One Month Until Law School Exams: How to Study
As the end of the semester approaches, it’s time to start thinking about the final exam. Now that there’s only one month until law school exams, your focus should shift to how best to prepare. You should not be spending as much time on cases. Cases will not help you do well on the exam. Law school exams are not going to give you a fact pattern that mimics an already decided case. The fact patterns tend to be long and incorporate many different issues, generally focusing on more grey areas that prompt you to interpret existing law. This is why it is important for you to focus on learning the rules taught during the semester and then applying them to unfamiliar fact patterns. In this post, we tell you how to do that!
One Month Until Law School Exams: How to Study
With only one month until law school exams, here are the three things you should be focusing on.
1. Finishing up your outlines
Making a quality outline is the most important thing you can do in order to prepare for law school exams. Your outlines should contain the black letter law rules for each issue covered in your class. This way you have all of the important points organized and integrated in one place for you to quickly refer to as needed.
Hopefully you have already been working on your outlines during the semester (you still need to have time to do the next two things on this list); but if by chance you haven’t, make sure you start now! We have done many helpful posts in the past that guide you through the outline creation process and emphasize the most important things to include. For example, this post offers an in-depth guide on how to write an outline, or, for the more visual learner, see this post explaining how to write an outline using diagrams. Check out all of our posts on outlining here.
2. Reviewing and learning your outlines
Once you’re done making your outline, don’t just ignore it until exam day! Even though there is still one month until law school exams, you should start reviewing your outlines. More than likely you have pushed aside much of the material you covered at the beginning of the semester. Now is a good time to review that material and begin to integrate it into how it operates in the context of the entire course.
When you sit for the exam, you want to have as much of the material memorized as possible. Time is a significant factor on these exams and you do not want to waste it by flipping through your outline every 10 minutes. You need to go into the exam with an understanding of the entire picture as the questions will love to weave issues together. Spend some time now reviewing your outlines to help firmly cement the law in your mind for later! For excellent tips on how to get the most out of reviewing your outlines, see this post!
3. Completing practice exams
Even if you think you know the law, it is important to practice how to apply it! Now is an excellent time to start investigating whether your professors have released any past exams and to familiarize yourself with what to expect. Seeing a law school exam question can be overwhelming the first time as the fact patterns are generally very long. Each question requires you to issue-spot multiple concepts and so getting practice at identifying the target issues is crucial. Even if you find you can’t complete the questions at this point in the semester, you should take some time now to collect the resources you’ll need to study in the upcoming weeks. For more information on how to take law school practice exams, see this post!
It might be tempting, but even though there’s only one month until law school exams, don’t panic! There is plenty of time to get yourself prepared to dominate your exams. Focus on finishing your outline and then work on memorizing the rules. Start exploring whether your professor has released previous exams. You can also see if former students know of any exams you can get your hands on. Be efficient in how you spend your time. However, also remember to take some breaks and get away from the material for a while. Keep your mind fresh and prepare yourself the best that you can! You’re almost there!
Laura Sigler, a JD Advising bar exam essay grader, who graduated cum laude from Wayne State University Law School wrote this post.
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