Updated: Aug 27
By Lily Edwards
I’m sure I speak for all readers when I say that cramming for an exam the night before is never fun. Think back to a time you crammed for an exam, and ask yourself, if you sat the exam now how much of the information would you remember? The likely answer is not a lot. But exam preparation doesn’t have to consist of long, stressful days and nights before the exam cramming, as there are plenty of strategies that are less time consuming over a long period of time that end up being hugely successful. One such technique is spaced learning.
What is spaced learning?
Spaced learning is a study technique which takes place over a long period of time. This includes regularly reviewing material for short periods of time which creates a deeper understanding of the material. By reviewing the material often, it gets stored in long term memory which means students not only gain a deep understanding but are confident in using the material in an exam scenario.
This technique is perfect for law students - who have large volumes of information to remember which can be overwhelming. Using spaced learning breaks it into chunks which is more manageable and seems less like a mountainous task.
How do I use spaced learning on the LPC?
Planning is key to spaced learning. It’s worth taking some time to create a list of your modules sub-topics if possible as this is how you’ll break them down. This can be done at the start of the academic year when you receive your syllabus, and you can make the lists more in depth as the year goes on. You could even buy a notebook specifically for your lists as motivation to check each one off.
Study more frequently
The goal is to study more frequently, for less time. Your method of studying depends on your learning style, so you should establish this. Then, decide how you wish to retain the information, for example through flash cards, or through reading over your notes. An example of using spaced learning could be:
Module 1 - Mens Rea and Actus Reus
Day of Class: Review class notes and create flash cards
After 3 days: Test flash cards
After 1 week: Test flash cards
After 2 weeks: Test flash cards, but review class notes first if feeling less confident
By keeping the information fresh in your mind, your life will become a lot easier when it comes to exam time as you can focus on exam technique instead of trying to re-learn the information, as this is half the battle!
Chunking legal information
Splitting the information up into smaller sub-topics gives you the opportunity to mix old material and new material together, ensuring you maintain what you learn throughout the year. This is also helpful if your exams are at similar times, as rather than focusing solely on cramming for one module and leaving another until the last minute, you can practise everything together which creates a more profound understanding. This is not only helpful towards exams, but if you wish to pursue a legal career as one day, you’ll put this information into practise so it’s better you learn it and retain it now!
There’s no easy way round retaining information but doing a little bit every day (with the days off to rest sometimes!) makes memorising large volumes of information significantly less stressful. It’s never too early to start, and your future self will thank you for it!