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Updated: May 17, 2023

This article will teach you how to revise for a law exam and how to memorise all of the information that you need to know for each of your courses so that you may pass your exams with flying colours. Taking notes and making a cheat sheet of topics that were covered in a prior article. It could seem daunting at first, but I believe that digesting four pages of information is simpler – and less intimidating – than the hundreds of flashcards that would be necessary to cover the same amount of material using the traditional method. It is also more systematic, since you can see the structure of each issue, but if you had divided it up into flashcards, you would not be able to do so. If you have the legislation laid out in front of you in a logical fashion, it is much simpler for your brain to create the connections necessary to grasp each subject.

Remember that the objective of these notes is to act as a memory aid rather than to teach the subject in the way that extensive notes or a textbook would, which means that your own revision notes will make a lot more sense to you. Our core books will help you get started. As a result, your quick notes will remind you to recall the whole context of each argument you make. For example, in the Contract Law, when preparing for a subject like consideration you should not write extensive phrases detailing each issue since you will already know what they were from reading before writing your exam notes. When creating a cheat sheet you will go over your notes. See the example below:



Definition of consideration

1. General Principle: Consideration is required in all contracts not established by seal, only with its presence will an agreement be deemed legally enforceable.

2. General Principle: Consideration is something of value promised by both parties during the formation of a contract.

Authority: Currie v Misa (1874-75) L.R. 10 Ex. 153 Consideration must be sufficient

1. General Principle: Consideration must be present, but need not be adequate. The courts will not measure consideration for adequacy.

Authority: Thomas v Thomas [1842] 2 QB 85

2. General Principle: The actual value of the exchanged consideration does not matter, it must only have a value in essence.

Authority: Chappell and Co v Nestle [1960] A.C. 87 Past Consideration

1. General principle: A promise which is offered after the close of a contract or performance will not be enforced by the courts, as it constitutes ‘past consideration’.

Authority: Roscorla v Thomas (1842) 3 Q.B. 234

2. General Principle: Consideration offered after a voluntary act is performed is ‘past consideration’ and not considered valid.

Authority: Re McArdle [1951] Ch. 669 Exceptions to the past consideration rule

1. General Principles: If past consideration is offered for an action that was done at requested by the promiser, it can be binding.

Authority: Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615) 80 E.R. 255, Common Bench

2. General Principle: Past consideration offered in a business context could be enforceable in court.

Authority: Re Casey’s Patents [1892] 1 Ch. 104

3. General Principle: If past-consideration is offered for an unfulfilled promise, it could be interpreted as consideration for the promise.

Authority: Pao On v Lau Yiu Long [1980] AC 614 Contractual duty to a third party

1. General Principle: Despite the fact that performing an existing duty is not valid consideration, performing a duty that is under a contract that a third party is owed can be seen to be valid consideration.

Authority: Scotson v Pegg (1861) 6 Hurl. & N. 295

2. General Principle: Offering a promise to a third party that is already undertaking an action can be valid consideration if the promisee receives a benefit from the promise.

Authority: New Zealand Shipping v Satterthwaite and Co (The Eurymedon) [1975] A.C. 154

Promisee already under a contractual duty

1. General Principle: Performing a contracted duty is not seen as good consideration for a new promise.

Authority: Stilk v Myrick (1809) 170 E.R. 1168, KB

2. General Principles: Performing a contracted duty in a capacity beyond normal means, or in potential danger, can be seen as valid consideration for a promise.

Authority: Hartley v Ponsonby (1857) 119 E.R. 1471, QB

3. General Principle: If one party’s contractual obligation confers additional benefit to a party, the fulfilling of the contractual obligation can be good consideration for a binding promise, provided that no economic duress is involved.

Authority: Williams v Roffey Bros and Nicholls [1991] 1 Q.B. 1

4. General Principle: Some exceptional problems can come up when someone who is in debt looks to settle a debt by way providing part payment. He or she has given no consideration in return for the promise the person who has given him credit to cancel the balance of the debt. As a result, he or she cannot enforce this promise if the creditor then decides to change his mind.

Authority: South Caribbean Trading Ltd v Trafigura Beheer [2004] EWHC 2676

Consideration for the variation of contractual terms

1. General Principle: In general, paying a smaller amount of money will never discharge a larger debt.

Authority: Pinnel’s Case (1602) 5 Co Rep 117a

2. General Principle: Generally, the party that is in debt is already contractually obliged to repay the larger sum of money and does not provide consideration by agreeing to pay a smaller sum and nothing more.

Authority: Foakes v Beer (1884) 9 App Cas 605

3. General Principle: Paying back a debt in smaller instalments, to avoid a company’s liquidation and total repayment, does not offer a ‘practical benefit’ to the borrower.

