Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

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shanejamin
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Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:35 pm

Hi all,
I'm a 1L at UT who just got back his fall grades:
Crim Law: B+
Contracts: A
Torts: A
LRLW: A

They're not the best grades in the class, but they'll do. If anyone has any questions about studying, or about law school in general, I'll hang around here for awhile while I put off writing cover letters.

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MrSparkle
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby MrSparkle » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:27 pm

How active were you in using supplements? Did you manage to have a social life?

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:06 am

MrSparkle wrote:How active were you in using supplements? Did you manage to have a social life?


I didn't use any supplements at all. This may be sort of anathema, but I really think they hurt you more than help you (as do most law professors, though to be fair, one of mine this semester assigned an E&E as a required text). There's a dangerous tendency to unconsciously think of the supplement as preparation, instead of poring through the material yourself. Also, each professor has very specific things that he or she finds interesting, and supplements can lead you down the wrong path. Case in point, I saw a classmate listening to a supplemental Kaplan lecture on False Imprisonment, when our Torts professor spent almost the entire semester on Negligence. He got a B.

I also have this archaic notion that you should do all of your case briefing, note taking, and outline writing by hand. You rarely forget something you write by hand, while typing just doesn't have the same advantage. It takes a little longer, but I feel like in the long run, I spent a lot less time on my outlines than some people who typed them, because I didn't feel the need to read them 80 times.

I managed a pretty active social life. I went to most of the bar reviews, and was able to take most Saturdays off until November. I also went to the gym nearly every day. I honestly think maintaining a structured social life is helpful, so long as you keep it in its place. I'd say most weekdays I studied until about 9:00, with an hour break for the gym, and then didn't beat myself up about going out on the weekends. Also, everyone else is busy, too; there's not nearly the temptation to go out every night as there can be in college, unless you're hanging out with the kids who are going to end up on bottom. It's pretty obvious who they are.

random5483
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby random5483 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:03 am

shanejamin wrote:
MrSparkle wrote:How active were you in using supplements? Did you manage to have a social life?


I didn't use any supplements at all. This may be sort of anathema, but I really think they hurt you more than help you (as do most law professors, though to be fair, one of mine this semester assigned an E&E as a required text). There's a dangerous tendency to unconsciously think of the supplement as preparation, instead of poring through the material yourself. Also, each professor has very specific things that he or she finds interesting, and supplements can lead you down the wrong path. Case in point, I saw a classmate listening to a supplemental Kaplan lecture on False Imprisonment, when our Torts professor spent almost the entire semester on Negligence. He got a B.

I also have this archaic notion that you should do all of your case briefing, note taking, and outline writing by hand. You rarely forget something you write by hand, while typing just doesn't have the same advantage. It takes a little longer, but I feel like in the long run, I spent a lot less time on my outlines than some people who typed them, because I didn't feel the need to read them 80 times.

I managed a pretty active social life. I went to most of the bar reviews, and was able to take most Saturdays off until November. I also went to the gym nearly every day. I honestly think maintaining a structured social life is helpful, so long as you keep it in its place. I'd say most weekdays I studied until about 9:00, with an hour break for the gym, and then didn't beat myself up about going out on the weekends. Also, everyone else is busy, too; there's not nearly the temptation to go out every night as there can be in college, unless you're hanging out with the kids who are going to end up on bottom. It's pretty obvious who they are.



Few brief comments.

1. The handwriting comment is good for some people (especially those who like to type 200 pages of notes over a semester). But the right choice depends on the person.

2. Commercial Outlines = bad. Only exception is when the professor never gives you the BLL. Even then, you use the outlines to understand the casebook and try to derive the law from the casebook. So I agree with you here.

3. Supplements = can be good. Doing multiple choice questions and maybe even some short answer (PMBR, A&A, E&E) definitely helped me. Avoid taking any rule statements from supplements, but using them for practice questions or clarification of a topic is not a bad idea.


Overall, I agree with you.

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Heartford
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby Heartford » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:12 am

Only four classes? No civ pro? I should have gone to your school!

Eco
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby Eco » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:45 am

Don't take his advice completely about supplements. Read them especially the E & E's, just don't outline them or anything. Rules etc... you cite on your exams should come out of the casebook. Supplements=helping you learn from your casebook.

