Open thread: What are your best law revision tips?

As exam season draws ever closer, share your advice below the line

As law exam season fast approaches we’re sure many of you have been camping out in the library as of late.

You may be struggling to remember all those case names and are finding yourself in a bit of a revision glut. If so, it might be worth shaking up your technique and trying to approach your workload in a different way. We’ve already suggested ten of our most creative revision tips, now we’re opening the floor to you.

Whether it’s colour-coded revision timetables, making up land law-themed poems or doing practice papers standing on your head, share your best revision tips with us and our readers below the line.

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61 Comments

Scep Tick

Not so much a revision tip, but a technique tip. Choose your questions carefully.

So, on a tort paper, don’t do negligence, as that’s got so many pitfalls for the unwary. Do defamation and nuisance. Fewer cases and they tend to be more amusing – boiled sweets, golf club stoolies, ugly actors.

And on contract don’t do partial obligations. Even the Supreme Court struggles with that. Plus for almost everything else you can quote Carlill.

(12)(1)
Scep Tick

In which case, if you think there is no duty of care, carry on as if there is. In a question worth 10 marks you’re not going to get many for killing the claim at the first chance.

(1)(3)
Anonymous

Totally agree. In land you can do the same for more confined topics like easements/covenants rather than trusts of land

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Fatty Bumstead

In Equity and Trusts you just have to pretend like you know what you’re talking about.

I scraped a 2:1 in E&T doing that. I didn’t understand the course and still got my degree. Needless to say I’m at the criminal Bar now.

(6)(0)
Anonymous

1) Questiom spot
2) Memorize your answers off by heart
3) Chill

(31)(0)
Tim

Don’t worry if you’re doing late night revision and you feel you’re not absorbing much. You’ll be fresher in the morning and surprised at how much you retain.

More of an exam tip – answer the question. It’s amazing how many people instead answer the question that they would prefer was in front of them.

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Tim

This clown is a counterfeit Tim.

A liar as well as a failed comedian.

(2)(4)
Clown

I’ve no interest in being you. And I was a successful comedian, thanks.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Only revise certain topics, revise smart and not for hours on end- what that means is don’t just learn everything about every case. Only learn basic facts+ratio and only the main cases for each topic and then expand your knowledge once you have the main cases known.

Most importantly really (although cliche) is to chill out as much as possible. Take a 5min coffee break if you feel stressed in the library, it’ll do wonders to your mental health.

(7)(0)
Tim

What if you’re epileptic and can’t look at flashes? Disablity discrimination.

(5)(8)
Fatty Bumstead

What if you’re just a twonk?

That’s not a protected characteristic.

Hard luck, Tim Tim.

(4)(0)
Tim

There goes that clown again.

Off back to the circus with you, clown.

(0)(2)
Anonymous

An iterative process, which works for me:
i. Read the cases, articles, texts etc. First time – just read and highlight.
ii. Summarise each case/article – may be a page, may be six pages – just aim to capture the key points that you would use in any question on that topic. Then ditch the original cases/articles/textbooks.
iii. Distil each of your summaries into 1/2 pages (max) of bullet points in the week leading up to the exam – ditch the longer summaries and just focus on reading and retaining those.

(First class degrees from 2 of the top 5 law schools in the country)

(10)(2)
Bantah Ladman

Didn’t know BPP was considered a top 5 law school these days…

(1)(0)
Anonymous

if you are permitted to take highlighted statutes into your exam use different colours for different topics. E.g. Family law; red – marriage, yellow- divorce, blue – children… So you will find the sections you are looking for at a glance!

(3)(0)
Tim

What if you’re colour blind? That’s disability discrimination.

(4)(6)
Anonymous

Practice questions from the off work well I find. I’ll read my tutorial notes/lecture notes then attempt a question with my notes, then with notes and timed etc etc until I’m able to answer a question without notes, within a timed setting. I find I remember things easier through this method and get a feel for how a question can be asked on a topic.

(4)(0)
Tim

What if you can’t read because you are blind? That’s disability discrimination.

(0)(4)
Anonymous

GDL: Nutshells in the Loo
LPC: Sticky tabs on the manuals and LPC Companion Manual in the Loo!

(4)(0)
Anonymous

I laughed at this though fear that some people will inevitably take you quite seriously.. The 3-month build-up to my GDL exams was the most work-intensive, stressful period of my entire academic life (and I did a 4-year undergrad)!

(1)(2)
Anonymous

Get your mate from Oxford to sit them!! Exam checking is woeful!!

(3)(0)
parker

If you’re a visual learner, create a story in your head to remember a topic and caselaw.

So for psychiatric damage in tort:

Picture the scene of a traumatic aftermath. The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire is there telling a Hick that he can’t recover damages for his mere fear, panic or terror. Then the Chief is telling a crying can of Hinz beans that he can’t recover for grief. Then he is telling a White guy he’s the primary victim and all these er, cockerels (Alcock) that they’re secondary victims. Picture the cockerels laughing (McLoughlin) because they weren’t in fact proximate enough to the traumatic event…

And so on. The images might just stick, especially the wackier ones.

