How To Prepare For Your First Law School Exams
As November rounds its mid-point and temperatures cool, many are probably checking into holiday mode. If you’re in law school, you’re checking into exam mode. And if it’s your first year, that can be a frightening feeling. After all, exams are worth a massive portion of most law school grades. And, to be sure, you don’t want to kick off the holiday season (and your law school career) by crashing and burning on an exam.
Nathan Salminen has you covered. Salminen is an attorney and journalist for the Huffington Post and he’s got some suggestions to consider while preparing for your first round of law school final exams. First, Salminen says to make the time you spend reading for class useful. Salminen says to take the time to brief your own cases, instead of using others online. And then, Salminen suggests, consider why your professor grouped those cases together for the class.
Next, Salminen says to flex the muscles of a study aid. In particular, check out Examples and Explanations and Nutshell, Salminen suggests. He also recommends reading Getting to Maybe as well as making your own outlines for each course—not using someone else’s or doing it with a group. “The point of outlining,” he writes, “is to force yourself to get the law straight in your head by organizing it and writing it out in a way that makes sense to you.”
Next, and possibly most importantly, take practice exams. Just like practicing for the LSAT, there is no great substitute for the practice exam. You can learn a lot about your self and what the test will be like. You learn your weaknesses and strengths and where to focus your attention and effort. You also learn which question-types you’ll see most frequently.
Salminen says to take what you learn from practice tests to develop an attack outline. That is, an outline that is specific to you and how best you can attack the exam. “Your attack outline,” writes Salminen, “should be a carefully-honed 5 or 10 pages laying out the skeleton of your answer, highlighting key distinctions, identifying branches in the decision tree, and referring back to the applicable sections of your full outline in case you need to dig deeper.”
Finally, Salminen says to ask those around you for advice. Ask older law students what type of test prep works best for them. Ask your professors questions. An important thing to keep in mind, Salminen adds, is to know everyone’s brain works differently. Just because one strategy is suggested or works particularly well for someone doesn’t mean it will for another.
Source: Huffington Post
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