BeachandRun23
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby BeachandRun23 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:08 am

shanejamin wrote:They're not the best grades in the class, but they'll do.


It seems to me you did pretty darn well. What do you think your approx class rank is?

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:37 am

Eco wrote:Don't take his advice completely about supplements. Read them especially the E & E's, just don't outline them or anything. Rules etc... you cite on your exams should come out of the casebook. Supplements=helping you learn from your casebook.


I should say that there was one hornbook that a lot of people in my Contracts class found very useful: Chirelstein's Contracts. In a class where you're trying to forge a new understanding of something like Contracts, I gather it really shed some light on the subject. So definitely take my advice with a grain of salt.

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:41 am

random5483 wrote:
shanejamin wrote:
MrSparkle wrote:How active were you in using supplements? Did you manage to have a social life?


I didn't use any supplements at all. This may be sort of anathema, but I really think they hurt you more than help you (as do most law professors, though to be fair, one of mine this semester assigned an E&E as a required text). There's a dangerous tendency to unconsciously think of the supplement as preparation, instead of poring through the material yourself. Also, each professor has very specific things that he or she finds interesting, and supplements can lead you down the wrong path. Case in point, I saw a classmate listening to a supplemental Kaplan lecture on False Imprisonment, when our Torts professor spent almost the entire semester on Negligence. He got a B.

I also have this archaic notion that you should do all of your case briefing, note taking, and outline writing by hand. You rarely forget something you write by hand, while typing just doesn't have the same advantage. It takes a little longer, but I feel like in the long run, I spent a lot less time on my outlines than some people who typed them, because I didn't feel the need to read them 80 times.

I managed a pretty active social life. I went to most of the bar reviews, and was able to take most Saturdays off until November. I also went to the gym nearly every day. I honestly think maintaining a structured social life is helpful, so long as you keep it in its place. I'd say most weekdays I studied until about 9:00, with an hour break for the gym, and then didn't beat myself up about going out on the weekends. Also, everyone else is busy, too; there's not nearly the temptation to go out every night as there can be in college, unless you're hanging out with the kids who are going to end up on bottom. It's pretty obvious who they are.



Few brief comments.

1. The handwriting comment is good for some people (especially those who like to type 200 pages of notes over a semester). But the right choice depends on the person.

2. Commercial Outlines = bad. Only exception is when the professor never gives you the BLL. Even then, you use the outlines to understand the casebook and try to derive the law from the casebook. So I agree with you here.

3. Supplements = can be good. Doing multiple choice questions and maybe even some short answer (PMBR, A&A, E&E) definitely helped me. Avoid taking any rule statements from supplements, but using them for practice questions or clarification of a topic is not a bad idea.


Overall, I agree with you.


Yeah, commercial outlines are at best a waste of time, and at worst counterproductive. I sat next to a girl in Contracts who told me at the end of the semester that she wasn't making an outline; she was just planning to take several commercial outlines and some older student outlines and synthesize them. I mean, I don't know, maybe she did well, but it sure sounded like she was just avoiding doing the work herself.

Older student outlines have their purpose, but there's the temptation there, as well, to treat obtaining one the same as preparation. They're only useful for getting an idea of where to go with your own outline. There's just no way around going through the material yourself.

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:43 am

BeachandRun23 wrote:
shanejamin wrote:They're not the best grades in the class, but they'll do.


It seems to me you did pretty darn well. What do you think your approx class rank is?


Thanks! UT doesn't officially rank its students, but looking at the percentile cutoffs from the last couple of years, it looks like I just squeezed into the top 10%.

de5igual
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby de5igual » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:39 pm

shanejamin wrote:
BeachandRun23 wrote:
shanejamin wrote:They're not the best grades in the class, but they'll do.


It seems to me you did pretty darn well. What do you think your approx class rank is?


Thanks! UT doesn't officially rank its students, but looking at the percentile cutoffs from the last couple of years, it looks like I just squeezed into the top 10%.


Where did you find the % cutoffs?

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:54 pm

f0bolous wrote:
shanejamin wrote:
BeachandRun23 wrote:
shanejamin wrote:They're not the best grades in the class, but they'll do.


It seems to me you did pretty darn well. What do you think your approx class rank is?


