I am a 2L at Roger Williams University School of Law, and a recent graduate of Stonehill College, Class of 2008. I received my BA in Political Science, with a minor in Business Administration. I have served in the Mass. Army National Guard from 2000- Present, formerly as an Intelligence Analyst...
About the Blogger
So it’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and now that exams are over, I can take a breath! It’s hard to explain what exams are like, but I’ll do my best to give you an idea…
It’s like running a marathon on an unfamiliar course, where you know you just have to keep going until you reach the end, but you’re not sure where the end it, or how to get there. You prepare for the first exam, familiar with the material and the general format, but not at all certain what it will really look like, and how much information you’ll need to complete it. Then there are the little stressors: will my computer die in the middle of it? Will the testing software work? How many topics will there be? Am I studying the right things? Will I have enough time to answer everything?
Then you decide to spend a couple days grueling over your outlines, notes, casebriefs, re-reading cases from September, which feels like a century ago, and realizing that all the case briefs you did for the first six weeks of the semester were useless. You drink a lot of coffee, stare at your computer for hours trying feverishly to perfect your notes for those open notes exams… you go to bed the night before, re-hydrated and prepared for a good night’s sleep… until you find yourself studying the concepts in your sleep! The next morning’s a little rough. You just want to get this over with.
Then you take the first test. Your heart is pounding, you’re sweating… the exam software starts fine. The computer works fine. You have a pen, a pencil, scrap paper, earplugs, a bottle of water, a cup of coffee, and you take a deep breath. The exam begins. The hypothetical is familiar. The concepts are there. You see the issues, right away, but resist the urge to start typing. You read the whole hypo, find the question at the end, and you start outlining. Issue #1… Issue #2.... etc. You make notes inthe margins, you start typing, the essay flows. Just like that, everything you learned, everything you studied, it’s all there!
The exam ends before you know it. You haven’t looked up in three hours. Your half-filled coffee sits cold, your bottle of water sipped, and your eyes adjust to the distance of the people sitting around you. You blink a couple times, stretch, and stare off into space for a minute… that’s it, your first ever law exam, and you survived! Three hours have never gone by so fast. You leave the room, and your mind is quiet. You start to think about your answer… did you hit everything? What about X? What about Y? Was it A instead of B? Nevermind, it’s too late now, it’s over. It’s done, you did it! You can relax…
But there’s another one… that’s right, the next exam. Three more to go, actually. But that wasn’t so bad… but will the next one be like that? Back to the drawing board. Notes review, cases, briefs, outlines, flash cards… then take the next exam. Every professor is different, every hypo different. But the general structure, the format the same. You’re starting to get it, and to realize what you should do differently next semester. By the end, you’re wiser. You know now what to expect.
That’s exams in a nutshell! As you can imagine, I still have lots of work ahead. But I am looking forward to a much needed break, and returning phone calls to family and friends I’ve neglected all semester, and last minute holiday shopping! But I still have a little ways to go before this marathon is over!