How to Create a Plan for Finals


Getting great grades is one way to succeed in law school. Lawyerist has lots of great posts on how to master exams—whether you have in-class, take-home, or multiple choice exams.

Before you sit down and start your marathon study sessions, come up with a plan for how you plan to spend your time studying.

Why you need a plan

Maybe you are amazing at Civil Procedure but have no idea what is going in with Torts, or vice-versa. This may create the temptation to put Civ Pro aside until the night before the exam so you can focus on other classes.

Good idea, but bad execution. You get a grade for every class and grades do not discriminate based on subject matter (an A in Property is just as good as an A in Contracts). In other words, one great grade does not counteract two crappy grades.

If you create a plan before the finals madness starts, you can avoid making the mistake of spending an excessive amount of time on one class at the expense of another.

Create your plan

Step one: take care of things that can be eliminated in advance. If any of your classes let you write a research paper instead of an exam (or something similar), take care of it now. Do not fall into the trap of  “I can write it on the last day of finals when everything else is done.” That rarely works.

Step two: figure out which classes will require more time for preparation. Estimate how much time you will need for each class to create an outline and to study it accordingly.

Step three: make a calendar for studying. This will quickly make you realize if your study plan is realistic. Although you can spend extra time on one or two classes, make sure you leave adequate time for preparing for other classes. Try and finalize your studying calendar before you start digging in.

Step four: stick to your plan. By setting deadlines for when outlines need to be done, you will force yourself to hit those deadlines. Obviously, you may need to modify your plan as you get into studying. Modifying it is ok, but throwing it out the window will likely result in bad things, like bad grades.

Remember, you get a grade for every class. Create a plan that will allow you to succeed in all your classes, not just one.

Featured image: “College female student is learning in the classroom” from Shutterstock.


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  • Jodi Triplett

    So helpful! Thanks a bunch.