Thanks! UT doesn't officially rank its students, but looking at the percentile cutoffs from the last couple of years, it looks like I just squeezed into the top 10%.


Where did you find the % cutoffs?


https://www.utexas.edu/law/career/hando ... Ls_3Ls.pdf

That's got 50% and 25% for the last two years. They don't have anything posted for this semester yet, but in the past, I recall reading that the top 10% floated around 3.75-3.8.

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:58 pm

betasteve wrote:What happened in crim?


Thinking about it, I know exactly what happened. In the other classes, I started taking practice tests in late October. In Crim, for WHATEVER STUPID REASON, I waited until the week before the final. That's really the only thing I can think of that was different about my preparation, although it's also possible that I just misunderstood what the prof was looking for on the final.

brackbone
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby brackbone » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:03 pm

Were you in a study group? If so, were your grades commensurate with those in your group? What I mean is, do you think it was crucial or was each person's natural aptitude more important?

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:14 pm

brackbone wrote:Were you in a study group? If so, were your grades commensurate with those in your group? What I mean is, do you think it was crucial or was each person's natural aptitude more important?


I wasn't in a study group until two weeks before the final, when I joined a group for Contracts and Torts. When I look at what I just typed, I wonder if that didn't also play a role in my Crim grade.

The group was about 5 people, and I think everyone in it ended up making an A in Contracts, though I don't know about Torts. I think it cut both ways: it was a pretty sharp group of guys (although most people in law school are pretty sharp), but we definitely all had a critical breakthrough at the same time (the day before the exam, actually--never too early). In any event, I'm absolutely going to study with them again.

In general, I'm hesitant to study in a group, because my experience is that it usually devolves into just talking. This group evolved out of several of us studying with several different people through the semester, and eventually finding that the 5 of us had a good chemistry--that is, stayed on task, and everyone was good at making mental connections. I guess to answer your question, I don't think I would have done as well in Contracts if I hadn't studied with those guys, but I don't think a random collection of five people could say the same.

While I'm at it, it's worth pointing out something people don't think about when they're forming study groups: all the guys in my group had very good, realistic ideas about how to study. Plenty of study groups wasted a lot of time making flash cards for Torts, whereas our group took a hell of a lot of practice tests, and then spent a lot of time tearing apart the model answers to see what underlying questions the prof wanted us to ask. Everyone studies a lot; you need to work with people that will study the right way.

random5483
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby random5483 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:06 am

shanejamin wrote:
brackbone wrote:Were you in a study group? If so, were your grades commensurate with those in your group? What I mean is, do you think it was crucial or was each person's natural aptitude more important?


I wasn't in a study group until two weeks before the final, when I joined a group for Contracts and Torts. When I look at what I just typed, I wonder if that didn't also play a role in my Crim grade.

The group was about 5 people, and I think everyone in it ended up making an A in Contracts, though I don't know about Torts. I think it cut both ways: it was a pretty sharp group of guys (although most people in law school are pretty sharp), but we definitely all had a critical breakthrough at the same time (the day before the exam, actually--never too early). In any event, I'm absolutely going to study with them again.

In general, I'm hesitant to study in a group, because my experience is that it usually devolves into just talking. This group evolved out of several of us studying with several different people through the semester, and eventually finding that the 5 of us had a good chemistry--that is, stayed on task, and everyone was good at making mental connections. I guess to answer your question, I don't think I would have done as well in Contracts if I hadn't studied with those guys, but I don't think a random collection of five people could say the same.

While I'm at it, it's worth pointing out something people don't think about when they're forming study groups: all the guys in my group had very good, realistic ideas about how to study. Plenty of study groups wasted a lot of time making flash cards for Torts, whereas our group took a hell of a lot of practice tests, and then spent a lot of time tearing apart the model answers to see what underlying questions the prof wanted us to ask. Everyone studies a lot; you need to work with people that will study the right way.




Study groups work for some people. Frankly, I think they are a waste of time. However, taking practice exams with one or two others and comparing your answers and figuring out how to answer them better is definitely helpful. Also, having a few friends you bounce questions off of can also help. I did do some exam prep with a few friends, but most of my studying was solo.

