When Should I Start Studying for Law School Exams?

july 2016 michigan bar exam resultsWhen Should I Start Studying for Law School Exams? This is an easy question to answer—NOW. You might be wondering, “How do I start studying for law school exams now? We just started the semester!” Well, your approach for studying for finals is three simple steps (and they might be easier than you think). The first step is to outline. The second step is to learn your outline. The final step is to take practice exams.

Here’s How To Start Studying for Law School Exams Now!

1.  Outline.

You should set aside time each week to outline. During this time you should be reviewing your class notes. Depending on how you prepare for class you might have notes (or case briefs) you did in preparation for class AND class notes. This makes for a lot of notes. This is precisely the reason you should outline once a week throughout the semester. This allows you to take time, while everything is fresh, to synthesize your notes and class notes. During this time you can actually figure out what is important and what isn’t.

The first few outlining sessions may be a little slow moving. BUT you will be quicker. If you are having a hard time starting, use your professor’s syllabus as a skeleton. Or, it might help if you outline class by class.  Plus, if you think it takes you a while now, just think about if you waited until the end of the term! This is the first step in preparing for finals because you are actually studying what you learned. If you are wondering how to create a law school outline, click on this link. We have an in-depth guide that will help you get started right away!

2. Learn Your Outline.

To some this might sound funny. But, believe us–we meet many students, every year, who wait until the last minute to create their outline and they never learn it. Rather, they take their exams and waste a ton of time flipping from page to page because they have no clue what they’ve outlined. The vast majority of students who do this to themselves perform very average or below average. So depending on your goals, waiting until the last minute may not be a route you can afford to take. So, if you are outlining week by week (or better yet, class by class) you should take time to actually review your outline.

The nice thing about this approach is that you are learning your outline in digestible portions. For instance, instead of trying to wrap your head around a 70-page outline, you are learning a few pages at a time. If you are struggling to learn your outline implement some active review strategies. Some strategies are: re-write pages or portions, talk it aloud, teach it to someone else or highlight it as you go. If you are good about this process, you will know your outline by the time finals roll around! If you are wondering how to learn and regularly actively review your law school outline, please see this post!

3. Take Practice Exams.

If you follow our advice, and start studying for law school exams now, you will be fortunate enough to have time to take practice exams. The students that leave outlining to the last minute are hustling trying to outline, learn their outline and take practice exams in a short period of time. If you worked on this throughout the semester, you can start looking at practice exams early on. You can also do practice questions and essays from supplemental resources. The ability to do practice exams early on will absolutely set you apart from your peers. It will be evident in your exam performance, and thus you will earn a higher grade.

The other bonus of being able to take practice exams early, is that you will have time to meet with your professors and discuss any issues you are having. If you wait until the last minute you might not have time to talk to the necessary people. Lastly, if you follow our approach you will be significantly less stressed during exam period. This is because your outlines will be done and you will actually have time to study! Here are some helpful tips on how to take law school exams and also how to answer law school exam questions correctly.

This post was written by our law school tutor, Meagan Jabbori, who has helped several students succeed in law school and on the bar exam!


Ms. Ashley Heidemann graduated as the number 1 law student out of over 200 students in her class of 2011 at Wayne State University. She now works as a tutor for law students and the bar exam. She also offers a
Law School Preparatory Course for students interested in learning the skills necessary to achieve a high GPA in law school.