Oxford University Press defines it as thus:
"Mooting is the oral presentation of a legal issue or problem against an opposing counsel and before a judge. It is perhaps the closest experience that a student can have whilst at university to appearing in court."
There's always a cycle of emotions that I go through in law school every semester with respect to mooting. It comes in specific stages.
Stage 1: I am sure I don't want to moot. Nope, not mooting this semester.
Stage 2: I read the problem, it's really interesting, but I think I shouldn't moot. Let me concentrate on other things this semester, haha!
Stage 3: Or, should I? Too tempting, but nope, let me just get other things done.
Stage 4: Okay, I think I'll go just as a Researcher.
Stage 5: Did you ask me if I wanted to do it with you? Cool, let's do it!
And, there we are with a moot problem and two weeks to get our arguments in place. Even if it is an intra-college round, moots have the ability to exert a lot of pressure. It is probably that same pressure that lets us perform with abilities that we didn't really know we had. Nobody I know ever, ever used the two weeks they get for research. Honestly, all my research and drafting of my memorial happens the last 2 days. Even if I start research one week before, I feel that all the effective research cleverly evades me until it's the D-day.
Then, why moot? The day you pick your arguments that you have drafted, and stand before the judge in your moot courtroom, as they target every small thing you say and try to bring your case down to ashes, and the way you try to defend it- it's just a great feeling. It's a pleasure to defend what you have argued, and there is a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction that sweeps over you after you are done pleading your arguments in the oral round.
Whether you've been hammered with questions that you weren't able to answer, or whether you defended all your arguments successfully, it leaves you owning what you did and feeling nice about it.
Most of us go through a point in the last week where we regret picking up the moot (let's be honest). But, coming out of it successfully gives a satisfaction for me that nothing else really manages to. Mooting, that way, is a weirdly satisfying experience for me. That's why perhaps I manage to perform when under pressure. That's why perhaps that pressure itself is pleasurable as it pushes me to do much, much better.
And, after all that mooting in first rounds, we go back to stage 1: we are sure we don't want to do the second round, haha, who wants to take so much pressure!
But, when the interesting problem comes out again, we are left thinking: Or, should I?