Preparing for Law School Exams
This week’s podcast discusses preparing for law school exams. We’ll hear from experts Mark Spottswood, Assistant Professor at Florida State University College of Law; Edward Imwinkelried, Professor at UC Davis College of Law; and Jessica Simon, Senior Lecturer, Associate Director of the Legal Writing Program, and Director of Academic Support at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Mark Spottswood explains how it is very common for law school grades to be determined by one single test. Because grades may ride on a single performance, says Spottswood, students should take their time preparing for exam. Professor Spottswood finishes his comments by stating that the old adage of “practice makes perfect” definitely applies to law school courses, and that students shouldn’t just study the information but do their best to recall it and apply it.
Our second guest, Edward Imwinkelried, explains that he strives gives his students all the information they need for him to be a “transparent” professor—offering old exams and study guides so students know what to expect when they will be tested. Imwinkelried continues his comments by suggesting that students should strive to see the “big picture” in their classes, and take practice tests so that they are prepared when taking the real thing. Professor Imwinkelried finishes his comments by recommending that students do an exam “dry run” before the actual test, utilizing their outline as their take prior year’s exams; in this way, they will be able to tell if their information is efficacious.
Our final guest, Jessica Simon, agrees with our first two guests and reiterates that most of the law school grades are made up of one exam, and also notes that law school is very different from a student’s undergraduate experience. She goes on to explain that law school exams don’t always test what you know; rather, they seek to find out how students apply what they’ve learned in the course to a practical situation. In closing, Simon recommends that students start their studying timeline at the beginning of the semester and begin outlining in the middle of the semester. She also advises students to pace themselves and make sure they take the time to prepare thoroughly.
Mark Spottswood – Professor at Florida State University College of Law
Edward Imwinkelried – Professor at UC Davis College of Law
Jessica Simon – Senior Lecturer, Associate Director of the Legal Writing Program, and Director of Academic Support at the University of Pennsylvania Law School