Take a second to think about what you need to do on a law school final exam: read a complicated fact pattern, independently identify the issues raised by the facts, then, in writing, you must recite the appropriate rules and analyze the facts in an organized, efficient, thorough manner. Now, take a second to think about what you do in class on a daily basis: verbally discuss cases that have been edited to focus on one, narrow issue. They don’t sound that similar, do they? While the reading, preparation, and dialogue that you engage in during class develops many of the legal analysis skills you will need in order to excel on final exams (and as a lawyer!), there are also some specific skills that you need to develop on your own.
In addition to your regular class preparation activities like reading and outlining, make sure you’re also setting aside time in your schedule to practice specifically for exams. Your practice should replicate what you will experience on the actual exam as closely as possible, which means you should work your way up to writing out complete practice answers to comprehensive questions under timed conditions (and don’t forget to practice multiple choice questions if those will be a part of any exams!) To find practice questions, check out the old exams posted by the library or use the resources available to you through your Study Aids Subscription.
To really make the most of your practice, don’t stop after you’ve written out your answer. A key component of valuable practice is receiving feedback on your answers so you can identify what you’re doing well and what you need to work on. Although it can be difficult to receive criticism on your work, individualized feedback is a powerful tool that can improve your performance across the board. If you need feedback on any of your practice exams, be sure to send them over to the Academic Achievement Department! We are more than happy to review your answers and give you some constructive criticism.