Why You Should Hand Write Exams


          There are a lot of decisions to make during the first year of law school, not the least of which is whether to hand-write your exams or use your laptop during the exam. There are benefits and detriments to both methods, but handwriting is probably your safest bet for multiple reasons.

 

          The first and foremost reason to write your exam by hand is because there is a possibility that you will be forced to do so at some point during your law school career or even during the bar exam. When you type an exam, you are required to have a functioning laptop, functioning exam software, and a power source for the laptop. I have personally witnessed all three of these requirements fail multiple times (while I was handwriting my own exam without interruption). Hardware fails, software has glitches, and sometimes the school's power goes out during a storm; all are reasons why you should at least practice handwriting even if you do decide to type, so that the change from typing on your laptop to writing in a blue book midway through an exam will not be so stressful. But, if you had been handwriting (at least some) from the beginning, you would not have lost the time and gained the stress during the laptop failure.

 

         Additionally, even if you type all three years and never have a failure, you may find yourself forced to take the Bar exam without your laptop due to limited spaces available for laptops. In some states, the number of those spaces is growing, but most students still hand write; check with your advisers to find out what your state exam is like. Again, even if you do get a coveted typing space for the Bar exam, your laptop could still fail as easily as during a final exam. This is the main reason why I recommend writing, because if you spend three years typing every exam you take, you will not be prepared for the sudden change of handwriting if the need arises, especially in the already stressful environment of the Bar Exam.

 

         To conclude, if you want to be prepared for the worst case scenario in final exams or the Bar Exam, you should at least hand-write a few exams just to get used to the process, but I still say that it is better to hand-write all of them, because it forces you into better essay writing habits, such as outlining your thoughts before even thinking about putting pencil to paper.