Law School

Final Freakouts: Handling Mishaps during Law School Finals

If you’re in the midst of studying for finals, you’re likely stressed (ha!) so I don’t want to add more to your plate, but I want to give a one small warning about finals.  Not the study time leading up to the actual exam, but the day of and the (minimal) possibility of an emergency during the exam. An emergency meaning you have a mini-freakout because something goes awry.

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What would you do if your software exam crashes and you suddenly can’t type your exam? What if the person next to you has a cold that means they’re constantly making distracting noises?  It may seem like overkill, but there is a story in every section about an emergency that arose during the final exam. Let me give you an example–when I was taking the MPRE, I was forced to sit next to someone who highlighted EVERY.SINGLE.WORD in the hypo. Dry felt on paper sounds horrible. Even moreso when you need to concentrate.  Guess who had to retake the MPRE because my score wasn’t high enough the first time?  Maybe I wouldn’t have passed either way, but I still remember that GD highlighter so I’ll argue that it did have something to do with my performance.

Now, MPRE is important, but small potatoes compared to final exams. Little things like Mr. Highligher, or worse–a system crash can impact your work.Here are some easy things I recommend you do/have to prepare yourself for your exams that will help avoid any terrible mishaps during your test:

One. Prepare your materials. Bring everything you need and then some–you may not eat breakfast, but being able to eat a snack right when you need it can make a big difference. Bring snacks, water, ear buds, your charger, and pens. Bring more than one pen, even if you’re typing your exam because it never fails that someone’s software won’t work and you’ll have to write your exam.

Two. Prepare your mind.  Easier said than done, but sometimes hypos are so outright weird or have triggering information that they derail your thinking process.  Two examples–1. I had a prof that needed an organ transplant (something she was very open about) and one of her hypos was whether or not we should be able to sell/buy organs from people. It was weird and kind of took you out of your zone because you were like, “oh yah you want to buy organs.” 2) Another student ran out of the room in tears because a hypo dealt with a mother who died suddenly, in way that was very similar to how this student’s mother had passed. You think this things can’t happen but they do because all sense are heightened during finals. If you read something that seems weird, personal, or triggering, take a deep breath, but move past it to get to the root of the question so you can write a concise and correct answer.

The best way to do that is to prepare by 1) doing practice essay exams so you’re used to the format and 2) getting plenty of sleep/healthy food so that you’re not jacked up on caffeine and can react somewhat normally.

Like I mentioned, this isn’t to add more stress to anyone’s plate. It’s likely your exams will be eventless and pretty standard. But, I also know little things can happen that can snowball into bigger issues. Be prepared, have a plan B, and you’ll be able to overcome any hiccup!

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