In just a few short weeks I will be facing off with the dreaded final exams, the last barricade that blocks my path out of 1L-hood. Two of my classes (Contracts and Civil Procedure) are year-long, and this last test counts 75% of the final grade. The other two (Criminal Law and Environmental Law) are semester-long and these final exams will determine my grade for the class. The pressure is high, but having survived this ordeal once already I am slightly more confident than I was last fall. I know what I’m getting into and I won’t flounder like a new fighter who gets dazzled by the lights and crowd. No, I know what’s coming this time and I won’t have to eat a few (pedagogical) punches until I settle down and hit my stride.
That’s the theory anyway. I feel like I’m doing a better job of preparation this time around as far as synthesizing everything I’ve been half-paying attention in class for the year into what I need for the exam. You see, I have resolved not to mess around this time. This time will be different.
A big part of law school exams is what they call “issue spotting” or recognizing the parts of the question that correspond to aspects of the law that the professor has covered in class. I will spot issues like they have never spotted before. I will spot issues like the fat kid at your 6th birthday party spotted the Reese’s Pieces that spewed forth from the pinata: all of them. I plan to spot issues that the professor didn’t even know about when they wrote the exam.
Good law school exam advice tells you that once you have spotted the issues, you are to argue both sides of every issue. Well, I aim to take that one step further. I will not only argue both sides of every issue, but I will argue both sides of both sides of every issue (that’s FOUR sides total!). Surely that will earn me exponentially more credit than those other chumps who stick to the conventional method.
I can hear the naysayers out there saying “Nay! Not only does that not make any sense, but it will eat up all your time and you’ll won’t be able to make the big arguments about the important issues.” Well I find their lack of faith disturbing. That might be true ordinarily, but I have been working to master my time management skills to the point where I can calculate the amount of time it takes me to write a hyperbolic blog post where I make a bunch of ridiculous claims about my exam preparedness out to the millisecond (or possibly deci-second, metric confuses me): 22 minutes, 43 seconds, 1.7 next-lowest measurement. Developing this ability wasn’t easy, but I am confident it will turn out to be a better use of my time than things like studying and outlining.