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3 last-minute keys for acing your law school exams

Final Exams

You’re probably a mere three weeks from your law school exams. So everything you’re reading and doing should be helping you ace your law school examinations. Let me help. Here are three things you can do to ensure you ace your law school exams:

Take practice tests

One of the suggestions I made in the book, The Law School Hustle, is to take practice tests after your first two weeks of class! But that won’t help you now – you’re three weeks from your final exams, so it’s time to get super strategic. Take practice tests, at least one, in every class, every day leading up to game day (i.e. test day).

Now you’re wondering, “Where can I find these practice tests?” Good question. I used Examples & Explanations (E&E) for nearly every subject. I took the E&E practice tests for the subjects that were listed on my course syllabi. And, I took all practice tests under timed conditions. The amount of time you give yourself is up to you, but I put pressure on myself to take all practice tests in less time than I’d have on the actual exams.

Since E&E practice tests are short answer tests, I took them in five to seven minutes. Why? Because I wanted to make sure that when nerves kicked in on test day, I still had enough time to complete my exams.

Look, anything can happen on exam day – your computer could crash, the person sitting next to you could have the worst cough known to man, causing them to be distractingly loud, or you, yourself could get sick, which slows you down. But no matter what, you need to finish the exam, in its entirety, strong.

Practice tests help. If your professor provides you with a practice test, take it one to two weeks before the exam, as you want to take that test after you’ve thoroughly reviewed the material since it will give you the best idea of what to expect from your professor’s exam, which leads me to my next point.

Go see your professor

I recently spoke at a law school in Chicago, and I asked the students whether they’d ever posed this question to their professors: “What did the student who scored the highest grade in your class do differently on his or her exam?” If all the professor provides is multiple choice exams, the answer might not be helpful, but if the professor provides written exams, you need to know the answer to this answer. It could change the way you write your exams!

Have you asked that question? Have you asked your professor whether he or she recommends any supplements or practice tests? Mastering The Law School Hustle is about stating the law as told by your professor! Therefore, you need to know how your professor thinks. It’s not too late to find out how your professor thinks.

Make your appointment ASAP.

Learn key cases

This is for my overachievers, those that really want to stand out. After you’ve learned the black letter law, learn some key cases for each class and use them to compare and contrast facts on your written exams.

Most professors will tell you that this is not necessary, but after receiving an A+ in civil procedure, I was told that it helped me to stand out on my exams. Also, I know for a fact it’s what helped me to ace my constitutional law exam.

Now, I want to be clear: This is something you do only after mastering the black letter law and it’s the icing on the cake. Also, if you’re going to list a case, be sure you’re citing it for the right purpose.

Hope these three tips help you to succeed on your upcoming law school exams! If you want more secrets to caring law school, landing your first BigLaw job, and getting scholarship checks, check out my book, The Law School Hustle!

Ashley Kirkwood Ashley Kirkwood is the author of The Law School Hustle: How to Get the Grades, Get the Job, and Get the Check! She went from having a 2.1 in undergrad to graduating with honors from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. She then started her career at Kirkland & Ellis, one of the largest law firms in the world. Recently, she left BigLaw to start Mobile General Counsel, a firm for entrepreneurs and startup companies. She’s also the Chief Learning Officer of The Law School Hustle.