by Zach ’17
One of the many great experiences I have had at NUSL this fall was the opportunity to take a practice exam. No, I am not that into my studies that I actually enjoy exam-taking, but I appreciate the opportunity that Northeastern provided me to take part in a “test run” without the typical exam pressures.
When it was announced that my practice exam this year would be in my Civil Procedure class, I was nervous; everyone I knew in law school had told me that their understanding of Civ Pro came together in the last few weeks of class, right before the exam. Our practice exam would be in the second-to-last week in October – about six weeks away from the end of the semester. What I didn’t realize at the time was that there was a huge benefit to having this practice exam in October: it would force me to grapple with and understand the material at a high level, much earlier than I would have if I waited until later in the semester when I most likely would have started my review. Not only do I feel like I understand the material much better after my review for the test, I now have a month and a half to figure out the material that has troubled me. Also, by allowing me to utilize the school’s exam-taking software, figure out how to best navigate it, under test-like conditions, I feel more confident heading into this December’s “real” exams.
Northeastern’s non-competitive feel has made the entire semester go well, but even in a collaborative environment, I know people are bound to tense up around the idea of exams. I think that this practice exam was a great step toward alleviating a lot of that anxiety, while giving our entire 1L class the experience necessary to perform our best come December. Maybe the best part of the exam is that my professor does not know what I receive on the exam, as she was only presented with my exam number, providing her with an opportunity to give me feedback in an anonymous way, further removing the pressure from the situation.
Without the “benefit” of weekly quizzes or bi-weekly papers, the majority of law school class evaluations are based on attendance, participation, and your final exam performance. With this practice exam experience under my belt, I have a much better understanding of how to best prepare for that third aspect of the evaluation for my first “real” go-round this December.