Study groups can help you understand concepts you are having trouble with. Meeting people at a set time to talk about anything you have trouble with might be a good idea. Meeting on a regular basis to discuss every rule/etc would be an absolute waste of time.

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retake
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby retake » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:36 am

Do you brief all of your cases? The consensus on here seems to say it's a waste of time, but anecdotally I've heard accounts of meticulous case briefers getting the very top grades.

bob sacamano
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby bob sacamano » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:48 am

There's no single way to success.

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:28 pm

retake wrote:Do you brief all of your cases? The consensus on here seems to say it's a waste of time, but anecdotally I've heard accounts of meticulous case briefers getting the very top grades.


I briefed damn near all of my cases. It can feel like a waste of time, because you're definitely not going to see specific facts of a specific case on a test, but if you are really clear on the facts and issues of all of your cases, you can divine why a court ruled one way on one and another way on another much more quickly. I think this is especially true in Contracts, where two cases can look identical, but a court will find consideration in one and not in the other. Or at least, that's what our Contracts professor found interesting.

That said, I saw a lot of people wasting a lot of time during the week before finals copying the procedural history from their case briefs into their outlines. All that does is take time away from practice tests and make your outline too long to be helpful.

random5483
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby random5483 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:07 am

retake wrote:Do you brief all of your cases? The consensus on here seems to say it's a waste of time, but anecdotally I've heard accounts of meticulous case briefers getting the very top grades.



Briefing cases takes time away from practice tests/multiple choice/etc. Briefing cases won't hurt you early in the semester. But during the last month before finals you should be spending your time on practice tests/questions. I highly recommend you read the cases and book brief them (quicker), but writing out a brief felt like a waste of time to me.


I think writing case briefs the first 2-3 months of law school helped me figure out what to take from a case, but I do not think writing out briefs will help me any longer. I stopped writing briefs around a month before finals and I did very well last semester.

Note: I still book brief cases (ie. highlight important details and write notes in the case book) for in class discussion. But I do not bother writing out a brief. My book briefing involves highlighting key points/facts/rules/etc in yellow and on occasion writing a comment on the side (especially in the long/complex cases).

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toothless
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby toothless » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:23 pm

random5483 wrote:
retake wrote:Do you brief all of your cases? The consensus on here seems to say it's a waste of time, but anecdotally I've heard accounts of meticulous case briefers getting the very top grades.



Briefing cases takes time away from practice tests/multiple choice/etc. Briefing cases won't hurt you early in the semester. But during the last month before finals you should be spending your time on practice tests/questions. I highly recommend you read the cases and book brief them (quicker), but writing out a brief felt like a waste of time to me.


I think writing case briefs the first 2-3 months of law school helped me figure out what to take from a case, but I do not think writing out briefs will help me any longer. I stopped writing briefs around a month before finals and I did very well last semester.

Note: I still book brief cases (ie. highlight important details and write notes in the case book) for in class discussion. But I do not bother writing out a brief. My book briefing involves highlighting key points/facts/rules/etc in yellow and on occasion writing a comment on the side (especially in the long/complex cases).


Where do I get practice exams and model answers? Isn't it hard to find practice exams that matches the professor's interested topics...? And it seems harder to find model answers for them(and the credibility of model answers can be an issue as well.).

My professors do not release their previous exams, and I am feeling lost. Also, I feel like I am wasting time every time I do a practice exam because each practice exam takes heck a lot of time.

de5igual
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby de5igual » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:46 pm

toothless wrote:
random5483 wrote:
retake wrote:Do you brief all of your cases? The consensus on here seems to say it's a waste of time, but anecdotally I've heard accounts of meticulous case briefers getting the very top grades.



Briefing cases takes time away from practice tests/multiple choice/etc. Briefing cases won't hurt you early in the semester. But during the last month before finals you should be spending your time on practice tests/questions. I highly recommend you read the cases and book brief them (quicker), but writing out a brief felt like a waste of time to me.


I think writing case briefs the first 2-3 months of law school helped me figure out what to take from a case, but I do not think writing out briefs will help me any longer. I stopped writing briefs around a month before finals and I did very well last semester.

Note: I still book brief cases (ie. highlight important details and write notes in the case book) for in class discussion. But I do not bother writing out a brief. My book briefing involves highlighting key points/facts/rules/etc in yellow and on occasion writing a comment on the side (especially in the long/complex cases).


