There are four simple steps about how to take law school practice exams in order to maximize your score.
How to Take Law School Practice Exams:
Step One: Get as many practice exams as possible. The absolute best possible exams are your professor’s old exams. If your professor does not provide exams, then search online for some practice exams. If your professor does not have any available, there are some more online resources below. (Make sure to download the model answer with your practice exam.)
General exams with model answers:
- Capital Law University
- University of Dayton (multiple exams)
- Emory Law
- Empire College School of Law has exams and model answers.
- George Washington (Contracts, Constitutional Law, Others)
- Gonzaga Law School (Torts exams)
- University of Kentucky (multiple exams)
- University of Missouri has exams but only some have model answers.
- St Mary’s University (multiple exams)
- University of Pittsburgh (Criminal Law Exams)
- University of San Diego (multiple exams)
- Stestson University School of Law
- Multiple choice questions with answers:
- 21 questions provided by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Step Two: Review your outlines carefully, then take a portion of a practice exam. Take one class, say, Real Property, and review the outline in the morning. Take a portion of a Real Property practice exam in the afternoon. Don’t time yourself. And don’t make yourself take the whole exam. Just take one or two parts of the essay exam. Read the question—take as much time as you need. Then, draft an answer. After you are done drafting your answer, go back to the facts and make sure you have addressed all of the most important ones in your answer.
Step Three: Compare your answer with the model answer. If you are unsure how to do this, here are some questions to ask yourself when comparing your answer to the model answer:
- Did I spot the same issues that the writer of the model answer spotted?
- Did I miss important issues? Which ones? How will I avoid this in the future?
- Did I include issues that the model answer did not include? If so, are these issues relevant?
If you did not spot all of the issues, you may need to slow down and read the fact pattern more carefully.
- Did I clearly lay out all of the rules and elements of law for each issue?
- Did I discuss laws that weren’t relevant? How can I avoid this in the future?
If you did not state or explain the rules clearly, you have to review your outlines and memorize them more. Here is a post on seven ways to review your outlines (without getting extremely bored!).
- Did I make arguments on behalf of each party (where applicable)?
- Did I analyze the problem as in-depth as the model answer did?
- Did I spend too much time analyzing an issue that should obviously turn out in one party’s favor?
- Did I know enough law to fully analyze the question or do I need to review my outline more?
If you struggle with the analysis, it may be because you have to learn the law better. (If you don’t know the law, there is nothing to apply!) Another tip is to constantly ask yourself: What would the plaintiff argue? How would the defendant respond? What would the defendant argue? How would the plaintiff respond? Get in the habit of constantly asking yourself what you would do if you were each side’s lawyer.
- Was my conclusion too vague? Was it too strongly-worded?
- Was my conclusion correct (or at least arguably correct)?
On law school exams, the conclusion matters less than the analysis. However, you still have to conclude.
- Did I spend too much time restating facts or conclusions?
- Did I answer the exam in the appropriate amount of time?
- What are my strengths?
- How can I capitalize on my strengths and make them even better?
- What do I need to practice more?
For an in depth guide to answering law school exams, click here.
Step Four: Incorporate timed exams into your schedule. Closer to the final exam day, make sure that you incorporate full timed exams into your schedule. Carve out time to compare your answers to the model answers after answering the questions.