“Only a law student can fully appreciate how difficult it is to revise for a law exam; case names and dates are just the start! Once you add in judges’ opinions, dissenting judgements, jurisprudence and legal doctrine, you have a recipe for not only a difficult revision period, but a tedious and exhausting one too.” – Adeena Hussain, Law with French Law and Language Student, The University of Leicester – All About Law
As the above quote indicates, revision, particularly for a Law study programme, is not easy. That’s why so many pupils hate hearing the word! But, it also highlights how important it is for every student to revise so that they can keep on top of all of those legal terms, dates and famous cases.
So if you feel like a teacher, parent, or your conscience is constantly nagging at you to “get revising”, then rest assured that you are not alone!
We all know the benefits of revising, but do we all understand the huge advantage that starting revision early gives you?
Starting revision early means that you will be able to experiment with your revision techniques and sources, whilst reducing the amount of stress you put yourself under. Being organised and not cramming in work is also good training for when you become a lawyer and have to spend time going over accounts and planning your cases precisely.
You can feel smug as you enter the exam room if you have prepared in advance. Photo credit: fox-orian on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA
Now that we know why we should be revising early on in the course, here are some tips on how.
Everybody has their own way of working and their unique revision techniques.
For example, some may prefer just reading information and retaining it, others may like to write their notes down to revise from whilst others may like to record themselves reading out facts and then listening to the recording again and again.
Try out all the new revision techniques that you hear about or come across and see what works best for you as an individual.
Below are some tips to help you get started with your revision planning, but one of the main things to remember above all is to stay calm and positive throughout your course.
Plan your revision sessions
It is no use having good thoughts about your revision, you must put these intentions down on paper and commit yourself to a timetable of revision sessions.
Of course, you can’t plan your life months in advance as you don’t know what you will have on (although, ideally, if you are close to exams, you will be keeping your calendar pretty clear!), however, you can still jot down rough slots to ensure that you complete at least your minimum number of hours of revision in a week.
You might like to set aside half an hour every day, or you can plan to do two hours of work every other day if you prefer to keep some time for yourself.
If you are a morning person and work better after an early rise, then schedule in your revision for the first part of the day. If, however, you are a night owl, then maybe you’d like to do some work immediately after college or following your evening meal. Don’t leave your revision until late in the evening though as that’s when your body and mind will begin to tire and you won’t benefit as much from the time spent reading or doing activities.
Also, don’t forget to have a break after every hour to allow your brain to rest!
Moreover, do not simply allocate a certain amount of time on revision, make sure that you dedicate each day of revision to completing certain tasks so that you don’t just allow yourself to procrastinate for the entirety of your revision time.
Use revision flashcards
Flashcards, or case cards as the case will be for you, are highly useful for any law pupil. With so many case names and dates to remember, being able to visualise these details on a flashcard could be your saving grace when it comes to the exam.
Not only does getting the specifics exactly right prove to the examiner that you did your revision, but it also shows focus and that you know what you are talking about. Precision can be key in relation to many legal matters.
To make your cards, use bold colours and don’t be afraid to use diagrams or images if they help you to remember certain facts. Also, don’t feel that your flashcards need to be tiny like those you have been used to at GCSE, you can use A5 card or bigger. If your parents will allow, you could turn one of your bedroom walls into a working wall just like investigators in the movies.
Add the name and date of the case, along with details of those being prosecuted or defended, but don’t forget to add further information that will help you to make your case, like the judges’ opinions.
Once made, make sure you read them over and over in different orders and keep on testing yourself during your revision.
I do this very exercise with my law tutor London so i can swear to its effectiveness!
Revision is different for everyone, but everyone should start with a notepad, pen and calendar so that they can plan how they will revise. Photo credit: wuestenigel on VisualHunt / CC BY
Thanks to Waterstones, we have been able to identify the top revision guides for law students based on the feedback received by previous customers.
The featured guides below have been rated five stars by law students, fanatics and professionals so, even if they are not designed for your specific course or level, you can be sure that they will be of particular interest to you as someone who is intrigued by legal matters.
Public Law Concentrate
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“The Public Law Concentrate is written and designed to help you succeed. Written by experts and covering all key topics, Concentrate guides help focus your revision and maximise your exam performance. Each guide includes revision tips, advice on how to achieve extra marks, and a thorough and focused breakdown of the key topics and cases. Revision guides you can rely on: trusted by lecturers, loved by students…”
Law Express: Criminal Law
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is one of the UK’s bestselling law revision series and features the opportunity to review essential cases, statutes, and legal terms before exams, assess and approach the subject by using expert advice, gain higher marks with tips for advanced thinking and further discussions, avoid common pitfalls, and practice answering sample questions.
Law Express Question and Answer: Equity and Trusts (Q&A revision guide)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
From the creators of the UK’s bestselling Law Express revision series, this edition enables you to “maximise your marks for every answer you write […]. This series is designed to help you understand what examiners are looking for, focus on the question being asked and make even a strong answer stand out.”
Glanville Williams: Learning the Law
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
If you are not the bookworm type, check online resources to help your revisions.
First published in 1945, this series of guides has been “introducing new and prospective law students to the foundation skills needed to study law effectively for more than sixty years. Presenting an overview of the English Legal System and covering the essential legal skills that students need to master if they want to succeed both in their legal studies and in their future careers, this is a must-have book for all new law students!”
Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage
Bryan A. Garner
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Check out our complete law books revision list!
“This new edition of Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage marshals and analyses the modern legal vocabulary more thoroughly than any other contemporary reference work can claim to do. Since the first edition, Bryan A. Garner has drawn on his unrivalled experience as a legal editor to refine his positions on legal usage and to add a wealth of new material.
The new Third Edition remains indispensable by updating numerous entries, adding dozens of new entries and hundreds of new sections within existing entries; adding hundreds of new illustrative quotations from judicial opinions and leading law books by prominent legal commentators; revising the selected bibliography; and expanding and updating cross-references to guide readers quickly and easily. […]
It is an essential resource for practising lawyers, scholars of the law, and libraries of all sizes and types. DMLU functions both as a style guide and as a law dictionary, guiding writers to distinguish between true terms of law and mere jargon and illustrating recommended forms of expression. […] Collectively, there is no better resource for approaching legal writing in a logical, clear, and error-free way.”
Take a look at more revision resources compiled by Superprof.
Inside your locker should be some textbooks, revision guides and other resources to help you to prepare for an exam. Photo credit: vauvau on VisualHunt.com / CC BY
Commercial Law Concentrate
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“The Commercial Law Concentrate is written and designed to help you succeed. Written by experts and covering all key topics, Concentrate guides help focus your revision and maximise your exam performance. Each guide includes revision tips, advice on how to achieve extra marks, and a thorough and focused breakdown of the key topics and cases.”
Introduction to South Pacific Law
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Providing an overview of the origins and development of the law and legal systems in the South Pacific, the authors examine the framework of legal systems in the region and the operation of state and customary laws. Exploring, not only the legal system generally, but also the constitution and jurisdiction of state courts and legislative provisions of individual jurisdictions and cases, it contains individual chapters on substantive areas of law. They cover administrative law, constitutional law, contract law, criminal law, customary law, family law, and land law.”