Student Post: the Practice Exam

by Andrew ’16

It seems crazy, but half the semester has passed already.  At this point I am more familiar with my classes and less intimidated by my professors.  I feel less frazzled now that I have survived a couple cold calls and turned in a few assignments.  Everyone seems less stressed.  I think we are all getting to the point where law school seems to make at least some sense, if only comparative to where we were 8 weeks ago.

As is true at many law schools, NUSL does not have midterms for 1L classes.  A professor may choose to give quizzes or midpoint assignments, but no cumulative testing like I had in undergraduate classes.  Instead, NUSL pre-arranges a “Practice Exam” in one of the 3 courses, and this semester was Torts.  The test has no graded value, really.  It is more of a diagnostic to make the students familiar with the exam process and aware of how to better prepare for the actual exams at the end of the semester.  Honestly, the pending practice exam hung over my head for a couple weeks.  As I started to prepare, it felt like an endless amount of information.  I wondered how I could absorb all the material, much less figure out how to apply it to the exam.  However, as I prepared my outline for the course I started seeing the pieces come together.  By the time I finished my outline, I actually felt like I had a decent grasp of the concepts.  As a result, the practice exam went well. I feel confident about my performance, and I appreciate the opportunity to get an idea for how exam day might feel.  Aside from taking goods notes and making a good outline, I only have two other words of advice…ear plugs.  (A lecture hall full of students typing on computers can be deafening).

With the practice exam and the midway point under our belts, the 1L chatter has shifted to outlining for other classes.  Combined with the upcoming string of holidays, networking events, and review sessions, the second half of the semester will pass just as quickly as the first.  It is possible that the frazzle may return as we near final exams.  The only difference now is that I know how to better deal with the stress.

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