Whatever the reason for your January exams – be it university, an apprenticeship or CILEx – contributor Mirabelle reveals the 5 best techniques to pass your exams with flying colours.
It’s almost that time of the year when students have to struggle with one of the most daunting parts of any law course – exams. To help with preparation for your upcoming January exams, here are some time management/ revision tips:
Revising for exams is always hard work, and it does take a rather long time to be able to consolidate and properly understand all the information that you have learnt in the semester. Therefore, it goes without saying that it is always helpful to start early in your revision, just so that when exams approach, you will not go into panic mode during the rest of your revision.
Before jumping into your revision, it is always helpful to make a timetable to guide you along your way. Although we might not always stick with our timetables, it is useful to think of them as a guide rather than something that must be rigidly followed.
It is important to make a reasonable timetable that you can try to follow instead of one that has too many subjects crammed into it because it is unrealistic for you to absorb so much information in one learning session. You can study in 2-hour intervals, and as much as 6-8 hours a day. Timetables can be done such that you can either focus entirely on one subject a day, or have a mix of subjects in a day- whichever that accommodates your learning style.
While making a timetable, it is also useful to try to outline the goals that you would like to achieve in one day, as well as the goals that you want to achieve during your January exams. This will help motivate you with your revision!
It is so important to take breaks while revising. These breaks could also be thought of as a reward to yourself for studying for a set amount of hours.
As mentioned previously, it is unrealistic for the human brain to absorb a continuous influx of information without proper rest and this just makes revision rather counterproductive as the more information you cram, the less effective your brain retains information.
If you are to study in 2-hour intervals, have a maximum of an hour break. Every so often while studying, take a break by watching TV shows/movies, take a walk outside for fresh air, go to the gym, or better yet, take a nap! This rejuvenates your brain and allows you to have an efficient study session.
Though breaks are important, be wary of long breaks as it would just result in procrastination. Time your breaks and always remind yourself about the goals that you want to achieve to motivate you back into studying.
Besides textbooks, students always have access to a plethora of resources such as lecture recordings, lecture notes, the internet, study guides, the library, seminar notes, your tutors, even The Lawyer Portal!
Students often take tutors for granted but it is advisable to make use of them as much as possible. If you are unclear about a certain topic, don’t hesitate to drop them an email for clarification (although they might not reply as soon as you would like!) because they would most likely be the most efficient in explaining things to you.
Your friends are also a good study resource! If you are unsure about something, ask them about it, because chances are that someone else would also be as confused as you are. Find a group of friends to study with and you can make group notes with them through Google docs and even have hour long Skype study sessions, but make sure that your studying does not eventually turn into a huge chatting session.
The other thing you can use is online resources such as Quizlet, as they can assist in your studying.
Perhaps one of the most important tips of all is to always take care of yourself.
Though studying is important to ace your exams, it is not as important as prioritising your health – mentally, physically and emotionally. Always remember to eat healthily and sleep early consistently so that your body will be prepared for the actual exams. If you are feeling stressed, take a break and go to the gym, watch something lighthearted, or if you’re like me, do some therapy shopping!
Remember that exams are only a part of the learning process and they should not be thought of as a daunting experience but rather something that assists you with your overall understanding of law. Even if you don’t do well in your exams, remember that it is not the end of the world and that there are more important things such as maintaining your well-being.
While studying for the January exam does take up a majority of your December holiday, don’t forget to spend your time with friends and family celebrating Christmas or New Years! Take time off studying to surround yourself with loved ones and cherish the time you spend together.
It should be noted that these tips are not exhaustive, and you shouldn’t force these tips on yourself if you are uncomfortable with it. At the end of the day, revising is most effective when you do it in the way that best suits your learning style.
Words: Mirabelle Tan Wei Chie
Want even more help with revision? Take a look at these:
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