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Law School Final Exam Week Tips

Law School Final Exam Week TipsWith final exams rapidly approaching, it’s time to focus on only what is absolutely necessary for success on your exams.  It can be a stressful period, but try not to let it overwhelm you. (If you’re feeling too anxious already, see this post with great tips on lowering stress during finals!)  Stop thinking about all those tiny details in the countless cases you read – let those go!  Focus on memorizing the black letter law and practicing how to issue spot.  This is where the points are for law school finals, not in remembering what the plaintiff argued in a specific case. Here are some more tips on what to do during law school final exam week!

Law School Final Exam Week Tips

1. Work interactively with your outlines

At this point, your outlines should be complete. (If you haven’t, see this in-depth guide to outlining ASAP!) Now it is time to memorize them and then test yourself on how much you know.  Break your outline into chunks, try to memorize the black letter law, and then re-write it yourself to see how much you remember. This will help reinforce the key concepts in your head.  When you come across a critical rule, make sure you can list all of the elements involved using precise legal language.  This is what you will be expected to reproduce on an exam. For a change of pace, perhaps take your class notes and try to create a broader outline of the class.  This can be used for quick reviewing right before you take the exam.  Here is a great post with other ideas on how to actively learn your outlines!

2. Take practice exams

It is pretty much impossible to overstate how important it is to take practice exams, especially those written by your professor.  Law school exams are a whole different monster, and so law school final exam week is a perfect time to practice how to handle them.  The fact patterns are often incredibly long and complex, requiring you to identify numerous issues and then analyze them together.  Many students are used to being handed questions obviously designed to test one specific thing.  Law school questions will weave many different topics from the course together. This can seem difficult to anyone who hasn’t practiced how to handle these situations.  Additionally, every professor writes their exams differently.  This is why it is important to try to obtain practice exams from your specific professor.  Try to learn what their favorite issues are, or how they present the issues through the facts.

3. Review the results from your practice exams and use them to plan your next steps

After you take the practice exam, don’t just set it aside.  Actively reviewing the model answer and comparing it with your answer can teach you just as much as any other study technique. Make sure you evaluate whether you actually identified all of the issues and analyzed them.  If you didn’t, then you are leaving points on the table. Compare your rule statements with the ones in the model answer.  If you didn’t state the rule correctly, flag it in your outline so that you can come back and work on that section.  See if your analysis has enough detail to cover what the professor was looking for.

Doing all of these things allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses.  Once you’ve done this, you know which sections of your outlines to go back and review in more detail. Then maybe you should return back to tip one and try new strategies for reviewing that material. See this post for more ideas on how to best utilize your practice exams!

4. Don’t procrastinate

Procrastinating is probably the worst thing you can do during finals week, making this one of the most important law school final exam week tips.  There is only a finite amount of time and you need to make sure you get everything done.  The best way to keep yourself on track is to create a finals study schedule (here is a great post on helping you create one). Try to stick to it as best as you can.  If you put off studying until the last few days, that will only increase your stress level and prevent your brain from absorbing all the required material.  Use your time wisely!

Now is the time to dedicate yourself to making one last law school push!  You’re down to crunch time, so make sure you are focusing on the most important keys to exam success. You’ve done so much hard work this semester, don’t let yourself down now!

We hope these law school final exam week tips help!

Laura Sigler, a  JD Advising bar exam essay grader, who graduated cum laude from Wayne State University Law School wrote this post.