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My name is Hala Furst, and I am a 3L. Before coming to Roger Williams I received a BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Minnesota. In the three years between graduating from college and arriving here in Bristol, RI, I worked as a hotel concierge for a luxury brand, a loan officer and mortgage...

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Posted by Hala Furst on 12/08/2007 at 12:00 AM

If I had to sum up the necessary traits for successful exam prep in one word, it would be “stamina”. 4 exams spread out over 3 weeks doesn’t sound hard, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It is in this time that you are committing everything to memory, practicing your exam answers, updating (or, in some cases, creating) your outline, and generally trying to cram into your brain everything you’ve learned in the last four months, to be regurgitated back into a 3 hour exam. We had our first exam for Criminal Law on Thursday, and it was exhausting. I was supposed to be typing, but the program wasn’t compatible with my computer, so I ended up having to write the exam, and for three hours my hand did not stop moving. I did not stop writing, take pen off paper, for 180 straight minutes, and while I finished the exam, I didn’t have any time to reread, to spell check, anything. I may have written the exam in Greek, I couldn’t tell you. It was like being in a fugue state, or sleep walking. The good news is that you don’t have time to panic, so you just start writing. The most frustrating thing about the exam was that while you might have known everything on the exam, have been able to hit every possible point given infinite time, you just don’t have it, so you have to prioritize. I know I’m going to get the exam back and see points that I missed, not because I didn’t know them, but because I had to make a choice about how much time to spend on any one point.

And then Friday morning I was supposed to get up and start the process all over again. Yup. That happened.

It is difficult to keep yourself motivated for 3 full weeks of exam prep. You have to make little bargains with yourself- “If I do three hours of Torts, then I can go for a walk” or “If I do two hours of Civ Pro, I can watch a half hour of the Soup on E!”. Things like that. As an almost professional procrastinator, I find it particularly difficult to continually plug away at the same material hour after hour, but I know that I have to do it. It’s also difficult to continue going at it in the only way you know how, without any immediate feedback about how you are doing. I’ve been using my own personal study strategy for the last 4 months, without any clue as to whether or not I’m doing it right, because we only have the big exam at the end of the semester and no other feedback. So I just keep hoping that my feelings of general understanding, the fact that I wasn’t presented with anything I didn’t know on the Crim exam, and the realization that this is an impossible task are all indications that I’m doing ok. But who knows?

Anyway, enough procrastinating, I have to get back to Torts.