I’ve officially completed my first term of law school. Christmas came and went, and if we weren’t parents of a three year old, we might have let it pass mostly unnoticed. In addition to exams and Christmas, we happen to be in the middle of moving into our new place. Our moving Pod, which has been in storage in Vancouver since August, finally arrived just the day before my first exam … thank god for hubby, movers hired by his new employer, and a place to call home (chez mon père) until I was ready to crawl out from under my exam-period rock.
So, law school exams … I sort of don’t know what to say about them, except that they’re unlike anything else other than the LSAT … actually I think I have a whole new understanding of why we had to do the LSAT. Anyone else feeling that way? There are many different approaches to law school teaching and exams these days, so it’s possible to have a class or prof who does things completely differently. Each of my five core courses (Contracts, Property, Torts, Public Law and Criminal Law) had an exam though, and I think they were fairly typical Canadian law school exams.
They were all open book, so studying consisted mostly of preparing a summary – an easily searchable outline with all the key themes, cases, and rules/tests covered in the course. The bulk of each exam (and the entirety of some) was “fact patterns” – insanely complicated scenarios, involving a person or multiple people who need advice on a whole schwack of legal issues. It’s your job to identify the issue, state whatever rule applies, and then apply it to the facts, with reference to the cases, statutes, and academic sources studied. This could actually be ridiculously fun, and if you feel like you’ve mastered the concepts, it should be easy enough to shine … not so!
Similar to the LSAT, prioritization and time management are half the battle. Doing any kind of thorough job of answering the questions would take much longer that the time allowed, so you have to know what to include and what you can leave out, and when it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on, whether you’re “done” answering the previous question or not. We had a whole lot of information about what to expect, but somehow, that first Contracts exam still knocked the wind out of me. There was just MORE STUFF than I was expecting. Interestingly, I feel like I did well in the three areas I thought would be most challenging, and like I actually might have bombed the two exams that I thought would be the easiest. Did I somehow take it for granted that they would be the easiest and not prepare properly, or do the profs know it’s “easier” and so ask you for more? I don’t know!
Well, I’m not supposed to think about the exams now until I get my grades back, so … 1 2 3 not thinking about my exams … oh shit, I think I bombed that last one …
Christmas was a success, all things considered. Hubby and I managed to get the tree up on the 23rd and prepared a feast for an army, even though there were just the two and a half of us eating … Santa came and filled the boy’s stocking, if not ours, and thanks to our amazing friends and family, there were presents under the tree. We even had beautiful fluffy snow coming down from dawn to dusk on the 25th, despite assurances that Wednesday the 21st was the last chance for a white Christmas. Now, my mom’s arrived from Vancouver, to usurp our parenting role while we get everything all unpacked and set up. And, of course, my very favourite day of the year is yet to come …
Happy New Year everybody, and here’s to 11 years!