5 Law School Final Exam Study Tips
If you’re heading into the second half of a semester at law school, you’re probably well familiar with the workload involved in the program. It’s probably more than you’ve ever had to contend with before, but you’ve had some experience and risen to the challenge. Now there’s a new hurdle to leap, the final exam. And that is going to be unlike anything else you’ve done up until this point. In many courses, your final exam with serve as the majority of your final grade. Ace it, and you’ll go into the semester break relaxed and accomplished. Struggle, and you may end up with some serious problems. It’s a lot of pressure, for sure. But you’ll always have plenty of notice, so follow these five law school final exam study tips to make sure you ace your big day.
First off, don’t wait until the last minute to study. On average you should begin preparing for your final exam a full three months before it is given. But you’ll always be best served by studying during the entire semester instead of waiting. Read everything that’s assigned, attend your classes, take diligent notes and give yourself a mini review session at the end of every week. If that feels overwhelming to you, at least make sure you’ve got the major concepts nailed as they are taught. You can always work on the details as you get closer, with the context of the big ideas handled.
You’ll also be well served by outlining everything you think will be covered in the exam. When it comes to a final exam, that pretty much means the bulk of what you’ve covered in class since day one. You’ve got those major concepts nailed, so lay them down in outline form. Use your syllabus as a structure to help you organize, and make it as detailed as an outline can be. Fill in any gaps with information from your notes, or ask your professors if you need a bit of clarification. This is another reason to start early. If you have an evolving outline working the entire semester, you’ll have built in reviews the entire time.
You’ve got the outline down, but you should also give yourself an opportunity to see what the testing situation will be like. That means taking practice exams. You won’t receive the exact test in advance of the exam, but you might be able to find past examples. A lot of professors will keep copies and offer them up for your studies, or even put them into a permanent collection at the library. You might even find that these past exams come with the answers already laid out. This is a great way to understand what you’re up against, so you won’t be surprised by the structure or the complexity. Make your own copies with the answers placed elsewhere, and time yourself practicing.
Another great resource for preparation is getting yourself into a study group. Every student has different strengths and weaknesses, which is why studying with others is so important. You’ll inevitably find a student to work with who is strong in an area that you struggle in, and vice versa. Perhaps you missed a crucial note during one lecture that your study partners can fill in for you. Take some time and find the right partners for this process. You need to study with people whose company you enjoy, or else it will just become another area of stress.
Finally, don’t forget to review your past law school exams. Students enrolled in New England College’s online strategy mba can access pdf files of their old exams at any time. Even in a traditional law program you should be able to get copies. Look over your past approach, and consider areas of improvement. Pay close attention to spots where you mismanaged time, or concepts that you confused. Otherwise you are doomed to repeat that negative past performance.