Exams and Winter Break

Hopes to make a difference in her community and be an advocate for those in need

For the most part, I like law school. I have made great friends. I learn so much, and I get to represent actual clients in my clinic and get a head start on my career. However, there is one part that I hate. Exams. I have never been a good test taker. Exams are such a big part of law school, so I had to learn how to deal with them. Now that I’m one and a half years into law school, I can confidentially say I’ve learned how to deal with exam season. It took a lot for me to get to where I could deal with my test anxiety, but there are three main things I’ve done that help me.


First, I start early. I start outlining early and start doing practice questions early. By doing this, I avoid the stress of cramming and can ask my professor questions about the material well before the exam. Next, I study in a way that works for me. I am a firm believer in that there is no “right” way to do law school. All of us are different, so our studying should be different as well. For example, while some students do a traditional outline for their classes, I make flow charts. This helps me visualize the concepts we learn and how they all interact and affect one another. Lastly, I remind myself that my grades don’t define me. Like most law students, I used to obsess over my grades in undergrad, and I would get upset if I didn’t get an A. In law school, the curve makes it impossible for all of us to get an A, and so much of my grade is out of my control. The only thing I can do on an exam is my best, so while I put 110% into my studying and exam prep, I remind myself that the letter grade does not define me and not getting an A in every class does not mean I will not be a good lawyer.


I also think what I do after exam season helps me not be stressed about my grades. Most importantly, I never talk about the exam material with classmates after the exam. Once I’ve hit submit, I forget about the exam and move on. I also spend Winter break with my family in Texas every year. When I’m there, I’m focused on spending time with them, making memories, and enjoying my time at home, so I don’t think about how I may have done on the exam. This year, I helped plan my cousins bridal shower, and that helped me take my mind off law school.


Overall, I keep exam season in my mind during exam season only. Once I’ve his submit on an exam, I can’t go back, so there’s no reason to think about it anymore. This has helped immensely in lowering my stress surrounding law school, and my mental health is better as a result.