Is it really that important to make your own outline?

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yo!
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Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby yo! » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:38 am

Everyone keeps telling me how important it is to put together my own outlines. I'm just not buying the idea that it's important to actually do them yourself. I mean, I see the benefit of reviewing the class material; but is it really worth the time if I already have a good outline?

My LS has an outline bank with some really good ones that are geared to my specific professors. I've saved my favorites and I can follow along with them as the class progresses, changing things as I see fit. I've never outlined anything in my life, and the ones in the bank are 10X better than anything I could make, so why not just review those?

If there is a benefit aside from being able to review the course material while outlining, please sell it to me.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:43 am

The main benefit of making the outline isn't having the outline, it's the fact that you learn all the material very thoroughly from the process of making the outline. By the time you're done you should know your outline and the material in it so well that 1) you'll rarely even need the outline because you can respond on exam day from memory and 2) on those few occasions you do need it you know exactly where to look since you wrote it yourself.

If you're sitting there on exam day spending time flipping through an outline, looking for info constantly, you're just wasting time you could be spending on your answer. Writing your own outline helps avoid that problem.

Renzo
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby Renzo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:58 am

vanwinkle wrote:The main benefit of making the outline isn't having the outline, it's the fact that you learn all the material very thoroughly from the process of making the outline. By the time you're done you should know your outline and the material in it so well that 1) you'll rarely even need the outline because you can respond on exam day from memory and 2) on those few occasions you do need it you know exactly where to look since you wrote it yourself.

If you're sitting there on exam day spending time flipping through an outline, looking for info constantly, you're just wasting time you could be spending on your answer. Writing your own outline helps avoid that problem.


I'd go one further. If you at your outline more than two or three times (for a few seconds each) during an exam, you've already lost. Having an outline serves two purposes: 1) making it is a great way to study and 2) being able to have it calms people's nerves, even if they never look at it.


FWIW, I agree that outlining isn't the best way to study, at least for me. I didn't create outlines for many of my classes, but I didn't use other people's either--I didn't use one at all.

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Doritos
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby Doritos » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:58 am

I actually just got done outlining for one of my classes. It was civpro and we just finished SMJ. I looked at some (3) outlines in the outline bank, weekly outlines that I have been making, and my notes. So, I made my own outline but it was sort of informed by the outlines in the bank. They helped me gauge the level of detail I should be going for and also organized things in a way that I enjoy. I feel like this method is going to work out splendidly for me and perhaps it will do the same for you.

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RayFinkle
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby RayFinkle » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:02 am

My suggestion is to get the best, most clear outline (or a couple of them) you can find (outlinedepot.com, the school outline bank, friends, etc.). Make sure it is for THAT professor. Make sure it is RECENT. Once you do that, use it as a guide for the class. Make sure it hits everything the class goes over. Add things where necessary and supplement it with a commercial outline if necessary.

When it comes time for exams (approximately two or three weeks before), start rewriting and rewording the outline in your own words. Keep doing this over and over and compress it in new words. It should work for most people.

I have never made my own outline and I have been pretty successful.

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johnnyutah
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby johnnyutah » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:02 pm

Depends on your learning style, I think. I have made my own outline a total of once in law school. It was first semester of 1L year, and I got a B in the class. In two of my other classes in which I just grabbed a random outline from another student, I got an A and an A-. I abandoned the practice after that in favor of just reading a supplement cover to cover in the days before the exam.

LoriBelle
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby LoriBelle » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:15 pm

Some of our exams are open notes and others are closed. For open exams, I make an outline and tab it for easy reference. For closed exams, I don't bother and instead make flash cards. The act of writing the flash cards out by hand and then going through them really cements the law in my mind. However, IMO flash cards would be less useful than an outline on an open-everything exam, so it really depends.

For some reason, they really stress making your own outline the first year, but it really depends on what works best for you. You've been in school for almost 20 years and you should know what helps you study effectively. If it doesn't work for you, then doing what everyone else is doing probably won't get you much more than what everyone else is getting: median grades. I used my notes (or old outlines) to make my flash cards, and I'm in the top 10%. I advise you to trust yourself and do what you know works for you.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:20 pm

LoriBelle wrote:Some of our exams are open notes and others are closed. For open exams, I make an outline and tab it for easy reference. For closed exams, I don't bother and instead make flash cards. The act of writing the flash cards out by hand and then going through them really cements the law in my mind. However, IMO flash cards would be less useful than an outline on an open-everything exam, so it really depends.

For some reason, they really stress making your own outline the first year, but it really depends on what works best for you. You've been in school for almost 20 years and you should know what helps you study effectively. If it doesn't work for you, then doing what everyone else is doing probably won't get you much more than what everyone else is getting: median grades. I used my notes (or old outlines) to make my flash cards, and I'm in the top 10%. I advise you to trust yourself and do what you know works for you.

