The most astounding part of law school is that time seems to move so quickly and before you know it, the semester is over. Here are some tips for maintaining sanity while finals attempt to consume you.
Hey, you! Yes, I see you. Get off Facebook! I think we are all guilty of using the interwebz as a medium for procrastinating our work, but it is good to know when enough is enough. Yes, I know, this is often easier said than done. However, if you really want to finish writing that seminar paper before it’s due, maybe you should exit out of that Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr/Pinterest/ICanHasCheeseburger/BuzzFeed window. If you find that you are unable to focus at home, find a place that you can focus. Although some think the library is a little dreary, there are other places to study. I am a huge advocate for the Wise Library downtown. Although you have to pay for parking, parking is free after 8:30pm in the Mountainlair parking garage. I think sometimes a study spot next to one of the windows can be nice; or, for a quieter environment, check out one of the reading rooms toward the back of the Wise library. There is a coffee shop on the Fourth level of the Wise library, and will be open 24 hours a day beginning on December 8th. Also, after the end of the business day at the law school, many of the classrooms are vacated and can become a more aesthetically pleasing study environment than the law school library.
Set Attainable Goals
At some point, you just have to concede that it is probably not going to be a realistic goal to re-read your entire textbook. That is why we are assigned readings through the entire four months. It is important to look at the time frame you have left to study and set attainable goals. So, no, while you probably can’t re-read your entire textbook, I’m willing to bet that you can at least finish all of the sample problems in your Examples and Explanations Supplement. Set a timeline and some practical goals and then stick to them. Lastly, there are a lot of supplemental materials available on WestLaw to take advantage of, and the library generally has all the supplemental resource you may need as well. But if you’re the type of person that likes to have your own copy of a supplement, there are often discount available for supplements so be on the lookout for those!p.
Talk to Your Professors Before the Exam
If you have any lingering questions, I would suggest that you get with your professor as soon as possible.
Get Enough Sleep Before an Exam
Although pulling the occasional all-nighter can be helpful, this is generally not a good strategy the night before an exam. If you feel the desire to have an all-night, “binging” session, I would suggest doing so at least a few days before your exam so you can get back to a normal sleep schedule. If it is the night before your exam, don’t stay up and fret. Instead, have a nice meal and then lay down and watch one of your favorite tv shows or movies before bed. Get up with enough time to have something to eat before your exam to give your brain some energy through one of those lengthy, hours-long in-class exams. Also, if you have any preference on where you want to sit in the classroom before an exam, it is a good idea to give yourself enough time to leave the house to get the seat you want.
Test your Electronics Early
The last thing anyone wants to deal with is a computer problem during an exam. Sometimes ExamSoft can be finicky, so make sure you retrieve your exam number and test out the software before you plan to use it. I would also recommend making sure that your laptop is in proper working order before heading into an exam. I have had a few technical difficulties this year with my laptop, and trust me, that is a nightmare I do not want to relive again, especially during an exam. I think it can be calming to head into an exam early enough to ensure that you have SoftTest up and running with plenty of time. Plus, you will be able to ask Keith Walton for help if you are experiencing exam problems before the exam begins, provided that you get there with enough time. Finally, I would suggest testing ExamSoft one last time the morning before you take your exam.
Remember to Save Some Personal Time
While it would be so nice if we could all just turn into robotic machines that churn out law without satisfying our emotional needs, this is not what it means to be a human. Although I don’t think it would be wise to waste days of your time craning over a textbook, it is a good idea to take an appropriate amount of breaks to give your mind a rest. During hour-long study sessions, take a break to eat something you like and a fifteen minute coffee break. If you’ve been working for what feels like days on end, your brain probably needs a rest. It is a waste of your time and energy to push yourself beyond your breaking point. After studying all day, finish your night with an episode of your favorite tv show or spend a half hour catching up with a friend.
Hang in there! It will all be over soon!