Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.  (Read 2000 times)

Frogconcept

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« on: August 04, 2009, 10:18:32 PM »
So I have finals in two weeks.  I finished my reading a week ago, and I've been reviewing since then.  My productivity has dropped insanely...the lack of a clear, concise direction to go in is making me feel like I'm wasting a lot of time.  I'm guessing this is normal, and where learning to study efficiently comes in (I've never studied at all until law school, so I'm horribly inexperienced).  Should I focus on multiple choice, bar-review style books for the next week or so?  I've worked through most of the available essays in the exam bank, and want to leave myself at least a couple for the final week.

Thoughts?

Edit:  Again, I realize I have a tendency to create these needy, solicitous posts.  I'll try not to do that after this, my first term; I just want to take every opportunity at this point to gain input from more experienced parties. 

Thanks again!

RobWreck

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 373
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2009, 11:09:56 PM »
So I have finals in two weeks.  I finished my reading a week ago, and I've been reviewing since then.  My productivity has dropped insanely...the lack of a clear, concise direction to go in is making me feel like I'm wasting a lot of time.  I'm guessing this is normal, and where learning to study efficiently comes in (I've never studied at all until law school, so I'm horribly inexperienced).  Should I focus on multiple choice, bar-review style books for the next week or so?  I've worked through most of the available essays in the exam bank, and want to leave myself at least a couple for the final week.

Thoughts?

Edit:  Again, I realize I have a tendency to create these needy, solicitous posts.  I'll try not to do that after this, my first term; I just want to take every opportunity at this point to gain input from more experienced parties. 

Thanks again!


What's the topic? What's the format for the teacher's past exams? Strategy for a closed book multiple choice Contracts exam is a heck of a lot different than an open book issue-spotting Torts exam. Have you actually sat down and done old exams by your teacher under timed circumstances? Have you reviewed not only your own outline, but outlines from other students that have had this teacher? Do you know the BLL of the subject cold and how to apply it? These are all things to consider in preparing for your exam...
St. John's University School of Law '11
Part-time PM Division
Admitted in NY

M_Cool

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 194
    • View Profile
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 01:55:20 AM »
If it's closed book I'd probably make a set of flashcards by hand for each class that mirrors your outline.  Also I'd try to make to a condensed outline that is maybe 3-4 pages for each class.  This will force you to study everything again.  Other than that it sounds like you are doing / have done everything you can.  Just make sure you get some rest and stay relaxed so that you can perform on exam day.  From the sounds of it, you may be cramming so hard that you will burn out by exams (which is what happened to me my first semester).  I waited until later in the semester for 2nd semester to start studying super hard and my grades shot way up because I felt mentally relaxed on exam day. 

Also, it sounds like you may have found this out already, but make sure you write A LOT on your exams.  Law school exams are lame in that they generally reward quantity over quality (at least for the standard issue spotting exam). 

Advocate

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
    • View Profile
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2009, 03:54:23 PM »
(Study group of 3 other people of about your IQ + Practice Exam under realistic time conditions + compare answers and review) x 3 practice exams = A

,.,.,.;.,.,.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2016
    • View Profile
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2009, 06:57:04 PM »
Out of curiosity, how do you have exams in August?

big - fat - box

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 800
    • View Profile
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 09:20:01 PM »
He's at Cooley, and they have multiple dates in which students can start school b/c they run the basic 1L curriculum year round.

Some other schools allow students (or did allow a few years back) to start in the summer or sometimes in the spring like Baylor, Cardozo, and Michigan.

Out of curiosity, how do you have exams in August?

big - fat - box

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 800
    • View Profile
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2009, 12:12:47 AM »
Not everyone learns best or works best in a group. I did well enough my first year to move from tier 2/3 to a t14. More often than not I studied alone. I did go through hypos and exam problems with a study partner regularly during the semester, and with a couple other people once or twice.

By the time exams were very close, most people were studying alone. At this point, forming a group is probably going to throw you off more than anything. If you want to try a group, form one in the first two weeks of class next semester. That way you have some time to see if you mesh with the person(s) in your group. If it doesn't work out after a couple meetings, you can drop it. If try to form a group right before exams, you could find yourself wasting the little bit of valuable study time you have left.

