1. Do Past Papers
- Practice makes perfect! Do the LATEST exam paper first (2019 –> 2018 –> 2017 –> 2016 etc). This is because past papers can help you predict the “trend” of questions. If you focus on old exam papers, you can’t really predict the question “trend” accurately. Besides, the syllabus might be outdated and may have changed.
- You still have to do the old past papers for practice, you just have to do the latest ones first!
- Write down the question types and the topics that come up frequently. You will find that some topics appear every year while some don’t. If you have suggested answers/ a marking scheme, compare your answers to the suggested ones. Write down the mistakes you made in a notebook and study them before the exam.
2. Study Session Duration means NOTHING if you cannot focus
Do not set daily goals like “I have to study tort law for 2 hours today”, especially when you can’t concentrate well that day. Sometimes we just couldn’t finish our work within the time limit! What if you can’t focus during that 2 hours? Busy does not equal to productive. So sitting in front of your desk for 2 hours doesn’t necessarily mean that you are productive. You achieved nothing and did not produce any quality work. (while you feel like you have done sth…)
Instead, I set goals like “I have to finish the readings for this topic (e.g. duty of care) of this subject (e.g. tort law) today.”
3. My very weird study habit – nap / sleep after a study session
Researchers found that human’s memories are shifted to more permanent brain regions when you sleep. Your memories are re-organized and stored. Sleep therefore can strengthen your memory. The “study –> nap –> scan through the notes again” method always works well for me.
4. Your Pomodoro Timer Doesn’t have to be 25 mins
Despite the fact that the traditional 25 mins study “rule” works well for some students, it is too short for me to study anything. Having frequent breaks makes me difficult to concentrate, especially when I’m already in the “flow” after 15 mins of studying. I like to have 1 hour or 2 hours study session followed by a 10-minute break. The key is to find out what works best for you.
5. Do not follow all the suggestions on the internet
We see a lot of studying methods suggested on the Internet, but you must figure out whether those methods suit you. I used flashcard when I was in high school but this method didn’t work for me when I studied law in the University. You can first consider which type of learner are you, what subject are you studying and what level of study are you in , then figure out which method works best for you!
6. Treat Open-Book Examinations as Closed Book Examinations
Trust me, you WON’T have time to flip through the pages and find your answers in the books during the exam! Open book exams are usually harder than closed book exams as they are not testing your memory at all. So treat it like a close book exam and have enough preparation.