Getting Top Marks In Exams

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Arrive early

  • Arriving early will give you a chance to prepare yourself mentally for the exams. You want to be in the right frame of mind and not worrying about whether you’re going to make it on time for the exam.
  • Arriving early will also allow you to take full advantage of the reading time. This will give you a good opportunity to digest the questions, choose the questions you want to answer and think about how you might answer them. It’s an opportunity NOT to be missed. Some invigilators allow you to highlight your paper. Make sure you ASK if this is permitted.


  • You should either spend five minutes before you start each question or fifteen at the beginning of the exam jotting down relevant case law next to the issues. I suggest the latter. Get it all down whilst it’s still fresh. We can all draw blanks in exams and if you do at least you’ll have some helpful pointers to jog your memory.
  • Planning will also allow you to focus your answer and not include things which though interesting are completely irrelevant.

Divide your time equally between questions

Split up your time sensibly. Thanks to ubiquity_zh
  • This may seem obvious but many students lose marks simply because they don’t manage their time properly and end up either not answering the required amount of questions or not answering them to their full potential.
  • Keep an eye on the time. When you’re nearing the end of your allotted time for the question continue in bullet form and move on. Don’t lose marks unnecessarily.

Draw attention to cases

  • Cases can get lost in reams of exam scrawl! Highlight or underline cases so that they stand out.
  • You need not cite a case in full nor include the year. But where they start with the same name or you want to show progression in the law, it may be wise to include the full name or year.

Read over your answers

  • Where time permits, read over your answers. It’s surprising how many negligent mistakes one can make under pressure. A can instead of cannot can throw your whole point and subsequently lose you marks.

Thanks to Noella Lahai-Taylor for these materials.