1L Exam Advice

Looming right around the corner is that magical time of year, we all get more busy, tensions rise and people run around in oddly coloured clothing…. of course I’m talking about Law School Exam Time. Personally, I do not think that CERN needs to go on trying to break the speed of light because this semester seems to have already done so, which brings us to exam time. Back in September I posted, what I hoped were, a few nuggets about being in law school. What follows are a few more with regards to preparing for and executing exam writing. I did not address this post to the 2Ls and 3Ls because I figure that they have already figured out what works for them and what does not but this advice is not just for 1Ls

I’m keeping many of the same headings from the September post because most of that advice relates to the exam writing advice:

  • Go to Class
  • Obviously, you can’t do much about this if you haven’t gone all semester, but hopefully you did, and took decent notes. If you missed a couple find a classmate who hopefully takes good notes and ply them with baked goods in the hopes that they will share. Use your class notes to help with preparing your own CANS (below).

  • Keep up on the Readings
  • Again, hopefully you have done this. If not you have about a week to get caught up. If you are very far behind, skimming is a fine art that you have hopefully already nurtured as a skill set through the first 3 months of law school. Remember, first and last sentence of a paragraph. You probably don’t have a lot of time to do this right now, but the Science of Word Recognition is quite interesting.

  • CANS
  • I’m going to try and not revisit what I wrote before, so all I will say is make sure that whatever CANs you use are liberally sprinkled with content that has been generated by you.

  • Don’t listen to your classmates
  • The hysteria mentioned previously reaches its zenith right about…….now. Do not succumb to it, which I acknowledge is sometimes harder than it sounds. If you need to avoid the law school whilst studying then find another good study spot. Don’t let whatever the talk is, get to you, and don’t engage in or even try to listen to the
    conversations that take place immediately preceding or post exam.

  • The Law of Diminishing Returns
  • To quote, “…is the decrease in the marginal (per-unit) output of a production process as the amount of a single factor of production is increased, while the amounts of all other factors of production stay constant.” In exam writing terms this means to get the amount of rest you need in order to be alert and have a properly functioning mind while writing. If you need 8 hours of sleep to feel refreshed, the value you might gain from studying until 3am is offset by the sluggishness brought on by only getting 5 hours of sleep. Or quite simply, at a certain point it no longer pays to keep on studying, get some sleep and focus on what you know, the return you get on studying until 3am is going to be greatly diminished.

  • Procrastination
  • The enemy of studying; but to be honest, your mind needs to have short breaks every so often. Around here there is usually a dominant procrastination theme for an exam period, recent ones have included: Mafia Wars, Assassins or placing themed post-it notes on a world map. I’m always interested to see what the exam period will bring.

    Good Luck to all who are writing, I’ll see you on the other side!

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