Online students are no stranger to self-discipline and keeping to a robust study schedule. As exam time approaches, staying on track is more challenging than ever. To help online students stay ahead of the game and best understand and utilise ULaw’s study resources, we asked Librarian and Study Skills Advisor Louise Worsfold to share her wisdom.
The University of Law hosts a range of study resources on the Online Library that are available to online students to support them throughout exam time. We have a comprehensive list including how to write, punctuate, structure and research specific legal and business assignments. We have all kinds of assistance for researching and using text which includes embedding your findings into your assignments both ethically and academically. We also have materials on time management, reading and note taking, oral skills, motivation and organisation, revision and exam technique, and others.
Most students know where they need to develop their skills and will find this in their feedback from assignments. If struggling to know how to move forward, students can always have a one-to-one session with a study skills advisor or librarian who will do a needs assessment with them, which is effectively a chat about their issues and where they are struggling.
We encourage students to firstly think about how they learn and assimilate information. Then we ask the student to find the best way they can trigger recall of the information. This could be a picture, a mind map or any other visual or audiological resource. This helps to condense the original notes down to a much more concise version. These notes might include detailed information for each topic; a list of specific cases as required per subject, templates on how to answer problem questions, essays, legal memoranda, and any other required formats. And then, after these resources have been organised, an index or contents page should be made. This allows students to find information very quickly which is essential when taking an open book exam. Students should embark on this task as soon as they start their course. Be ready, don't get ready.
You need to be very self-disciplined to study effectively online. The Library and Study Skills teams offer drop-in sessions, discussions, and accountability sessions to help students connect and collaborate. We are also happy for students to contact us should they require a study buddy. This is where we match them up with other people in their cohort where they can brainstorm ideas, share opinions and discuss their progress.
The university has a vast array of resources. The teams that create these resources meet at least once a week and discuss any issues arising and further content is created or adjusted relevant to the resourcing needs that are identified. This means that we do have something for everyone, but it can be difficult to find things as there are so many. We try to offer a balance of synchronous support (live webinars, drop-ins and individual appointments) and asynchronous support (recordings, PowerPoint slides, podcasts and animations) and we present material in lots of different ways using multimedia to cater for neurodiverse students and those with different learning preferences.
As previously stated, being ready and not getting ready is the most important thing a student can do. As soon as you start studying, pretend to be a librarian for at least one day of every week. Collect everything, collate the collection and index it so that you can find what you want at any given moment. Make sure you have a system that you use for the duration of your studies. This could be a colour-coded system, for example, legislation is logged in lilac, important information is in bold, subject titles are in purple, and subdivisions could be assigned to other colours. That way students can find information at a glance.
Learn more about The University of Law’s Online Campus and how our online study resources can help you can ace this exam season.