Finals schedule

Planning during finals is critical to getting good grades and being prepared for your finals. Now, I’m crazy and have to have things planned out in detail. A lot of students I know don’t plan out the studying specifically but instead say “ok I have X exam in 2 days. I’ll study for X exam for the next 2 days.” It’s a perfectly fine method to studying and I know a lot of students who are successful using that method. I am not one of those students.

My finals planning starts the week before finals. I create a study plan that breaks down my time into studying, relaxing, taking care of life, etc. and it’s fairly concrete. I have lots of different calendars that I use to keep my life organized and they all overlap on my google calendar. My productivity (light blue) calendar is key to planning each week, but especially during finals. I also have my non-negotiables (red), workouts (yellow), and random other things in various colors.

Finals schedule

My calendar has a lot of red and light blue for this week. In my productivity calendar, I make sure to block out at least 2 hours for studying. For me, anything less than 2 hours isn’t enough time for me to get settled, start studying, and actually understand the material. I try to set 3 hour blocks when I can but I need my breaks, too.

I’m terrible with studying at home. I have Patrick, the dogs, Netflix…the distractions are endless. While I will study at home for a good chunk of finals, I’ll eventually run into things that need my full, undivided attention. During finals week, I make sure to schedule in plenty of time to study at school or at a local Starbucks. Luckily, I live far enough off campus they aren’t overrun by college students. It’s a nice change of venue (haha, legal jokes) too so it makes it easier to focus.

This week, I work twice and have three exams: Adoption, Immigration, and Admin law. I know going into the week that my Adoption and Admin exams are closed book and my Immigration exam is open everything, except the internet. I also have a paper due next Monday. With that information, I can start planning what I’m going to study in a general sense. Obviously, I want to study Adoption first and make sure I have a firm grasp on that subject before I move on. With Immigration, I know I need to take an hour and print everything we’ve gone over and compile my notes. For Admin, I need to focus on running through practice problems and creating an outline I can use for those practice problems. My Crim Pro paper on Monday is a 15 page maximum, so it should take me roughly 6 hours with research and writing.

With all that knowledge, I can plan out exactly what I should study when. I never plan what I study in certain blocks but I do plan overall how long I think studying will be for each class. I’m estimating 4 hours for Adoption, 3 for Immigration, and 7-8 for Admin law. Having estimations in mind help me figure out how many breaks I can take and how late I have to study each night. Now, it’s a matter of putting all this into action and studying for my finals!

Hypos

Hypos are some of the worst, most helpful things in law school. Essentially, all your exams are just long intricate hypos so learning how to answer them works perfectly. I’m always really bad at remembering certain things and how they apply. In an attempt to learn torts, I figured out an awesome system for remembering different torts. Here are two of my favorite torts hypos.

1. Mike was angry at Cecelia for cheating on him with Sully. One day, Mike saw Cecelia walking down the street and decided to get revenge. He walked up to Cecelia and smacked her. Did Mike commit battery on Cecelia.

2. Prince Charming wanted Cinderella to marry him. He brought her home to meet the King and Queen and Cinderella did not like them. She told Prince Charming she was leaving. The moat alligator was in defense mode and Cinderella was stuck at the castle for the night. She fell asleep and Prince Charming locked her in the room so she couldn’t leave. Prince Charming realized he would rather marry Drisella and unlocked the door before Cinderella woke up. Did Prince Charming falsely imprison Cinderella?

Hypos using fun characters make it easier to remember. If it was A was angry at B, it wouldn’t be nearly as memorable. It may be a trick that only works for me but you never know.

R & R

This weekend I took a much needed R & R weekend. I have literally hung out at my apartment all weekend and done whatever I felt like doing. It’s been glorious. So far, I feel like law school is pretty standard, as far as law school can be expected to be. I love property, hate torts, and don’t understand contracts (to be fair, we’ve had two classes so far). I’m starting to get a handle on the reading load and what it takes to actually study material and fill in the gaps that are left after class is over. So much is starting this week though and I’m a little nervous. The first draft of our first writing assignment is due, my very first midterm is Friday, I’m going to an “extracurricular” call-out meeting (is it still called extracurricular?), and I decided this week would be great to do a three day raw food diet. We’ll see how that last one goes… Overall, I absolutely love law school. It’s a challenge but I need a challenge. I still talk to my mom every day and have every day since I left home a few years ago. We’re close and she’s like one of my best friends, don’t judge. Anyway, she seems to think it’s hilarious that I’m doing homework and studying all the time since I don’t think I’ve studied in a long time. I love that law school is all new material, a new language, new concepts that keep me interested and motivated to figure things out.