So one thing I became aware of last year, is that people really struggle with constitutional and administrative law – and for a while, I was a little confused. It was by far my favourite module, and something I both found and thought was so simple. And then I realized, a massive part of why I found Constitutional law was actually nothing to do with academia and smarts – but rather simply the way I’d been brought up and the way my parents had moulded my outlook on the world; what they’d taught me to value, and thus, what I had taken an interest in.
And what I realized, was that these things that had helped to conquer Constitutional law were all things that anyone could anyone could do – and can do. There’s a reason I like to call Constitutional Law, Common Sense law, and here are some tips to make you start feeling the same way.
So the first thing I picked up on when we started the module in Semester One, is that Constitutional Law is basically Government and Politics in disguise, with a sprinkling of law and some cases. And honestly, if you start to look at the module in that way, it suddenly makes a whole lot of sense.
So much of what the module covers is simply our political system, makeup and history. Just common everyday knowledge for anyone who has grown up in England – it’s been all around us for as long as we could take the world in, and we’ve been absorbing it ever since. so really it’s just about drawing on whats painfully obvious; what we all already know about the makeup and framework of our country and it’s politics. It really is the sort of things that were covered in secondary school history or general politics classes.
Again, a massive part of this is just keeping up to date and knowing what is happening in the political and legal sphere of the UK. And the simplest way to do this… you guessed it – watch the news! Or read the news – which is something I’m assuming you all do anyway, to keep up on your commercial awareness. Watching BBC or Sky News once a day will give you plenty of information and aid your understanding of Constitutional Law, but if you’re looking to give yourself an edge, reading the Telegraph can aid you even further. Seriously, Constitutional Law, and what makes it up, is so prominent in our everyday life, that so much of my extended reading has been found in general news articles.
I will admit, a small part of this does rely on you having had an interest in politics when you were younger – it will make starting the module a little easier – but it’s nothing that can not be rectified. You are never too old to start taking an interest and start learning more. Which leads me neatly to my next point.
Learning the Government and Politics doesn’t have to be difficult – it just seems like it is. Part of this is because of that mammoth textbook we have. I’ll admit – I hated it. It was wordy, repetitive, filled with academic jargon for the sake of it, and never really seemed to get to the point. Which is why I found myself turning to a different book – a Government and Politics book. It was the textbook I used for my first year of Government and Politics A-Level, and it was honestly a lifesaver. It takes so many of the topics you cover in the Constitutional module and breaks them down in a much easier and simpler way to understand. It’ll even give clear for and against arguments for key areas, and beyond allowing me to brush up on my knowledge, this book has helped some of my friends who used to hate the module. Within a week they suddenly felt like they understood what was being spoken about.
Now you’re probably thinking, what is this book. It’s all well and good me talking about it, but I’m sure you want to know what the title is – and don’t worry, I’m not going to keep it a secret. It’s titled Government and Politics for AS by Neil McNaughton, and you can pick up from Amazon, for just over £20, here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Edexcel-Government-Politics-AS-4th/dp/1444178806/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1498897014&sr=8-5&keywords=government+and+politics
Also, with most of the topic in the Constitutional module, being covered by the Government and Politics A-Level, it means there are some other really great resources out there, namely A-Level Mark Schemes and Examiner Reports. Many of the key and controversial questions in the module, translate into questions on the A-Level paper, which means you can find mark schemes giving you a nice breakdown in the two sides of the argument. But beyond this, it also means you can access Examiner Reports that will give you these mark schemes in a more in-depth and fleshed out way, laden with examples and evidence. In my opinion, a life saver, and not only because it’s just saved you hours of research and work.
The final thing I’d say about hacking Constitutional and Administrative law is just be socially aware. Just know the history, know what’s going on around you, and what’s happening in the country. In a way, it’s kind of like commercial awareness – just have an understanding of what’s going on and how it’s affecting out makeup. Or rather, how our makeup (or lack of it, in regards our uncodified constitution) if affecting what’s going on.
If you can successfully employ these tips and tricks, and just keep your mind open and always listening, this module should become super simple and breeze for you to understand.