Midterms can seem a bit daunting. But, they really aren’t the end of the world as we know it (as the classic R.E.M. song would have it). There’s a lot to be learned from the experience, and you may come away feeling better prepared for finals. In other words, you may feel fine.
Even if you don’t have the pleasure of law school midterms, you can implement some of the following tips in your study strategy now for future final exam preparation.
Outline as you go AND review it often
Ideally, you start outlining early, and outline after you finish a major block of a specific topic for each class. The process of making an outline helps build subject matter retention, while reviewing it reinforces learning. Just remember to update, revise and review your outlines frequently. If you find gaps as you prepare your outlines for midterms, the 1L outlines from BARBRI 1L Mastery can be a lifesaver.
Practice with your exam software
During a closed universe exam is not the time to discover a discrepancy with the preferences you set on your computer as you did your exam prep. Consider the screen scale you use on your computer or laptop as you practice with the exam software (a 150% scaled setting may be optimal). Through trial and error, you’ll find what works best for viewing and typing so there are no surprises on exam day.
Join group study sessions
When it comes to group study sessions, most people either love them or hate them. Or, they may join in based on the topic being addressed. If you feel as though you have a good grasp of the subject, you may be able to contribute a unique perspective and added knowledge to a group study session. If, on the other hand, you are struggling with the topic, you may find it best to work toward understanding on your own terms. Here, like anything else, you want to figure out what works for you and stick with it.
Attend review sessions
Many professors offer review sessions before major exams. Although they may not be widely attended, these review sessions can be some of the best opportunities to get an overview before test day. Additionally, these sessions are particularly helpful if you come with questions.
Even listening in on a review session can be productive. Answers to other students’ questions may serve to reinforce your understanding of certain topics.
Keep your perspective and make adjustments as needed
For many students, the midterm is the first time seeing an exam question written by their professor and is perhaps the first time taking a full timed exam. While midterms are graded, they are not a big part of your final grade specifically for this reason. Professors design midterms so you can learn from the experience and apply that knowledge to what is most important, final exams. At the end of the day, law school midterms are a way to help you prepare for your finals.
After your first midterm, you may feel the need to make some adjustments to your study approach for subsequent midterms. That’s okay. Change the order in which you address questions, modify how you use your outlines or tweak your attack outline. These small adjustments can make a world of difference and give you more confidence going into other midterms. The sound study habits and skills you develop now will be applicable when it comes time for your final exams.