Academic Success Tip - Beware of Bad Advice

Bad advice:  You can’t do any practice questions until right before the exam because you don’t know enough.

Why this advice is bad advice:

  • Exams are all about applying the concepts and law that you have learned all semester to new fact scenarios or legal problems.
  • You wouldn’t go on a black diamond ski slope without lots of practice.  Why would you go into an exam without having worked on several practice questions throughout the semester?
  • A multitude of practice questions are available that test your knowledge on sub-topics and topics and not just entire courses.

Alternatives:

  • Do some practice questions at the end of each sub-topic to test your application skills.  Can you spot the issues and sub-issues?  Can you apply the concepts correctly?  Can you apply the rules and exceptions to the rules?
  • Practice your approach to questions:  how will you analyze the question; how will you marshal the facts; how will you organize your answer; how will you write the answer in the most concise way.
  • Become more adept by starting with one-issue questions, then progressing to two- or three-issue questions, then progressing to more extensive questions.  Once you can organize and answer shorter questions, you can practice your organization for longer questions.
  • Use multiple sources of questions:  ones handed out by the professor; questions in study aids; questions you and your study partners write and swap; questions from prior exams.  
  • Schedule practice question time each week for each course so that you do not forget to practice or put off practice too long.