Sunday, December 1, 2019

Final Exam Thoughts

Final exams are right around the corner.  For some first-year students, this is the first experience with law school exams.  If that is you, that is ok.  I put a slightly modified version of the email I send to 1Ls after their first exam below giving them advice for finals' weeks.  Hope it can help you all prior to your finals.

"Finals may not be what you expect, but you should know that most students are extremely nervous for finals.  Be confident you put in the time and effort during the semester to be successful and illustrated that on the exam.  I can tell you from experience both taking exams and grading them, no one picks all the correct answers or writes the perfect essay.  Everyone dwells on the ones they don’t know.  You answered more correct than you think.  Stay confident you did your best and get ready for your next final.  You cannot change what you answered today, so focus on what you can do next time. 

Here are a few tips for the rest of the exam period:

  1. Get enough rest.  If you don’t sleep, then you will not be able to spot the issues fast enough.  Sleep deprived brains do not work as fast.
  2. Don’t discuss the exam afterwards.  You cannot change what you answered or wrote, so you shouldn’t worry about it.  Just because your classmate answered differently or wrote about something different does not make you wrong.  No one writes a perfect exam or gets all the MC questions correct!  You can miss a few issues and still be successful.  Also, many times students find “phantom” issues and are not receiving points for those ingenious (and wrong) arguments you hear afterwards.
  3. Try to relax and decompress before beginning your studies for your next subject.  Law school exams are exhausting.  You are mentally beat up and your adrenaline plummets.  Take some time to regroup so your studying is as efficient as possible.
  4. Efficient and effective study will always be better than 'all-nighters'.  I definitely think you need to put in many hours of studying each day for your exams, but you should be efficient and use the tools that work best for you.  Inefficient study for 18 hours will receive worse grades than efficient studying for 10 hours.

You were admitted to law school, so we believe you have the skills to be successful.  I wish all of you the best of luck!"

(Steven Foster)

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