Friday, December 31, 2010

Obligatory finals post

So it seems like I should report back on finals while it's still the same year I took them, right? I apologize for taking so long already, but as you can imagine, I really needed a break. They were pretty brutal, since I hadn't taken so many in so short a time since 1L year.
The first one was Taxation, preparing for which could have been much worse, since our professor released model answers for several of her past exams to help check our work. I also had a friend in the class to meet and go over one of them. So the difficult part was balancing that with Environmental Law, which I had to study at the same time because the exam was only a day later.

The Tax exam was fair and not too long to complete in time, which is always my biggest fear with the three-hour, in-class format. I did have a minor heart attack when one of the questions centered around a term I didn't even remotely recognize. But after I skipped it and came back at the end, I was lucky enough to find it in the index of the case book, so I could quickly read up and write what I think was an adequate answer. It's hard to be sure, but I didn't feel too panicked as I submitted my exam and headed out to lunch with some classmates.

Environmental Law was a lot tougher, mostly because it lasted eight hours, every minute of which was needed to work out the answers and then cut them back to fit the extremely tight word limit. The professor hadn't released model answers, but to go over each past exam, I met with the most outrageously brilliant study group you could ever want: three members of this year's winning Ames Moot Court team and two Law Review editors, one of them the President. I went into the exam fairly confident, partly because I'd more or less held my own among those geniuses and partly because I'd learned so much each time they'd caught things I hadn't. The real challenge was just to keep going the whole time at enough of a pace to cover everything important.

I had two days off after that, and I made sure to spend the first one relaxing to avoid burnout. I did some Christmas shopping, watched some TV shows I had missed while studying, and tried to catch up on sleep and healthy food. Then I got started studying for Administrative Law.

That exam took three hours on a Friday morning, and I felt about as ready as I could be, although I never quite know how to prepare for that professor's exams. I think he makes the questions vague on purpose, which I can respect, since it must lead to more varied answers and less tedious grading. But between that and not having model answers, I couldn't be entirely sure what he'd want, so I just had to do my best and take my chances.

That was probably a good last exam to have, since it dialed down the intensity of my studying a little toward the end, and I was able just to write for three hours and walk away without much to dissect. I had a long lunch at Cambridge Common with friends, headed home to watch the original Tron online in preparation for a Tron Legacy showing downtown that night, and pretty much called it a semester.

Now, I don't want to jinx anything, but I'm hoping those were the last exams I'll ever take in law school. There might be one more, depending on my spring classes - all but one of which are currently seminars and obscure electives with paper assignments instead of exams - and how much finagling I'm willing to do to change that last one to match the rest. Either way, the prospect that this was my last jam-packed and stressful finals season is pretty incredible. Even at my most fearful about leaving school and entering the real world once and for all, that's one part I think I can happily do without.

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