What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

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keg411
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby keg411 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:44 am

I think the strange thing about the "do what works for you" approach is that it tends to be different than what you necessarily expect. For me, I never planned to use study groups and they ended up helping me tremendously did.

I do think going over prof's past exams is the most important thing. I didn't even write out full exams anymore second semester; just looked at the profs exams and outlined the issues and so far my grades have been mostly higher (although my GPA may easily be torpedoed some time in the next 6 hours).

jjlaw
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby jjlaw » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:26 am

keg411 wrote:I think the strange thing about the "do what works for you" approach is that it tends to be different than what you necessarily expect. For me, I never planned to use study groups and they ended up helping me tremendously did.

I do think going over prof's past exams is the most important thing. I didn't even write out full exams anymore second semester; just looked at the profs exams and outlined the issues and so far my grades have been mostly higher (although my GPA may easily be torpedoed some time in the next 6 hours).


Do you mean that instead of taking the exams under timed conditions, you just looked through and made an outline of what your answers would be if you were taking the exam? By doing this, were you just trying to find a general fact pattern in your prof's exams?

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Naked Dude
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby Naked Dude » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:08 pm

To add to the "do what works for you," as stated above, many people DON'T know what works for them, because, due to inertia, they keep falling into the same old pattern of study habits. I can't speak for the law school experience, but I know that in undergrad I didn't start doing better until I started slowly trying different things (different systems of organization, notetaking, planning, studying for certain subjects, researching, writing papers).

So yes, do what works for you means at its core pick and choose what you're going to follow and what you're going to ignore when dozens of people describe their sometimes complementary, sometimes mutually exclusive strategies. The problem is, to make informed choices, you have to adapt and evolve. Try new ways of doing things, integrating them if they do, knowing when to quit if they don't. Not only if your methods DON'T work for you. You won't figure out how much better another method will be unless you try it. My philosophy was that, unless I'm at the point where I'm getting straight A's (or Dean's List every semester, whatever your goal is), there's always something I can improve at. If I get a B+ on a paper, that's a good grade, but I saw way too many people chalk up a B+ to randomness, subjectivity, sometimes you do something right, sometimes you do it wrong. Fine, I don't disagree, but my philosophy was always, again, if I didn't get an A on a paper (or exam), that means there's something lacking that I can learn from, and I can revamp my writing strategy or studying strategy. Note that this does NOT mean that I beat myself up over a B+ or cry myself to sleep. Hardly. You just have to constantly innovate or you will stagnate.

I have no insight into how this would work during law school, so do with that what you will.

akahn2
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby akahn2 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:25 pm

thanks for all the advice.

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emorystud2010
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby emorystud2010 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:25 pm

you're welcome

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shepdawg
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby shepdawg » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:56 pm

mscarn23's successful 1L strategy. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=157251

keg411
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby keg411 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:18 pm

jjlaw wrote:
keg411 wrote:I think the strange thing about the "do what works for you" approach is that it tends to be different than what you necessarily expect. For me, I never planned to use study groups and they ended up helping me tremendously did.

I do think going over prof's past exams is the most important thing. I didn't even write out full exams anymore second semester; just looked at the profs exams and outlined the issues and so far my grades have been mostly higher (although my GPA may easily be torpedoed some time in the next 6 hours).


Do you mean that instead of taking the exams under timed conditions, you just looked through and made an outline of what your answers would be if you were taking the exam? By doing this, were you just trying to find a general fact pattern in your prof's exams?


Basically. After first semester, I realized I had no time worries (finished every exam early and typed plenty), so I was just making sure I could spot the issues and the different angles I needed to take on the issues. FWIW, I did the same thing during the exams, except I would write it out afterwards. Once you get an idea of how to write exams, you don't need to go through the motions of writing everything out (I did write out every PT first semester). Additionally, my worst exam first semester was a traditional issue spotter, so I really wanted to hone in and work on spotting issues and figuring out what to talk about.

