How far ahead should I be in the reading?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
corporatelaw87
Posts: 294
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:26 pm

How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby corporatelaw87 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:48 pm

So I am a week into classes, and things seem to be going well. I am two days ahead in the reading (today is Weds and I am done through Friday). Should I keep this pace? Maybe slow down? I know when I have a memo due I might get a little less reading done in my other classes, so I figure a little bit ahead is good. What do you guys think?

User avatar
OGR3
Posts: 881
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:56 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby OGR3 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:50 pm

corporatelaw87 wrote:So I am a week into classes, and things seem to be going well. I am two days ahead in the reading (today is Weds and I am done through Friday). Should I keep this pace? Maybe slow down? I know when I have a memo due I might get a little less reading done in my other classes, so I figure a little bit ahead is good. What do you guys think?


I try to be a minimum of a couple days ahead, that way I can go to a movie, or bar review, or just veg out for a night guilt free. Sometimes you just need a break.

User avatar
warmachine
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:12 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby warmachine » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:23 pm

I'm reading the night before for now, but I plan to spend all day Friday/Saturday/Sunday getting ahead by 2-3 days. Some say to get full week ahead which IMO is a bit much.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby rayiner » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:31 pm

There is no one-size fits all solution, and this early in the semester it doesn't matter. Focus on learning the process and what you need to extract out of cases instead of arbitrary external metrics. If you get bad grades it won't be because you didn't read ahead far enough, and conversely you can get good grades even letting yourself get weeks behind as long as you gun for your outlines.

Protip: Don't count on remembering anything you read the first month or two. You will forget. So spend the time honing your case reading skills. The material will come quickly after that. It is entirely practical to reread all the material the month or two before exams if you have put in the time to become a good reader.
Last edited by rayiner on Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

revolution724
Posts: 255
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:16 am

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby revolution724 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:32 pm

corporatelaw87 wrote:So I am a week into classes, and things seem to be going well. I am two days ahead in the reading (today is Weds and I am done through Friday). Should I keep this pace? Maybe slow down? I know when I have a memo due I might get a little less reading done in my other classes, so I figure a little bit ahead is good. What do you guys think?


A week at most. Longer than that, and you're likely not to remember it well by the time class rolls around and have to reread, which you don't have a lot of time to do. Two days is okay. Figure out what works for you.

User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby traehekat » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:06 am

I know MegaTTTron suggests just doing the reading for each class the night before, that way you really don't have to worry about briefing much because everything is fresh in your mind. If you do it too far in advance you will have to either reread it anyway the night before, or do a solid brief of it. Seems to make sense to me, in terms of saving time. I know some people get a sense of panic though when they aren't "ahead of the game" (even though you may actually be putting yourself behind by not being as efficient with your time).

User avatar
Dead Ringer
Posts: 151
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 2:07 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby Dead Ringer » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:22 am

Almost everyone I know at my school just did the reading the night before, so this might be a school culture thing. Only at the end when they wanted to really be focusing on exam study did they get a week or even more ahead to free up big time blocks for review. It seemed like a good plan.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11725
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby kalvano » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:24 am

I'm going to start having my week's reading done by Monday night so I can better organize notes and such, and do my LW exercises.

User avatar
A'nold
Posts: 3622
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:07 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby A'nold » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:27 am

If I read anything further out than the day before, I'd forget most of the details by classtime and even my brief couldn't save me in the classes where the prof's demanded any details. Night before or right before class ftw.

User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby traehekat » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:29 am

A'nold wrote:If I read anything further out than the day before, I'd forget most of the details by classtime and even my brief couldn't save me in the classes where the prof's demanded any details. Night before or right before class ftw.


Yeah, this just seems to make the most sense.

If you really want to get ahead, then just start outlining earlier. This is what will probably really pay dividends towards the end of the semester.

270910
Posts: 2437
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby 270910 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:54 am

traehekat wrote:
A'nold wrote:If I read anything further out than the day before, I'd forget most of the details by classtime and even my brief couldn't save me in the classes where the prof's demanded any details. Night before or right before class ftw.


Yeah, this just seems to make the most sense.

If you really want to get ahead, then just start outlining earlier. This is what will probably really pay dividends towards the end of the semester.


Neither your outlines nor your reading schedule are tested on the exam, believe it or not. Getting outlines started early can be a fine personal choice, as can reading ahead - but neither actually helps you do well on exams, and I know plenty of people who didn't do either and still did terrifically in law school. Learning the law isn't very hard, and doesn't require crazy plans, binge reading, stacks of hornbooks, or outlining from day one.

revolution724
Posts: 255
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:16 am

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby revolution724 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:20 am

traehekat wrote:I know MegaTTTron suggests just doing the reading for each class the night before, that way you really don't have to worry about briefing much because everything is fresh in your mind.


I don't actually think that's why it's a good idea to brief cases during your first semester at least. Briefing has the side benefit of keeping everything fresh in your mind, but its main purpose is to help you get in practice identifying the legally relevant parts of the case and understanding how to analyze them.

