Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Break is NOT a Break

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Whether you get a full week or just a few days, Thanksgiving Break is not a break for law students (or pre-law students who want to have an awesome application).  Instead, this is the best time to get organized for finals.  Here are just a few things you should have on your to-do list before wrestling over the last turkey drumstick.

1.      Complete your outlines.  You’ve been working on your outlines and study materials all semester (hopefully), so now is the time to make sure you have each one finished.  If you have a few classes left, read ahead and outline those assignments – whatever you may get wrong after hearing the lecture, go back and correct during class or right after.  Read through the earlier sections and make sure your outline is correct.
2.      Track down practice questions and prior exams.  If your professor has old exams on file, make sure you have copies.  Try out one of the exams and see how you do.  If you realize you don’t have a grasp on an issue just yet, make sure to stop by your professor’s office as soon as you get back before other students start flooding in with last minute questions.  If your professor does not have exams on file, get your hands on every question you can find on the subject and start quizzing yourself.
3.      Organize your exam schedule.  By now, your school should have posted your exam schedule.  Make sure there aren’t any conflicting exams (if there are, speak to the dean or administrator in charge asap).  Organize your study hours for each exam, and if you have multiple exams in one day, determine how you will split your studying.  If you are working with study groups, organize a schedule with them to maximize time and coverage of the materials.
4.      Tab your books.  If you are allowed to use your book for the exam, have your tabs completed by the end of the break.  This task may take a lot of time.  Try not to over-tab your book.  If you over-tab everything, then it’s equal to tabbing nothing at all (same with highlighting).  Tab areas that you struggle with or you notice you have to look up often when studying.  The goal is to have most of your material memorized as you would with any other class.  You’ll save time tabbing and you’ll save tons of time during the exam if you aren’t spending it looking up everything.
5.      Purchase your exam materials.  If you have to take the exam on the computer, make sure you purchase and download the software in advance to make sure you don’t have any complications.  If you need blue books, highlighters, No. 2 pencils or your professor wants only purple ink, make sure you have all of your materials in advance and organized.
6.      Recharge.  Once you have these major areas complete (and anything else you might need completed), you can finally grant yourself a break.  You will need the time to recharge, get some extra sleep, have family members tell you how brilliant you are and what a great lawyer you will be to build back the confidence that the Socratic Method has completely destroyed, eat great food and, if you haven’t already, possibly get your flu shot so you can avoid getting really sick during finals when lack of sleep and increased stress will affect your immune system.  Give yourself a chance to recharge so you can be your best when exams begin.

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