All that said, sometimes you just won't write the way a professor likes and won't be able to no matter how hard you try. This is basically where "outlier" grades come from. (Or vice versa; you might mostly be bad at writing exams but then get a professor or two that your writing style "clicks" with)

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englawyer
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby englawyer » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:56 am

some are a little HLS specific:

#1. Bust your ass for LRW. The grade in this class is proportional to effort and schmoozing the professor (writing exactly what he/she wants). Thus, it is probably the most reliable good grade you can get.

#2. Join organizations with good exam banks. At HLS: ACS or Federalist Society. I believe Federalist Society has the better exam bank. If you have no scruples pretend you are a conservative for 1L and join them.

#3. Make a good impression on your classmates (work hard, participate, etc). This can help out w/ study groups (you can form or be invited to the best ones) and will also help secure a good LRW partner for the Spring.

#4. Try to examine both good and bad exam responses, ideally for the same prof/test. See what makes the H exam get the better grade. This is pretty tough to do because most exam banks etc only have the best responses.

#5. Talk to prof's about performance after fall semester. This can help you do better in the Spring.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby smittytron3k » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:12 pm

One HLS specific tip: PSW is useless as an exercise in practical lawyering, but is useful as an opportunity to work with people in your section, especially those you don't know well. I got my LRW partner out of my PSW group and made friends with a group of people I barely knew. Don't take it too seriously, but it has its upsides.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby bjsesq » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:17 pm

1. Be friendly. Good grades coupled with being a dipshit will get you ostracized.
2. Learn from the 2L's what worked for them (E&E's, Glannon, Black Letter)
3. Find time to unwind
4. Don't let yourself go (health wise)
5. Figure out what your prof likes and spoon feed it back to them.

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WonkyPanda
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby WonkyPanda » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:45 pm

tagging as well!

tex1010
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby tex1010 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:31 pm

Great info here. Thanks everyone.

floggered
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby floggered » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:27 pm

1. Get the requisite amount of sleep and nutrition. I needed 8 hours and never stayed up past midnight on a school night;

2. Speak with 2Ls who did really well, preferably ones who made law review, and figure out what worked for them and discuss particular professors;

3. Know the the rules and their variations, and know cold the major cases that you spent over fifteen minutes discussing;

4. This has been said repeatedly, but worth repeating again: Learn how to write an A+ exam essay. Incoherent and inchoate answers are the surest path to an unsuccessful exam;

5. Come into school with a game plan, motivation, and open mind.

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mbusch22
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby mbusch22 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:20 am

reading these makes me so happy to be done with 1L.

lawgod
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby lawgod » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:27 am

Treat it like a job. Come at 9, leave at 7. 6 days a week. Take a lunch break, and don't bring work home.
That's what I did (except the lunch break) and I did quite nicely.

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cranberry
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby cranberry » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:51 pm

1. I'm going to disagree with everyone about the practice exams... I did the best in classes where I didn't look at practice exams until a day or two before the exam, then spent a couple of hours the night before the test reading over past exams and professors' answers. For my first law school exam I finished outlining a week before the test and spent several days taking all of the exams on file, going through professor and student answers, etc, and I did pretty badly. I did much better when I used that time to work on outlines. My highest grade so far is in a 1L class where I only read through one practice test the night before.
2. Don't outline too early - waiting to outline all at once is stressful but I had a much better grasp of the information when I reviewed old material along with more recent notes. (Everyone is going to tell you the opposite of this... but waiting until 3-4 weeks before the test to start outlining made a big difference in my grades.)
3. Work with your LRW professor, and really read past student writing samples and mimic their style. I would consider literary crit/interp writing as my greatest strength and I just bombed legal writing; my grades got worse and worse as the year went on and it was really depressing.
4. Wash your hands a lot, and don't touch common areas at school if you can avoid them. Everyone is sick.
5. Kind of a no-brainer, but spend time outside. Even if the weather is nasty.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby RCRARollin » Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:06 pm

