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How-to Ace Law School Midterms

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While they can feel stressful, midterms should be viewed as a measuring stick for where you are in your understanding of legal analysis, and where you need to be by the final exam. For many schools, midterms are a small part of your overall grade, so they can be a great way to test your preparation methods and study habits early in the semester.

What can you do now to better position yourself to succeed?

Here is some friendly advice on how to ace your law school midterms:

  1. Have a game plan and stick to it.
    Set up a day-by-day schedule for studying for each class starting from now through to midterms. Allot more study time for your more challenging courses.
    Tip: Struggling with Civil Procedure? Get help with PracticePerfect for Civil Procedure, an engaging interactive study aid that explains commonly encountered legal doctrines through easy-to-understand animate videos, illustrative examples and numerous practice questions. Click here to watch a short video and check it out.)
    Budget this time around the hours you will need for class and to keep up with the assigned reading, because you will be tested on everything, including the most recent material covered.
  2. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
    Review your syllabus, class notes, and highlighted sections of your casebook to create a “hit list” of topics for study. Pay particular attention to any material or key points your professor repeatedly covered in class, as this is likely to be on the test. Flag the material that you find most difficult so you can focus on learning what you need to know. After all, you don’t want to waste precious study time reviewing content you’ve already mastered.
  3. Find out about the test format.
    What will it be: multiple-choice, short-answer, essay, or a combination of question formats? Practice answering the type of questions you’ll be asked for greater efficiency when studying. For example, if your midterm will feature a multiple-choice format, consider prepping with the popular Glannon Guides series. Glannon Guides offer multiple-choice questions and analysis of both correct and incorrect answers so you can identify the important elements within the questions and learn to answer them correctly.
  4. Team up with a great study partner.
    Chances are your classmates are using study guides to prepare and you should, too. In addition to Glannon Guides, the Emanuel series of study guides is among the most trusted when it comes to law school prep. The Emanuel CrunchTime series helps you review material through flow charts and capsule summaries, plus it provides short-answer, multiple-choice and essay Q&As so you can test your knowledge. Also popular is the Emanuel Law in a Flash series. Great for studying on-the-go, this comprehensive flashcard set is coded by topic and poses a hypothetical question on one side of the card, with the answer provided on the other. Students can review the whole deck, break out specific topics to focus on, or do last minute brush up on black letter law by studying the cards designated for quick review.
  5. Go digital for an interactive experience.
    Glannon Guides (along with other popular study aids like Emanuel Law Outlines and Examples & Explanations) are now available in a digital-only format that delivers instant help to your CasebookConnect.com bookshelf. Each Connected Study Aid includes an online e-book with search, highlighting, and notetaking capabilities; access to an interactive Study Center filled with practice questions, and an Outline Tool that compiles notes and highlights for a quick start to a course outline. Love using flashcards for quick review? Law in a Flash powered by SpacedRepetition, an award-winning educational platform, transforms trusted content into digital flashcards powered by an algorithm that can help you remember up to 92% of what you’ve learned.
  6. Don't forget to give your brain a break.
    Research shows that your brain assimilates information better under certain conditions, so put science to work for you. Chunk your study sessions into 45-60 minute segments and give yourself at least a 15-minute break before cracking the books again. Forget the all-nighters, too, which are linked to impaired cognitive function the next day. Instead, plan to get a good night's sleep while your subconscious does its job of storing information so you can retrieve it when needed (like during your midterm).
  7. Curb your Internet enthusiasm.
    Surfing the web, keeping up with social media and checking on emails can be distracting. To avoid wasting time, confine these activities to your scheduled breaks. If willpower is not enough and you find you need some additional help, consider one of the many apps available to block your access for a pre-set amount of time like Self Control or Freedom.

Good Luck Bonus: Tips for Taking Exams Remotely

Understand exam protocol. Read each professor’s instructions for their exam, which will cover how much time you will be allowed, whether or not outlines will be permitted, and how to save and submit your responses.

Create a testing oasis. Secure a space where you will be free from interruptions for the duration of each exam. Make sure your remote testing location has a reliable internet connection, adequate work area, comfortable seating, and good lighting.

Stock up on the essentials. If allowed, gather up your class materials in advance so you’ll be ready. Have a supply of snacks and beverages on hand to stay fueled. Consider investing in a pair of ear plugs as an insurance policy to protect you from unanticipated background noise.

Resist the temptation to bend the rules. Ethics matter. Adhere to time limits and instructions regarding the usage of materials you may refer to.

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