9 revision tips from people who have nailed law exams

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By Legal Cheek on

A group of trainees, lawyers and law lecturers distil their exam preparation wisdom into seven-second Vine clips (click on the top left corner of each image to turn on the sound).

Felicity Maxwell, first seat trainee at Mayer Brown

“Make the time to sit a full past paper in exam conditions for each of the exams you’re sitting.”

In doing so, Maxwell stresses the importance of “writing the answers out fully”. She adds: “This gives you a good idea of the format of the questions and how long it seems to take you personally to write your answers.

Katie Brookes, senior lecturer at the University of Law

“Practice helps overcome poor time management due to nerves and lack of familiarity with the format of the paper.”

Elaborating on the theme introduced by Maxwell, Brookes highlights poor time management as the major reason for students’ under-performance.

Shiv Daddar, second seat trainee at Norton Rose Fulbright

“Revise a mixture of topics and subjects in a day. That way your mind will stay engaged.”

“Instead of allotting one specified subject to study all day, mix it up,” adds Daddar. “Switching subjects around regularly will keep your mind engaged and stimulated and will ensure you are well prepared for all your exams.”

Charlie Raffin, barrister at Hardwicke

“Planning is everything.”

Barristers are known for their ability to think on their feet, so international arbitration specialist Raffin bucks the Bar stereotype with his call for students to not simply “plan everything”, but to “then revise that plan to make sure you make the best use of time.”

Giles Proctor, dean of Kaplan Law School

“To optimise your exam time divide the number of questions you have by the time that you have.”

Have done so, “stick to your timings”, urges Proctor.

Charlie Clendon, first seat trainee at Mayer Brown:

“Flowcharts can be a powerfully simple way of both structuring your answers and your revision notes”.

Clendon reckons flowcharts are particularly useful for law revision because “a lot of legal questions involve following a structured plan, with a series of necessary steps you should take.” Just don’t lose sight of the case names. “Remember, each point is usually supported by an authority. These are just as important as the principle itself, so don’t forget them!” he adds.

Faheem Ahmad, lecturer at the University of Law

“A consolidation timetable will save you a lot of time in the course and in the run up to exams.”

In other words, think ahead as to how you’re going to absorb all that information, especially if you’re a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) student, and then concentrate on remembering what’s important.

Kate Luton, third seat trainee at Norton Rose Fulbright

“Have a clear and methodical plan of how the law will apply to each type of exam question”

“The study and the practice of law is all about the application of your legal knowledge, not simply a memory test of what you can remember from the statute books and cases you may have read,” continues Luton.

Stephen Wells, Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) tutor at Kaplan Law School

“Remember: the examiner wants to give you marks.”

The powers that be want to pass you, “just give them an excuse to do it” explains Wells.

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