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How to Revise for Law Exams

by Charles Nwabueze
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you have started a law degree you already know how challenging it can be. A big part of law degrees in the UK is the use of exams to test their students. Believe me, law exams can be quite stressful and difficult. That is why you need effective techniques in approaching your revision period. Effective revision is not something that can be rushed or haphazardly done.  

Below are techniques which you might find useful – remember that in my second and third years of my LLB I did get a first-class in every exam I faced: both mock and final exams.

Attend the Workshops 

While it’s understandable that there will be times when you do not attend a class because you do not feel like it, please do not miss those classes that come before your exams, especially the workshops. Depending on your university, your lectures would have been completed according to schedule leaving you with only workshops to attend. Workshops or class sessions before exams are the times when your tutor is more likely to tell you areas he or she thinks you should study, and the sessions also offer you the opportunity to go over topics you find difficult.    

Decide What You Will Study

Most universities offer four modules each year during a typical three-year law degree. In each module, there might be around ten topics or so. Do you need to read everything to succeed in your exams? The simple answer is no. What you should do is look over your syllabus and decide how you’re going to approach your revision. Find out the format for your exam as this will determine how much of the syllabus you need to revise. 

Typically law exams are based on a mixture of essay and problem-solving. This is important because the way you answer an essay-based question is different from how you answer a problem-solving question. The next thing you should do when looking at the syllabus is to discountenance those topics you have already been tested on. If in following our first tip the tutor gave topics that he/she believes won’t come out you can also avoid studying them. Study the remaining. 

Create a Plan 

At Congrapps we believe Benjamin Franklin’s statement: “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Before your exam, you must establish a revision plan for each module. You should make it as detailed as possible and try as hard as possible to stick to it. 

Take Breaks

You are not a robot – since you are reading this piece I can safely assume that you are not a robot – as such, I’ll call on you to take breaks. You might feel that you have a lot of cases, and statutes to memorize but if you keep studying without a break you will do more harm than good. Applying the famous Pomodoro technique to law revision – I believe it to be a great technique for revising for law exams – I’ll advocate that you work with the time you have rather than against it. Using this method, you break your study into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks – you can tweak this to your taste. The breaks are known as pomodoros, and during your pomodoros, you are free to do whatever you want [apart from studying]. 

Make Notes

While there are many techniques for studying for your law exams I do not think you’ll go wrong if you make notes. Remember that the best law answer is not just one that is well articulated but one that has various authorities to back it: cases, statutes and the like. To make a great note your note should contain what you understood from each topic in your words; it should include multiple authorities.

Study and Practise Past Questions

Just as the great Lord Denning once said “God forbid that a lawyer should know all the laws, but the best lawyer is he that knows where to find the laws when needed”. In the same way, a student will never know all that will come out in the exams but the good student who will excel in his or her exams is one who takes advantage of past questions. Practising past exam law papers will help you to develop essential exam techniques and help you measure your progress. Further, while the law is a large sector, lecturers sometimes repeat questions.

Engage in Regular Exercise 

Since you already know that you need to study to pass your law exams you’ll need to do everything that will encourage your study. Believe it or not, partaking in exercise works well with studying! Various studies show that engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activities among other benefits helps in improving brain health, and increases the ability to perform everyday activities. Activities like writing law exams. Should you exercise before you study or after your study? Well, I’ll advise you to do whatever works for you as both are equally beneficial. 

Get a Full Night’s Rest

Before the exam day, do not tempt fate by studying late into the night so that you end up waking up after the exam is over. That would be heart-rending. While it sounds like a joke stranger things have happened. Getting a good night’s rest is intrinsic to you performing at an optimal level on exam day. For instance, there have been studies that show that a full night’s rest improves memory, improves your mood, can increases productivity and so on. So please do get some. A full rest might just be what causes you to remember the authority for your answer. 

Eat Healthily

I was once a law student and I know that for some readers this might be the most difficult technique to employ. Because of the voluminous amount of reading involved in law it can be a temptation to sacrifice preparing or getting a healthy balanced diet for a meal filled with junk and excessive energy drink. If you must have your caffeine ditch the energy drinks for coffee.  

Employ a Positive Attitude 

When you have employed the above techniques or other ones and as a result, you are well prepared you should encourage yourself to be positive and be calm no matter the situation. Even if you feel you have had a bad exam. 

Charles is a writer, practising lawyer and personal trainer who loves learning and developing himself. He graduated from Middlesex University, London with eight first-class grades in the second and third years of his law degree, and received a postgraduate offer from Cambridge University. He loves strength training, boxing and encouraging people to succeed in their pursuits (legal ones)
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