7 Things to Do Over Spring Break For Better Law School Grades

Spring Break!Unless your law school is on some wacky schedule (I’m looking at you, Stanford) you’ve got Spring Break in the next week or two, and exams starting a month and a bit after that.

What can you do over Spring Break to ensure your exams go well?

  1. Take some time to relax. It’s important not to get burned out this early in the semester. Even if you feel like you’re really far behind, force yourself to have some fun. (Sounds like an oxymoron, no? Can you force fun?) At a minimum, catch up on your sleep, so you’ll be in top notch condition for the rest of the semester. Even better, do something YOU like to do each day, whether it’s see a movie, hang out with friends and family, or hit the gym.
  2. Reflect on your performance so far. If you’re not happy with your grades from last semester, have you gone over your answers? Yes, this is painful, but it’s incredibly helpful. To improve going forward, you have to identify your personal trouble spots. Did you run out of time? Were you shaky on the law? Were your answers disorganized and hard to follow? Each of these issues demands a different solution, so figuring out where you went off course is the key to righting the ship next time around. If you haven’t done it yet, get copies of your exam answers, and compare them to the model answer. Make a list of issues that you see consistently across all of your exams, so you’ll know what to work on in the future.
  3. Make a real plan for moving forward. Once you’ve identified your trouble spots, it’s time to take action. Make a plan! Here’s where it’s important to set useful goals, i.e., goals that are measurable and specific. Did you have trouble with time? Resolve to do written practice problems for at least two hours every week. This consistent writing practice will markedly improve your confidence, and your exam-day speed. Was your problem with organization? Resolve to outline sample answers for several hours a week, so you learn how to structure an answer in a way that makes sense. If your problem was knowing the law, resolve to spend several hours each week working on attack plans or flowcharts, so you’re clear on what you know (and what you don’t know).
  4. Gather the materials you need. In a month, you don’t want to be stressing out about whether your professor has sample answers on file. Check on this now! You need time to follow up and get the resources you need, if they’re not already there. Similarly, make sure you have any supplements or old outlines that you’re going to want when you go into “study mode.” That’s not the time to realize the local book store has sold out of Property outlines! Order one now, if you want it.
  5. Ask for help. Very few people succeed in law school alone. To do well, you have to ask for help sometimes. If you like studying with other people, is your study group set up? If there are specific things you don’t understand, where are you going to go for help? To office hours? To your TA? What if you’re just feeling generally overwhelmed and confused? Do you need to look into a tutor? Or read some books? Or check out my new course, Law School Toolbox, which shows you how to get better results with less stress and effort? Whatever resources you’re going to rely upon, line them up now. You don’t want to be trying to find a study buddy a week before exams start!
  6. Commit to a new approach. Can we get real for a second? If you weren’t happy with your grades last semester, what are you going to do differently? Unless you can answer that question pretty specifically (and you’re sure your new approach will work better), it’s unlikely you’re going to be any happier this time around. Change is hard, but it’s necessary. What concrete steps are you going to take to improve your exam performance?
  7. Decide what you’re going to drop. By this point in the semester, it’s likely your To-do list has piled up. Maybe you’re a bit behind in your reading, and have some nagging tasks you haven’t handled. Harsh truth: You probably can’t do all these things now. What are you going to drop? Yes, it would be great if you could catch up on every page of reading, and get all your outlines in tip-top shape, but it’s time to prioritize. What’s going to make the most difference in your exam performance? Do that! Then throw away your existing list, and don’t feel guilty about it. By the end of Spring Break, you want to be looking forward with a plan for success, not looking back at things you haven’t done.

In a nutshell, Spring Break is a time to gather your resources and make a plan for moving forward.

The time you invest now will pay dividends in the future.

Just don’t flip out! If you need help, it’s there.

Want Help? Check Our My New Course!

How do I know this? Because I spent the last several months working on a course that can help you! Check it out, and join up if it looks useful.

Enjoy your break!

Image by pale via stock.xchng.


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