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Law Students: How to Know If You Need Extra Help Before Exams

By George Khoury, Esq. on October 11, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you're struggling to spot issues in case briefs, and exam time is creeping up on you like a package filled with volatile fireworks being hurriedly carried across a train station platform, you might want to consider getting some help ASAP.

If you haven't figured it out yet, law exams don't test your ability to lawyer as much as your ability to spot the issues. And if you struggled on the logic games section of the LSAT, it'll probably take you a little longer to hone your issue spotting skills. Below you can read about how to test yourself, and where to turn for help if you find yourself struggling.

Review Old Exams Early

Your school should have a treasure trove of old exams that you can test yourself against. Find some of the older exams, or even exams from other professors that teach/taught the same subject, and outline your answers. (If it's early enough in the semester, you don't need to actually practice writing out your answers, as this is primarily a test to make sure you're spotting the issues correctly ... Also make sure to take inventory of the available old exams before starting as you don't want to burn through more than you have to as these are crucial for actual exam prep.)

Take your outline and compare it to the model answer(s) provided. Did you spot all the issues, or maybe ones that didn't matter, or didn't exist? You need to identify where your substantive shortcomings are as early as possible so that you have time to course correct.

Use Your Resources

There are several resources available to you to help improve your issue spotting abilities. For one, your peers can often be more helpful than you might imagine. It's very likely that some of your peers have struggled with learning to issue spot, or whatever specific trouble you're having, and can help you find your "Aha moment." 

In addition to your classmates, your professors are also willing to help. Just be sure to have done the reading and really grappled with the material before approaching your professors so as to get the most out of it. You can even take your practice exam outlines to discuss.

If you don't find your peers or professors useful, you should consider taking the next steps and seeking out more formal one-on-one assistance. Often law schools will have programs available, or tutor recommendations. Even if there's a cost associated with these services, if you're having difficulty, it's a good idea to utilize every resource at your disposal.

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