1 - 4: Eat healthy, exercise and find some time to let loose
5: Be willing to be "adventurous" on an exam--By this I do not mean to go that far off script. When an idea pops into your mind that "stretches" the law and seems "out there" based on what you learned in class, you should still put it down on the paper. I know of no professors that deduct points on exams even for crazy arguments. There are numerous times where I wrote things down in my exam that had just popped into my head that seemed stupid at the time. When I went back to look over my exams, they actually stuck out to the professors who awarded points for arguments they hadn't thought about.

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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby ndirish2010 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:15 pm

rad law wrote:Counterpoint. My best semester (2nd), I didn't use anyone else's outlines; I got some outlines from 2Ls and didn't use them. I tried going over exams with people in my class, but it was stressful and mainly useless. I used the con law supplement and hated Glannon's Civ Pro. I made my own outlines. I was a lone wolf.

Do what works for you.


What didn't you like about Glannon's? Just curious.

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solotee
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby solotee » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:42 am

I think it's about time I contribute to this great thread because I know how much I relied on TLS advice to reach the top 10% of 1L year. Sorry if some of this has been repeated, I haven't read the whole thread.

1) Do not worry or be intimidated by what others are doing. When I first started, I was pretty intimidated by most of my classmates and their study groups. I thought I would surely be median. They are smart, but it's the person with a plan that will get to the top. (and don't be afraid to change your plan as you go through the first semester. I made changes to my plan all the time as I went through the first semester).

2) Print out any advice on here that you think is useful, or helpful. Read it periodically throughout your first semester. Towards the end of the semester, print out and go over a well-structured sample exam answer. Ingrain it in your brain. (Paichka has a very great example of what a well structured answer looks like that I printed out and studied before my first semester exams: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3&t=134561). Read Delany's "How to do your best on Law school exams", "Getting to Maybe" and "LEEWS" (after reading all these, you will notice a common recurring theme on how to do well on a law school exam).

3) Expect and accept unfairness before you begin 1L. Knowing what you signed up for will help you get through the inherent unfairness of 1L year. The best thing you can do is work with the cards that you were dealt with, and do your best with all the factors that you can control. There are professors I still have a grudge against, despite getting good grades from them, because of the unfair torture I've been put through in their classes and on their exams. You will have great professors, and you will have not so great professors.

4) Motivate yourself daily. At first you'll be pumped and excited. But as the months drag on, doing nothing but law all day, every day, you tend to lose that first excitement that you had when you started. It's important to remember why you are here, and why you are burning to get to the top. I had two dog tags that had my goals ingrained on one of them; I had motivational words ingrained on the other. Wearing these dog tags every day reminded me of the task in front of me, and motivated me through the dark times.

5) Enjoy it! It will be an exciting, challenging year. Even with all the downsides, learning the law is fun. Make sure you have a curious mind, and approach 1L with a positive, upbeat attitude.

Good luck!

NotMyRealName09
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:13 pm

Here are thoughts from a guy who was #1 in his class first semester his 1L year, in no particular, organized manner.

Exams are all that matter. Everything you do is ultimately for the exam. Sure, you're learning the law, but you are learning the law for your professor's exam, not for the sheer joy of learning. Therefore, as you begin to outline after Thanksgiving, remember this:

Caffeine pills and Ambien. I'm not joking. Caffeine to stay awake, Ambien to fall asleep 8.5 hours before your exam. That way, I could study until 4 am, fall immediately to sleep, and be up at 12 for my 1:30pm final, fresh as a fucking daisy. At least for me, Ambien has no residual side-effects. You wake up, it's gone from your system.

OUTLINING

I advise against outlining early simply because law school exams really are, in the end, about grasping the big picture. And after your first month in a 1L class, you don't know shit about the big picture, so how is an outline made at the time going to help you?

