Once again we welcome back 3L student, Grace Williams, with her advice on making it through final exams.
I can’t even. That’s how I feel about everything during finals time so I developed the following process to help myself stay focused and actually study and learn what I need to:
1. Determine if you need a win or to eat a frog.
There is a school of thought that was inspired by Mark Twain who famously said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. Your frog is your worst task, and you should do it first thing in the morning. This can be really helpful when you a whole day of studying ahead of you. Sometimes though I can’t get started on the hardest task first because it is too daunting and I can’t get into a flow so I pick a task that I know I can do well and get started on quickly. This win boosts my confidence and gets me going on my todo list. So start by asking yourself if you need the feeling of success right away or if you need the relief of knowing that the work will only get better from here.
2. Set a realistic timer.
Some people use the traditional Pomodoro method (25 minutes of work and then 5 minutes of break time) but I adjust the time periods quite a bit based on how interesting and/or easy the work is. The main thing is just to not allow yourself to do anything but sit there and work for the specified period. Then don’t take longer than your break time and you will make the most of the time you have to study.
3. Mind your physical health.
Stay hydrated. Make sure you are drinking a cup of water for every cup of caffeinated/sugary beverage you consume. Plan 3 protein-rich, complex carbohydrate and natural fat (think avocado, beans, eggs etc.) meals each day to keep your brain strong and your body feeling good. There is a huge amount of competition for meal prep boxes so I sign-up for a free-trial for the 3 weeks of dead week/finals to help me with meal planning. After 3 semesters of doing this, I still have many options to help with food prep for cheap. Consider doing an easy yoga video with each meal to keep your body alert and focused. Nothing takes a toll on your brain and body like 3 weeks sitting and staring at a screen so prepare for this aspect of studying. You’re a mental athlete.
4. Plan fun things in the evenings.
You can only study so many hours in a day so once you’ve done 10 hours or you realize that you are just staring at your book and can’t add any more to your brain, it’s okay to do something fun. Don’t go crazy and stay up really late or drink too much or something like that. You are still a person and your brain needs a reminder that there is more to life than law school so enjoy a dinner out with friends even though it’s dead week/finals.
Don’t be afraid of entire weeks of studying just take it a bit at a time and you got this.