traehekat wrote:+1 for "attack" outlines.
Seriously, this is on my "must do" checklist for this semester. The only thing I'm still not settled on is the exact style/format I want to use for mine.
I have yet to hear the suggestion of "make an attack outline like I did" come from someone who isn't in the top 25% of the class. It also fits with the experience I had. I would have killed for a short, concise guide for to respond to the major class topics that inevitably show up on exams.
Attack outlines are the best test taking efficiency tool there is, but they are a product of good studying, not a replacement. Basically, you have like a 20-30 page concise outline of the course, and you distill it down to a page.
Mine was set up in outline format by discrete issue. For example in torts if there was a battery, it would list the elements, and then under each element anything that I wanted to talk about no matter what, or different paths of analysis that I could go down. I would bold or star things that would allow for the most analysis since they are ambiguous, such as "apprehension" in assault. I'd put case sites in parenthesis to earn brownie points by dropping them in when there were analogous facts.
Then, come test time, I had my big outline sitting there and I didn't touch it once for any of my tests. But the point of the attack outline is that you basically have your big one memorized, so the small one just triggers all of the information that you already have at your fingertips. It won't work if you don't have your big one memorized.
As an aside, I think a lot of people miss the point of studying. Yes, you have to know the elements, cases, etc. But really you have to be so comfortable with the material that you know what a question is asking. I think this is what sets test takers apart; it is about finding the obscure issues that no one else does. For example (to continue with the torts examples), my torts prof set up this perfect res ipsa loquitur fact pattern within a larger med malp question, where 2 nurses were employed by the hospital and the doctor was a independent contractor. All of them had a duty toward the patient and all of them could have prevented the harm if they had acted, but alone there was only a 1/3 chance that any of them could have done it.
No one I talked to after figured out that the prof was setting it up perfectly, since the hospital could be sued based on the conduct of the two nurses under respondeat superior, so if you sued the hospital you could use the res ipsa loquitor doctrine even if there was no direct evidence of who did it.
To get that answer, you have to know med malp, negligence in general, respondeat superior, and res ipsa loquitor.
tl;dr: the procedural aspects of studying don't matter as much. You have to know the course so well substantively that the issues should seriously jump out at you as you read the fact pattern. At that point analysis is easy.