It is law school exam time. Some students have already started, and many are in the final days of preparation for their first exams. I am getting a number of emails asking me what students should be doing to study for their upcoming finals. In other words, what is the most effective use of time?
Interestingly enough, as this article discusses, how you feel — or, more accurately, how you react to how you feel — can be a huge determinant of your exam success.
What Do Those Sweaty Palms Mean?
It’s natural to feel anxious or nervous when you show up to a law school final. NOT feeling that way would be weird.
What’s critical, however, is how you react to the physical sensation of anxiety or nervousness.
There are two basic options:
ANSWER THE QUESTION
If you don’t answer the question, directly and completely, you’re not going to do well. End of story. Game over. No way, no how. It’s critical.
But answering the question isn’t always as easy as you might think. Here are three different scenarios you might encounter:
During this time of the year, I am spending a lot of time with students who are getting ready for finals. And there is one consistent message they hear from me — especially given that many are just days or weeks away from their first exam:
Yes, practice. It is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do as part of your exam prep. Why? Well, students typically hate to practice. It is uncomfortable and frustrating.
Excuses Law Students Have For Not Practicing
Here are some common excuses for why students don’t practice:
I had a student send me a practice exam the other week where there were no capital letters. Ironically, I also got an essay turned in as a mid-term in another class where a student did the same thing. Recently, as well, I have received practice essays with glaring typos in the headers of an essay.
So I mentioned to my students that I didn’t recommend that they present themselves in this way on an exam. They each defiantly stated to me that they had been told that typos did not count against them on an exam. So it shouldn’t matter.
How You Present Yourself DOES Matter
I am here to argue to you that it does matter, for a few reasons:
[Read more…] about Should Your Law School Essay Be Wearing Sweatpants or a Suit?
What are the three most important things you can do?
Oh, you wanted to something complicated?