Finals Prep: 2L Edition

It’s hard to believe that the last week of classes is just around the corner, and with that, finals week. I have three traditional exams this year. I said I wouldn’t do this after 1L, but I truly wanted to take each of the classes that required a formal exam, so here we are. Here are a few tips for preparing for finals as a 2L:

  1. Outline in advance. This is a universal recommendation, regardless of whether you are a 1L, 2L, or 3L. I learned this the hard way during 1L when I hand wrote all of my class notes and didn’t anticipate how long it would take to transfer those notes into an outline. What I do now is directly outline into a Word Doc as I do my readings and as I take notes in class – it saves me tons of time later, when I start to:
  2. Streamline my outlines. There comes a point in the semester where you transition from doing work for day-to-day classes and start to comb through the notes you already have to remove extraneous information and start to develop broader understanding of the scope of a particular course. I always hope to do this earlier than I actually get to do it, but regardless of when you start, it’s a great process to see things big-picture.
  3. Make short outlines. This has helped me a lot both as a 1L and 2L. I hate the word “attack outline” so I just call them all short outlines. I gather the major topics and then list relevant cases, standards, tests (along with their corresponding page numbers in my big outline). I also color code them to make it easier to distinguish what is what.
  4. Go to office hours early with questions. This is another ‘learn from my mistakes’ piece of advice, because I did not go to office hours enough as a 1L. If you can, try to go to office hours or make appointments with professors throughout the semester when you’re initially confused about a topic, that way you won’t be even more confused about it right around finals┬ápreparation time.
  5. Take care of yourself. This should really be tip #1 in my eyes. Get enough sleep, try to exercise regularly, get your Vitamin D, and eat well – basically do whatever works for you to manage your stress load. Put your best foot forward, and trust that whatever the result, you tried your best.

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