It’s that time of year – No, I’m not referring to the holidays. Midterms has passed, and now its time to soldier up for finals!
When I was a first semester 1L, I did not know how to properly prepare for law school exams because I did not know how to manage my time, and I was not proactive in taking practice exams. Now that I’m a 2L student, I have some suggestions for 1L students.
1. Practice Essays: Take advantage of the past exams your professor shares on their class TWEN page, and past exams from other professors available in the Document Library. Under timed conditions, draft essays for each exam, and then submit them to your learning assistants or professors for review. Then rewrite these essays and resubmit them for review. You will improve your analysis and refine your organization of issues.
2. Practice Multiple Choice: Utilize the multiple choice questions available in supplemental books such as Kaplan, Themis, and Barbri. You should consult with your professor on book recommendations. Under timed conditions, complete an exam, review your correct and incorrect answers, and then retake the exam before moving on to the next one. You will gain fact pattern recognition and an understanding of rule nuances.
3. Outlines & Checklists: Complete your outlines by early November so that you can spend a substantial amount of time taking practice exams, and getting feedback from your professors. Then reduce your outline to a checklist of main rules, elements, and sub-elements by early November. Rely on your checklists when taking initial practice exams. During the last two weeks, you should take your practice exams under timed conditions without any notes. If you follow this method, your anxiety will decrease substantially given your experience taking exams before finals arrive.
In addition to the mental preparation, I find it also helps to tend to emotional and physical needs. I stay positive by spending time with uplifting people, watching comedies, eating three square meals a day, hydrating with plenty of water, exercising daily (walking counts), and making sure I get enough sleep.
When you sit down to take your final exams, just remember that your leadership skills gave you fuel to pursue your legal education. You have everything you need to succeed in this journey!