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The Law School Bottom Line: Exams are all that Matter

Pay attention. Nothing matters for your law school grade in any class except one thing: how well you answer the exam question. How you perform in a discrete period of time and space called “the final exam.” It is such an obvious point almost everyone misses it: the exam is the whole thing. And for One Ls, this is critically important focal point, because typically all your grades for first year–except for your legal research and writing class– come from one set of exams at the end of the year. Nothing else matters.

There are 16 weeks in the semester before exams? I know, I know.  Trouble is, most of what you are doing during that 16 weeks won’t matter at exam time. In fact, about 90% of the time One Ls typically spend during a semester impacts nothing. 10%, maybe, shows up in the grade. Why? Because the only time that matters for your grades in any semester is that three or four hour period and the ink you manage to get down on the page before you turn it in on the day of the exam. I repeat: the four hour block at the end of the semester is the only thing that matters for any class you take.

You may know about the singular importance of exams, conceptually. But most One Ls don’t live like they understand this. You can faithfully brief every case every day and never miss a day in your outlining.  You can hunt down all those obscure references the professor throws out in class and read them twice. Knock yourself out. You can be Alan Dershowitz and Johnny Cochran all wrapped in one.

Game day comes? You blow the whole exam because you didn’t read one sentence of the fact pattern. The clock starts and you get confused at the wrong moment in an exam and panic. Or—and this happened to me once—your handwriting is so bad after an hour goes by that the professor has no idea that you are writing the best exam in the class.

Repeat after me: exams are all that matter. Exams are all that matter. Exams are all that matter.

One Comment

  1. Joseph
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Thank u..I would need more of this advice on how to tackle law exams..

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