Five “be at your best” exam tips


GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

Not that you need a reminder, but finals are right around the corner. It is a stressful time for all law students, especially us 1Ls because even if we had midterms, we don’t truly know what it feels like to take a 3+ hour exam final. I am especially nervous about one class because we did not have a midterm. Even with that whirling around in my head, I have to remind myself there are things within my control (besides studying) to make sure that I am in the best shape possible for all of my finals and this starts with self-care. Here are 5 tips I’m following to make this possible.

1) Feed your Brain!

Did you know the dark chocolate and blueberries help your working and cognitive memory? There is a lot of research out there about how healthy eating can improve your testing ability. It is easy with our schedules to forget to eat, or just grab pizza at lunch from a meeting. I am the worst at this, however, I am taking steps to make sure that I have simple meals prepared for the next few weeks. I also brought a bunch of brain-friendly snacks and put them in my locker. Figure out a way to make healthy snacking easy. It will help improve your stress levels and prevent hangry outbursts.

2) Be Mindful!

You may remember in my very first blog I recommended downloading and using an app called Meditation Studio to help manage stress through mindfulness. Even short mindfulness exercises, have been proven through studies to increase your alertness during a test, and improve working memory. This study found those that used mindfulness training during their GRE prep had a 16% increase in their scores. I don’t know about you, but if it lowers stress, and can improve my issue spotting abilities, I am all in!

3) Do something you love!

Maybe it’s hitting the gym, going for a bike ride, or baking. Whatever it is, work it into your schedule. It is easy to lose track of our hobbies and the things we love as we keep up with our reading, work on our outlines and take practice exams. However, take time out of your day to unwind in your favorite way. Not only will you feel better, but taking time away from studying can actually help you retain more of the information.

4) Get those Zzzzzzzs.

Repeat after me sleep is good for you. We all know this, and if you’re like me you are going to bed later and later as I try to get everything done. Research shows that we need good sleep to feed our high-level, innovative thinking and problem-solving abilities. Go to bed!

5) Phone a Friend

Hopefully, you’ve been as fortunate as I have been and have made fantastic friends at school, but they don’t know you as well as your friends before law school. Phoning one of those friends will allow you to escape school, and they likely will be able to give you some perspective and remind you why you started this journey in the first place.

I hope you find these tips helpful and I’d love to hear more suggestions! Feel free to tweet me @The1LLife

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