Good luck.

Thane Messinger

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2009, 05:58:47 AM »
Aloha, Frog & All -

This is, unfortunately, the timeline when most law student freeze in horror.  So, please don't fret (too much).  You're not alone.  Here are a few cents worth from an ol' battlehorse prof . . .

First, the only thing that counts about the exam is the exam.  The law exam is not a memorize-and-regurgitate exercise.  Thus, everything that worked in college will not work for the law exam.  If you're falling back on your old habits, that's a tocsin...a warning bell.

What your professor wants to see is a lawyer jumping off the page.  Not a law student.  A lawyer.  This does not mean "advocate," but rather a fully fledged lawyer who can walk the prof through the fact pattern, pointing out lovely rules, interesting exceptions, notable details, and connect all of the above, almost as if absent-mindedly. 

We often talk about "knowing black letter law cold," but in our minds this easily comes back to a "memorize and regurgitate" pattern.  No.  This will not work. 

Knowing black letter law cold means knowing how to *construct* a legal analysis, drawing upon specific rules, exceptions, and so on.  There is no credit for black letter law, per se.  In fact, by itself it is almost meaningless.

Okay.  All that by background. 

With two weeks to go, I suggest that for the next four days you take one practice exam each morning.  These should be a real exam, taken closed book.  (If your prof's exams are available, don't do these first.  In honesty, it doesn't really matter.)  Time yourself short: give yourself 15 mintutes less.  You will then spend the entire afternoon digesting and re-digesting every conceivable aspect of that answer.  Did you catch everything?  Every pair?  Every possible cause of action?  Every defense?  Cross-check against your outline.  If you missed something, note that for the next exam.

On the fifth day, up it to two exams per day.  That's right, six hours per day taking exams.  Another six hours digesting it.  Then you sleep.

Note:  You're not there to "learn" black letter law, or even to refresh it.  You're there to internalize it.

On the seventh day, no rest.  This continues until the next to the last day, when you take your last practice exam.  Then you rest.  By then you'll know not only the law, but also you really *will* get that "A." 

This no doubt seems wildly excessive.  Perhaps.  But in law there is no second chance . . . in law school or in the practice thereof.  Thus, the entire life of the law is a life spent over-preparing. 

I hope this helps,

Thane.

xxspykex

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 88
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2009, 03:40:52 AM »
Deleted.

--post edited by EC

Matthies

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 5988
    • View Profile
    • Tell me where you are going to school and you get a cat!
Re: Exam in 2 weeks - Hitting a wall.
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2009, 10:40:30 AM »
Frog,

First- hang in there, second Ė breath, - third realize all your class mates are in the same boat. I wonít give you advice on how to study, as my method likely works best for me and not you.

But on your closed book exam here are a few things you can do to maximize points: (1) Use headings/subheadings Ė boring organization gets points, donít just make it a rabble of paragraphs, use headings to set up the arguments, issues ect (2) Use IRAC on every issue, IRAC is a point generating machine on closed book exams (3) highlight/bold key words/concepts make sure the grader can see you know the elements like Assault is an attempted battery or a imminent apprehension of an offensive or harmful contact, words alone are not enough. (3) If you forget a rule its OK if you get the I and AC parts, make up the rule if you have to but donít skip it just because you canít remember the rule. (4) Write fast but not at the expense of 1-3, its better to get full points for the stuff you know well than to just throw things against the wall and hope they stick. (5) you C part does not matter, make it short, to the point, its likely not worth anything  or just a point. IRA are what generate points.

Good luck, you can do this, believe in yourself and go in confident. Donít be surprised if when you see the exam you get scared and think ďWTF did we even cover this poo?Ē That happens to everyone, get over the initial shock and start IDing issues. Donít let it throw you that the test makes no sense, everyone will feel like that. Just realize you know enough to pass and start looking for the issues you can see. Start with the biggest issues and answer those first in deceding order, so if you run out of time you have the key issues answered. Pick your battles. Watch your time, and be confident. Finally donít be surprised if after the test you feel like you failed it. THAT IS VERY COMMON ON LAW EXAMS. More often than not how you feel you did has little correlation to how you actually did.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.