In my previous article I shared some reflections on the process of exam preparation and how to make this time more productive. Today, let me reflect from another angle and look at the things I wish I would have done differently in that process.
Here is the list of steps I would have taken if there was a way to go back in time and start over.
- I would have followed my schedule more diligently. In fact, deviating from it was my biggest stress factor. It is worth remembering that making a commitment to ourselves carries as much weight as a commitment to others.
- I would have done things more intuitively. Sometimes, our very own trial-and-error process is the best path to diagnose and master shortcomings. All it takes is a little more trust in our own judgement on how to approach the task at hand, recognising that there is no magic formula to becoming the best students we can be. Most issues with how we approach our studies can be fixed, but we need to be able to identify them first.
- I would have listened to the online lectures more frequently. Not only are they a great source for supplementing our notes, but they also provide a framework of the most important concepts on each module topic. The more we listen to the lectures, the greater our understanding of those concepts would be. My programme provides me with the advantage of having all lectures recorded and available on demand for a long period of time. Many on-campus students only get to hear each lecture once. It is therefore wise to make better use of these resources. The lecture scripts are also a hidden gem. I grasped topics much faster by listening to the lectures while following and highlighting the script.
- I would have practiced more exam questions, ideally with a timer. To successfully keep within the time and word limits during the exams, our level of knowledge command and active retrieval must be somewhat “automated”. It is not only speed that is of the essence here. So is precision.
- I would have dedicated more time to preparing detailed answers for the Undergraduate Laws formative activities in the module guides. The value of engaging in this self-testing exercise cannot be stressed enough! Yes, it may seem time-consuming at first, but what if going through each activity showed us that we already know more than we think? What if this was a tool for increasing our level of comfort with each topic? And what if this tool also taught us how to make better arguments? Internalising the information from each chapter is the first step, learning how to apply it is the next. These activities are one of the best tools for it. If this were an article about boxing, I would have probably told you that the activities are among our best sparring partners for the big day.
Finally, such retrospection is only good if it is constructive. Your list may look different, but, in every case, let it be an inspiration for improvement instead of a source of resentment.
I hope this is your best academic year thus far!
Ralitsa is an LLB student, studying via distance learning in Germany.