You might be curious about the nature of law school final exams. Final exams in law school are not the same as tests you may have taken in college or in the past. Knowing what to expect will reduce your anxiety and stress, allowing you to go into the tests with confidence. As a result, we’ve laid down all you need to know about what to expect and how to prepare.
How to study for law school exams
Choose a decent study location.
Finding a suitable location(s) to study for twelve hours a day is a crucial job that many students ignore during the first semester. You want to make the most of your limited time while you prepare for your law school exams. Many students believe that law school is the finest location to study, and this belief has some foundation. Humans, on the other hand, are social creatures by nature, and law school is a social meeting place. Even if you have the best of intentions, it may be difficult to avoid protracted chats with friends and acquaintances, which will cut into your study time.
During my first semester, I quickly realized that studying at school was not going to work out. I am well aware that I am a chatty person, and studying with friends nearby did not work for me. Another issue I had with studying at school was that I like to take a thirty-minute break from it by grooving out to music. In your law school library, it’s kind of an awkward thing to do.
My advise is to try a few different places until you find one you like, but if you feel like you’re wasting too much time at law school chatting with classmates, I recommend finding another place to study. My pals study in a variety of locations, including coffee shops, their apartments, public libraries, undergrad libraries, and so forth. Find out what works for you!
Consider purchasing additional reading materials.
Some people take supplements before exam time to assist them remember what they learned during the semester. There are some supplements that are superior than others. I got a free Barbri subscription during my 1L year, so I used their videos to help me condense facts. Even if it provides knowledge that is either 1) too elementary or 2) not addressed in your class, Barbri is a useful tool.
If you decide to buy a supplemental book or service, you will almost certainly be confronted with knowledge that you did not acquire in class. Ignore it and move on; reading an Examples & Explanations book from cover to cover and discovering that half of the information will not be tested is a waste of time.
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Make a plan.
I’ve noticed that everyone creates their outlines in a different way. Some people create 100-page outlines that are incredibly detailed and comprehensive, while others create 30-page generic outlines. Although most of this is a matter of personal opinion, if you feel compelled to write a 100-page outline for Torts, make sure it is well-structured, with pages numbered and a table of contents.
Long outlines, even with a table of topics, are tough for me to manage during a timed exam, thus mine are usually 30-50 pages long, depending on the topic. My Corporations outline was over 60 pages long last semester, however my Federal Income Tax outline was only 28 pages long. It is entirely dependent on the class and the amount of content covered throughout the course of the semester.
Take as many practice exams as possible.
The greatest approach to prepare for a law school exam is to take practice examinations. They’re much more valuable if your professor provides model solutions (my professors all did 1L year). However, you cannot begin taking practice examinations until you have a firm grasp of the material, which is why we outline before taking practice exams.
During my first year of law, I wanted to take my practice exams under simulated exam conditions, which meant against the clock. Take the practice examinations without your notes if your professor does not allow you to bring notes to an exam.
I take the practice exam and then compare my response to the model answer if I have model answers. My Civil Procedure professor even authored the sample answers for his examinations, so I incorporated some of the terminology and concerns he addressed into my exam attack sheet.
Make an attack sheet that is both concise and useful.
Most law school exams are timed in some way. Some tests, such as my Torts and Contracts exams, are exceedingly time-sensitive, and every second matters. These types of exams can be stressful, but creating an “attack sheet” is one of the most effective strategies I’ve found to make your exam-taking more efficient.
Your outline’s attack sheets are shortened versions of your outline. After a few practice examinations, you should be able to discern a trend in your professor’s exam style. Most instructors have a distinct style, and they frequently recycle established information patterns by adding a little twist. Make the most of this by adapting your attack sheet to specific issues.
If you’re taking a case-heavy class like Civil Procedure, it’s a good idea to jot down the names of the cases, as well as one- or two-line summaries of what the holding was. This isn’t enough information to create an exam argument, but it’ll help you remember a case name.
