Georgia Tudball: how to stay organised at law school
How to stay organised and be efficient in law school
Organisation and efficiency can sound dull to focus on, but both have a common goal – to save you time in the long run, allowing you to spend more time on what you enjoy. Here are some of the methods I've found useful in staying on track with everything throughout the first year of my law degree.
Keep your notes safe
For some it may seem obvious – but I have come across a few people at university who don't use Google Drive (or a similar online storage space) for their files, and instead just save it all to their computers. Not only is this a risky idea – think if it gets stolen or broken – you end up just clogging your computer's memory, eventually slowing it down. Alongside the reassurance I get knowing that my files are safe, I value being able to have access to all of them from my phone via the Google Drive app - in case my laptop suddenly runs out of charge, or I have a spare 2 minutes to revise while standing outside of an exam hall.
Don't risk forgetting to do uni work
One of the worst feelings ever is lying in bed on a Sunday night and realising that you've done all the work due for the next week – apart from a prep task due in at 9 the next morning. One way I've found really effective to avoid these types of situations is to print off a very basic checklist of the work I know I have to complete, separated into every week of the semester, for all of my modules. I pin this to the noticeboard above my desk so that it's fully on display and I can't ignore it like I could if it was written in a planner. I find having one piece of paper that displays all the weeks of the semester at once also motivates me to work, as my brain wants me to fill in all the boxes with ticks!
A screenshot of the checklist I used for this past semester
Be smart with your revision
When it comes to university, I think people can sometimes remain stuck in the A-Level mindset of 'I have to revise everything, because anything can come up in the exam, so I'll make 10,000 flashcards for each subject'.
As good as it may feel to have that stack of flashcards sat proudly on your desk, reminding everyone (mainly yourself) what a good student you are, it can actually be really unnecessary. I know for me personally, 2 out of 3 modules this semester are assessed via written coursework. So, to spend hours upon hours making beautiful revision materials each week for those subjects would be a complete waste of time. With modules that are assessed by coursework, the crucial elements are to make sure you understand the content you've been taught, and to have your notes organised properly. Anything above that and I think you'll be at a disadvantage in terms of bringing yourself closer to burnout.
Be aware of future exams at the earliest point possible
Carrying on from the above point, before a certain pandemic decided to show up and throw a spanner in the works, my public law module was due to be assessed by a closed-book exam. At my uni, the first week of every semester we are made aware of the assessment methods for each module, and from that point, I make sure to do as much as possible to make life easier for my future self (thanks, past me). This doesn't mean go crazy and dedicate my life to memorising every fact about judicial review or learning the entirety of PACE off by heart. Instead, what I find most effective is adding any terms, statutes or cases into a Quizlet after every lecture and workshop (which takes, at most, 10 minutes). Then when I add more in the following week, I also test myself on all the previous information that's in the Quizlet. This just makes sure everything is always relatively fresh in my mind, and makes sure I don't learn about something in the first week and end up having to completely re-teach it to myself again just before the exam.
Know when to stop
One of the most important facts I've learnt in first year is that taking a break from uni work can be one of the most beneficial things you can do to increase your efficiency. This isn't to say that any time you get a little bit bored or feel fed up with doing work, you should stop – but you should learn how long you can reasonably ask your brain to stay focused before you give it a well-deserved break.
LinkedIn: Georgia Tudball