As exams approach, the stress builds. The best way to combat this unavoidable anxiety is to prepare to the max. How? Visit an area of my website (www.dennistonsing.com
) entitled “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ's button on left side) then click on “What Professors Look for in Exams.” That link will take you to several pages of expert advice from law professors around the country on how to prepare. (Note: if you are preparing for a multiple-choice examination, click on the box entitled “Studying for Multiple-Choice Exams.”)
One noted expert from DePaul, Dean Cathaleen A. Roach, writes, “With regard to properly preparing for exams, many of my students report that flow charting is the single most useful learning strategy they learned in the academic support program.” Cathaleen A. Roach, A River Runs Through It, 36 Ariz. L. Rev. 667, 691 (1994). I heartily agree with Dean Roach – properly constructed flow charts are roadmaps for exam answers. For more on flow charting, when you get to that FAQ page, click on “Flow Charts.”
Of course, preparation for exams begins on day one of law school. As I write this post, you are not yet half-way through the first semester . . . this gives you ample time to prepare day-by-day and week-by-week for each end-of-the-semester examination. If you are bedevilled by significant anxiety about practice tests and mid-terms now, you can imagine how much more stress you will feel by the end of November. Be proactive: alter or augment your study routine now, to combat the anxiety. That’s important – too much anxiety can significantly impact a student’s performance on an examination.
The best way to enter an exam room is with well-earned self-assurance that you have prepared as much as you can, and that you will perform at your “personal best” level during the exam period. Isn’t that what you intend to do as a lawyer – prepare for every event (trial, appellate argument, board meeting, deposition, etc.) so that you will represent your client at your highest level of competency? Well, this semester, YOU are your client. Consider “practicing” (now) to be the kind of lawyer you intend to be.
Send me an e-mail if you have any questions.