4 Tips for In-Person Exams

by Alison Guffey, 3L

For many law students, this semester marks the first time you will be taking a law school examination in-person, either because you are a finals novice altogether (welcome 1Ls!) or because you have been a faithful student of the Zoom School of Law. In either case, as you sit for your first in-person exam, here are four tips to prepare you.

Tip 1: Study on campus.

Carve out some time to study on campus before your exam date. Though it is often more comfortable and convenient to study at home, studying at least once in the same environment you will be taking the exam will help improve your overall performance.

Tip 2. Noise is inevitable.

You never realize just how loud someone can type until you’re an hour into an in-person final, reading the same multiple choice question for the third time in a row while the sound of tiny, tap-dancing mice fills the room. Typing, pencils scratching, chairs moving and creaking – these sounds can be distracting during an exam. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a way to avoid this one. The best tool you have is to mentally prepare yourself that noise will happen, and try not to be caught off guard by it.

Tip 3: Arrive an hour early.

The trek to your in-person final will likely be longer than that from your bed to your laptop. Thus, in addition to triple-checking the start time, plan to be at the COL at least an hour before your final exam begins. You will be grateful for the extra time if Atlanta traffic rears its ugly head or T-deck is inexplicably full. Plus, you will never regret reading through your outline one last time before the exam starts.

Tip 4: Think through what materials you can bring.

The days of sprawling notebooks on your kitchen table are over. In-person exams limit the space you have available to reference other sources, and your professor might further limit those resources. Review what is and is not allowed in your exam and plan accordingly.

Taking exams in person might seem daunting or even scary. Just remember – you are now one in a long line of law students who have taken in-person final examinations. Welcome to the club, and best of luck!

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