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New (Academic) Year's Resolutions for Law Students

source // giphy

New year, new legislation! Uh, I mean new resolutions! As the 2019 academic starts afresh, so too is your opportunity to leave behind all the procrastination and mistakes in 2018. These 3 New Year resolutions will help you make this year your most productive one yet.

1. Do your readings

I know, I know. I hate readings too. My criminal law coursebook which I paid $38.99 for at the beginning of the year still lies pristinely underneath my bed where I shoved it after my exam. Do not follow my example because I almost failed that paper. Trust me on this one, if you want to get those top grades it will be near impossible without completing your readings. After all, the cases are handpicked by the lecturers and often they will teach directly from the readings.

In order to understand how to apply the legal principles and theory that you are taught in class, you need to read cases to see it in action. Readings are the absolute best way to achieve this, allowing you the chance to follow the judges’ reasoning step by step. You can use different coloured highlighters to really break down key elements in their reasoning and make it easier to refer to when you come back to revise.

2. Sleep more

Sleeping Beauty definitely had the right idea - the benefits of sleeping more hours include doing wonders for your concentration and mood, as well as saving yourself the embarrassment of falling asleep and getting called on by the lecturer in class.

Experts recommend sleeping between 7-9 hours per night for 18-65 year-olds. Whilst the ‘best bedtime’ for each person will depend on their individual circadian rhythm, optimal timeframes occur between 8pm-12am. The key to getting more sleep is consistency, so try to sleep and wake at around the same time every day.

If you struggle with sleeping, make sure that your room is dark and slightly cooler if possible. Put your phone, laptop and iPad away at least an hour before bed, and make sure that they are kept far away from the bed to prevent any distractions (this means that when your phone alarm goes off in the morning, you’ll have to actually get up to turn it off…bonus!).

3. Prepare your notes ahead of time

Open-book exams in law school are both a blessing as well as a curse if you are unprepared. Make sure that you know exactly where everything is – every second WILL count during the exam. A good tip is to use plenty of multi-coloured sticky notes to create a quick and easy point to flip to. Binder dividers are also a good idea to separate a large quantity of notes, some people even opt to have their notes professionally printed and bound.

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