If you haven't noticed, I've been pretty absent these last few weeks and that's because the last few weeks of April and the first few weeks of May are FINALS season in law school. My last day of class was about a week and a half ago, and now I'm in the middle of finals. I actually have a final this afternoon, but I needed to take a study break and decided to write a quick blog post. So buckle up and enjoy, because this might be a mess because of finals-induced stress.
I decided to write about a finals study schedule, because the first time you study for law school finals can be a pretty daunting task. The questions will start flowing in your mind. How do I study? When do I study? How much time should I spend on each class? When should I finish my outlines? Etc. Everyone studies differently, so I cannot answer all of these questions for everyone. I'm a person who thrives on structure, so in order to keep myself organized, motivated, and on-track, I make a study schedule that I follow during finals.
My school gives us a week off before finals to study, then we have two weeks of the actual finals period. The way they structure 1L finals is basically twice a week, one on Monday and one on Thursday each week. Some professors have optional review sessions or office hours, and then the rest of the time is a study free-for-all. As you can see, there is very little structured time, so I decided to build in a little bit of structure, and plan what I was going to study each and every day. Then, I put all of this into a calendar, which I printed and laminated and have hanging above my desk. Is this a little bit crazy? Maybe. But if it helps me stay organized, I'm not complaining.
On this calendar, I include pretty much everything, from what I'm studying each day, to my therapy appointments, to when I'm going to be moving for the summer. But the most important thing that I schedule in is a couple of "Break" days, where I don't study at all. On those days, I typically clean, relax, pack, or whatever - but I don't let myself study. It helps give my brain a break. Sometimtes stepping away for a day helps me retain information more, so I make sure that I have at least one full break day a week. And on days where I have a final, I don't study at all - I do nothing but the final, and take a break before and after.
On my study days, I try to study for two classes each day. This helps makes the material less boring, and helps me stay focused. I usually focus on the upcoming final most, and then either review or work on outlining for other classes. I make my outlines as a way to study, but some people outline all semester and study from their outlines. Do whatever works for you. I try to have my outline done at least two days before the final to review, so I can mostly focus on test preparation.
When I'm studying, I try to do a few hours in the morning and a few at night, with a break in the afternoon. I don't want to overwhelm myself by trying to sit in the library for ten hours at a time, and this makes me feel like I'm dying a bit less. Overall, I probably put in about six to eight hours of studying per day, which is totally manageable. And if you space out studying enough, you can have shorter days instead of spending sunrise to sunset (and after) in the library.
Overall, that's pretty much how I break up my time studying for finals. What are your best finals study schedule tips?