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Memorising, active learning and planning

Being lawyer requires paying attention to detail and having a good memory. Hence, as a law student it is important that one works on improving one's memory and it helps to summarise important matters on one page or to use notes or to associate something with a particular topic. Some law students like using index cards on which they write cases and key facts and principles, whilst others like preparing coloured diagrams.

As a law student one has to read through a lot of information and law books are also not written like thrillers or detective stories and it is thus easily happens that your brain switches off and your thoughts start wondering. It is therefore very important to develop methods, which ensure that one revises actively, so that it sticks in your memory. It is useful to summarise in one's own words what one has read and also in a way that one understands it. After having prepared the notes, type them up and then try and condense them even further, making sure that the concepts are fully understood. Once the final typed up summarised note is prepared, it helps to prepare a mind map, i.e. keep the individual headings and then list the case names underneath or draw a diagram of the different issues, which have to be discussed. The more you can condense the information, the better.

Being a lawyer also means being strategic and planning ahead and this also applies to law exams. Prepare a realistic timetable for your law exam revision, which leaves you enough time to read over the material, update your notes and answer past law exam papers. Law exams are not just a test for you to simply write down a summarised version of a particular legal topic, but instead to apply the law to particular facts and to only discuss what is relevant. This requires practising and the best way to do this is to start early with answering past exam questions. Very often you will realise that certain topics have come up more frequently in the past and that also the type of questions are similar. Try and sketch out your law answers within 45 to 55 minutes and then take a little break and start answering another question again for the same amount of time. Subsequently, type up your answer and improve it and make sure that your answer is the right amount of words, e.g. some students write about 1,500 words in 45 minutes, whilst others can write more or less. Hence, ensure that you tailor your answer to your writing speed, so that you can cover all the different aspects of the answer. All of this will help you become a master at writing a law essay, law dissertation and answering a problem question and will take the stress out of your law exams.