I had all closed book exams in law school until I was a 2L and I loved them. I know, I am strange, but I thought it seemed more fair that everyone had to memorize the material for the exam. Anyone feel the same way? No? Ah well . . .
If you have a closed book exam, you want to make sure you create a study plan that reflects the type of exam you will be taking. That means you need to set aside ample time for outlining, memorizing, and practice.
Tips for Outlining
We have compiled a bunch of outlining tips here, but there are still a few things you want to keep in mind when outlining for a closed book exam.
You don’t want your outline to be too long or verbose. It is important when working on outlines that you focus on the need-to-know information first. You don’t want to include every fact discussed in every case! How would you ever learn all that material? Still not sure what should go in your outline? Take a practice question and try to write out an answer. What information did you use in your outline to help you answer the question? That is what needs to be in the outline.
Tips for Memorizing
In law school, many students underestimate the amount of law that they need to learn. Remember: You not only need to learn it, but you need to be able to recall it quickly and write down the rules efficiently. So make sure you set aside time not just to review the law, but to practice writing out the rule statements. This can be an effective way to memorize and will make writing out rule statements a breeze on exam day. Don’t just wait until the last moment to memorize though; law school isn’t meant for cramming. You likely want to be memorizing for a few weeks before the exam.
Tips for Practicing
Practicing is about the most important thing you can do to get ready for a law school exam. Many students think they can’t practice until they have memorized all the material. That is just not true. You can practice with your outline and use the practice as an exercise in memorization. Try to recall the rules without your outline first, and then check the outline. Then write out the correct rules. Along with practicing your analysis and issue spotting, you will actually be working on your memorization as well. Don’t leave practice until the last minute. Practice throughout these last weeks of the semester and get as much feedback as possible.
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Here are some other helpful posts:
- Tips for Studying for an Open Book Exam
- How We Think About Law School Exams
- Help! Midterms are Coming
- How Do You Know What’s Going to be on the Exam?
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Were you able to take an outline into the exam?
Closed book typically means you are not allowed to bring in any materials to the exam.