I normally don’t write my attack sheet until a few days before the exam, and then I update it after I’ve completed my last practice exam. Because it’s difficult to know exactly what you want on your attack sheet until you’ve reviewed your outline a few times and taken some practice exams, I normally do mine at the last minute.
Commercial essay writing services should be avoided.
A number of essay writing companies have started targeting law students preparing for exams in recent years. Aside from the questionable ethics of such services, there is also the issue of quality – or lack thereof – with paid-for articles. This was noted in The Guardian, which revealed some less-than-impressive commercial model replies.’ To obtain an understanding of how things should be done, it is far better to use approved model replies.
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Use your sense of humor.
During law test season, students are frequently reminded of the need of maintaining a decent physical condition. Maintaining a good mental state is also crucial, which regular doses of mild relief might help with. One law student suggests ‘holding a wiggling puppy’ because it allows you to ‘be human again,’ another emphasizes the value of hanging out with friends (preferably not at the pub), while Vaughan advises students to pick a revision anthem’ (his was by Destiny’s Child) and play it constantly.
Learn important spellings.
Slapper observed that law students regularly misspell certain words. Homicide, appellant, appealed, grievous, judgment, and argument are among them. It looks horrible when important spellings like these are misspelled. Other words like principal/principle, effect/affect, dependent/dependant criterion/criteria, datum/data, and advice/advise are frequently confused.
Take a deep breath.
Few people feel full-fledged panic during exams, but many people suffer from milder symptoms of mental breakdown. One of the most common is the compulsion to answer a legal exam question without first analyzing whether it is the best alternative. ‘Choosing the wrong essay question has worked for me in the past,’ says Tom Webb, a UCL law graduate. ‘On one occasion, I got 15 minutes into answering a question before realizing I should have been answering another.’ It was a complete loss of time that I was unable to reclaim.’
What are the final exams like in law school?
Each professor will administer a unique exam.
During their first year of law school, most law schools divide students into sections. As a result, there may be two or three separate sections, and while each part takes the same classes, the lecturers are usually different. What exactly does this imply? In practice, your Torts exam may — and most likely will — appear substantially different from the Torts exam given by another professor. Some lecturers will assign multiple-choice questions, short response questions, and a long essay question to their students. Other lecturers may opt for two longer essay questions instead of multiple-choice questions. Ask your professor about the overall format of the exam in class or during office hours if you haven’t already. Or, better still, see if there are any past tests on file. Prepare for the type of test your professor will administer.
Exams in law school are usually like a racehorse.
Many issues are crammed into one fact pattern on law school essay exams. An essay fact pattern will often be one to three pages long. The fact pattern is essentially a story in which a number of things happen. For instance, in a Torts essay fact pattern, you might read about a man going grocery shopping, slipping on the floor and unable to get up, the business failing to assist him in a timely manner, a friend assisting him but then allowing him to fall again. Then someone else might become enraged and punch the pal in the face… you get the picture. There will be a lot of activity!
Your goal is to identify as many pertinent concerns as possible (e.g., negligence, assault, battery, etc. ), express the law accurately for those issues, apply the law to the facts, and come to a well-reasoned conclusion.
Open-book or closed-book exams are also possible.
The majority of students are relieved to learn that a test will be open-note or open-book. While this may give you a sense of security, don’t put too much faith in your outline or notes. Students frequently believe that because an exam is open-note, they are not required to memorize the legislation. This could not be more untrue! There isn’t enough time to research every rule in your outline. Regardless of whether your exam is open-book or closed-book, do your best to memorize your outline! Memorization is a crucial skill; apply approaches that have previously worked for you (e.g., writing out the rules, reciting the rules, etc.). Whether your test is open-book or closed-book, we recommend that you prepare in a similar manner. The main distinction is that if the exam is open-book, you should prepare a well-organized outline in case you need to look something up. In any case, you should learn the legislation so you don’t have to look it up. An outline is a safety net, and the better your understanding of the law, the more effectively you can apply it.
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