Updated: Sep 10, 2021
PART 1- How to actually finish the legal studies exam on time
2 hours. That’s the amount of writing time you get for most of your subject’s and that’s definitely the time you get for legal studies. However, legal studies is one of the only exams that is a true race against time.
Heaps of people don’t finish the exam every year, essentially throwing away a bunch of marks due a lack of time management skills. It is really hard to finish; I admit it BUT it is definitely possible!! I know, I’ve done it!
Here are some easy tips to help you make sure you’re nailing your exam in time!
Use your reading time!! Probably the most underused resource in every game. Read the exam once over and then go ahead and re-read the questions that you may be finding a little bit difficult and start to formulate plans to answer them in your head. As soon as writing time starts, go ahead and pencil in the plan in the margins. This way, even if you come back to the question later on, you’ve got your reading time plan sitting there in front of you.
Figure out a method that works for you and STICK to it for every single practice exam so that you nail it for the real thing. For example, personally I ALWAYS started with the 10 marker first, I then moved on to the 9 markers, 8 markers, 7 markers so on and so forth. So essentially in the last half an hour of the exam I only had 2-4 markers left which is a lot less overwhelming than having the 10-marker left.
Now this worked for me, but it may not work for everyone. However, please try this out!! I know a lot of people that answered the exam using this method and they found that they finished it in time. If you find this too stressful or overwhelming to complete a bunch of big questions in a small amount of time, try interspersing a few short ones in the middle!! As soon as you find a method that works for you, STICK to it. Don’t change it up for every exam, consistency is really important.
Okay, so you’ve got your method down but for some of the questions you’re just not finishing it in time! This is time to check if you’re writing fast enough. Time yourself for every practice question you do!! Make sure you are getting under or on that 1.5 a minute mark. Try writing with a heavier pen for your practices so when you get to the real thing your hand flies across the page with a normal pen.
If you find that you’re thinking about the questions for too long and your handwriting itself is fine, then you need to sharpen your ability to gather all your thoughts and structure a plan for questions. I’ve talked about mind-mapping before and that method is great for this!! It really sharpens connections across every aspect of the study design! Also practice questions are really great for this!! The more you practice thinking quickly and on the spot, the better you’ll get at it!!
PART 2- Final words of advice
So, this is it. My last few nuggets of advice!
My number 1 tip would definitely be SLEEP!! Make sure you are getting those 8-10 hours of sleep EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! Do not run on 5 hours of sleep and wake up at 4 to study for your 9 am exam, it’s just not worth it. Sleep helps you consolidate everything you’ve learnt so far and if that means crawling into bed at 10pm then so be it. Treat yourself the best possible way you can during this period and once exams are over you can go back to sleeping at 2 and waking up at noon. But for these 3-4 weeks, be the best and most disciplined with your sleep schedule you can be.
Also, on a similar note, eat well!! Have lots of fruits and vegetables and drinks heaps of water. I’m not opposed to a little chocolate every few days (because let’s be honest, we do need something to keep us going) but please don’t live off of Maccas and KFC. Be the best you can possibly be to yourself with everything. Exercise is also a great way to destress and let go.
English is probably the most daunting exam for everyone, because it’s first up for a lot of us and the one that matters the most, but once that’s over you can really sense everyone’s nerves calming down. Try not to get too worked up about everything, remind yourself that no matter what, you will get to exactly where you want to be in life even if you don’t get the scores you want or need!!
Another great tool is to set out a schedule for the work you need to do every day. For example, I set myself 6 hours of work every day because that was my peak of productivity. After 6 hours I would find myself getting lethargic and not working well enough, but I know heaps of people that work through 8+ hours every night because that’s what worked for them.
If you find yourself getting drained after 5 hours of work a day, that’s your capacity, don’t push yourself harder because you might burn out, just find smarter ways to work with the 5 hours you do have.
I liked to work on 2 subjects per day, any more than that and I would start getting overwhelmed. So, I pulled out a calendar (you can just print one out) and allocated 3 hours for each subject per day and I allocated them in such a way that I had different subjects to work on every day, which kept me from getting too bored and stuck in a rut with a subject. In the 3 hour windows I wrote down the tasks that I had to complete that day in bold , and then any extra tasks that I wanted to complete so that I knew what to work on if I finished my main tasks for the day.
This is my biggest piece of advice, ask lots and lots of questions. I probably went to school nearly every day to ask my teachers for help. I would get them to mark practice exams for subjects that are harder to self-mark like legal and psychology and would ask my teachers how to solve questions I didn’t understand for more maths/science subjects. Definitely make use of your teachers, they are the best resource you have at your disposal and I’ve literally never met a teacher that didn’t want to help.
Also, work with your friends! But make sure you’re working with the right friends. We are all different and some students are really intent on doing well and some have other priorities and that’s perfectly fine! So just find people that have the same goals as you and work with them because chances are, they will be working just as hard as you if not harder and can help you with bits your struggle with and vice versa.
Anyways, that’s all from me! I’m so sure you’re all going to do super well this year and absolutely smash those exams and get to exactly where you want to be. Good luck!
Have a question?
In the final weeks before exams Risha will be hosting 2 Live Q&A sessions to help everyone get fully prepared for exams. If you have a question on how to best get prepared, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content send it through here, and Risha might answer it live!