By: Brigitte Whyte
As students, we all have our own individual learning styles and preferences. Revise with pictures; turn the study materials into secret codes or something funny; learn by doing - there are so many ways to soak up information. While some thrive by listening to lectures or memorising facts, others struggle with the same activities. This is especially common for those studying law. It’s not just about understanding general principles, but learning the specifics of argumentation and case studies. This can be a challenge for anyone; but even more so when you’re already juggling assignments, exams, group projects and social life! So how can you optimise your revision efforts? We explore some great tips on hacking the legal practice course to help you achieve your best results.
Don’t try to learn everything at once
Law students need to know the facts, dates and legal processes - lots and lots of them. But understanding a whole topic in depth, rather than just the facts, is much more valuable. You want to know why certain legal principles were brought in and what they’re supposed to achieve. Try to break up your learning into chunks and focus on one aspect at a time. This might be a chapter at a time, or even a section of a chapter. Not only will this help you to retain the information better, it will also prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.
Read the course requirements and identify areas of weakness
At the beginning of each course, all law students are given a breakdown of what is expected of them. This will list the course objectives and what you need to know. Knowing what you have to achieve and what you need to learn will help you to prioritise your revision. Make sure to always read through the course requirements, to ensure that you are only revising what you are going to be examined on, and while doing so, also look out for any areas that you know you’re a bit weaker in. This will help you to identify what needs extra focus.
Focus your revision on these areas
As you’ve identified the areas that could do with some extra attention, next you need to decide how to revise them. You could read through your course textbook, but you want to really focus on the information that you need to know. Find online resources like podcasts or online articles on the topics you need to revise. You could also create your own revision guides. This can be as simple as taking notes or highlighting key ideas. Or you could create a diagram or mind map that helps you to connect ideas and make it easier to remember them. Alternatively, you could use an app like Quizlet, which lets you create your own flashcards with any information you want to revise. This will help you to integrate the facts you need to know with other information that you already know.
Revise in small chunks – don’t try to sit and study for hours at a time
Everyone has their own limits. Some people can sit and study for hours at a time, while others struggle after fifteen minutes. If you’re one of the latter, don’t try to study for hours at a time. Instead, try to break your revision down into smaller chunks. This could be studying for 30 minutes, then taking a 10-minute break, before going at it again for another 30 minutes. Or it could be a 30-minute study session, followed by 30 minutes exercising. For whatever you decide to revise, make sure you’re in the right environment. This means no distractions and comfortable surroundings. Make sure you’re in a place where you can focus on your revision without being tempted to do anything else.
Take frequent breaks and exercise regularly
Revision is hard work, both mentally and physically. Exams can be stressful and can take a toll on your body and your mind. Taking regular breaks from revision and exercising will help you to stay healthy and avoid burnout. Exercising can help you stay both mentally and physically healthy. It has been shown to increase mood and provide stress-reducing benefits. It’s easy to stay in revision mode for too long, and before you know it, you’ve spent more hours studying than you should. Exercising regularly will also help you to get away from revision for a little while and make it easier to get back into studying again.
Revising law isn't all about staying inside reading law textbooks and writing notes. You can use these tips to help you better focus on what you need to learn and make the process more fun. Revising is a key part of passing your law degree, and these tips can help you to be better prepared and more efficient when you study.