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An Upper Year’s Guide to Surviving Midterms

1L midterms. We’ve all been there, and it sucks. Keep your chin up, because this is the last time you will ever have to do 6 exams at once (that is if you are choosing to write all of the midterms – spoiler alert: I’m going to suggest that you do). Although I wouldn’t exactly call myself a seasoned veteran, 1L midterms did go surprisingly well for me last year. I survived, which was the biggest surprise. I think my survival was predicated upon some of the wonderful (and the not so wonderful) advice I received from my upper year friends – so read on if you think you need some guidance. But if you are looking for the answers to Professor Ziff’s Property midterm, just know that they don’t exist outside of Ziff’s own mind.


Here are Brooklyn’s Patented Tips for Success. Note: I don’t actually have a patent on these, it just sounds cool to say that I do. Anyways, these are my tips:


  1. Write your optional midterms. I know. It seems absolutely insane to suggest you write more tests than you actually have to, but hear me out. You are going to have to write them all in April. You might as well get a sense of how your prof is going to mark, and if you do absolutely terribly, they don’t count if you do better on the final!


  1. What worked for you during undergrad will probably work for you here. My secret to success isn’t exactly a secret. I’m one of those weirdos who highlights the crap out of my textbook, makes notes from what I’ve highlighted, and then highlights from those notes. I also made my own CANs, because again, I learn by doing the work. Not everyone is like that. I had friends that relied solely on CANs produced by other students. They’re still in law school and they too survived midterms.


  1. You know you better than anyone else does. During my 1L year, I got so much in the way of unsolicited advice from upper year students. Some of it was good, some of it… Well, not so much. Everyone has ideas of what works “the best” when studying for law school exams, but those of us offering you this advice, we probably don’t know you as well as you know you.


  1. Celebrate! This is the most important part of my advice. When you’re done: own it. You have survived. I celebrated by drinking too many beers at Devaney’s and ended up passing out in bed with a package of caramel rice cakes. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, binge on Netflix, or catch up with some of the family/friends/pets you’ve undoubtedly been ignoring. The world is your oyster.


Good luck 1Ls! And as a wise man (turned Supreme Court Justice) once told me as I was beginning my 1L year: Dumber people than you have done this.