User avatar
snowpeach06
Posts: 2426
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:32 am

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby snowpeach06 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:45 am

I'm a new 1L too, and I've been like 2 days ahead. I think my goal is get my reading done for Tuesday done by Sunday night. And then my reading for the week done by Wens. that way i'm free for bar review and friday night. I do agree though that i'm already having some issues with memory, so reading too far in advance could just make you look like an idiot in class. I'm also a fan of getting the bulk of my reading done in the library during my 2-4 hour breaks during the day. I used to hate the library, but it is amazing when I get out of class at 2, and by 4 I can go to the gym, cook dinner, shower, talk to my family and watch tv at night without feeling behind. I've still been doing a little work at night, but I don't have to (until later in the semester) and that's what i like.

I hope though that I'm not the only one who is confused as to exactly what I'm supposed to be learning. I feel like so far my teachers just ask our opinions about stuff, and we don't discuss the readings much.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11725
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby kalvano » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:46 am

traehekat wrote:
A'nold wrote:If I read anything further out than the day before, I'd forget most of the details by classtime and even my brief couldn't save me in the classes where the prof's demanded any details. Night before or right before class ftw.


Yeah, this just seems to make the most sense.

If you really want to get ahead, then just start outlining earlier. This is what will probably really pay dividends towards the end of the semester.



I'm not doing for any perceived advantage in terms of grades. I'm doing it so I can have a little more free time during the week and avoid that sensation of having to do so much reading tonight because class is tomorrow.

User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby traehekat » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:30 am

disco_barred wrote:
traehekat wrote:
A'nold wrote:If I read anything further out than the day before, I'd forget most of the details by classtime and even my brief couldn't save me in the classes where the prof's demanded any details. Night before or right before class ftw.


Yeah, this just seems to make the most sense.

If you really want to get ahead, then just start outlining earlier. This is what will probably really pay dividends towards the end of the semester.


Neither your outlines nor your reading schedule are tested on the exam, believe it or not. Getting outlines started early can be a fine personal choice, as can reading ahead - but neither actually helps you do well on exams, and I know plenty of people who didn't do either and still did terrifically in law school. Learning the law isn't very hard, and doesn't require crazy plans, binge reading, stacks of hornbooks, or outlining from day one.


I'm just kind of echoing the pretty much common wisdom that exams test the ability apply law to fact, and that you practice this by taking practice exams/going through hypos. Spending less time outlining later in the semester should allow more time for doing these kinds of things, so thats how it benefits.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby rayiner » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:12 pm

traehekat wrote:
disco_barred wrote:
traehekat wrote:
A'nold wrote:If I read anything further out than the day before, I'd forget most of the details by classtime and even my brief couldn't save me in the classes where the prof's demanded any details. Night before or right before class ftw.


Yeah, this just seems to make the most sense.

If you really want to get ahead, then just start outlining earlier. This is what will probably really pay dividends towards the end of the semester.


Neither your outlines nor your reading schedule are tested on the exam, believe it or not. Getting outlines started early can be a fine personal choice, as can reading ahead - but neither actually helps you do well on exams, and I know plenty of people who didn't do either and still did terrifically in law school. Learning the law isn't very hard, and doesn't require crazy plans, binge reading, stacks of hornbooks, or outlining from day one.


I'm just kind of echoing the pretty much common wisdom that exams test the ability apply law to fact, and that you practice this by taking practice exams/going through hypos. Spending less time outlining later in the semester should allow more time for doing these kinds of things, so thats how it benefits.


I won't say that the CW is wrong, so much as it's something that doesn't necessarily work for everyone. That's why I'm such a huge proponent of actively gauging your progress, and not just sticking with a process you heard about on the internet and hoping it works.

I deferred my outlining to the last few weeks before finals, and only took ~1-2 practice exams per class. I did my hypos during the semester --- mulling over an issue as we learned it, when there wasn't much time pressure and I could look at it from multiple angles.

You have no idea going into finals what your strengths and weaknesses are. Maybe you've got great recall, but organization/issue spotting are your weaknesses. In that case, early outlining is probably a win. If you're like me, you have shitty recall, but have a handle on how to write an exam/issue spot. In that case, going on an outlining binge before the exam ensures all the subtle points are still fresh in your mind on exam day.

It's good to look at the board and see what strategies worked for different people, but asking questions of the form "how should I do X?" is completely pointless.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby keg411 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:36 pm

I'm keeping 2 days ahead because I was a former procrastinator and I really have to make it a point to myself not to do that (especially once there is more LRW work). I might move back to one-day as the semester goes on, but I have to see what works best for me. I'm also good at recall and I take good notes on my reading so I'm not going to really forget what I've done a couple days prior.

User avatar
TCScrutinizer
Posts: 497
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:01 pm

Re: How far ahead should I be in the reading?

Postby TCScrutinizer » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:33 am

keg411 wrote:I'm keeping 2 days ahead because I was a former procrastinator and I really have to make it a point to myself not to do that (especially once there is more LRW work). I might move back to one-day as the semester goes on, but I have to see what works best for me. I'm also good at recall and I take good notes on my reading so I'm not going to really forget what I've done a couple days prior.


This.

I also book brief with different colors for the different components of the opinion, which makes refreshing right before class a breeze.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests