May 13, 2016

How to Study the Day Before a Law School Final

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Since it's finals season, I thought I'd share what I do during the 24 hours before a final. This is kinda a continuation on my post about studying for finals. In undergrad I'd start studying the day before a final, and pull an all nighter to cram. Something has happened since then (could be maturity, but who knows) and now I start studying before the 12th hour. Part of this is because I'm deathly afraid of how a sleepless night will affect by ability to write non-stop for three hours. Because I don't have to spend time teaching myself the class, I spend about 1/4 of my time reviewing the concepts and the other 3/4 memorizing the rules.

So here's what I do up until my test.

24 hours before a test |

Update: I made a whole post over What I Bring in my Bag to Finals

I'll study for 25 minutes straight, take a 5 minute break, and repeat. I set a timer on my phone and don't allow myself to stop studying until it goes off or make myself end my break once it goes off. After I accomplish a few of my goals, I'll take a longer 30 minute break to just be on my phone and relax. Here's the app I use for this. I don't really have a time schedule because sometimes things take longer than I anticipate, so I just set goals of what I want to get accomplished and work to do that.


I usually like to start off reviewing the material so that I understand exactly what I memorizing. This helps me later on when I memorize my short outlines because that's basically a list of everything I've reviewed.

I'll go through the Quimbee videos and then take the quiz for that video. I'll come back later after studying a bit more and take the final quiz as a way to gauge where I'm at. Eventually I go back through these quizzes and only read their explanations, even if I got the question right, just to really drive into my brain all of these concepts. 

**update** get 10% off your first month of Quimbee with the code BRAZEN now through 9/30/2016 code has expired

For the YouTube videos, I like to watch little reviews just to help me remember how everything is connected. Here's who I've found that I like so far. If you have a favorite YouTube channel for law school, please let me know! I'm always looking for more review material.


This is why everyone's always talking about outlines. They really help. A classmate suggested recording them since it helps by forcing you to explain the class to yourself, and because you can multitask like working out while listening to it. You have to memorize EVERYTHING on your outline because for a test you have to do more than just understand the concepts, you have to define them, give their rules, give their elements, and give their exceptions. 

This is why I work on my short outline. My short [also called skeletal] outline is one page of everything condensed to it's most basic form. I completely memorize this and the second that my test begins, I write it down on the back of my test so that I have a cheat sheet. It really helps to make sure that you don't forget a little detail about a rule and miss out on extra points. Here's what my short outline looked like for my Con test (down from a solid 15 pages that explains everything in more detail)

24 hours before a test |

Old Tests

At my school, the law library website actually has a test bank with professors' old tests and either an answer key or a copy of the best paper from that test. I found out the hard way this year to go over these prior to the day before because once you know what a professor is looking for, it can completely change what you think you need to know and how you study.

Final Thoughts

Although I obviously have written down my finals in my planner, I also add my finals to my calendar on my phone. For my 1:00 final, I'll set it to actually be for 12:40 because I like to get there early to get situated and calm my nerves. For the title of the event, I'll name it the room number that my final is in so that I'm reminded of it when the alarm goes off. Then in the location line, I'll type in the address of my school and choose my alert time to be for when I need to leave. What's great is that your phone will use real time traffic reports to tell you exactly when you need to leave to get there on time. This was especially handy when the city decided that the day of my final was the perfect day to turn a three-lane road into a one-lane so they could create a pedestrian crosswalk. 

Also, check out my Finals Posts Round Up post for more tips to help with your finals!


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