GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law, J.D. Candidate 2018
Some professors are very open about the final while some just mention it in passing.
I have less than 2 weeks of law school classes left!
Wooohoooo! If you read my last post (https://www.barexambrief.com/the3llife-the-final-push/) you’ll know I’m having a bit of a hard time staying focused. With classes wrapping up, it may seem harmless to take a little mental vacation, but the end of classes means the start of final exams.
Final exams have a way of creeping up on you. You’re doing your reading. You’re applying for jobs or internships. Before you know it classes are over, review sessions are happening, exams are starting next week, and you’re stressing. This has happened to me more times than I care to admit, especially during my first few semesters of law school. In order to make sure it doesn’t happen this time around, I’ve created a checklist with a few things to do during your last couple weeks of classes. Check it out below and let me know what you do to prepare for finals!
Ask for past exams. There’s no better way to prepare for an upcoming exam than by looking as past exams. Most professors keep a few on file, usually with an answer key. Set aside time to do at least one and then meet with the professor to go over areas you had trouble with. If your professor doesn’t have old exams, ask if there are any other resources you can use to prepare.
Re-read your outlines. It’s tempting to wait until classes are over to start reviewing your outline, but I encourage you to give each outline at least one thorough read-through. It will give you a better idea of what you remember well and may highlight some topics that you’re not as comfortable with. This also gives you plenty of time to chat with your study group or set up a time to clarify with your professor before the exam comes.
Ask questions about the exam. Some professors are very open about the final while some just mention it in passing. Don’t be afraid to approach your professor before or after class and ask some questions about the exam. Is it multiple choice? One long fact pattern? Several short answer questions? This affects the way you study and how you prepare your materials. If you don’t have a formal exam, but rather a take-home, a paper, or a project, make sure you know the details of that as well. You don’t want to have last minute questions or lose points for something silly, like using the wrong citation form.
Make a schedule. I know I’m always writing about making schedules and putting dates in planners, but it really is so important! With final exams, job interviews, paper deadlines, graduation events, etc. there’s a million things going on. The best way to make sure that you’re ready for finals is to make sure you have enough time to study for each exam or finish each paper. There’s nothing worse than waiting until the last minute to finalize your outline or polish off your paper only to realize you have another commitment.