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.


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?

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Disappointing 1L Grades? Four Common Reasons, and How to Fix Them!

Disappointing gradesAs law school classes start back up again, many of you are trying to come to terms with your disappointing 1L grades.

People tend to take one of two approaches when the first year didn’t go so well. Most students just accept the status quo, decide they’re lousy law students, and quit trying. But some students take a different approach: They systematically analyze what went wrong, and embark on a deliberate plan to improve their weak spots and do better in the final years of law school.

It’s up to you which category you want to be in, but — if you’re in the second category and you really want to do better — here are four common places 1Ls go wrong, with some techniques for fixing each problem.

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The Story of My (Almost Disastrous) Second Semester of Law School

LibrarySome of you might be laboring under the misconception that I was a model law student. Let me assure you that was NOT the case!

If you’re in the middle of a massive flip out about your impending exams, trust me, I’ve been there.

Let me tell you about my second semester of law school…

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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?

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How to Prepare For an Open-Book Exam

Open bookLaw school exam tutor extraordinaire Lee Faller Burgess of Amicus Tutoring is back with advice on preparing for an open-book law school exam. If you missed her post on preparing for a closed-book exam, check it out, too.

The Open-Book Test: A Primer

More and more law schools are offering the open-book exam. What does that typically mean?

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How to Prepare for a Closed-Book Exam

Closed bookLaw school exam tutor extraordinaire Lee Faller Burgess of Amicus Tutoring returns with advice on preparing for a closed-book law school exam. Take it away!

What Type of Exams Do You Have?

Depending on your law school, you may have many or few closed-book exams. For example, when I was a first-year law student, all of my exams were closed book. I didn’t have an open-book exam until I was in an upper-division class. [Note from Alison: I never had a closed-book exam in law school. Thanks goodness!]

However, the trend lately seems to be that more and more professors are giving open-book tests. But that doesn’t mean that the dreaded closed-book exam is gone — it is alive and well in law schools around the country!

Here are some thoughts on getting ready for your closed-book exams.

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Myths About Law School Exams, From a Tutor Who Knows!

TVLaw school exam tutor extraordinaire Lee Faller Burgess of Amicus Tutoring is back with more advice from the trenches. Today, she tackles myths about law school exams.

Stay tuned for her upcoming posts on preparing for open-book and closed-book exams!

Bad Law School Exam Myths

I must say I am constantly amazed at the advice that is circulated around law schools at finals time.

Here are just a few myths that I have heard recently and what I think about them.

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Taking Law School Exams the 80/20 Way

80/20It’s a truism of life, with a great deal of truth, that 80% of your results in anything come from 20% of your effort. I have absolute certainty that this is the case with law school exams.

What do I mean by this? Let’s discuss.

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Taking Law School Exams: Ask the Right Questions, Don’t Worry About the “Right” Answer

TricycleLet’s talk about how to analyze a sample law school exam question. This fact pattern is super simplified, on purpose.

As we’ll see, the key is asking and exploring the right questions, not arriving at the “right” answers.

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