Overcoming the “E” word
I’m thinking of a word. It starts with the letter E. It has four letters and has been known to cause grumbling, anxiety and strike fear in the hearts of law students everywhere.
Exam time is never a joyous occasion, in fact, it’s probably when most law students question why in the world they enrolled in law school in the first place.
I can’t promise that these tips will make you any more enthused about exam day, but perhaps they’ll make you a little less stressed.
Extradite exam anxiety with these tips:
Don’t Procrastinate. Long gone are the “good ol’ days” of undergrad when a quick glance over the chapter would suffice as studying for the exam. Law school comes with a heavier course load which includes lots of reading. It’s always a good idea to start mentally preparing yourself for an exam every time new material is introduced. No one wants to try digesting a full course of tort law and a side of contracts the night before an exam.
Take notes (on the professor). Yes, you’ve read the chapter and highlighted key points. However, it’s imperative that you take notes during the lecture. Reading your professor is just as important as reading your textbook. Pay attention to topics that your professor seems to emphasize. It’s often a key point from the lecture (not the text) that stumps students during the exam.
Make Flashcards. Each topic will come with its own set of key words and phrases. Making flashcards will help you begin memorizing key terms that will likely appear on your exam.
Stay organized. Nothing induces anxiety like sitting down to study and not being able to figure out where you left a few pages of notes. It’s a great idea to have a study binder where you are able to separate notes by topics and courses. Post-its and tabs are your friends.
Develop a study schedule. Take a look at your calendar and begin blocking off days and times to devote to preparing for exams and reviewing course materials. Developing a study schedule will allow you to pace yourself and leave you feeling less overwhelmed.
Don’t walk in the exam defeated. No one looks forward to exam day and it’s often mental rants of “I hate exams” or “I know this is going to be a train wreck” that cause you to stress out during exams. Instead, look at the exam as an opportunity to prove yourself. The exam is your opportunity to show that you are retaining the information and able to apply it. This also means you’re one step closer to practicing law.
All-nighters are not "all right". The night before your exam should not be spent cramming for the exam. You should make sure you get a good night’s sleep before you go in to take an exam. A good night’s sleep will help you wake up refreshed and ready to take on those torts.
Relax. Remember this is only one exam. As long as you have done your part in preparing you have nothing to worry about.
How do you prepare for the dreaded “E” word? We would love to hear your exam study tips.