The first time I found out that I had a take home exam, I breathed a sigh of relief. I figured, how hard could it be, it’s just like a glorified essay. How naïve I was. Many consider a take home exam to be easier than a sit down exam, but in reality take home exams are very much underestimated.
What they don’t tell you is that sure, it will be like a mixture of an essay and problem solving question, but it will be epically longer and expected to be more detailed. So how do you handle take home exams?
We all know that our plans don’t always go, well, to plan… But c’est la vie, right? With a myriad of ailments and other vicissitudes, our law school journeys sometimes resemble a soap opera, and in true soap opera style, reruns are inevitable for some.
Finding the perfect study spot is never easy. Do you go to the library where you’ll have access to all the textbooks you could ever need? Or the café where someone will bring you drinks and snacks when your focus begins to fade? Or should you save yourself the train/bus fare and hit the books at home?
Life as an on-campus student can give rise to monstrosities such as being awake before midday and more importantly, attending lectures packed full of substantive information and multiple yawns. The age-old debate in law school seems to be whether attending lectures in person trumps the practice of being pant-less at home while listening to lecture podcasts online. Sure, the irresistible notion of studying sans pants has a hefty gravitational pull, but that dreaded journey to campus shouldn’t be discounted entirely; your individual learning style will help to determine whether podcasts or in-person classes are your best bet for learning lecture content.
While law students who attend night classes may be jealous of those who have the luxury of going to classes during the day and are able to go home, watch TV and get to bed at a reasonable hour, night time classes have their benefits too. I know my concentration levels are at their peak from about 4-9 pm, so I love evening lectures.
But studying and working full time means it’s not always easy to stay focused in night classes. Here are some of the strategies I’ve used to stay attentive and get the most out of attending law school at night…
We all know that cramming isn't the most effective way of studying. The stress leading up to exams impacts how you store and recall information, meaning that you may remember words and phrases, but probably haven't forged the connections between different pieces of information and how they tie in together.
To give yourself the best chance of remembering details of cases in the exam, start now, before you're stressed and while you have time to form the requisite pathways in your brain.
This is a technique I learnt from a friend, which can be used to improve memory and retention when studying. This approach works best as a prompt for memory as you progress through the semester and means that (hopefully) by exam time you have saved most of the information you need in your long term memory and just need to recall and apply it.