Managing time during legal exam

Managing time during legal exam might not be an easy task if not prepared. It is a known fact that all disciplines worldwide come with various perks and downsides. Take the study of the Nigerian Legal profession, for example; it demands that aspiring lawyers ought to cram legal statutes, cases and provisions and make reference to these authorities every time a valid point is made by them. This attribute seems like fun and games till the exam period approaches, and these students are bombarded with problem questions which require the application of these crammed laws into real-life scenarios.


Most of the time, one will first of all have to identify the nature of the law before remembering the law itself and how to efficiently apply these laws in the standardized way set out by the discipline. Before the student settles down to do all these, he/she will figure out that the time set out for the exam has already elapsed with little or nothing done. Hence, the essence of this article is to provide valid tips to law students in Nigeria regarding efficient time management during legal exams. These tips include:

Commence With the Question(s) you are strong in

Most of the time, the questions asked during legal exams are of different varieties and sections. For example, if two to three problem questions are asked in a single exam, there is a 90% chance that the laws which require application in these questions are different. Hence, students are advised to start answering the questions which they are most strong in before going to other subsidiary ones, which require more thinking. The key tips that one ought to adhere to in order to make this a reality include:

  • Follow the areas of concentration given by the lecturers religiously and try to master at least one or two laws fully so that they will be easy to spot through any disguise.
  • If no areas of concentration were given by the lecturer, try to cover a bulk part of the course outline and follow the stated instructions.
  • Take a minute or two to skim through the questions asked and tick out the ones which you feel you can attempt either fully or at least halfway
  • Switch to the next question the minute you notice that the question which you are answering is becoming too confusing.
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Attempt All the Non-Problem Questions as Instructed First

Problem questions are those questions that require the identification and application of laws to real-life scenarios. Most of the time, lecturers will not want to ask the problem question in a vacuum; hence it is normally accompanied by other non-problem subsidiary questions.

Depending on the exam instructions, students are advised to attempt the non-problem questions first and write them down as fast as possible before moving further to dissect and answer problem questions. This is advisable because most of the time, students might tend to focus so much on the problem questions, forgetting or completely disregarding the subsidiary questions till the time elapses.

Dissect Your Time

Try to divide your time while answering legal questions. In order words, assign particular time limits to each question asked during the exam and assign higher time frames to problem questions. For example, if you are asked to answer two problem questions and three subsidiary questions during a 90 minutes exam. You can follow the stated format:

  • Assign five minutes each to answer the subsidiary questions. If you notice that five minutes have passed and you have not been able to finish the question, skip to the next one.
  • Assign ten minutes each to the reading and analysis of the problem questions and an extra ten minutes to the answering of these questions. Similarly, if you notice that you are spending too much time on the stated question, skip to the next one.
  • When you have properly answered the questions that you know, come back and spend extra time with the uncompleted answers.
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Develop The Habit of Writing Fast

Most of the time, students spend an entire ten minutes trying to contain their exam tension and think straight, then devote the rest of their time to writing slow or at the normal note copying pace. It should be noted that every time spent in the exam hall counts, and thus, there is no time to spend doing other things which are not related to writing.

Before the exam papers arrive, try to calm the tension and once the paper arrives, start writing and thinking as fast as you possibly can. However, do not write too fast and make your writing space unreadable or rough.


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