Law students are equally, if not more, subject to stress during finals as undergrads and need to remember strategies to help relax and succeed on exams. In addition to taking time to eat a good meal, include protein as a reliable source of fuel during the test and avoid excessive carbohydrates and caffeine which may give a short burst of energy that may drop off in the form a sudden crash. Other useful test day preparations include:
- If the exam is early, set the alarm enough in advance to take a quick shower, clean up and arrive with time to spare before the start of the exam. Lateness causes stress so allow for traffic and other factors that could effect your arrival time.
- Be sure to bring what you need to the exam room including writing utensils and a bottle of water.
- Instead of last minute cramming, calmly read over the material you have already studied to keep it fresh in your mind.
- If time permits, try to get in a quick exercise session, like a brisk walk, to help clear your mind and keep you alert.
- Before coming to the exam, spend about five minutes stretching those parts of your body that feel tense. During the exam, take quick breaks to stretch your arms, legs and hands.
- Before the exam begins, take deep steady breaths especially when anxiety sets in as deep breathing calms the body and the mind.
- Be sure to use the rest room before the exam begins.
- If the exam tests you on something that you do not know fully, do not berate yourself. Do the best you can and move on. Mental lectures do no good while taking exams.
- Avoid comparisons to how other students are doing. How quickly other students finish their exams is not your concern. Concentrate on your own exam taking and do not worry about anyone else.
- Serious test anxiety is best discussed with an academic counselor who may have additional tips to relieve anxiety. They may also be able to offer students with serious anxiety extra time to take the exam or a different test environment in which to take it.
The BLS Library has several items related to taking law school examinations including Law School Success in a Nutshell: A Guide to Studying Law and Taking Law School Exams by Ann M. Burkhart and Robert A. Stein (Call #KF283 .B87 2008) which is on reserve at the circulation desk.
In the Main Collection, one recent item worth reviewing is Acing Your First Year of Law School: The Ten Steps To Success You Won't Learn in Class by Shana Connell Noyes & Henry S. Noyes (Call #KF283 .N69 2008).
There is another item in the Main Collection, Law School Exams: Preparing and Writing to Win by Charles R. Calleros (Call #KF283 .C35 2007).
Best wishes for a successful exam period.