8.1 – Waiting for Grades


Waiting for Grades

As soon as you are done with the exam, don't think about it, don't talk to peers about it.

After you finish your exam, you walk out of the exam room or you turn in your exam from home, if it's a take-home exam, whatever you do, after that exam is done, the instant it's done, I want to really encourage you to do as little thinking about it as you possibly can. I know that's hard and I know the temptation is maybe going to be to spin back through it in your head and try to figure out, did I really spot all the issues? I think that's not going to help you in terms of your sanity. One thing I would strongly discourage you from doing is talking to your peers, saying, "How'd you do on that exam? Did you think that was hard?"

Because I guarantee you if you do that, here's what's going to happen inevitably. Someone is going to say, "Oh yes, I spent a while on that personal jurisdiction issue. It was pretty tricky," and you're going to think, "Gosh, I didn't see that issue at all. I didn't even know there was a personal jurisdiction issue on this exam. I totally missed it." Then you're going to spend the next month, six weeks, however long it is, and it can be quite long that you wait for exam grades. Many schools hold all the exam grades until they're all in because they want to give them to people all at once.

Sometimes there can be delays, and so you might take an exam in December and not get your grade until late January or early February. It could be a very long time. You're thinking that whole time, "I must have failed, I must have gotten a really bad grade because I missed that issue." Then it might turn out that that issue wasn't even on the exam. Your peer saw an issue that wasn't there and made some mistake. You've wasted all this energy for nothing. Conversely, maybe they did see an issue you didn't see and it did cost you some points. Maybe it cost you very few points, it doesn't really make a difference. Maybe it cost you more points. It didn't benefit you in any way to know that.

The only thing that I can really advise you to do is just get it out of your head, forget about it the instant you walk out and just don't think about it. It's completely out of your hands, there's nothing you can do, and there's just nothing to be gained from agonizing and wondering about your grades. Now, I know this is a hard advice to follow. I remember waiting for grades when I was a law student. I actually liked the studying process. I really hated the waiting for grades process because there was nothing to do, you didn't have a task in front of you and you just were waiting for your lazy professors to finally turn in their grades. Do as I say, not as I did, necessarily.

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