You are likely spending all of your time preparing for final exams. To make your life a bit easier, we recommend that you develop your own study schedule. A study schedule is something that is very personal to you, but I do think there are some general tips you can follow to make it helpful and of high quality. If you don’t have a study schedule, sit down after you read this blog post and put something together. The time is now!
Step 1: Get a blank calendar
Why should it be blank? It is time to reevaluate where you are and what there is left to learn/do before exam day.
Step 2: Write down all exam dates and paper/project due dates
The first thing to go on this schedule should be all exam times and/or due dates for papers. You want to make sure you double and triple check that you have these dates and times correct. It doesn’t matter how much you study, if you miss the exam or paper deadline, it will be bad for your grades!
Step 3: Assign subjects to study on each given day
I recommend the day or two before an exam, you just study for the next exam. If you have longer than a few days between exams (say a week), then you may want to mix it up a bit — studying more than one subject a day for a few days before switching to one subject a day prior to the exam.
Step 4: Decide when to take practice exams
Practice exams are key to your exam success. You need to do as much practice as you can get your hands on. I would make sure that you include on your study schedule when you are going to take each practice exam. Don’t save them all for the last minute! You want to do them throughout your studying so you can evaluate your knowledge of the law and what you need to work on. (Not sure where to find practice? We have some suggestions.) And once you are done with your practice exams, make time to review the sample answers and get yourself as much feedback as possible.
Step 5: Don’t forget to take a break!
Although it may feel like time is running out, you must take a break! This can be time for a walk, yoga, or even a quiet dinner out. It is likely your exams will last for weeks, and if you don’t take time to get rest and recuperate a bit, you are likely to find yourself over-tired and burned out. That is not how you want to be going into an exam day. Feel free to include block out these breaks on your study schedule.
Ask yourself this important question while studying for your exams.
“Is the work I am doing helping me learn and apply the material as I will need to on the exam?”
It is so easy to spend time studying what makes you comfortable — the law that you already know or don’t find that challenging. The bummer is that that isn’t the law you need to be studying. You need to be forcing yourself to study the law that you don’t know and the law that you have trouble applying. Because that is likely the harder material that will be on the test. If you ignore it, you won’t be as prepared as you hoped for.
Here is one method I recommend to manage this. Every day as you review a subject, you should make a list of weak areas. That way, the next time you review that subject, you start with the weak areas first. Trust me, although it may seem overwhelming (you may have a bit of a long list), the list will get shorter the more you study. Once you understand or have something memorized, cross it off the list.
One final thing. If you get off track, remember, to reevaluate and readjust.
Let’s say you get sick, have a bad day, or just get off track for some reason. Look at the calendar and make some adjustments. Reevaluate where you are and how you are going to get things done. Life happens and you might get behind. This is only a serious problem if you don’t figure out how to continue to prepare in the best way possible for your upcoming exams.
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And check out these helpful posts:
- All You Need to Know to Prepare for Law School Exams
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