Where do I get practice exams and model answers? Isn't it hard to find practice exams that matches the professor's interested topics...? And it seems harder to find model answers for them(and the credibility of model answers can be an issue as well.).

My professors do not release their previous exams, and I am feeling lost. Also, I feel like I am wasting time every time I do a practice exam because each practice exam takes heck a lot of time.


past exams are here: --LinkRemoved--

most professors have something there, but it's true that almost none have a model answer. the one professor I approached about going over a past exam answer refused to do so :?

TLSAnon12345
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby TLSAnon12345 » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:43 am

Funny OP, reading your thread I did almost the exact same things you did. AAA Torts K Civ Pro and pass with honors in Legal Writing (top 20%).

I too am a big believer in writing (typing) things by hand to commit them to memory, i.e. case briefing. Not super intricate, but a thorough job. I found that as I went on through the year and into doing my outline I needed to do a lot less work because everything was already right there in front of me and I knew so much of it because I had done it. I know most people back off of briefing 2nd semester but I kinda feel like...what else are you doing? I agree that by the end of the semester your time is better spent doing other things like outline and practice exams. Never wasted time on PH or things like that unless it was important for some reason (Civ Pro).

No commercial outlines, no supplements. I worked with 2 other people, one of whom used hornbooks, he got an A and two Bs, about median but not where he wanted either. The other study buddy who made her own stuff got 2 As and B in Torts, so above median. We went through every practice test when we met up and really tried to fight through them and push each other on our answers; we didn't waste time talking or doing mundane aesthetic tasks (flashcards).

In short I handmade my stuff from the bottom up - briefing, outlining, etc. I really tried to listen to my professors and find out what they wanted from students taking their tests. Seemed to work.

Different strokes for different folks, I know. Some things I think after my one semester: do your work early, do your own work, work with people you can work with and don't be afraid to dump them if you can't - they're not paying back your loans. Ask questions if you genuinely don't understand things and try to have some fun.

shanejamin
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Re: Texas 1L taking questions about studying, or anything else

Postby shanejamin » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:24 pm

TLSAnon12345 wrote:Funny OP, reading your thread I did almost the exact same things you did. AAA Torts K Civ Pro and pass with honors in Legal Writing (top 20%).

I too am a big believer in writing (typing) things by hand to commit them to memory, i.e. case briefing. Not super intricate, but a thorough job. I found that as I went on through the year and into doing my outline I needed to do a lot less work because everything was already right there in front of me and I knew so much of it because I had done it. I know most people back off of briefing 2nd semester but I kinda feel like...what else are you doing? I agree that by the end of the semester your time is better spent doing other things like outline and practice exams. Never wasted time on PH or things like that unless it was important for some reason (Civ Pro).

No commercial outlines, no supplements. I worked with 2 other people, one of whom used hornbooks, he got an A and two Bs, about median but not where he wanted either. The other study buddy who made her own stuff got 2 As and B in Torts, so above median. We went through every practice test when we met up and really tried to fight through them and push each other on our answers; we didn't waste time talking or doing mundane aesthetic tasks (flashcards).

In short I handmade my stuff from the bottom up - briefing, outlining, etc. I really tried to listen to my professors and find out what they wanted from students taking their tests. Seemed to work.

Different strokes for different folks, I know. Some things I think after my one semester: do your work early, do your own work, work with people you can work with and don't be afraid to dump them if you can't - they're not paying back your loans. Ask questions if you genuinely don't understand things and try to have some fun.


Couldn't agree more. Can't overstate doing the work early; I started outlining in late September/early October. I never looked at previous student's outlines. There are plenty of opportunities to avoid doing the hard work (by looking at someone else's outline, but postponing practice exams, by not briefing your cases) and convince yourself that what you're doing is just as good, but there's really no secret about what you need to do. Make your own outline from the ground up, do all the reading you possibly can, take all the practice tests you possibly can.

Also, I strictly enforced an exercise regimen right through finals. It got a lot shorter as I approached finals, but I was still in the gym for at least 30 minutes a day. It made a huge difference in my mental freshness and my ability to sleep before the exam.




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