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How to Prepare for your First Law Exams

Hermione Granger

Several weeks into the first year of university and you feel as though you’ve got it all sorted out. You know which lectures you can afford to miss, the best watering holes on campus and where to find free food.

But exam period slowly creeps closer and before you know it, your first law exam is looming. You find yourself asking lots of questions: How should I study? Can I rote learn? Where’s the study guide? What do all these Latin maxims even mean?

I was in the same position last year. Here’s what I learnt…

SWOTVAC/STUVAC is not a holiday. Resist the temptation to ask for extra hours at work because you don’t have scheduled classes, otherwise that extra money you’ll be earning will only be spent on tubs of ice cream when results are released.

Do not spend a few days (and nights) on a Suits mega-marathon in the week leading up to exams. The only thing this will teach you is that coffee isn’t as effective as you think and that not everybody can cruise into a law firm and get a job without a law degree. You cannot be Mike Ross. I learnt that the hard way.

Go crazy at the stationery store. I cannot stress how vital a packet of colourful highlighters and tabs are to a law student’s success. I honestly believe that there is a strong relationship between the variety of colours on a page and how interesting your law textbook becomes.

Discuss your studies with fellow law students. If you feel as though you’ve been thrown into the deep end, take comfort in the fact that hundreds of your peers are in exactly the same predicament.

Try your best to attend the revision lectures.

Locate past exams and attempt them under exam conditions, then go through it afterwards and identify where your knowledge is lacking.

Use diagrams in your notes – mind maps are especially useful. Soon enough, you’ll be dreaming statutory provisions and common law precedents.

Do what you can to prepare but don’t forget to make time for relaxation time as well. Balance is key.

Caution: There was one day I decided to simultaneously study and spend time with my friends at a beer café. My only memories of that night is the group of us using Latin maxims as spells and flicking invisible wands around Hermione Granger-style, coupled with ferocious giggling. I also lost my favourite highlighter.

Take my advice – just don’t drink and study, kids, and everything will be alright.

Best of luck for your quest for exam success!

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