There’s a lot riding on that three-hour brain dump — from summer jobs, to clerkships, to Law Review membership.
Great law school grades make a lot of other things easier. Mediocre grades, well, not so much!
Alison’s First Law School Exam Experience
I remember studying for my first semester law school exams. It wasn’t a great experience, to say the least.
I really didn’t know what I was supposed to be learning, and I nearly had a nervous breakdown the day before my first exam. That was the point at which I took my first practice Torts exam. Seriously?!? It was much harder than I expected. (Now I know that was way too late to start taking practice exams, but I didn’t know that at the time.)
I still remember which issues I missed on that practice exam – they’re burned into my brain, along with a memory of the sense of panic I felt when I reviewed my answer. I managed to pull it together before the exam, but I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped (Torts was my favorite class, and I was sure I’d get an A).
Things went downhill from there. I wasn’t able to sleep more than a few hours a night, even though I’d allocated eight hours every night for sleeping. Getting so little sleep made me an emotional wreck, which didn’t help matters.
My Contracts exam was a lot harder than I’d anticipated, and covered topic areas we’d barely touched on in class.
By the end of my last exam, a 24-hour Civ Pro take-home, I was a mess. Burned out, emotionally drained, and pretty sure I’d completely screwed up my law school career!
Lee’s First Law School Exam Experience
In a way, I was lucky, because both of my parents are lawyers.
True story: The first Thanksgiving I was in law school I went home to spend time with my family. My mother took it upon herself to quiz me to get me ready for my Torts exam.
We were sitting at my parents’ kitchen table and she said, “How is the studying going?”
“Fine,” I replied.
“Great, so let’s see, you know all of the Tunkl factors then.”
“Yes, I understand them.”
“OK, but what are they?”
I started to fumble through the factors listing them out of order or incorrectly.
My mom put down the outline and looked at me very seriously.
Understanding them is not good enough. You have to know them and be able to write them down. Perfectly. Every time.
So this made me very nervous, as I realized I had never taken a test before that was so much about memorization. You had to know the right language, not just the general ideas.
After that talk I quickly broke out my Torts outline and started memorizing everything!
It wasn’t fun, but thank goodness my mother clued me in to the reality of law school exams, before the big day arrived.
How Can the Law School Toolbox Help You?
We have no doubt that you’re capable of learning how to take a law school exam. You just need the right tools.
The Law School Toolbox gives you all the tools you need to succeed in law school.
- We demystify the exam preparation process, so you can spend your time doing things that matter. (And skip the things that don’t help.)
- We provide detailed, step-by-step examples, which you can borrow to improve your own notes, outlines, and essay responses.
- We walk through the entire law school learning process — from reading a case to answering a complicated essay question — showing you how to process all the information that gets thrown at you, distill it, and apply it on an exam.
- We share practical, hard-won wisdom about the mental aspects of law school exam prep, so you can keep your cool and do your best.
Our goal is simple — we want to help you succeed.
If you want to improve your law school grades, sign up for our newsletter. We’ll send you free exam tips and strategies, and, as a special bonus, you’ll immediately get our Top 10 law school exam tips, right in your inbox!