If you are getting ready to study for law school final exams, it is helpful to not only create a to-do list, but also a not-to-do list so that you can avoid picking up bad habits and wasting time. Often, what you don’t do is as important as what you actually get done! And what you don’t do will directly influence what you are able to get done! Here are some ideas for your not-to-do list:
A Not-To-Do list for Law School Final Exams
1. Don’t let fear get the best of you!
If you need help, whether it is from a professor, teaching assistant, or tutor, ask for it! It is better to ask for it now rather than suffer poor grades as a result. When you ask for help, have focused questions in mind–e.g., “Should I spend my time doing this or doing that?” This will help you get the most out of any meeting.
2. Don’t study in a distracting environment.
If your friends are distracting or if your phone or computer is distracting you, eliminate those distractions. Study where your friends do not! If all of your friends go to the law library, try studying at a local library instead. If your phone is distracting, turn it off or put it in “airplane mode”. Don’t open your internet browser if you do not need it!
3. Don’t stay up all night or cut back on sleep.
You need to be able to focus, retain information, and comprehend difficult information. Now is not the time to cut back on sleep! The more you sleep, the more productive you will be during the day.
4. Don’t eat at Taco Bell every day.
Take a break to make something healthy or pick up a healthy meal. If you do not eat healthy, you are providing poor nutrition to your body and your brain! You will also feel worse which will make it harder to study and be productive.
5. Don’t sit down without a plan.
You will be much more productive if you create an overall finals study schedule (which says which classes you will study for each day). You will also be productive if you create a list of things to do each time you study. Then you won’t feel aimless when you sit down to study. People who are aimless are more prone to distraction!
6. Don’t focus on cases.
Now is also the time to focus on creating, memorizing your outlines and practicing exams! Therefore, rereading all of your cases is not the best use of your time. (If you are unsure of where to begin, take a look at our posts on outlining (we have an in-depth guide to outlining, how to outline using diagrams, tips on how to learn your outline, where you can find outlines from your professor’s class online, etc.). Cases focus on very small details of the law. Now is the time to get the “bigger picture” and understand and memorize the rules.
7. Don’t put off practice exams.
Practicing past exams is one of the most important things you can do to succeed on law school exams. So, start practicing sooner rather than later! Don’t wait until you know the law completely, or you will never take them! (We have detailed guides on how to take a law school exam and how to take law school practice exams. To access all of our posts on law school exams, you can also take a look at our archived posts.)
You may have additions to your not-to-do list that are personal to you! These are some general ones that are a very good start when you begin studying for law school final exams.