How to Study Effectively For Law School Exams
Now that there are only a few weeks left in the semester, it is time to start thinking about how to study effectively for law school exams. It is important to make sure that you are not wasting the valuable time that you do have on tactics that will not be helpful in the end. At this point, you should already have made significant progress on all of your outlines. If you haven’t, make sure you’re concentrating heavily on that! Doing detailed case briefs from your readings this late in the semester is not beneficial – your outlines are a much more critical tool for success on the final. If you are feeling a little lost or feeling the pressure build up, here are some excellent do’s and don’ts on how to study effectively for law school exams!
How to Study Effectively For Law School Exams
What you should do:
1. Create a finals study schedule.
Your professors should have provided you with the times of your final exams by now, start planning! It is better to have a good idea now of how you plan on using your time after classes end to make sure that everything gets done. The most important things to build into a study schedule are time for reviewing/memorizing your outlines, time for taking practice exams, and time for using your practice results to identify and then concentrate on your weak areas. See this post for an example on how to create a law school finals study schedule!
2. Complete your outlines and then work on memorizing them.
So much material is covered in law school that it can seem somewhat disjointed. Your professors design your finals to see how well you can integrate all of the concepts together and handle analyzing multiple issues at the same time. Reviewing and memorizing your outlines in their entirety will help you understand how all of the aspects of your course work together in creating the overall state of the law. Make sure that you have all of the black letter law memorized, but then also concentrate on understanding how all of the rules intertwine. This post offers great tips on how to get the most out of reviewing your outlines!
3. Take practice exams.
Once you’ve put in some work memorizing your outlines, you should take some practice exams to test how much you have learned. Many professors release copies of their past exams – this is the best way to get an idea of what the exam will look like. Law school fact patterns are often long and involve spotting multiple issues. Practicing working through these is critical! Once you’ve taken some practice exams, make sure you spend time reviewing your answers and identifying your weak areas. This will tell you what sections of your outline you need to go back and work on. See this post for more tips on how to take law school practice exams!
What you shouldn’t do:
1. Focus on all the tiny details from cases.
Your professors won’t expect you to remember case names or detailed facts. The most important thing to focus on is the black letter law. Cases provide good examples of how the rules are articulated and how they are applied, but you don’t need to know all of the specifics! A few sentences in your outline for each case regarding the rule and application will suffice. The rest will not be useful on your exams.
2. Work non-stop during finals weeks.
Make sure you are taking plenty of breaks! The stress of dealing with so much information that has been thrown at you in such a short period of time can be overwhelming. However, if you work at a slow but steady pace and take breaks, you can keep your mind fresh. This includes making time for plenty of sleep and good meals, especially on the day before a final.
This is a big one for every student, and why creating a study schedule is so important. With so much to do, you need to keep yourself on track. You don’t want to fall behind and then stress yourself out even more while trying to cram everything in. Eliminate unnecessary distractions so that you can focus on getting everything done.
Hopefully, this post makes you feel a little better about how to study effectively for law school exams. The exam date is coming – there is only a finite amount of time between now and then, and you can’t get it back! You need to make efficient use of your time and concentrate on what will ultimately bring you success. You don’t want to walk out of that exam room with any regrets. Concentrate on your outlines and practice exams and make sure to take care of your body. Don’t give up now, you’re almost done!