Tips for Law Students Preparing for Exams

Law School can be stressful; one exam for the entire grade. Here are some tips on how to best prepare for exam day.

After having completed three years of law school at the University of Connecticut, I felt I got better understanding as I went along but it would have been helpful to know what I know now at the start of my first year.

Here is my advice to help you get off to a good start. While I believe it is important to outline your course material, read every case and the case notes, your exam will generally be applying the law to a new problem or issue that did not occur in any of the cases you have read. What you need to do is read current legal material related to the cases you are reading so you can see how the cases are being applied in court. If you try to expand your perspective beyond just memorizing the case law, your exam answer will have that extra insight that will make your exam stand out and earn you a better grade. What makes for an “A” exam, adding some flare to your answer that lets the professor know you understand the law and have something new and interesting way to apply it to the problem in the exam question.

Law professors like to develop exam questions from pending cases. One of the best resources for you to read frequently is the Scotus Blog. This blog features all of the cases that will be heard by the United States Supreme Court and other cases where petition for review were filed and ultimately denied. Reading the petition for certiorari before the United States Supreme Court, will give you new ideas as to how the cases you are reading are being used in court today. Many law professors write amicus briefs and comment on cases before the United States Supreme Court in their Law Review Article.

By reading and keep up to date on cases before the United States Supreme Court
in the topic areas of your courses, you will have thought about and be ready for the issues you may confront on your end of the year exam. Since you will only have a limited time to answer several questions, the more you can anticipate what may be the topics on the exam the better chance you will have to write precise answers to the questions that stand out. Finally, when writing exam answers, take a position and have a theme to the answer that is organized. Try to make your points clear in the first sentence of each paragraph.

If you would like any advice on law school or the legal profession, feel free to contact me. You may also want to review my Blogs on DUI and Criminal Defense periodically to learn what new developments are occurring in criminal law in Massachusetts and throughout the country. If you find this Blog helpful, Like my Page on Facebook and feel free to comment.

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