As law students around the country continue to prepare for final exams, many students are wondering if it is worth their time to write out practice exams. Isn’t reading and outlining enough? I argue, no!
Writing out practice exams is worth your time because you will be able to work on key exam-taking skills.
- Writing out practice exams allows you to work on your analysis. Most professors request that you write your exams using some form of IRAC. But what some students don’t fully understand is that the IRAC form looks more like this: irAc. The “A” is the most important part of the formula. Doing analysis is something that really needs to be practiced. This is where you write about how the law and the facts are linked and go together. Although you can do this by brainstorming or “issue spotting” an exam, most students find it more challenging to have to actually write out the analysis. Sometimes, that is why they don’t want to do it! But if the analysis is critically important to your exam score (and it is), you need to invest time in writing practice.
- Writing out practice exams helps you work on time-management issues. I talk to a lot of law students and I very seldom hear any of them say, “I have plenty of time to work on this exam. I am not worried about getting it done at all.” Almost every student is worried about finishing the exam. If this is you, you need to write out entire practice exams to work on your time- management skills. How do you allocate time between major and minor issues? How fast do you need to write to get to the end? How extensive should your rule statements be? These are questions that can be answered by practice.
- Although writing out practice exams may not feel like studying, it is! Writing out practice exams is a form of learning. You are going to be writing out rule statements, which is a great way to test yourself as to whether you know the law. And even more important than knowing the law is understanding the law. If you can apply the law to a fact pattern, you are well on your way to a passing score.
Although writing out practice exams may not be your favorite pastime, it is definitely an activity you should invest your time in. Although it may not seem as “important” as hours spent reading your outline, it is going to help you be best prepared for exam day.
Best of luck on exams! For more advice, check out Law School Exam Prep 101.
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