Five Law School Final Exam Strategies
As the end of the semester approaches, students begin to search for law school final exam strategies. Law school exams are very intense, but the right approach can certainly give you an advantage! In this post we give you five law school final exam strategies to help you prepare!
Five Law School Final Exam Strategies
1. Start outlining early.
Having a good outline is one of the best predictors of success on your finals. However, in order to maximize the benefits of your outline, you need to employ the first of our law school final exam strategies and start outlining early! As the semester progresses, you should be setting aside time each week to include the most recent material in your outline. You want to make sure you remember, and thus document in your outline, what your professor emphasizes as being critical. Since your professor is the one writing your exams, it is important to understand what they find relevant as it liable to help you pick up points on the exam.
Further, if you save all of your outlining for the end of the semester, you will end up producing a rushed document and run out of time to incorporate the second of our law school final exam strategies.
2. Memorize as much of our outline ahead of time as possible.
An extension of the tip above, devoting time to memorizing your outlines deserves a prominent place on a list of law school final exam strategies. If all you’ve done is just write your outline without attempting to memorize it and understand it, you will spend far too much time on the exam looking for the answers.
In addition, your outlines are likely dozens of pages long. It will take a long time to flip through all of those pages to find what you are looking for. This takes away valuable writing time. If you have the law memorized, you’ll be able to use all of your time crafting thoughtful and thorough answers. There won’t be any need to search for the answers, and your outlines serve merely as a fallback. You already know the material, so you can confidently answer the questions. Be sure to check out this post on how to memorize your law school outlines.
3. Find and take practice exams, preferably your professor’s past exams.
Students who take practice exams are very well prepared and stand an excellent chance of getting a high grade. In order to maximize the benefits of this law school final exam strategy, try to obtain past final exams that your professor has administered in previous years. You want to get exposure to how your professor writes questions and tests issues. This will make it so that you aren’t surprised on exam day! If you practice ahead of time how to answer questions your professor has written, you will spend less time on exam day wondering how to approach the question in front of you.
Make sure you review your answers to the practice exam, comparing them to a model answer! You’ll want to get a feel for how correct your issue spotting was, whether there are smaller issues tested that you need to look out for, whether you missed an argument, etc. Doing these things will give you an edge on exam day!
4. Organize your response using IRAC.
The penultimate of our law school final exam strategies is to organize your answer using the IRAC formula. You want your response to be easy to follow. That way, your professors can easily see your arguments and award you points accordingly. Break your answer down by issue. Don’t write one long-winded response where different ideas get lost and then don’t get supported properly. Once you’ve identified the issue you will talk about in a specific section, present the rule that will be relevant to solving that problem. Then move into your analysis, concentrating on applying the law to the facts in the pattern.
The facts are there for a reason! So, make sure you use them when crafting your arguments for various positions on an issue. Evaluate who the facts weigh most heavily in favor of by determining who has the strongest legal position. The demonstration of your ability to apply the law to the facts is where you are going to pick up a lot of points. Finally, reach your conclusion! Then move on to any other issues presented in the problem. The goal is to have a well-organized answer so that your key points don’t get buried.
5. Stay focused!
Finally, our post on law school final exam strategies ends with a reminder to stay focused while you write! Too often students will give in to the temptation to “outline dump” and just write every single piece of information they can think of in their answer. However, your professor wants to see that you can identify what issues are relevant based on the facts and limit your discussion to these topics. They aren’t necessarily going to be impressed by you presenting accurate, yet off topic information. Stay focused on the relevant issues.
Further, you don’t need to offer entire case briefs about cases that have developed the rule you are discussing. Professors don’t expect you to remember full case names or a detailed accounting of the facts of a case. Keep the discussion centered on the problem presented in your exam question. Use your time to develop the best possible arguments and solutions to that problem as opposed to describing the legal background in detail!
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