(3)(3)
Anonymous

It’s all about the essay plan. Choose your questions carefully and write s bombproof essay plan. I like to bullet point my authorities on the order I will use them, then practice copying the list again and again until I know it off by heart. Then when I get into the exam the first thing I do is write out my plan and I have everything I need. Also, practice writing the essay before you get to the exam.

(6)(0)
Anonymous

I have a few tips:

1. Memory retention. It’s a well-known fact that facts and cases that you study go in through your eyes, then into your brain, but can then escape through your ears. Accordingly, you should block your ears with fingers or earplugs. I was lucky during my finals, as I had chronic ear wax, which was a significant advantage.

2. Revision raids. Hire some ex-SAS types to capture you at night while asleep, put you on a plane to Somalia and apply electrodes to your genitals until you know the law. It really works. Remember kids: Extraordinary rendition = EXTRAORDINARY REVISION.

3. Relax. When it all gets too much, and you need a release, you can relieve all that stress by seducing the partners of your friends and loved ones.

4. Heroin.

(19)(0)
Anonymous

Key advice: revise less.

Less is more when it comes to revision.

(1)(3)
Lauran

Cry to your hearts content and let the existential crisis consume you as exam stress takes over your life

(5)(0)
Anonymous

Colour! Lots and lots of colour!
I’m a final year law student and find spending time going through pages and pages of information does nothing for stress levels in the lead up to exams. Writing notes out in shorthand with a different colour for each topic – relate that colour to your statute book tabs, it helps to associate them with your memory in the exam.

Also question spot but learn plans not essays – a plan allows you to word it answering the question, an essay is too easy to forgot the question on front of you and make up another in your mind!

(2)(0)
Anonymous

I feel it is worth adding, though, that people shouldn’t *overdo* it on the colours. I would sit in the library with fellow law students and they’d be going to town with their felt tips and colourful labels etc. To the extent that often they convinced themselves this was proper “revision”. Hard truth is that, at the end of the day, you just need to grit your teeth and learn it!

(3)(0)
Anonymous

Start early and write things down. If possible, read each case and then turn the book over and write down as many pertinent points as you can remember from what you just read. This will help tricky points to stick. Do this every day for a few weeks before the exam and I guarantee it will help. I used that method throughout both my A levels and LLB and I got triple-A and a First.

(3)(0)
Anonymous

More of an exam tip, but if it’s not going well, force yourself to be sick on the paper = medical exemption and a resit as first attempt!

(7)(0)
Anonymous

Read and write it down in a book. Summarize what you have just read. Make sure it makes sense.

Test yourself.

I used to get a hat and chuck bits of paper with cases/legislation on them in, and write the point of law on a separate sheet. Pick them out of the hat and match the case to the point of law.

Then grab a beer.

(1)(1)
Anonymous

An exam tip: don’t be afraid to get a bit creative with your answers. They clearly need to be logical but an examiner will often give you the benefit of the doubt if your argument is novel (even if it’s not bulletproof).

In order to be able to do this you have to nail the basics (key principles and cases) but don’t overdo it on the commentary – it stifles your originality. Know the key arguments but don’t regurgitate them.

Also don’t be afraid to bring in some of your more esoteric knowledge into the really theoretical essay questions (using some of your juris stuff in an insolvency exam, for example).

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AZ

Alright mate I will use my family law knowledge for the commercial law exam! Very good advice! Well done

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homestretch

the following the template for everything:

rule – authority- rationale – criticisms/debates

also, don’t rely on the textbooks. Text book writers have their biases too. Read primary sources (cases, articles, law comm reports)

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Forget making revision notes from textbooks and lecture notes. Just answer questions. Essay and problem. As many questions as you can get your hands on: past papers, questions at the end of book chapters, revision guide questions etc. Ask friends for questions from books you may not have. If you run out of questions make some up – it’s not hard.

Start by doing them open book if you need to. But you must do plenty of questions closed book. And keep a couple of the most recent past papers for exam condition self-testing at the end.

If you don’t *use* the cases, principles etc, you won’t remember them.

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MC NQ

Spend time sifting through past papers. Take note of question patterns/topics. Spend time revising them, rather then hoover up your notes from every lecture and seminar you attended! Be efficient, quality revision, not quantity!!

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Incognito

Forgive me for perhaps being naive, but is there a difference with the difficulty of LPCs at different institutions?

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Just Chill

Condense every case to its bare (but material) elements, following this structure:

_____v____(COURT)

FACTS:
abcdefghijklmn
HELD:
opqrstuvwxyz

Stick to basic nouns such as ‘Claimant’ and ‘Defendant’.

– Strip cases down to what is only material. Do not get hung up on quirks of cases.

– Weigh the value of each condensed case: Which court? Orbiter? Ratio? Persuasive value? Notable dissenting judgments? Judges names for most notable judgments?

– Remember cases as chronological ‘strings’ under individual themes, mentally linking each to the next. Learn the story of how the precedent in this area developed.

– Think of only having to learn one cluster of cases per issue as opposed to many individual.

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