There's some real truth to this; outlining is not the only way to succeed, and I didn't make my own outlines for all my classes last year, using other study methods instead that worked well. I suspect, though, making your own outline is pushed so hard on 1Ls because it is known to work and easy to teach 1Ls how to do, and the price to be paid for doing something that doesn't work well (poor 1L grades, which tank OCI, etc.) is steep.

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johnnyutah
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby johnnyutah » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:37 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
LoriBelle wrote:Some of our exams are open notes and others are closed. For open exams, I make an outline and tab it for easy reference. For closed exams, I don't bother and instead make flash cards. The act of writing the flash cards out by hand and then going through them really cements the law in my mind. However, IMO flash cards would be less useful than an outline on an open-everything exam, so it really depends.

For some reason, they really stress making your own outline the first year, but it really depends on what works best for you. You've been in school for almost 20 years and you should know what helps you study effectively. If it doesn't work for you, then doing what everyone else is doing probably won't get you much more than what everyone else is getting: median grades. I used my notes (or old outlines) to make my flash cards, and I'm in the top 10%. I advise you to trust yourself and do what you know works for you.

There's some real truth to this; outlining is not the only way to succeed, and I didn't make my own outlines for all my classes last year, using other study methods instead that worked well. I suspect, though, making your own outline is pushed so hard on 1Ls because it is known to work and easy to teach 1Ls how to do, and the price to be paid for doing something that doesn't work well (poor 1L grades, which tank OCI, etc.) is steep.

I'm sure there's also an element of "haze the 1Ls" in it, too. A lot of the things they stress in 1L (like Socratic cold-calling) have a hazing component, I think.

spondee
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby spondee » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:52 pm

Renzo wrote:If you [look] at your outline more than two or three times (for a few seconds each) during an exam, you've already lost.


I've broken this rule on every single A-level exam I've written.

spondee
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby spondee » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:55 pm

LoriBelle wrote:Some of our exams are open notes and others are closed. For open exams, I make an outline and tab it for easy reference. For closed exams, I don't bother and instead make flash cards. The act of writing the flash cards out by hand and then going through them really cements the law in my mind. However, IMO flash cards would be less useful than an outline on an open-everything exam, so it really depends.

For some reason, they really stress making your own outline the first year, but it really depends on what works best for you. You've been in school for almost 20 years and you should know what helps you study effectively. If it doesn't work for you, then doing what everyone else is doing probably won't get you much more than what everyone else is getting: median grades. I used my notes (or old outlines) to make my flash cards, and I'm in the top 10%. I advise you to trust yourself and do what you know works for you.


This is really good advice. In retrospect, the hardest part of 1L was learning to trust myself rather than listen to all the competing 'rules' about how to do well. Making an outline is one common way to learn the law. But if it's not effective for you personally, do what is.

2009 Prospective
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby 2009 Prospective » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:02 pm

Personally, I would largely attribute my 1L success to making my own outline in every class completely from scratch. On the downside however, outlining became ultra time consuming come exam time and it was important to make sure it didn't overshadow more important areas of prep such as going through old exams.

Renzo
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby Renzo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:34 pm

spondee wrote:
Renzo wrote:If you [look] at your outline more than two or three times (for a few seconds each) during an exam, you've already lost.


I've broken this rule on every single A-level exam I've written.

If you knew the material well enough to write an "A" exam, I am confident you could have done it without looking at your outline. Looking up one or two specific definitions to help you word your answer, or a case name you want to analogize to is great; but you can't teach yourself things mid-exam that you just didn't learn before then.

spondee
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby spondee » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:57 pm

Renzo wrote:
spondee wrote:
Renzo wrote:If you [look] at your outline more than two or three times (for a few seconds each) during an exam, you've already lost.


I've broken this rule on every single A-level exam I've written.

If you knew the material well enough to write an "A" exam, I am confident you could have done it without looking at your outline. Looking up one or two specific definitions to help you word your answer, or a case name you want to analogize to is great; but you can't teach yourself things mid-exam that you just didn't learn before then.


Nah, there's a lot of space between those two extremes. You're right that I've never taught myself things mid-exam, but I've looked to my outline for far more substantive reasons than merely looking up wording or case names.

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edcrane
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby edcrane » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:02 pm

Renzo wrote:
spondee wrote:
Renzo wrote:If you [look] at your outline more than two or three times (for a few seconds each) during an exam, you've already lost.


I've broken this rule on every single A-level exam I've written.

If you knew the material well enough to write an "A" exam, I am confident you could have done it without looking at your outline. Looking up one or two specific definitions to help you word your answer, or a case name you want to analogize to is great; but you can't teach yourself things mid-exam that you just didn't learn before then.


