For many students, the end of the semester means outlining, flash cards, bar graphs, study groups, and any other manner of exam prep. But it also means trying to cobble together a semester’s worth of notes—some handwritten, some typed, some in full paragraphs, others in cryptic half-sentences that are impossible to comprehend six weeks after they were written. Every semester, there’s the vow to avoid this part of the exam prep process, and every semester it happens again. So how can you help out your future self, and create notes that are useful before, during, and after each class? [Read more…] about Preparing Notes for Exam-Readiness Before, During, and After Class
This is not a perfect guide. That’s ok. Fear of being imperfect is no reason not to write it, just as fear of being imperfect is no reason to avoid taking anti-racist action.
Anti-racism requires work. It requires listening, it requires humility, it requires both learning and unlearning, and it requires discomfort. White supremacy gaslights us into believing that the discomfort of disrupting racist conduct, be it overt or coded, is worse than the conduct itself. In law school, this de facto gag rule on interrupting racism is embedded in classrooms, hallways, exams, and the law itself.
As law students, we are trained to accept racist precedents, not to question them, or illuminate the ways in which they enact injustice. Instead, we must put our heads down, accept the so-called “objectivity” of these laws, and operationalize them as practitioners
Don’t put your head down. It will be ok. You will still pass your class. You will still become a lawyer. Most importantly, you will push the institution, the educators, and your peers to center not just the law, but justice. Here is how:
To start, I will disclaim, as lawyers are known to do: bringing pre-written rule sections into an exam is only ok if your exam is open note and, even then, just to be safe, if your professor says it’s ok. (Don’t worry, for those of you who won’t be able to bring your rule sections to your exam with you, keep reading anyway – they’re still worth writing!)
So, why go through the effort of pre-writing rule sections when you’re just going to have to go ahead and re-write them on the exam anyway and, on top of that, you’re not even entirely sure what’s going to be tested? Here’s why: [Read more…] about Prepare For Exams By Pre-Writing Rule Sections
Law school exams can often feel completely untethered from what your entire semester seemed to be about. You may have spent a week of Torts learning an unabridged history of Learned Hand’s eating habits, only to discover during test time that all you were supposed to take away from those lectures was that P x L must be greater than B to impose negligence liability.
So many students struggle with knowing what exactly they’re supposed to be tracking in order to be fully prepared for exams. Everyone buckles down in their own way in the weeks leading up to finals. Some students go the outline route, while others pick more visual approaches. There is no one right way to study for written exams, (though there is also no substitute for honing your application skills through writing practice). But the exam preparation can actually start long before the few weeks between Thanksgiving and finals. It can even start as early as the first day of class.
In order to process readings and lectures with your future exams in mind, here are three things you want to track throughout the semester:
Once the “Why?” of going to law school has been figured out, and you’ve made the decision to go, before thinking about “Where?” it can be useful to focus on “When?”
For those students who are questioning whether to go straight from college to law school or take time to work for a bit, here’s my pitch for taking at least a full year to gain some experience, be out in the world, and learn more about yourself. [Read more…] about Reasons To Work Before Law School
In the first installment, we talked about two categories of classes that may help lay some doctrinal foundations for you professionally and academically – classes that can help you build the so-called ‘minimum competency’ that gets tested on the bar exam, and the classes that might align with your work goals. But, there’s more to you than bar exams and job interviews, so let’s get into the next set of classes that will go a long way in enhancing your law school experience and rounding you out as you prepare to be a practicing attorney: [Read more…] about Choosing the “Right” Classes – Part II