What To Do If You Performed Poorly On Final Exams - JD Advising
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Performed Poorly On Final Exams, Emotional Intelligence In Law School

What To Do If You Performed Poorly On Final Exams

Nothing is worse than pouring your heart and soul into something and receiving negative feedback. Case and point? Law school final exams. You study for hours in the weeks preceding the exam, manage anxiety and stress, and pour over sample essays…only to find out that you performed poorly on final exams. We understand the disappointment. Law school is far from easy! Despite your less than stellar performance, there are some glimmers of hope for the next round of final exams. As the old saying goes, “you learn more from failure than from success.” Reviewing how you studied and prepared, approached subject material, and asked questions can actually help tremendously when finals next approach. So, while you may not have performed as expected this time around, these tips can help you learn and grow.

What To Do If You Performed Poorly On Final Exams

Review Exam Questions/Answers

Taking time to review your exams without test day pressure is a great way to analyze what may have happened. Exam day nerves are a real thing and impact students in different ways. Some students get overly anxious (and for that, we have tips to help with test anxiety), while some draw a blank despite studying for hours. If you find yourself reviewing exams and thinking “I knew that…” then you may need to approach test day differently. That has a different meaning for everyone since everyone deals with test day emotions differently. Think about how you felt before taking the exam and what might have helped you feel better. On the next final exam, you can implement your feel-good strategy and enter the exam cool, calm, and collected.

If that’s not the case, look at how the questions and tests were structured. Make sure to take note of what the professor focused on and what he or she gleaned over. That way, you can compare it to what you studied and make adjustments for upcoming finals. Were there any surprises that totally caught you off guard? Make note of that! Make sure to review your answers as well. Did you answer the call of the question or did you start rambling? Were your answers too long or too short? If they were too long, did you run out of time? Were your answers coherent or did they misstate law and fact? These are all things that you can review and tweak for your next finals.

Review How You Studied

Besides the information that can be acquired from reviewing your tests and answers, make sure to review your study process. Here are some tips on how to study effectively for law school exams. Perhaps you underestimated the exam and started studying too late. Maybe your outline was too long, which prohibited you from covering all of the material. Did you use any supplements to help with difficult subject material? Were you on your phone constantly while studying? How did your class notes look? How frequently did you attend office hours to ask questions? Were you in a study group? You get the idea. Looking back at how you actually prepared for the final exam can reveal weaknesses to be corrected in the future.

Meet The Professor For Help

Whether during office hours, over video conferencing, or even over coffee, make sure to talk with your professor. This is especially important when you’re reviewing your performance and find yourself unable to make out what you did wrong. Who better to point out what went wrong than the person that graded the exam? Take notes on the feedback the professor gives, as it will likely be applicable to future exams. Most professors grade in a similar manner and look for the same types of patterns in exams. Taking your professor’s advice and learning how to present information is crucial for success in law school. If the professor is looking for X, and you give Y, the equation won’t work!

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