Succeed in Law School

Many students are not aware that Law School exam success requires distinct study skills.

Traditional study techniques are not effective for acing Law School exams. Studying that emphasizes summarizing, highlighting, rereading, and cramming yields poor results. On the other hand, practice testing and studying over longer periods of time generates much better results. Read this article from BigThink to see what we mean.

Most law students have a strong work ethic and great enthusiasm. Fewer students know how to translate that into smart essay exam performance. Thinking and writing like a lawyer requires more than just basic writing skills and the ability to memorize large volumes of information. That approach might have worked well up to this point. But Law School essay exams are different and, unfortunately, students get little training once classes begin.

Law School exam performance is judged based on how well a student identifies and analyzes legal issues. That skill does not magically spring just from knowing rules of law, case names, policies, and trends. The Socratic method is a useful tool to promote critical thinking about the law, but it falls far short in helping students learn, organize and use massive amounts of information to resolve legal issues under the pressure of difficult exam conditions.

The most effective (and efficient) path to exam success is developing the ability to use legal knowledge well without being distracted by time constraints, mental exhaustion, and anxiety. Smart exam prep is a two-fold process:  (1) learn the law, and (2) practice applying the law. Most students a capable of learning the law on their own - though many do so too late in the semester for sufficient practice testing. And most students that do begin practice testing early lack any strategic approach for producing the type of answers professors expect.     

Be ready no later than the middle of the semester to begin practice testing. Of course, that means students must teach themselves much of what they are responsible for on exams. That can be done with the help of hornbooks and commercial outlines. Lectures and casebook assignments will reinforce, clarify, and expand upon what students already taught themselves. Only then can practice testing begin. 

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” - Albert Einstein.

What are your exam prep habits? Have you made an informed decision about whether those habits are best suited for Law School exams? And, do you have a strategy for writing essay answers in the form and style expected by professors? If you are not satisfied with past law school performance, what will you do differently this semester?

Lawrite doesn't teach students substantive law. But we do teach them a formula-based strategy to spot and analyze legal issues in the manner professors expect. If that's not already a sharp tool in your chest of skills, then contact us to learn more.