You might have heard from your peers, professors or friends: Your performance in your first year of law school is crucial. And how well you do on your exams is dependent on your preparation.
While studying for exams can be a stressful time, it’s important to remember that every person’s brain works differently. The tactic that works for your classmate might not work for you. We have some advice for when it comes to preparing for and taking exams.
Surviving Exam Season
Learn strategies to survive the crucible that is exam season, manage your expectations, and keep the unrelenting pressure from breaking your spirit and wrecking your focus.
THE DOS AND DON’TS
Take practice exams. Lots of them. Exams previously administered by your professor are preferable. This will help you determine how your professor drafts his or her exams.
Whenever possible, select a prior exam for which there is a sample answer on file. If there is no sample answer on file, ask your professor if he/she will review and comment on your answer.
Create your own study tools. Flashcards are a popular tactic for studying in law school. Unlike when you were younger, however, flashcards should have more information on them than just a few sentences. Like your outline, become familiar with how the law is applied to each case and spend a few minutes reviewing each day.
Learn to dissect instructions and ask the right questions. What are you being told to do? Make sure you thoroughly understand all areas of a task before you jump to your response.
Wait until right before finals to ask your professor to review your answer. The earlier you ask, the more likely your professor will have time to review your answer.
Try to argue for a higher grade. Objections and appeals might work in the courtroom, but not on exam rulings.
Overcomplicate your responses to exam questions. Your professors will appreciate a well-thought-out, clear analysis rather than a roundabout response. Remember the IRAC method as you construct your response. While it may not be applicable to every exam question, it provides the right thought process.
Get frustrated and burnt out too quickly. While everyone is graded on a curve, your success is dependent on the work you put into each task. If you find yourself getting anxious by the noise and distractions around you, it's okay to detach yourself from the study group and find a quiet place to work.
Do you know your legal stuff?
Better offers to sell Tom a parcel of land for $5,000, stating that the offer will remain open for thirty days. Tom replies, "I will pay $4,800 for the parcel," and on Betty's decline, Tom writes, within the thirty-day period, "I accept your offer to sell for $5,000." Was there a contract? And you thought exams weren't until the end of the semester?
Explore the Guide