Tips and Advice for a Successful Law School Exam Period

Color illustration of a person rushing into another person, yelling, "MOVE IT! I'VE GOT FINALS!" The other person is falling and saying, "OOOMPH!"
Illustration by Troy Cook, 2023

With finals soon arriving, it is the perfect time to think about the strategies of a successful law school exam experience. By now, you may have figured out an effective study approach, but here are some additional tips in case there’s something new that could be helpful.

Create a schedule. It is helpful to create a finals study schedule, where you can factor in any additional time needed for reviewing concepts, and completing practice questions and exams. Perhaps create a game plan, or a day-by-day schedule for each class. Maybe you need to allot more for study time for your more challenging courses. But be sure to budget time for current assigned readings and assignments, so that you don’t fall behind.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Review your syllabus, class notes and highlighted sections of your casebook to create a ”hit-list” of topics to study. Flag the material that you find most difficult, so you can focus on any knowledge gaps. Then, you can prioritize topics you struggle with the most, over topics you’ve already mastered.

Team up with a great study group, partner, or study aid. Study groups can be a valuable learning tool. For some students, talking through material with classmates could help your understanding and retention of course materials. But if studying with classmates is not your thing, use the authors of the study guides as your friends and study partners. Additionally, try some study guides, available in print and as eBooks  through the library, such as as Glannon Guides, the Emanuel Crunch Time, and Questions & Answers. These can help you review material through flow charts and summaries; they also provide short-answer, multiple choice, and essay questions and answers, so you can test your knowledge.

Complete your outlines and then work on editing down and memorizing them. So much material is covered in law school that it can seem quite jumbled in your mind. The professors construct the exams to see how well you can link all of the concepts together; this shows that you can apply the skill of analyzing numerous concepts at the same time. Reviewing, editing down, and memorizing your outlines will help you recognize how all of the facets of the particular law class work together in building the overall meaning and understanding of the subject. Need help making an outline? Try one of the library’s Emanuel Outlines available online or in-print at the circulation desk.

Pay attention in class. One last piece of advice that seems to always work is to pay attention in class. Yes, this seems obvious, but paying attention in class will truly save you time because your class notes will make sense and save you from time spent having to learn new concepts and laws. Really focus on what the professor says in class; this will also give important hints about what is expected for the exam. Also participate in class; the discourse you have with the professor is great for the learning experience and professors love it. If you are nervous about talking in class, a good tactic is to go to class with a list of questions. These may be from the reading or questions that you had after evaluating the material from past classes.

Maybe if you follow these great tips, you will not end up like the poor chap below:

 

Illustration of person with raised fist, with a speech bubble stating, "AAARG FINALS." The person is looking down at books and a fallen chair nearby.
Illustration by Troy Cook, 2023

Law Library Hours: Final Exams

Hi, everyone! The Zief Law Library team wishes you luck on all of your final assignments and exams for the semester. To help support your studying, the law library will have regular hours and research help during the final exam period:

Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 11:00 pm;

Friday: 8:00am – 8:00pm;

Saturday: 9:00am – 8:00pm;

Sunday: 10:00am – 11:00pm.

Zief Research Services:

Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Good Luck!

Final Exam Preparation

Final Exam Season is right around the corner, and with that comes plenty of preparation, stress, and excitement. The Zief Law Library is here to help and support you through it all. This week, we take a look at some resources geared towards law students and designed to help you manage exam stress and prepare for your exams. Good Luck!

Self-Care and Managing Exam Stress

Law school demands lots of unique dedication and discipline when it comes to studying and exam-taking. If you’re experiencing stress around exam time, you might check out these resources targeted to law school students.

Blogs and Reading Material

  • New England School of Law’s How to Deal with Law School Stress in Healthy Ways is a quick overview of healthy habits to incorporate into your busy schedule to relieve stress and anxiety over time.
  • Meditate! Professor Rhonda MaGee explores in her article, “Educating Lawyers to Meditate?” the role of contemplative practices in legal education and finds evidence in her students at USF Law.
  • Get outside! The Yale School of the Environment discusses time in nature’s therapeutic effects on https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1689769the brain and body, resulting in lower blood pressure, reduced nervous system arousal, and overall improves your physical and mental health.

Audio and Video

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