I'm with spondee on this one. All the A's and A+'s I've earned have involved a lot of outline usage during the exam. It's not that you forget something and are forced to look it up during the exam, it's that you strategically choose to drill certain things into your brain and leave other things on the outline for easy reference. One obvious example of this is pre-written policy: you know that 80% of it won't be used, so there's no reason to spend a lot of time memorizing all the pro/con arguments; it's far easier and more efficient to simply prepare some answers and refer to your outline when the time comes.

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Borhas
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby Borhas » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:16 pm

yo! wrote:Everyone keeps telling me how important it is to put together my own outlines. I'm just not buying the idea that it's important to actually do them yourself. I mean, I see the benefit of reviewing the class material; but is it really worth the time if I already have a good outline?

My LS has an outline bank with some really good ones that are geared to my specific professors. I've saved my favorites and I can follow along with them as the class progresses, changing things as I see fit. I've never outlined anything in my life, and the ones in the bank are 10X better than anything I could make, so why not just review those?

If there is a benefit aside from being able to review the course material while outlining, please sell it to me.


I've looked at outlines that are supposedly good

they don't help me learn at all

if you are awesome at memorizing that may be the way for you, but for those who learn in a less structured way I think just reading an outline would be detrimental

But is it necessary to actually outline? Who knows, all I know is that if you just gave me a bunch of rules to memorize in the form of an outline I'd have a hard time at it

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MrKappus
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby MrKappus » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:31 pm

Doritos wrote:I actually just got done outlining for one of my classes. It was civpro and we just finished SMJ. I looked at some (3) outlines in the outline bank, weekly outlines that I have been making, and my notes. So, I made my own outline but it was sort of informed by the outlines in the bank. They helped me gauge the level of detail I should be going for and also organized things in a way that I enjoy. I feel like this method is going to work out splendidly for me and perhaps it will do the same for you.


How are you "done outlining for one of [your] classes" in September?

OP: If you use canned or even pre-made outlines, you're doing yourself a disservice. It's the process that's valuable, not the finished product (like everyone else here has said). Vanwinkle went to UVA and t'fed to H, I think...and a bunch of others who did well their first years have said make your own outline, that it's worth it, and not doing so will hurt you.

But hey, if you think you've got a sweet system b/c you've been in law school for 3 weeks, then go for it.

/rant (and thread, I hope).

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Veyron
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby Veyron » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:09 am

As I am quickly discovering, the answer to this question is a resounding YES.

hithere
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby hithere » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:11 am

Think of making an outline as prepping for an exam. If you can't jot down the issues in outline format now, you won't be able to do it on exam day. Plus, jotting them down makes you that much faster on exam day.

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Doritos
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby Doritos » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:34 am

MrKappus wrote:
Doritos wrote:I actually just got done outlining for one of my classes. It was civpro and we just finished SMJ. I looked at some (3) outlines in the outline bank, weekly outlines that I have been making, and my notes. So, I made my own outline but it was sort of informed by the outlines in the bank. They helped me gauge the level of detail I should be going for and also organized things in a way that I enjoy. I feel like this method is going to work out splendidly for me and perhaps it will do the same for you.


How are you "done outlining for one of [your] classes" in September?

OP: If you use canned or even pre-made outlines, you're doing yourself a disservice. It's the process that's valuable, not the finished product (like everyone else here has said). Vanwinkle went to UVA and t'fed to H, I think...and a bunch of others who did well their first years have said make your own outline, that it's worth it, and not doing so will hurt you.

But hey, if you think you've got a sweet system b/c you've been in law school for 3 weeks, then go for it.

/rant (and thread, I hope).


Bad choice of words. I meant I'm done outlining the class so far. We just finished subject matter jurisdiction so I did that part of my outline. Also, we did battery and negligence in torts so I did those as well. It's not like my outline is finished by any means and I plan on reworking and reorganizing what I have so far. It was very helpful to go through the process of looking @ my notes and "mini outlines" i had for every week and outlines from other people who took the class. It's also a lot more convenient than flipping thorough pages and pages of notes to review

12262010
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby 12262010 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:38 am

I didn't outline, but I usually memorize things the first time I read them.

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rayiner
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:53 am

booyakasha wrote:I didn't outline, but I usually memorize things the first time I read them.

Image

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Doritos
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby Doritos » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:35 am

booyakasha wrote:I didn't outline, but I usually memorize things the first time I read them.


--ImageRemoved--

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jayn3
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby jayn3 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:41 am

Doritos wrote:
booyakasha wrote:I didn't outline, but I usually memorize things the first time I read them.


--ImageRemoved--

qf MATTT DAAMOOONNNN

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Doritos
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Re: Is it really that important to make your own outline?

Postby Doritos » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:00 pm

jayn3 wrote:qf MATTT DAAMOOONNNN


Image




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