My journey to achieving the best LLB results in the world

LLB graduate Muhammad Mustafa Khan on struggles, scepticism and being awarded the best first of the century
LLB graduate Muhammad Mustafa Khan
"A degree is much more than just preparing for exams": Muhammad Mustafa Khan
The University of London LLB is one of the best law degrees available to aspiring young law students

Albert Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus aptly refers to true accomplishment as existing in the struggles of the journey rather than the destination. I share the account of the struggles of my journey to graduate from the University of London LLB (Hons) programme. A few days before the final exam results were released for the LLB, I received an email informing me that I had been one of three students who had been awarded with a first class degree this year. I was, of course, very happy to know this but I was totally astonished by the fact revealed online by Mr Simon Askey that my results were, in his words, “the best first of the century”.

My journey towards achieving these results began with scepticism at the start of studying for a law qualification. Having a background in applied sciences, I didn’t really see me smoothly progressing in a degree that required a lot of reading without providing any concrete scientific answers at the end. However, right from the start I did believe that once one puts one’s mind and effort into something nothing would be impossible.

Although I feel proud, and at the same time humbled, at obtaining a record breaking result, ironically this final year result doesn’t reflect the struggles of the toughest year in my legal studies, which was in fact the first year. I was not accustomed to extensive academic reading, so it took me a while in the first year to settle into acquiring the reading habit that would pave the way to what I was able to achieve in the final year. If memory serves me right, all I did for the first three to four months at the start of this degree was to go home from my teaching institute and read the University material all evening, until I couldn’t read any more. For me, this was a period that showed me how to approach legal studies and obtain the grades I wanted. Consequently, when the first year exam results were released, I was awarded with a cash prize from the University for obtaining one of the best results from an overseas candidate.

In hindsight, I can undoubtedly say that the effort I made at the beginning of the degree (alongside the habits I acquired) became the foundation for my exam success in the second and final year of the LLB. My second year results were again acknowledged by the University to be the best in the world and I was awarded with the Routledge Prize. Besides the acknowledgement of my exam performance I felt that, as time went on, I was able to comprehend, analyse, and read widely but in a much shorter time.

It’s important for any student to set small milestones within a larger goal and go about fulfilling those milestones in a systematic way, with consistency. Since the very start, my goal was simple: study every subject with equal interest, put consistent effort in, and try to get a distinction in each one of them. While I had partial success in these goals during the first couple of years, it was in the final and most important year that I feel that I was able to significantly accomplish the said aim. The lesson for me, and hopefully for all reading this account, is simple: keep working hard consistently, and even things which seemed impossible at one point become possible and achievable. For a student, progress is a significant incentive and I feel proud that, as I progressed with my learning abilities, these came to be reflected through the results I obtained in this degree.

"All students doing this degree should make the subject guides provided by the University their first and most important reference point, especially when revising for exams."

The University of London LLB is one of the best law degrees available to aspiring young law students. It not only enhanced my analytical, writing and research skills immensely but also helped me develop an argumentative approach towards life, by forcing me to look at both sides of the picture. I would advise any student taking this degree to use the excellent databases provided through the University’s Online Library. It is only then one can develop a thorough and out of the box understanding of complex legal and academic issues. Also, in my humble opinion, all students doing this degree should – as a rule of thumb – make the subject guides provided by the University their first and most important reference point, especially when revising for exams. This is because the subject guides contain relevant and focused information necessary for understanding even the most complicated of legal issues.

Pakistan College of LawIt’s also important for any student not to become wholly fixated on books and exams alone, for a degree is much more than just preparing for exams. At present, I feel contentment not because I was able to achieve the highest aggregate of the century, but because I enjoyed and tried to thoroughly understand every subject I took as part of my degree. Satisfaction came from the fact that, during the course of my degree, I was even able to participate in extracurricular activities not strictly related to the degree itself. I represented my institute, Pakistan College of Law (pictured left) – and my country, Pakistan – in national and international Moot Court Competitions which indirectly helped my studies by broadening my research, analytical, argumentative and writing skills. I strongly advise every law student to indulge in such related activities.

Finally, I would like to say to all my fellow students enrolled on the LLB that nothing is impossible and you can all achieve great milestones by being self-motivated. Hard work, self-belief and consistency is the key. No one in particular is special or extraordinary, so if I have done it so can each one of you. I must also add that guidance and support are an essential element and I was lucky to have both. First of all, I thank my family for their support and prayers. Thank you to the University of London for putting together a Law programme which challenges and inspires you to do better every step of the way. My teaching institution, Pakistan College of Law, provided me with a platform from where I was able to organize myself and maximize my potential. Finally, I would like to thank my Programme Director at Pakistan College of Law, Ms Shabnam Ishaque, and especially my teacher, friend and alumnus of the University of London, Mr Qasim Aziz, without whose support my humble achievements would not have been possible. I have shared my journey with you in the hope that my experience may provide you all with some help in finding your own destinations.