Maintaining Your Sanity During Law School Exams

Published: Apr 15, 2014

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As we meet mid-April, law students either find themselves in exam week lockdown or feverishly outlining while pretending to do their reading for their last few classes before exam week and solitary confinement officially begin. In my experience, there were three types of law students: (1) Over-prepared; (2) Do not GAF and (3) Just need one more day to study. No matter where you fall, below find my tips for avoiding a breakdown and feeling relatively like a normal human being during your exam weeks.    

Hygiene: I am listing this first because, for some reason, this seems to be the first thing law students just let slide when studying for exams. You have 15 minutes to take a shower, and if you don’t (which you do), at least brush your teeth. Also, would it kill you to put on a pair of jeans instead of sweatpants. I haven’t officially timed it, but I am pretty sure pulling up your jeggings and pulling up your sweats takes the same amount of time. I found that when I was at least semi-put together (I’m not asking you to wear makeup or put on Axe or anything), I was more motivated to study than to take a nap. Those sweatpants from high school are just too easy to fall asleep in.

Eat your feelings: Now this is the portion of the blog where you may think I am going to tell you to eat nuts and fresh fruit and drink green tea, well I'm not. While you should definitely try to maintain a healthy diet and eat energy boosting foods, sometimes those greasy cheese fries really will make you feel better. The momentary satisfaction of eating an entire Digiorno pizza may be just what you need to keep studying for the rest of the night. If you need to indulge, just do it.   

Now that you've eaten your feelings, run from them: I may have been eating garbage during exam time, but my cardiovascular system was in the best shape of the entire semester. Going for a run, walking to the far Starbucks or just taking a lap around the school can calm you down and give you a little energy or mood boost. I always found that running helped me to work through some of those thorny legal issues and let all that information settle in. Who knows, if you run far enough maybe you’ll finally understand Erie.

Cut your losses: We all have the best intention to start outlining during the semester, but let’s get serious, that doesn’t always happen. If it’s only a few days before the final and you still don’t have an outline, the hours required to put one together may not be the best use of your time.  Try to get an outline from your friend who took the same class last semester and suck up the $45 and buy a supplement at the bookstore. In my experience, reading an outline and doing as many practice problems as mentally possible was the best way to learn the material when I couldn’t actually make the outline myself. Often, professors will use fact patterns similar to those in supplements on the exam.  The really lazy ones don’t even change the names.

Catch those Zzzzs: It’s hard to study for 12 hours when you only got 4 hours of sleep. Memorizing the FRE for your closed-book evidence exam isn’t going to happen if you’re too tired.

Good luck everyone! Share your tips in the comments!  


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