I hope your revision is going as well as can be expected and that you’ve been able to make use of some our suggestions from the first piece in our exam revision series. We can all relate to the acute pressure when the majority of assessment falls within the space of a month – a whole year’s worth of learning resting on a few hours in the exam room! If you’re a first year student or have not been in higher education for a while, the entire prospect is especially daunting. Of course, it is important not to get overwhelmed or run down – you need to focus all those brain cells and concentrate on revising.
Here are a few thoughts about my own coping mechanisms thus far, as well as some suggestions from the rest of the editorial team here at The Student Lawyer:
Tip #1: Get organised.
I am a ridiculously organised person. You know the type: obsessive about colour-coded spreadsheets, lists, diary, wall calendar, schedule. Overkill. But, while I don’t always manage to work within the tight parameters I set myself, starting with a plan helps me know where to begin amidst the overwhelming volume of work there is to do.
Tip #2: But not too much!
I eventually realised – after having scheduled in weeks and days on end of two-hour study slots, adding up to 10–12 hours per day – that my plan was simply not sustainable. While I can usually manage getting up at 6am every morning, simply knowing that I had to was exhausting in itself. My advice? If scheduling is what works for you, make sure you schedule in some sleeping in, exercise, mealtimes and downtime.
Tip #3: Get some perspective.
While doing well in your law exams is of course important, sometimes it pays to take a step back. In moments of panic, try to get some perspective. Imagine the worse case scenario, and then calmly consider the actual consequences. Chances are, it’s not that bad. There is always a way to redeem your marks elsewhere, or reconsider your options. For instance, by having considered what I will do if I don’t achieve a 2:1 this year, I realise that it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t stop me for aiming for Plan A, but Plan B keeps me focused and calm.
Althea Brooks – Editor-in-Chief, 2nd year Graduate Entry LLB
Tip #4: Take a break.
Choose a particular part of the day to take as a break every day. For me, it is usually lunch – I will go out and enjoy that time free from stress and away from revision, such as going for a quick walk or even just sitting on the sofa and relaxing for half hour / an hour. Routine is key for me. If you are struggling to concentrate, take a break and walk away until your mind is clear. There’s no point sitting there panicking for two hours and only getting 20 minutes of real work done – just stop until you can focus again and enjoy a break while you can.
Tip #5: Treat yourself.
When you’re working so hard, it’s important to treat yourself or mark the end of each day with something suitable (let’s say a favourite TV programme, or perhaps your favourite food, etc). You have to feel good about the day before you sleep, otherwise your sleep will be ruined.
Tip #6: Sleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital. I do better if I get seven hours’ proper sleep rather than cramming last minute revision through the night, which doesn’t tend to stick in my mind – I won’t focus at all in the exam if I’m sleep deprived.
Tip #7: Stop worrying.
Here is a great quote my sister gave me: ‘Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.’ So it’s better just to accept the time you do have, and make the most of it, rather than worrying that it isn’t time enough!
Emily McQuilkin – Senior Editor, BPTC graduate
Tip #8: Do something different.
I would agree with all these tips so far. The only thing I could add, and it works for me, is to do something completely different. For example, (at the risk of sounding lazy!) if I am struggling with studying and I go away to play FIFA, then often my brain will be working subconsciously, and I’ll have a thought which will be the breakthrough I needed to understand what I was working on doing and get back to further, more effective revision.
Liam Draper – Managing Editor, LLB graduate
Tip #9: Exercise.
Don’t underestimate the power of physical activity. It is a great way to wake you up and reduce stress levels, and it helps you to sleep better too.
Tip#10: And while you’re at it…
Try listening to and reciting your revision material while you’re exercising. You might get a few strange looks as you pace around the park, but it’s definitely worth it if you can get a few more cases to stick in your brain.
Liz Garlick – Editor, LLB graduate
We hope you found these tips useful. If you have any of your own, or have found any of these suggestions particularly helpful, please add some comments to share with our other readers. Next week, I’ll be looking at some exam room strategies. Back to the books – good luck!Read The First Top 10 Tips Read Final Top 10 Tips