June 20, 2023
Studying law is not easy. It requires a lot of time, resilience, creativity and intellect. However, to have gotten this far, means you have the qualities and abilities to succeed. Here are some key revision and study techniques to help you achieve this goal.

Building A Second Brain

The ‘second brain’ can be referred to as an “external, centralised, digital repository for things you learn”. Building a second brain is the act of storing important information in a place that is easily accessible for our future self, i.e. the second brain. This typically involves outsourcing the job of remembering to technology. 

How To Build A Second Brain

  1. Find a platform and capture tools to store your ideas/notes on (like Notion, OneNote, voice recordings, etc.)
  2. Organise your knowledge into categories (this will need some foresight to determine what type of categories will benefit the future you) 
  3. Be flexible and don’t make organising information overly analytical – you can start simple and base it on what area would be most useful to you
  4. Be strategic and minimal in the information your information capturing, so your second brain does not become overloaded too
  5. Don’t passively react to inform you consume, make strategic decisions on what resources you consume

This Technique Will Help You:

  1. Reduce information overload and burnout
  2. Create a trusted system so you can relax more
  3. Spend less time looking for information and materials
  4. Reduce the time it takes to start revising – revision is most successful when you don’t start from a blank slate!

Practical tip: For essay-based modules, once you have decided what topic you want to write your essay on, create a folder or page to start building your repository. Here, add any notes you have made on this topic during the module and any other sources you think will be important. In terms of how to organise this information, you could create a table, where each column covers a point, subject area, etc., and add your information/sources to the relevant section. 

When it’s time for you to properly write your essay, it will be more organised and you won’t feel as if you do not have enough sources. It is also advisable to include an official footnote for each source as you add the information, so you don’t have to spend hours doing it before you submit.


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Balancing Study & Practise

One of the most important things to remember is to balance consuming information with the practise of applying information you’ve learned. As a law student, you are automatically capped at a 2:1 if you simply regurgitate the correct information. First-class students are able to connect ideas and use their knowledge to provide practical solutions to legal problems. 

So how can you develop this skill? It is not enough to be able to memorise all the content for your module. You need to know how to apply this in your exam/essay answers. You can practise developing this skill by doing practice questions, papers and essays, etc.

Practical tip for exams: Set how many hours in a day to revise your given exam-based subject. At the end of the revision session, complete a past paper – this can be done in timed-conditions to help you manage what is expected of you. You can also do these practice papers during intervals – this is a good way to move your knowledge from automated memorisation to active recall.

Practical tip for essays: After doing a standard amount of research, try to draft a bitesize essay for your topic. At some universities, you will already get the opportunity to complete a formative assessment that will be marked by the teacher. In both instances, make sure to try and get as much feedback as possible from your teacher, so you can assess if you are on track to achieve your assessment or module goal.

The Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique is a four-step learning method that focuses on true comprehension over standard memorisation. Essentially, through teaching other people or an external source about a subject, you are able to refine your knowledge through trial and error and free discovery. If you are unable to teach someone else, you can practise this on yourself – this will just require honesty and accountability with yourself.

The Four-step Process Of The Feynman Technique:

  1. Choose a concept to learn
  2. Teach it to yourself or someone else
  3. Return to the source material if you get stuck
  4. After teaching, go back and see how you can simplify your explanations or create creative analogies to help you recall information easier

Benefits Of The Feynman Technique:

  1. It encourages you to be actively engaged with your learning 
  2. It gives you the opportunity to continuously refine your knowledge 
  3. When you have to externally explain something, it’s harder for you to trick yourself into thinking you know the information
  4. It increases your capacity to use critical thinking skills

Practical tip: Plan a short presentation/lesson plan on an A4 piece of paper, present your topic and then reflect back on the crucial things you missed out or couldn’t explain.

The Regurgitation/Blurting Method

This method is similar to the Feynman Technique with some key differences. The blurting method requires you to write down everything you remember about a topic and see where your knowledge may have some gaps.

Practical tip: Allocate a coloured pen to key elements of an exam/essay, such as: point, evidence, analysis, etc. If you do this technique by yourself, give yourself time to write down information for each pen on an A4 piece of paper. If you are doing it in a group, after one person has completed blurting with one pen, pass it on to the next person to add another element with the allocated pen.

You can either have one piece of paper amongst the group or each person has a piece of paper that covers a different topic, for example, and the papers are then passed around. It may be a good idea to time this and give yourself/each other a few minutes each so that you are ‘pressured’ to write only the most crucial information.

To succeed in your law degree, you need to be organised, creative and proactive. Building a second brain is a great way of storing and accessing information quickly, and allows you to spend less time looking for resources. Balancing studying and practise is also important, as it helps you develop the skills needed to apply your legal knowledge in real-life scenarios. The Feynman Technique and Regurgitation Method are also useful revision techniques to help you better understand topics and points. Try out these student-recommended techniques to study more efficiently and help you succeed in your future law career.

Find out more about law revision techniques here.


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