Authority: Re Selectmove Ltd [1995] 1WLR 474

Each subject requires two A4 pages, as previously shown. You will have between 4 and 6 courses in your last year of university, which means you will have roughly 70 pages of notes to revise, but hopefully not all at the same time. That may seem to be a lot, but keep in mind how the notes we gave you compacted. If you wrote down all of your notes or made flashcards for each one, you'd be creating a book, which means you'd have a far bigger amount of material to review. This is why many law students find themselves overwhelmed by their own notes and unable to update them in time. It's remarkable how fast and effortlessly you can learn all of the material with this revising technique.

Reading, leaving, and returning to read and recall is the underlying premise of a good memorisation approach. You may remember using this strategy to learn your spellings in school, but you haven't used it in a long time. Because it is the quickest and simplest method to memorise material, this approach is often disregarded for exam revision.

Then, how does it serve for law revision? First, choose how much of your notes you will commit to memory. It is recommended that you memorise your notes in two-page chunks, one subject or unit at a time. Thus, you may read the first unit, leave and return to your notes, and then repeat the process. Cover your notes and produce a sheet of blank paper. You may then continue to record everything from unit that you can recall. This is a crucial step, since writing down the knowledge makes it more memorable than just thinking about it. You should then review your notes to see whether you missed anything. If you have, you should cover up your notes again and just write down the bit that you have missed.

The next step is to go to the next unit or subject. Even if you believe you have not thoroughly memorised the first unit, it is crucial that you complete this step. You probably have not, but that is perfectly OK. Performing this strategy once, or even twice, will not help you retain knowledge. This is accomplished by returning to it and repeating the method. You should not dwell on the same section of your notes until you feel as if you have mastered it completely, since this will not aid in storing the material in your long-term memory. Only by moving on and then returning to the knowledge will it be stored in long-term memory. Repetition is crucial. Spending too much effort on a single portion of your notes will be a waste of time. Your brain requires time to absorb (and forget) information before you look at it again. In a nutshell, your brain needs time to process (and forget) information before you look at it again. This will enable your brain to strengthen the neuronal connections necessary for storing this piece of information in memory.

It may first seem difficult to memorise pieces of information using this approach if you have never used it before. You are not merely memorising text, as you would be if you were studying the lines of a play. Therefore, the process is far simpler than you may expect. You are not required to memorise your notes word-for-word; rather, you are recalling ideas. For every one-third of a page, you could only learn four or five things. In addition, you will have encountered the content when taking notes, as well as in your lectures and reading during the year, so it will already be known to you. This indicates that the job entails linking ideas to instances and storing them in long-term memory.

Law Past Papers and Law Tutorial Questions

Past exam papers are a useful resource for a couple of different reasons. To begin, you may use them to get a better understanding of the subjects that are often tested on as well as the methods that are used to evaluate those topics. This will make it much simpler and more efficient for you to write your revision notes. Second, you may use them after you have finished your review to test how much you remember and to practise your exam strategy. This can be done using the flashcards. There is not much use in devoting months of your life to learning the material included in each of your modules if you do not also make an effort to complete at least a few of the exam papers associated with each module. There has been a recent tendency of institutions that teach law to only provide one pas paper this is true like in courses like the PGDL and SQE. The reason is the course is new and there may not be many past papers. On the LLB universities only release the exam paper close to the exam. You should ask for these quite early on because all your study should be geared towards answer these questions. It is not enough to just know the knowledge; you must also be able to put it into practise. In a different post, you will discover further advice on how to compose responses for first-class examinations.

In addition, the practise questions that you go through in your tutorials are quite helpful. Because the questions on your exams will typically be modelled on the types of questions you are asked in your tutorials, making sure that the work in your tutorials is completed in its entirety will provide you with an excellent opportunity to work on the organisation of your essays and your exam technique.

It is quite possible that the same individual who writes your examinations and creates the grading system also designed the framework that your instructor uses to evaluate your responses. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you record whatever your teacher says about constructing the responses to the assigned problems. Idealistically, you should also attempt to generate sample responses to these questions that you may utilise for review.

Do not, however, depend on 'question spotting.' Using previous papers and tutorial questions to prepare for the kind and style of questions you will face in your exam is not the same as anticipating which subjects will come up based on prior exams and then solely reviewing those areas. However, occasionally professors may indicate which subjects will be tested, or they may state that you will be given a question on all of the topics you have studied, but that you will only be required to answer two of those questions. It is absolutely normal in this scenario, and I would even say that it is extremely sensible, to be selective about the subjects that you review. This is particularly true when taking into consideration the enormous amount of knowledge that is required of you to understand.

You may be advised to study for all questions in order to have a choice when it comes to the test. Revision that is focused will help you to better grasp the subjects that you do revise, so that you are able to answer any question about them and that your answers are of much higher quality than if you were simply familiar with a few themes superficially.


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