With midterm exams right around the corner, one thing that law students need to remember is how to take care of themselves
Lawyers – and therefore, law students – are already predisposed to addictions and unhealthy habits because of the nature of the careers they are undertaking. It’s a problem that the legal community is aware of and has been trying to reconcile for years. So how can you, as a law student approaching midterm exams, make sure that you don’t fall into the trap?
Why Are Midterm Exams Stressful?
The stress behind midterm exams is two-fold: first, a lot of schools don’t offer midterm exams – the entire grade is based on the final exam instead. So, to hear that you have an exam coming up when you may have thought you would only have to worry about a final exam, puts extra stress on you as a student; this is especially true if you may not have been keeping up with your outlining. The second reason midterm exams are especially stressful is because it may seem like you don’t know enough yet to even complete an exam – what will you be tested on for the midterm? These are legitimate worries, but don’t fear yet – midterm exams are a good thing! They will give you insight into how the professor conducts exams and will give you a peek into the final exam (which will likely still be worth more of your grade). Embrace the midterm exam!
How Do I Make Sure I’m Prepared?
Preparation is the key to exam success, no matter when the exam takes place or what is on it. So how do you make sure you are prepared for a midterm exam? Here are some tips:
1. Outline Early
This is one of the most important things to remember when it comes to law school midterms – it’s never too early to start outlining, especially if the class is going to have a midterm. This is a critical review of the material for you, and you should take advantage of it early on. That way you’ll actually learn the material, and you’ll also have something to help you prepare for both your midterm and, eventually, your final exam.
2. Practice Writing Answers
If you can find practice questions to use to help you prepare, you’ll definitely have the ability to be ready for a midterm exam. If you’re trying to write a practice answer and you can’t make a point or identify the legal aspects in your answer, your studying or outline isn’t working.
3. Study The Right Things
This is the key for studying all things in law school – don’t study what you already know. There is only a limited amount of “free” time to put toward studying, so make sure you are focusing on the right things. This is also a great time to assess that you are actually learning the material, rather than memorizing.
Tips For Self-Care During Exams:
Self-care is important no matter what time of year it is, but it is especially important during exam times in law school. The added stress is enough to push some people past the point of taking care of themselves, and that is never a good place to be. You have to put your health first – yes, even during law school. Here are some tips for self-care during law school exams:
When a body is not getting the nutrients needed to function properly, a lot of other things can start to go wrong. You may feel more tired than usual, or maybe more irritable. Nutrients affect mood, hormone production, circadian rhythms, and bodily functions. It is for these reasons (and more) that you should make sure you are eating well while you’re in law school, and especially during exam time. You need your brain to be running on all of its cylinders, and this is one easy way to help with that!
I know – who has time to exercise? Well, you should make time! Breaking a sweat and making your body work can have a lot of benefits for someone in law school – the endorphins give a natural high; your brain gets a break, and it’s a good stress-reliever. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have made sense of some seriously complicated material while out on a good run.
Get Enough Sleep
Every person’s body requires a certain number of hours of sleep to function optimally. You should try to learn what your number of hours is before entering law school (or, if you’re already in school, maybe on a holiday or break) – then you can plan your nights around getting as close to that much sleep as possible. However, don’t let random nights of insomnia stress you out – if you can’t sleep, listen to some music, read a book (for fun!), and try to relax in general. Your body – and brain – will thank you.
Practice Mindfulness And Relaxation
There are many different ways to practice mindfulness while in law school, and the best way will be different for each person. Some people might run; others might enjoy yoga; still others might like to keep a journal, write poetry, or go outside for a walk. Whatever allows you to relax and be mindful is something that you should continue to seek out during law school. It will help you stay sane when things get a little crazy!
Seek Help If You Need It
One thing to keep in mind, no matter what – it is not a bad thing to seek help in any regard, if you need it. Whether it is help with the material or help with your mental health, law school is both an individual effort and a collaborative one. There are many people who want you to succeed – take advantage of that when you need it!
Don’t let midterms scare you – they could be a very good thing for you and your classes! Just don’t forget, no matter how stressful life gets around exams, you have to make time to take care of yourself. It’s in everyone’s best interest, and you’ll feel better, too!
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