I passed my first year law exams! What have I learnt thus far? by @BexxHatton

By Bex Hatton, Junior StretLaw Associate

For my first blog, I’ve decided to write about what I have learnt during my first set of University exams and to give a few tips on exam success.

Anxious

As a law student I was very anxious about my first set of exams at University, not unlike other students, you may have felt the same. I found it a big step from A level exams and discovered that you cannot leave revision until the last-minute; otherwise you will fail which could have a knock-on effect on your studies if you then fail the re-sits.

Many of us students suddenly feel the need to either watch all of our TV shows or clean our rooms constantly during the exam period 🙂 , however it is something we MUST break out of! Giving up at least a month of our time to prepare and revise thoroughly for our exams is all that’s needed to ensure good marks.

Reading: where do I start?!

Law exams are unlike any other exam I have ever sat, as we have about 20 books to read and around 100 cases and Acts to get to grips with for one exam. We are also expected to write 3 good answers in around 2 hours (which sounded impossible to everyone at the beginning of the year) however IT CAN BE DONE with help from lecturers in revision sessions and by starting revision early.

Many Law students I spoke with regretted starting revision last-minute, as there is so much knowledge that needed to be learnt and it definitely cannot be acquired the night before!

My first set of exams has definitely been a learning curve and others expressed similar views. If I could give only one piece of advice to a fresher it would be this; preparation is everything, prepare and revise for exams earlier.

Tactics

I spoke with a couple of my peers and asked what they did to prepare and these were the most popular tactics: –

  1. Practise papers (go to your local library and speak with the law librarian)
  2. Attending to and prepping for every workshop and lecture (not just the ones you think will come up in the exam!)
  3. Using sticky notes/flashcards to memorize case names and acts (get your mates to test you)
  4. Creating study groups to cover all topics (as No.2 – don’t cherry pick!)

Brain Food

What is also important whilst studying for exams is a good night sleep and nutritious brain food! Sounds obvious/crazy? Well it’s true. As we all know, the exam period is very daunting and nerve-wracking, so in order to pass, we must be in tip-top condition.

Professor Gary Slapper recommends good brain food; so if it is good enough for Gary, consider it sound advice!

It is said that the top three brain foods are:

  1. Porridge (or any other whole grain cereal)
  2. Fish
  3. Fruit

It is also recommended that students stay away from all junk food whilst studying, as they are known as ‘brain-blocking’ foods!

Re-sits?

If any of you feel you didn’t do so well and fear the possibility of a re-sit, DO NOT GIVE UP! A re-sit is not the end of the world. As long as you did your best, that’s all that matters. Learn from any mistakes, re-sit and pass, and head into your next year with some great knowledge on what to do to achieve good results for years two and three.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog for UniLawStudents and found it helpful in someway, if you have any other revision and exam tips, please comment below J

© Bex Hatton, 2013,

Junior StretLaw Associate: University of South Wales

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