The demands of the legal profession and law school itself can be very strenuous on the mind and body, especially given the catastrophic drop from final year Secondary school to first year Law school. Regardless of who you are, sometimes we need a hand getting through difficult issues and feels. For this reason, the Uni has provided Counselling Services for all students.

The legal profession has some of the highest rates of mental illness, so it’s vital to recognize that sometimes we need to seek help. Although law students are generally lovely people, it’s understandable that talking about some issues can make people uncomfortable. For this reason, the Counselling Service is entirely confidential, so you can seek help and rest assured knowing that everything will remain private. You can book a 50 minute appointment ahead of time, or drop in for a shorter 20 minute session.

Sometimes, without this help, it’s impossible to attain the standards you might expect from yourself because of the other issues playing on your mind. Hence, your health is essential to reaching those lofty expectations. If you want to know more, or wish to seek help, look into the Counselling Services at:

So if you’re looking to improve, need help or some other assistance, there are always resources around Uni open to you; and never hesitate to use these services, because you only have so many years of your degree to boost that GPA.

Remember also that the LSS is hosting its very own Exam Preparation seminar on October 28 at 4pm: check the Facebook event for more details:

Good luck for exams, everyone!


Article written by Thomas Blokland, First Year Representative and First Year Moot grand finalist.