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How you can get 20/20 CP without doing the readings*

By Alexandra Baker and Zak Staub

You know the feeling – you’re sitting in class, the usual people start contributing, and it’s almost time for the halfway break and you haven’t spoken yet. You try to conjure up something to say, you may or may not have done the readings (haven’t – obviously), you may or may not understand the course (don’t – obviously), or maybe you spent the first half of the lesson trying to sleep with your eyes open, or scrolling through Facebook, or trying to catch the eye of a special someone in the back row. But you try to think of something to say and nothing, literally nothing comes to mind.


Well never fear, we are here to help! We asked students who have been in your exact position for their tips and tricks to help you score that elusive 20/20 CP. They have, for obvious reasons, chosen to be anonymous, but told us that there are some things you can say that are ‘foolproof CP buzz words/sentences.’ We ranked these out of 10 because we don’t actually know how effective they are.


  1. “The rule of law really comes into play here”

Cross your fingers you’re not asked to elaborate, but in almost any context you can talk about the rule of law. Throw in some mention to Dicey or Tamanaha for some extra credit.


Rating 6/10


You might be asked to elaborate and this could be an issue.


  1. This is a really dynamic and multifaceted issue – I need to consider it a bit further”


Whilst this may come across as thoughtful, the fact that you’re admitting you don’t understand the topic is sort of problematic.


Rating 6.5/10


It’s probably safer to go with something a little more substantial.


  1. “I just really think this conflicts with what we were talking about last class”


Now this is a life-saver – provided you have any idea what was discussed last class.


Rating 9.5/10


If used effectively, not only does this show understanding of the topic, it also shows you have the ability to remember whatever it was you discussed last week. This will put you miles ahead of the rest of the cohort.


  1. “These issues were really well explored in the additional readings”


Whilst you may need to add an, “I would love to elaborate but I left my notes on those readings in my other bag”, this is a great hail Mary for the desperate CPer.


Rating 7/10


We’ll bump it up to an 8 if you use it without checking if there were any additional readings for that class.


  1. Literally say anything with the word “grass-roots” or “organic” in it.


“I just think that this area of law has grown so organically, it just fits, you know?”


Rating 8/10


Even though this is a grass-roots response, with the right nurturing it will get you far.


  1. “Wow! That’s exactly what [literally any random sitting next to you] was just talking about! I think they’d appreciate the opportunity to answer.”


Get hit by the death-stare-of-death-stares and try not to die of laughter




Who doesn’t love a bit of banter in class? Nothing wrong with a bit of friendly rivalry.


  1. “Good question! But I really want to know [insert option a, b and/or c here]”


  1. “…how this fits into the broader context of the subject?”
  2. “… whether this would show up in the final exam?”
  3. “…how would you reference that? AGLC2? 3? Or…?”


Rating 9.5/10


Because it literally works every time. Extra points if you say all three.


  1. “How was your weekend [insert lecturer name here]?”




Because you’d probably need to move classes. Also awkward if you mention this on a Thursday/Friday and not the earlier classes of that week.


  1. Google the facts of a case and mention them whenever relevant, or even if it’s not relevant, just say the facts.




Lecturers can see through this.


  1. “I really think the legal principle here needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. I mean, context is everything”




This is usually always correct, except when it isn’t.





  1. Do one page/paragraph of the readings and go and ask about it in the break




Nothing like a good old mid-class lecturer tune – have a bit of fun with it.



  1. **Waits for someone else to say something** “Ugh – that’s what I was going to say”




You won’t seem like a nice person…



  1. You could just do the readings…


Because come on – is that even possible?

You can, with the right words, get yourself anywhere in this world. Now that we’ve given you a 100% effective script the world is your oyster.*


*20/20 may or may not be impossible to achieve.

**Script may or may not be 100% effective.


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