FROM A FORMER LAW LECTURER
To Help You Survive Law School
If you are wondering how to pass your law school exams with flying colours, you are not alone. The reality is that revising several law modules at the same time can be quite a stressful period, especially if you don't have a proper revision strategy in place and attempt to revise everything. What happens is that you end up spending a lot of time on things that aren't as important, and you are left with little time to focus on things that are actually really important. This has a direct impact on your exam performance, as you struggle to reproduce concepts that you haven't spent much time on revising.
What students generally experience is that instead of being able to recall everything about a single topic during their exam, they are only able to recall bits and pieces of all topics, which isn’t that useful for tackling the question they are trying to answer. That being said, you can make the revision process far less stressful and ensure that you pass all your exams and get a first by following the tips that I have mentioned below.
Study less, study smart
At this point, 'study smart, not hard' has become more of a cliché than a practical recommendation. However, there are multiple ways which can help you study smart instead of putting all your effort into studying everything. When you know what you need to study for your law exams, you are not just allocating more time to what's really important, but also achieving peace of mind knowing that you have covered the most important topics. This builds confidence which helps you perform well during the exams. Some of the critical steps that you need to take in order to study smarter (but not harder) are as follows:
Practice writing exam answers
Many students believe that all they need to do in order to pass their law exams is to memorise the right definitions, cases, and statute sections. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. As you're looking to compete with other top students, you also need to implement top strategies which include practising writing answers to mock exam questions during your revisions. Simply select the most important questions, which you think are most likely to show up in your exams, and try to write answers to those questions by using the key definitions, cases and statute sections in your revision notes.
Make sure that you are taking your time to read and understand the question well, so that you can answer it appropriately. If you are in a hurry to finish your answer during your exam, you might find yourself writing an essay that doesn't really answer the question. In this case, all of your revision efforts will go to waste, because you still won’t pass your exam with a distinction despite having memorise all the relevant definitions, cases and statute sections. That’s why it is important that you take time to practise reading mock exam questions carefully and provide the information that the examiner has asked for in the question. That way you will have a much higher chance of passing your exam, because you will have practised writing answers to several different questions on a particular topic in a stress-free environment.
Another practical tip that you can apply is timing yourself while you are writing your mock exam answers. Find out how much time you take and what would be the real time that you would need during the exam for each topic's answer. Timing your answers to mock exam questions is a very good practice which can really help you prepare for the real-life experience of the exam. But make sure you only start timing yourself after you have practised writing your mock exam answers without a timer first – so that you have enough time to learn the right techniques first as well as read and analyse the questions without the added pressure.
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Select your topics strategically
Strategic selection of topics is something that many law students either ignore or aren't good at. Don't forget that if you attempt to revise every single topic, definition, case and statute section, you won't have enough time to study everything and that can impact your exam performance (or even prevent you from passing your exams). In most cases, you can perform well in law exams by learning and revising 3 to 5 topics as you only have to answer 2-3 questions per exam paper.
There are very few schools that will give you more than 3 questions to answer. If you aren't in one of those schools, you can get by with selecting only a few crucial topics. This strategic selection of topics has a variety of benefits, including the following:
Remember that you are not the only one wondering how to pass law exams – it is a stressful experience for almost every law student. The stress and anxiety usually increase when you attempt to revise everything instead of selecting a few important topics strategically. That's why it is crucial for every law student to have a revision plan in place, so they don't have to deal with the stress of revising everything while preparing themselves for the exams. n order to do well, ensure that you are studying in a smart way by choosing a few high-quality sources, practising mock exams by timing yourself, and strategically selecting the most important topics. By following these recommendations you will put yourself in a better position to perform well in law exams and get a first.