Five Ways To Ace Law School Exams - JD Advising
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Ace Law School Exams

Five Ways To Ace Law School Exams

In this post, we cover five ways to make sure you ace law school exams. Read further to see which actions and habits can give you an extra edge!

Five Ways To Ace Law School Exams

Make A Study Schedule

Give yourself time to make a full outline, study it, and condense it into a smaller attack outline by making a detailed schedule. Work backwards from the date of your exams and make deadlines for yourself, including dates for when you would like to be done with certain parts of your outline, when you like to have created an attack outline by, when you would like to have a study group and when you would like to meet with your professors. These are all instrumental steps to ensuring you ace your law school exams.

Start Outlining

Outlining is an art. With our help, it will be one that you get better at with time and can use to help you ace your law school exams. Making a good outline is tricky because it serves two purposes: it is a personalized resource for yourself to be able to study and to, come exam time, to quickly answer questions with.

Start outlining by gathering your syllabus, course book, and other course materials (e.g. notes, supplements, etc.) Follow your syllabus in accordance with your textbook’s table of contents. By using your syllabus and table of contents, you can begin to create a skeletal outline. Over time, you will fill up this outline with black letter law, case law, and other things from your briefs, class notes, textbook and other materials.

At the end of the day, remember to actually use your outlines. They may not be pretty, as perhaps you have not had time to refine them yet, but it is important to actually read through what you have written! It is recommended to do this nightly. Once your outlines are pretty full and nearing completion, you can begin to work on creating an attack outline. An attack outline is a precise document with all the information you will need to ace your law school exam.

Lastly, while it not recommended to rely solely on other people’s outlines, you can do so if you find you are in quite a pinch. Otherwise, use them sparingly, referencing them to simply expose yourself to the material and your outlines are comprehensive enough. It is always better to make your own outlines because the process of making the outline IS a severely underrated form of studying. The classes I made my own outlines for were usually the law school exams I aced.

Take Past Exams

It is critical to apply and test your knowledge out before the exam. Find out where you can access past exams. If your professor is new or visiting, ask them if they would be so kind as to share a for a few hypos. Usually professors are not opposed to this if you and your class ask with time. If your professor does not have past exams or hypos at the ready, you can find your own to present them with in Examples and Explanation books as well as various other sources.

When going through your first past exam, start with the oldest ones and take an open-book approach. Gather all your course materials and set aside a few hours where you can begin answering questions and outlining answers while you sift through the material. The process of using what you remember and looking for what you don’t is essential to effective studying. It helps reinforce what you do know and helps you understand what you don’t, so you can fill those gaps well before go time and ensure you ace your law school exams.

Form Study Groups

Although time spent studying alone is critical, it can be nice to form a study group to meet with at least once or twice before the exam. Everyone has a different learning style so if you have not tried it, give it a go and see how it works out for you. Either way, always make sure you are organizing enough individual study time! [which would be about how many hours?] It is recommended to go in with a plan: bring a past exam and have a Google Doc and/or whiteboard at the ready. Each person can then contribute what their ideas for a full answer would include and list questions as well.

Nothing is off limits during this time – bouncing ideas off each other will give you a fuller understanding of the material and help you all ace your law school exams. Also, it is important to note that law school exams are often graded on a curve. By engaging in study groups, you are able to understand what level of comprehension exists amongst your fellow peers and to learn with some of the best students (you will probably be surprised that you are one of them!). Afterwards, your group should prepare to take the past exam or hypothetical to the professor for review

Meet with Your Professors

For many students, the idea of speaking to their professors can be daunting. However, it is important to speak with your professors, preferably well in advance of exams.  This will allow you to gain a better understanding of what will be on the exam and how grading will be conducted. After all, they are the ones writing the exams; therefore, they know what kind of fact patterns and regulations will show up. Furthermore, they are the best source to reach out to when determining what kind of analysis is expected of you. Don’t just guess – meet with them and ask procedural and substantive questions about the exam.

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