Most law students are aware that outlining their courses and taking and getting feedback on practice exams are vital to ensuring that they perform to the best of their ability on law school exams. What law students may not be aware of is that there are other things just as vital that they can do to maximize their chances of doing well on law school exams.
1. Regulate the Company You Keep
Your wellbeing and therefore your performance on a law school exam can be greatly influenced by the people who surround you. These can be people you interact with in person or electronically through social media or texts or phone calls.
During this challenging time, it is best to surround yourself with people who bolster your confidence and make you feel good about yourself and your abilities. Consider each person you interact with on a daily or weekly basis. Does being around that person make your calmer or more anxious? More stressed out or less stressed out? More confident or less confident? Happier or sadder? Once you have identified the individuals who have a negative effect on you eliminate interactions with that person until exams are over. If you can’t completely eliminate interactions with a particular person, at least minimize your interactions as much as possible.
There are several ways to reduce contact. You can simply say “I am really concentrating on exams now and won’t be available until after exams are over.” If someone persists in bugging you, you can tell them not to contact you until after a specific date. If an individual is really persistent, don’t respond to their communications.
Regulating the company you keep includes regulating interactions you may have on social media. If the content posted by someone you friend or follow makes you anxious, don’t follow that person.
2. Create an Upper Limit for the Amount of Time You Study Each Day
Just as it is possible for athletes to overtrain and diminish their performance, it is possible for law students to overstudy and so exhaust themselves that they don’t do as well on their law school exams as they could have.
There will always be more things that you can do to prepare for exams. What you must do is determine how many hours a day you can study without exhausting yourself. Just like you can damage a muscle by overworking it, you can damage your mental abilities by overworking them. My experience has been that law students do best if they study between six and eight hours a day during the exam preparation period when there are no classes. The best studying is efficient studying, which takes less time. Avoid multi-tasking.
If you put a time limit on your studying, you ensure that you will have time to do the other items on this list that will enhance your test taking abilities.
3. Exercise Once a Day
Exercise gives your brain time to relax and increases your health. There are scientific studies which show that regular aerobic exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that is involved in verbal memory and learning. Might this extra brain capacity be useful for law school exams?
Aerobic exercise does not mean standing up, stretching for a few minutes, and sitting down. Aerobic exercise is any type of sustained exercise that increases your heart rate and rate of breathing. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming, hiking and bicycling are a few examples of aerobic exercise.
4. Do Something Relaxing At Least Once a Day
Relaxation can reduce stress.
One of the best ways to relax is to practice some form of meditation. You can do a physical form of meditation, such as yoga, tai chi, or deep breathing. Mental forms of relaxation include mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, and creative visualization.
Getting a massage can be very relaxing. So can spending time in nature by walking along a beach or lake, or hiking through a forest or up a mountain. Soaking in a hot tub or hot bath or taking a hot shower can also induce relaxation.
Some people find working on an art project or playing music to be relaxing. This will work as long as you do not have any specific goals for your art or music and are just enjoying the process.
5. Do Something Fun at Least Once Per Day
Laughter is another great stress reliever. Watch a great comedy movie or TV show. Take a look at cute funny animal or baby videos on the internet. Read good jokes or bad jokes.
Go to a concert, or a sporting event. Go dancing or play a sport. Whatever is most fun for you, make sure you do it.
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And check out these helpful posts:
- All You Need to Know to Prepare for Law School Exams
- It’s Almost Finals! Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Study Time?
- Five Steps for Setting Up a Final Exam Study Schedule
- Top Three Mistakes on Final Exams…And How to Fix Them Now
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