Student perspective: Advice for finals preparation

By Nick Ahadzadeh, News Editor, & Ryan Stygar

We would like to start this article with a quotation from our favorite author:

“Ahhh, finals season. What a beautiful and joyous occasion.” – No One Ever

Finals are upon us, and they are quite similar to hurricanes – you want to prepare before they actually happen. Because we have already provided Academic Achievement’s exam tips, this time we wanted to give you our student perspective on how to get through finals with your sanity intact. The first set of tips is about study strategies, and the second set is about general study habits.

Study Strategies

Review Your Last Finals- There is one specific person who knows exactly what your professor likes to see on the exam – YOUR PROFESSOR. Hopefully by now, you have retrieved your finals from last trimester and reviewed your professor’s notes. If you have the same professor this trimester, reviewing their remarks is absolutely key to your success. Did one of your professors correct a lot of your grammatical errors? Skim through Core Grammar once more. Did your professor mark you down for analyzing the elements in the wrong order? Go ask them what the right order is! If you’re taking a course with a professor you haven’t had before, ask someone who has already taken the course for advice, or read Model Answers through the online library archive.

Set a Schedule, and Adjust Accordingly- If a course is more challenging to you than any of your other courses, you will want to spend some extra time studying for that course. But don’t make the mistake of entirely neglecting to study for an exam, because it’s the one you feel the most confident on, or because it happens to be the last scheduled test during the exam period. Make goals for each day leading up to your finals, and stick to it as best you can. Once you’ve completed a goal or a specific topic during your finals prep, cross it off your list. Not only will this help you keep track of the work you still need to do, but it will also serve as a sense of accomplishment to keep you motivated.

Parctyse… Parctice… Practice Makes Perfect- Look at the Exam Archive and get some of you professor’s old exams. Doing practice exams puts you in a similar set of circumstances that you’ll experience on test day – get comfortable with that uncomfortable situation! The more you practice, the more you have a handle on the exam process. It’s fine to do some practice exams untimed, but make sure to do at least one or two timed tests so you can practice supplying the needed information within the time allotted. If your professor does not have any/many exams in the archive, look at another professor’s exams and try those. As long as you are getting experience, it’s better than sitting at home and watching BARBRI videos. You want to get involved in the material rather than just simply trying to soak it in.

Get Rid of Distractions- We all have a lot of different things that we like to do, and those things take up a lot of our time. For example, I love Netflix…LOVE it. So what is a guy to do when he has to choose between studying impleader and watching Black Mirror? I packed my PS4 away, I froze my Netflix account, and I stay in the library rather than going home. You need to remove yourself from distractions and stay focused when you’re preparing to take your finals. Sure, Netflix costs $8 a month.. Don’t let it cost you an extra $100,000 by robbing you of your legal education.

Study Habits

As you’re coming within days of your finals, here are some last-minute tips for the day before your exams:

1. Stop studying by 10 pm. Get into your bed by 11 pm. Seriously. There are zero recorded instances of the law school gods granting superhuman knowledge about the [Parol Evidence Rule] at the stroke of midnight.  I promise you will gain more from being well-rested than you will from cramming late into the night. 

2. Feeling ready and being ready are two different things. You will read questions that are hard. Don’t Panic. If it’s hard for you, then it is hard for everyone! When you feel anxious, just take a deep breath, look around the room, and remind yourself that everyone is feeling the same thing. 

3. Finals week is a marathon, not a sprint. After your test, eat a damn burrito, take a damn nap. Wake up well fed and well rested and ready to prepare for the next test.

4. The number one thing that separates high point earners is organization. Take the extra time to make your essay responses pretty. Use signposting, numerals, and other tools to make your exam visually appealing. This is what will bump you from a B+ to an A. 

5. Wake up early.  Listen to your favorite music on your way to class. Splurge on some good coffee. You deserve it and your brain needs it.

In closing, we would like to make the very last tip VERY apparent:


We believe in you, your school believes in you, and your professors believe in you – you should absolutely believe in yourself and give it your all. Law school is an obstacle: merely a means to an end rather than the end itself.

Live long and prosper, fellow bookworms!

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