What’s the Point of Taking “Practice” Exams?

Blank screenIf you’re a law student, you’ve probably got a ton of people telling you to take practice exams. It’s critical! It’s important! You have to do it!

I happen to agree, but I think it’s helpful to consider why you’re doing it.

What’s the point?

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I Failed the Bar Exam! Now What?!?

Help!Fantastic guest post today from Lee Faller Burgess of Amicus Tutoring (and the new Bar Exam Toolbox) about what to do if the unthinkable happens, and you fail the bar exam.

I’ll turn it over to Lee:

You Failed the Bar Exam. Now What?

Almost anyone who has sat for the bar exam has imagined failing. You log in to the website Friday evening and your name doesn’t appear on the pass list. You are not exactly sure what to do with yourself. You have such a mix of emotions. Where do you even begin?

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Exam Prep Made Simple: Organize Your Thoughts

OutlineIf you’ve never taken a law school exam before, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There’s a lot to know, and what you’ve done in class has little relationship to what you’ll be tested on.

After giving the matter lots of thought (a luxury you only have when you’re not actually taking exams!), I’ve concluded two factors are critical to success:

  1. Organization
  2. Practice

Keep your focus on these two aspects of your exam prep, and you’ll spend your study time productively. Stray, and you might end up spinning your wheels and wasting time.

This post focuses on Organization, and Practice will be coming soon.

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Law School Truth #1: You Don’t Control Your Grades

StaircaseThis can be difficult to accept, but it’s true:

You do NOT control your law school grades.

Consequently, you might as well not worry about them. Why worry about something you don’t control? It’s a waste of time.

But I Need to Get Good Grades!

I know, you need good grades. So does everybody else.

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Exam Prep in a Nutshell

CalendarThe time has changed, the days are getting shorter. What’s that sound? Ah, yes, the sound of panicking law students!

Sorry, everyone. Exam time is on the horizon.

Before you start hyperventilating, take a deep breath. It’s time to establish an Exam Action Plan.

(It’s much more effective if you imagine saying “EXAM ACTION PLAN” in a booming super hero voice.)

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1L Tip of the Day: Good Confusion and Bad Confusion

One of my favorite law school professors was fond of saying:

There’s good confusion, and there’s bad confusion. Which one is it?

when a student admitted to being confused about something. DictionaryThis reply was met with more than a few blank stares, but ultimately it’s a helpful concept.

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Nervous About 1L Exams? Here’s Advice From a Rockstar Tutor

BlackboardIf you’re starting to get nervous about law school exams, it’s your lucky day!

Here’s some fantastic advice about getting ready for law school exams from Lee Faller Burgess, founder of Amicus Tutoring. Lee’s an honors law school grad with a background in psychology, consulting, and tutoring — so she’s the perfect person to address all the different aspects of preparing for high-stakes exams!

Without further ado:

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Two Reasons You Need a Law School “Outline” (Loosely Conceived)

Colored pencilsMaking a law school outline serves two purposes:

1. you’re forced to review and synthesize the material
2. it’s a useful reference when you’re taking the exam

You might think these two reasons have little in common. You’re right.

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1L Tip of the Day: Start Thinking About the Exam on the First Day of Class

Play-DohHere’s a little secret — what’s tested in law school bears little resemblance to what’s taught in law school. I’m not saying law school classes are pointless (we can debate that later), but the way they’re structured can lead to misunderstandings about what you’re supposed to be learning.

How Things Used to Be

Think back to your average undergraduate class. Either the professor would give a lecture on the relevant material, which you’d dutifully attend, absorb, and apply on the exam, or the professor would lead a discussion group, where the class discussion was about the material you’d been assigned and the exam expected you to parrot back parts of that discussion.

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