It’s that time of year – it’s REVISION TIME. Cue the apocalyptic scenery and music. In the midst of all the chaos, I wanted to give you some insight on how I study for my exams. Don’t forget to check out the examples/photos I’ve posted at the end of this blog post!
- It’s completely okay that you’re not revising and you are, in fact, still learning. It’s okay that you haven’t caught up with all your lectures. You’re definitely not alone. You have time to catch up, and with selective revision, you might not even need to!
- If you have coursework, get it out of the way first so that you can really focus on revising for the exams.
- I like to revise each module as a whole. Then, when I’m revising another module, I’ll take a day off from that module to review a module I previously revised. So, when I’ve finished revising Land law, I’ll start revising EU law. A few days into EU law, I’ll take a day off to review Land law so that I’m always feeling fresh and up-to-date for the exam.
- Split up each module by topic and then figure out how many lectures you need to tackle. Lectures give you an overview of what you need to know, so if you feel like you need to delve further into a topic, you can use the lecture handouts and/or textbooks and revision books. I personally go off lectures, handouts, my tutorial notes, and occasionally, revision books (i.e. Law Express, Nutshells and NutCases, the Unlocking series).
- Having said that, DO NOT rely solely on revision books. They are the bare minimum of what you need to know so they won’t cover the bulk of the content. Use them to supplement any information you’re missing or to add to your understanding of a topic.
- Use the textbooks and ‘further reading’ lists to get that 1st. In-depth background knowledge or knowing theories are always bonuses!
- Past exams are a fab resource for getting a general idea of what the exam questions will look like and how topics are split up for each module.
Know your exam
- Know the format of your exam. How many questions do you need to answer and how long is your exam? How much time do you need to allot per question? Time management is key in the exam. If you’re running out of time for one question, get started on the next one. It’s better to have two questions answered minimally than to have one question fully answered and one not at all.
- Selectively revise, but do it effectively. I always revise 2 more topics than questions I need to answer. For example, if I need to answer 3 questions, I’ll revise 5 topics. This is so that if I don’t like a question in the exam, I have two back ups. Keep in mind that there are certain modules where mixed problem questions will come up, so there’s no way out of having to revise the entire module.
- Prep to answer both essay questions and problem questions. You might like one more than the other, but when it comes to the exam, you don’t know which one will come up so it’s better to be prepared for both.
- I like to make mind maps and charts of case law for each topic (see photos at the bottom to see what I mean). Everything is a little easier to understand when you can see the big picture.
Study environments and wellbeing
- Find a good study environment and change it up every so often. I like to switch it up between the library and a coffee shop. Sometimes the library gets too intense for me and the silence scares me; coffee shops have the perfect ambiance to balance out the weariness.
- Make sure you plan for breaks when you’re making your study schedule. You’ll be more productive if you put aside 4-5 hours total a day with food and/or gym breaks or 4-5 hours with 10- to 20-minute breaks every hour, than if you put aside 8 hours straight of just studying. And don’t forget to eat. I always forget to eat. Don’t be like me.
- If you’re studying at home, leave your snacks in the kitchen so you have to take a walk.
- I like to come in to uni after lunch at 1 or 2 and work until 9ish and then be in bed by 10pm and unwind with Netflix before sleeping by 12am the latest. I like to take my time in the morning to relax and prepare myself for the day, and then I can be productive throughout the afternoon and evening. On the other hand, I know people who are the complete opposite and crack open their books as soon as they’re awake. It’s completely up to you and which strategy you feel is more suited to your peak hours!
- Take a day off each week! You need to remember to relax and breathe. If you push yourself too hard, it becomes counter-productive and you’ll end up breaking yourself and frying your brain and you’ll feel horrible when exams roll around.
- Don’t be afraid to talk things out with your coursemates. But at the same time, don’t let their progress scare you into thinking you’re behind. Go at your own pace, because that’s how you’ll revise/learn best.
I hope this was helpful – there will be a part 2 that tackles what to do in the exam and after the exam! Do let me know if you have any tips of your own. Not everyone revises the same way and maybe these tips won’t help you at all, but I hope it gave you some insight.