By Christiana ’19
Exams can be an intimidating and stressful time in law school – regardless of what year you are in. For upper-level students, there are a mere few weeks left of Fall quarter classes. As a 2L student accustomed to the lengthier semesters of 1L year, this snuck up surprisingly fast. Now is the time to begin reviewing, outlining, and organizing all of the material covered throughout the quarter.
For 1L students, the stress of exams is a bit farther away. Having just taken the midterm practice exam, students may either feel more confident or be completely terrified at the thought of impending finals. Looking back to my first semester of 1L year, the idea of taking a law school exam was completely foreign and extremely daunting. It was challenging for me to figure out what worked most effectively in terms of studying, outlining, and retaining the mass amounts of information we had learned over the course of the semester. Law school exams are unavoidably demanding. However, there are a few things you can do to make this time of year exponentially less stressful.
- Start Early. Don’t wait until reading week to begin reviewing for exams. It’s simply too much material and too little time to get done in a week. For fall semester, a great time to start is during Thanksgiving break.
- Consider studying in groups. Studying with classmates can be extremely beneficial. They may have understood concepts and remember cases that you didn’t and vice versa. Sometimes simply talking through the law out loud can help. That being said, some people just study better on their own – whatever works best for you.
- Get some exercise. Exercise can help with stress, clear your head, and give you more energy. Head to Marino (right across the street) or just take a walk around campus.
- Consider switching up where you study. Some people may prefer to spend all of reading week in the law library. However, it can be helpful for some to get out of the law school environment and study elsewhere. The Northeastern undergraduate library (Snell), Boston Public Library, and various coffee shops near campus are great places for a change of scenery.
- Sleep. Reviewing the same material for an extra hour is not going to make much of a difference if you’re falling asleep at your desk the next day, especially the night before an exam.
- Take a break. It really is important to take a break if you feel like you’ve hit a wall studying. Relax for a while or hang out with some non-law school friends. It can help clear your mind and help you study more effectively.
In the end, it’s all about what works for you. Everyone studies differently and learns differently. Study techniques used by some of your classmates may not work well for you. The most important thing is to learn how you study most effectively and plan out your time accordingly. You will be less stressed, feel more confident, and ultimately do better on exams!