November 13th at 3:00
In undergrad, I didn’t worry about finals until 2 weeks prior to exams, and several all-nighters would usually ensure a good grade. Law school finals however are a whole different beast.
Nov. 1st begins the countdown for finals which usually aren’t until the second week of December. You’re probably wondering what kind of exam takes 6 weeks to prepare for… the kind of exam that is 100% of your final grade. How’s that for added pressure?
Because the stakes are so high, students typically start really getting into finals mode once November rolls around. Most students prepare for finals by creating an outline from your notes on the topics included in class and in the reading. Some students use commercial outlines to help in this process, or old outlines from previous students of the course, but personally I find the process of creating the outline to be the most helpful. While it’s great to refer to these resources to make sure you haven’t missed anything, especially if you’ve had an absence from class, my personal suggestion would be not the rely on these alone.
The more you work with the content, create it, write it, re-write it, read it, hear it, sing it, dance to it, etc. the better you will be for final which is an Olympic event in memorization and typing speed.
The sooner you start this process the more confident you’ll be when you sit down for that exam, which will be so incredibly nerve-wrecking.
Cramming and last minute all-nighters (which are inevitable and you probably will still do this) will not be enough to guarantee success (unless you’re naturally gifted or have a photographic memory).
So in short, law school finals time = insanity. The only way to combat this insanity is to be prepared. The way to be prepare is to create your outlines. Remember to breathe, stay focused, and stay calm.
And now I’m off to take my own advice! Wish me luck!