For many 2Ls and 3Ls, going back to law school is just a reminder of academic disappointment—the reality that your grades weren’t what you had hoped. It has happened to many of us at one point or another; however, it is critical to get feedback on those past exams so you can learn from them and have a better academic outcome this semester.
You must go visit your professors for feedback.
Although it may sound like the worst possible way to spend time, it is important that you visit your professors and get feedback on last semester’s grades. Some professors will talk about past exams in office hours and others will ask you to make an appointment. Email them first to ask their preference.
But don’t wait too long to reach out to those professors, as many will get busy with their current students and may not have time to review exams with you later in the semester.
It is important that you actually try to have a sit-down with your professor.
Discuss your exam. Keep in mind that you want ask your professor about the following:
- Did you know the law?
- How was your issue spotting?
- How was your analysis? (The ever important “A” in the IRAC.)
- How was your presentation? (Was the essay easy for the professor to read? Was it written with confidence? Was it organized? Did you use headers and formatting?)
- Did you struggle with time or not complete your exam?
If your exam had different sections in it, say, a short-answer or multiple-choice section, make sure you note if you performed differently on one section or another. For example, I know some students really struggle with multiple choice. If that is you, you will want work on this skill as early as possible. Multiple-choice exams don’t go away—they are a critical part of almost every bar exam.
Don’t forget to collect positive feedback too!
If there are things on your exam that went well, make sure you note that too! You don’t want to change something that is working for you.
Once you have feedback, it is time to re-think your law school approach.
Based on the feedback you get from your professors, it is time to re-think your law school approach. How are you going to get better at issue spotting or analysis? Or at putting together a better outline? You should reach out for help to brainstorm solutions. You have the power to get better grades; I have seen it happen many times before. Law school is a learned skill; you just need develop a plan to be better prepared for the next round of exams.
Want More Help?
You should check out whether or not your school has any resources for you (TAs or an academic support program), but we are here to help too! Take a look at our law school tutoring options for the help you need to improve your grades.
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Also check out these other helpful posts!
- Pay attention in class — It can save you time!
- Is handwriting your class notes a good or bad thing?
- What should go into your law school class notes? There are five critical things to include.
- When you’re sitting in class, it’s critical to think through the areas of ambiguity that may make an appearance on a later exam. Here’s one technique for keeping track of everything.
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.