Weekly Academic Success Tip - Evaluate Your Exam Performance

Are you proud of your academic performance during the fall 2011 semester, dismally disappointed, or somewhere in-between?  Regardless of your situation, most every student can benefit by participating in an exam review with their professor.  No one gets a perfect score on a law school exam and there is always room for improvement.  Below are some tips for having a productive exam review:

  • Be very clear about the professor's requirements.  Some professors have specific dates and times when they will hold exam reviews with students.  Some professors request that you sign up for an appointment.  Follow your professors' instructions.  If you are unsure of a professor's availability, send him or her an email.
  • Come to the meeting with only one thing in mind - learning from past experience and gaining from professional reaction to your product.  Do not expect that this meeting with lead to a grade change.
  • Take an active role in the meeting.  Do not expect a packaged answer from the professor, pinpointing your precise strengths and weaknesses.  The following questions, if you ask them consistently, can identify trends in your exam-taking:
    • Did I misread the instructions for the exam?
    • Did I spot the important issues?
    • Did I miss important issues entirely?
    • Did I display the rule/test/framework/standard properly and clearly?
    • Did I adequately explain exceptions and/or counter arguments?
    • Did I organize my answer based upon what was asked in the call of the question?
    • Did I thoroughly develop the analysis/application?  Did I explain each step of my legal analysis?
    • Did I explore the facts of the question thoroughly in light of the legal principles and issues that I identified?
    • What ways could the answer have been better organized?
    • Did I make unwarranted assumptions in order to reach my conclusion?
    • What aspects of my exam were strong?

Take a hard look at your performance last semester.  Be honest with yourself about what worked and what did not work.  Give yourself credit for your study strategies that were efficient and effective.  Admit what study strategies were disasters.  If you did not put in enough effort, own up to it.  If you procrastinated, own up to it.  If you have poor time management skills, own up to it.  To improve this semester, you must know your strengths, be honest about your weaknesses, and rigorous in your time management.  

Now is the time to commit to achieving your personal best.  You have only 14 weeks of classes until you sit for your final exams. Consider working at your highest levels of efficiency and balance for 14 weeks.   How do you work at your highest levels?  Practice each of the components of the attached Success Cycle in each class each week.