How to Get the Most out of Practice Exam Questions

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By George Khoury, Esq. on November 28, 2018 2:51 PM

When studying for law school exams, or even the bar exam, perhaps the best resource for law students and future lawyers are practice questions.

However, simply running through as many as possible isn't enough. After all, it's highly unlikely you'll see any of the same questions anyway, and there's more to preparation than just practice.

Below you can get a little advice on how to get the most out of law school and bar exam practice questions.

Real Life Constraints

When you're taking an exam in the classroom, or test center, it's not going to be open book, or allowing additional time, nor snacking while testing. As such, it really behooves you to replicate your testing constraints while taking practice exams. Find a blank wall, push your (completely cleared off) desk up against that wall, put your phone on airplane mode, and open your clock or timer application. If your school allows you to use empty classrooms to study, these make great locations for practice exam sessions. Protip: try to coordinate with your study group and someone from the school who can confirm you can use the room (weekends are usually easy to coordinate a room), that way you can put up a sign on the door saying "Practice test in session. Please do not disturb."

If you don't finish in time, make sure you highlight where you ran out of time before finishing. That way you can reasonably assess how much more time you needed to finish, and see if it is recurring problem or something that can be addressed with more practice.

Reviewing Right and Wrong Answers

While reviewing your wrong answers might seem like common sense, reviewing your correct answers is also really important. It might seem a bit awkward at first, but, as you either already know, or will soon learn, there are always different paths to arriving at the right answer, and seeing a different approach can really help solidify your understanding of the underlying principles or specific statutes or caselaw.

When reviewing your wrong answers, think about why you got something wrong. Did you forget about some substantive element, fail to spot an issue, or spot non-existent ones? Figuring out what you're doing wrong can help you identify where you need to focus more attention when studying.

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