5 things I hate about (law) exams

Law exams; the things most law students dread, as do students studying other subjects.  They aren’t the worst things in the world plus everyone has to sit exams, however them seem to cause panic and worry to so many students.

Now, we aren’t (or at least I don’t think) ever going to live in a world where there isn’t some form of test/exam so for now we are just going to have to make the  best of it.

With adequate preparation, confidence and belief in yourself, these exams should be fine – obviously there are exceptions to that, potential mitigating circumstances, or even just you having a bad day… but hopefully these aren’t a frequent occurrence for you.

However, that being said, here are 5 things I hate when I think of law exams.

Errors in exam papers

Now I know errors creep in to all sorts of things, no matter how well edited things are.  By that I am talking newspaper articles, blog posts, books, case reports etc.  From small typos to missing words, these things are inevitable at times.  That’s not to say they don’t frustrate me greatly and I seem to spot them so easily.

However, when it comes to law exams, they can be exceptionally frustrating.  Especially when they do impact on a multiple choice answer or a problem scenario.  The wrong name being referred to leads students to second guess what should be the correct name, price, location etc.  These things do have an impact and make it very hard for students to know what to do in the exam. It can have a huge impact on the way the student conducts the remainder of the exam and answers the question.

Students – before an exam 

I hate that time before an exam when everyone is lingering and lurking around.  I like to be as early as possible for an exam, but try and hide to avoid conversations.  Those, “Have you remembered to revise this?”“How are you feeling about this exam?” or  “I’ve done 90,000 hours of revision for this exam”.

None of that is helpful to anyone. You don’t know how prepped someone is, or people’s revision style, what they prepped etc.

Students – after an exam

No I don’t remember what I put for question 65, but even if I did, neither of us can change what we put on the paper now. So you might be right, I might be wrong… but we won’t know!  Plus that problem scenario we just wrote, I can’t remember specifically how much time I gave to discussing wether it was in fact an offer!

I have a pretty decent memory but I don’t want to sit there mulling over the exam I just sat – it isn’t helpful for me.

Maybe for you, chatting over the exam is helpful, but for most people I have spoken to, it makes them more anxious for the results.

The reality is, straight after an exam, you don’t truly know how you did. You may think it went well or think it went horrifically.. but that exam you thought was an absolute train wreck, might be the one you get the highest mark on!

Question Guessing

Unless you have been told specifically what 3/4/5/6 topics or questions are going to come up in the exam you don’t know.  Yes, for the last 4 years they have always written a question on Free Movement of Goods, however, this year they might pick 4 other topics.

Some people recommend learning 4 topics really well and the rest vaguely for example.  This depends on your exam, your law school, how they write their exams, what is expected of you in the exam etc.

Unless you are told categorically what topics are coming up in the exam, I would be as prepared as I could be to answer any question on any topic covered in that module.

Worrying about results

Worrying up until results are released won’t change the outcome. I know it is only natural to worry about passing or failing, but you can’t change anything right now.

You don’t know whether you passed or failed.  So wait until results and then focus on what you need to do after, if anything.

Failing, whilst frustrating or annoying, isn’t the end of the world. It happens to the best of people sometimes and your future career, unless it’s the last time you can resit something, shouldn’t hang in the balance on one failed exam.

Plus you don’t know you failed, and if you did, all that pent up worry and stress before results are released, won’t help you with revising and focusing on the resit.  Equally, it can have a great impact on your ability to perform in any exams after that ‘potentially bad’ exam.

Good luck everyone with your exams, wishing you every success!

Rebecca x