Law School SOS: Help! I Might Fail My Final!

Law School SOS: Help! I Might Fail My Final!!We welcome back guest writer and current 3L Shirlene Armstrong to talk about dealing with finals approaching and what to do if you’re worried you won’t do well.

One of the most daunting parts of law school for many students are final exams. You spend an entire semester trying to learn the law and apply it to real life facts. However, the law is confusing, and it is very easy to be left frustrated at the end of the class, still trying to figure out what the heck you were just taught. So, what happens if you feel like you are going to fail your final exam? And what should you do? You probably are feeling extremely stressed and no matter how much you prepare, you believe your grade is a lost cause. While it is understandable to feel discouraged, you don’t have to give up and feel like you’re going to fail! Instead, here are some tips to help you through this exam season and help you get back on the success track. [Read more…]

Test Anxiety: What To Do When You Struggle With Multiple Choice Tests

Test Anxiety - I Suck At Multiple-ChoiceThis week we welcome back 3L guest writer Shirlene Armstrong to talk about her struggles with multiple choice exams.

I have always considered myself to be an excellent student. I have always loved school and learning. I would get excited for the start of the new school year: the fresh pencils, the crisp notebooks, and the thrill of what new adventure would come my way. However, the thing that I always hated about school was multiple-choice exams. Simply put, I suck at multiple-choice questions. Unfortunately, multiple-choice questions are a part of every student’s life, especially law students. And since I am a 3L and in my last semester of law school (haha, stressed??), I am going to be dealing with the worst and most important multiple-choice exam of my life: the bar exam. [Read more…]

Tackling the MPRE as a 3L

The MPRE – 3L PerspectivePlease welcome back 3L guest writer Shirlene Armstrong to discuss what it’s like to take the MPRE as a 3L and how to prepare!

In case you did not know already, I am a 3L, and I am about to enter my last semester of law school (I’m not panicking, you’re panicking). Not only am I dreaming about post-grad life, I just took the MPRE last month. Unlike the bar exam, you do not have to wait until graduation to sit for this exam. To make life a little easier, many students take the MPRE in their 2L year or during the summer before their 3L year. For me, that just did not work with my schedule, and I had to plan accordingly. I am usually a futuristic and try to get everything situated so I don’t stress out over something simple. This time, my busy life got the best of me so I took the MPRE a little later than most of my fellow law students. This is the tale of my preparation and actually taking the MPRE. [Read more…]

Advice from the Trenches for Incoming 1Ls: On Outlining and Exam Preparation

Advice for Incoming 1Ls Part III (Studying and Exam Prep)This week we welcome back Kala Mueller to finish up her series offering advice to incoming 1Ls from those who have gone through it already. She’ll complete the series with a discussion about studying and exam prep.

Now that you’re all well-versed on the rigors of law school and the importance of self-care, we’ll round out the series with a discussion of study habits. It’s worth noting that of all the feedback I received from students on what they wish they had known before starting law school, very little of it pertained to studying. At the risk of stating the obvious, I think this is, perhaps, an indication that it’s not the most important thing for you to know as you embark on this journey.

As I said in the first post in this series, you’ve likely read or received a lot of different advice on what does and doesn’t work, how and when you should outline, the best way to approach exam preparation, etc. It can be overwhelming and hard to determine at this stage which strategies are actually going to be the most effective for you, so in one regard, I am hesitant to heap more advice of this nature on to the pile. However, I thought the feedback regarding outlining and exam preparation was relatively general (and good) advice that should be helpful for most students. And, of course, you have the ability to decide whether or not to use it.

[Read more…]

Making Your Notes Work for You

Note TakingPlease welcome back guest writer John Passmore to discuss some great tips for note taking in law school!

Everyone agrees that note taking is important in law school. But are you getting as much out of note taking as possible? After a semester or two of struggling to find value in my class notes, I finally started to think more critically about my note-taking style. I realized I was just playing the stenographer—writing down as much as possible with the hopes of understanding it later. This is a very bad approach. As you develop your personal note-taking style, think about what you hope to get out of your notes. Once you have a clear idea of your objectives, you can take notes with purpose and be more effective. The tricky thing about law school note taking is accomplishing multiple objectives at once. Here are some of the key deliverables you might want from your notes — [Read more…]

Confronting Injustice On The Bar Exam

Reconciling Social Justice With Bar Exam SuccessPlease welcome guest writer, Mihal Ansik, tutor for the Bar Exam Toolbox, to talk about how to balance personal feelings about justice with bar exam questions.

I can’t count how many times I died a little inside answering bar exam questions upholding doctrine that was legal, but, in my opinion, unjust. With fact patterns that require us to justify long term solitary confinement and concede to the flimsy 4th Amendment protections at border crossings, the bar exam demands complicity—fleeting as it may be—from those of us who feel responsible for challenging these very laws. So, when faced with an MBE question requiring me to affirm the constitutionality of deplorable prison conditions, did I engage in an act of resistance and fill in the answer aligned with what I knew to be true in practice, even if it was the wrong bubble? The honest answer is, I didn’t. [Read more…]

The End of the Academic Year: A 1L Perspective

end of school year examsPlease welcome Shirlene Armstrong, first-year law student at Wayne State University. Today, she’s giving us the 1L perspective on what law school life is like as the second semester draws to a close.

Another semester is coming to an end and a new law school season is about to begin, Studying Fever. This was a phenomenon that I discovered last semester: when everyone suddenly realizes that exams are less than a month away and go into overdrive mode. These are some of my reflections on what a law school looks like toward the end of the year. [Read more…]

1L Exams Start in a Week! What Should You Be Doing?

Law School Exam StressBelieve it or not, December is here! Which means most law schools start exams in the next week or so. Scary thought, right?

When you stop hyperventilating, let’s talk about what you should be doing now to be ready for your first exam. (Hint: It’s not adding an extra 20 pages to your 100-page outline.)

#1. Make Sense of What You’ve Learned

The weird thing about law school pedagogy is that your professor doesn’t just come out and tell you what you need to know for the exam. Neither does the casebook. So…you’ve got a problem! Where in the world are you supposed to find out what you need to know?

[Read more…]

Struggling with Law School Exams? We Talk to a Law Professor for Tips!

Law school professor exam adviceIt’s law school exam time, which means it’s time for a collective law student freakout. Why not take a nice, deep breath and read on for some exam prep tips from Melissa L. Greipp, an Associate Professor of Legal Writing at Marquette Law School? Melissa teaches courses in Legal Analysis, Writing and Research, and Appellate Writing and Advocacy and she’s got some great advice for doing well on exams and studying productively throughout the semester.

Welcome!

It’s exam time at most law schools, and students have one question on their minds: What is my professor looking for? Being only one person, you probably can’t answer definitively, but what DO you think professors are looking for? Are there certain traits or characteristics of a good exam answer, which demonstrate mastery across the board?

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Two Steps to a Winning Law School Exam Strategy

Law School Exam StrategyIt’s almost time for the final law school exam push, so I’ll make this brief.

What are you going to do these last few weeks, to ensure you’re ready to go on exam day?

  • Re-read your class notes?
  • Try to memorize a bunch of cases?
  • Cram a commercial outline into your head?
  • Look over a practice answer or two?
  • Give up and go to sleep?

Any of these could be useful, but let’s talk big picture — What’s a winning overall strategy?

[Read more…]