Book Review: Mastering Law Studies and Law Exam Techniques by Richard Krever
If you ask a law student what type of assessment they prefer, there’s a good chance that they’ll favour an essay or problem solving assignment over exams. Sure there’s those pesky footnotes to deal with, but at least there isn’t the stress of trying to demonstrate everything you learnt this semester in just a few hours.
While there’s not much that we can do to avoid exams, in Mastering Law Studies and Law Exam Techniques author and longtime exam marker Richard Krever offers plenty of insider tips to help make exam season less of an ordeal.
The book opens with some background on law exams and outlines what they are designed to evaluate. From there, Krever moves onto tips for reading and summarising cases (including some good advice for finding the ratio).
If you usually struggle to prepare a set of concise exam notes, the chapter on exam revision walks you through the process of creating a set of condensed notes so you can avoid spending most of your exams rummaging through page upon page of cases.
One good tip from the exam prep section: if you’re also taking a more comprehensive set of notes into the exam to refer to if you have a mental blank, create a case index to accompany your notes. Organise your table of case names under topic headings and sub-headings (rather than setting it out alphabetically) and then it can also be used for quizzing yourself on the facts and decisions of cases.
As you’d expect, a lot of the book is devoted to what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re actually in the exam, and explains how to approach different types of exam questions. Much of the advice you’ve probably heard from your tutors and lecturers in exam review classes but it’s a handy overview for first years, and a good refresher for the rest of us. Even if you’re a law exam veteran you’ll still find some suggestions and strategies that you hadn’t considered before.
Perhaps the most valuable chapter of the book is the section containing practice exams. While it’s not too difficult to get your hands on practice questions, finding examples of good exam answers is trickier. Chapter 9 is packed with problem solving exam questions and corresponding answers for legal process, contract law, property law, torts, criminal law, constitutional law, admin law, evidence, trusts, company law, tax law, and competition law. Every practice question is accompanied by a sample average answer and an above average answer – all written by legal academics. The sample answers and the markers’ comments about the responses provide fantastic insight into what markers are looking for, and will give you a really good idea of how to approach your own exam answers. The book also includes a sample response to an essay-based exam question.
Given how precious reading time is in the lead up to exams, you’ll likely just read the sections relevant to your coming exams, rather than reading the entire text from cover to cover this STUVAC. But as you hone your exam skills over the course of your degree, this book is ideal for referring back to each exam season as you prepare for different subjects and types of exams.
Mastering Law Studies and Law Exam Techniques is published by LexisNexis.
Enjoyed this post? Sign up for the Survive Law weekly newsletter for more.