Along the same "big picture" lines, just don't - DON'T - make 60 page outlines. You want something you can read over at least twice in an hour. A 60 page outline is a fricken book and way too detailed. You are not doing yourself any favors.

Besides, once you have made your 20-30 page outline, you are going to boil that down into a 2-3 page outline that you will essentially memorize and be able to write out verbatim if asked. This is particularly true in torts - your 2-3 page outline should be nothing but rule statements, and you should be able to write out each rule from memory. How will you do this? Because in your caffeinated state, the night before the exam you are going to write out the elements of each rule over and over and over again until you cannot get them out of your head. For each rule or concept you will create a mnemonic device – that is how you will memorize them.

Then, the night before the exam, you are going to create a one page, hand-written outline of the entire class that lists: (1) The major topics of the class (look at your case book - you probably covered 5-7 major topics); and (2) for each major topic, you will then branch out and list the major causes of action / rule elements / defenses, whatever is appropriate – whatever you would list under the “R” in IRAC.

You should then practice, over and over and over, drafting this hand written outline onto a piece of blank paper until you can do the entire thing in 10 minutes from memory. How will you do this? Using the same goofy mnemonic devices you made before – make them dirty, you won’t forget. You make one for the Major Topics, then one for each rule, set of rules, list of elements, list of defenses, whatever, so that when you are freaking out immediately before the exam, the only thing you will be reviewing is your hand made outline and your mnemonic devices so that, once the clock starts ticking, you immediately – FIRST THING – scribble down your outline.

When you begin your exam and see other student immediatley begin typing or flipping through the exam, smile - you are going to do better than them.

In my head, immediately before an exam, I am reciting little dirty poems to myself to make sure I can recreate my one page handwritten outline as soon as the proctor says go.

Having that outline hand written in front of you will make you remember EVERYTHING. You will remember because of the PROCESS OF OUTLINING. You started big, covering everything, getting that down to 20 pages. You took your twenty pages and boiled that down to 2-3 pages of core concepts. You memorized that verbatim THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TEST. Any earlier and you’ll forget. You then made your one page, hand written outline listing core concepts and the rule elements. And when you look at that hand written outline for the elements of larceny, your brain will remember all of the details you wrote about larceny in your 20 page outline. Its fucking magical.

THAT IS WHY, and I cannot stress this enough, YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN OUTLINES. You will remember what you wrote better than what you read any day.

OUTLINING PROCESS ITSELF

Unlike every over-eager 1L, I didn't start outlining until after Thanksgiving. I took Thanksgiving to relax, party, and not give one shit about law school, as I knew that after Thanksgiving there was no more time to fuck around. Let fear be your motivator. And waiting until the last minute to begin outlining really ratchets up the fear. And caffeine pills are better than energy drinks because they are cheaper and you won't get sick of the taste, like you will if you use Diet Mt. Dew or coffee or whatever. Moreover, they stress the mind and cause anxiety, which will give you energy.

If you feel like you don't have enough time, that is GREAT! It is GREAT because you will be forced to focus on the big picture. Details lead to analysis paralysis, so waiting until you feel like you don't have enough time to study properly is a great way to help you focus your efforts on what is important.
Then, I just outlined for 12 hours a day, every day, writing off exam days because you just can't effectively outline after you took an exam for a different class. Your mind has to decompress first. I found a three credit class should take about three or so 12 hour days to outline, so you can plan your outlining schedule accordingly.

Don't caffeinate until mid-afternoon, or else your late night caffeination will not be as effective.

TAKE NAPS WHEN YOU GET SLEEPY. DO NOT FIGHT IT. REST UP, WAKE UP, GET YOUR ASS BACK TO WORK. If you have to nap at 9 pm and wake up at 11 pm, do it. Who cares? You’re going to take Ambien before your exam anyways, so a regular sleep schedule is not important, just so long as you are getting enough sleep every day in total. Two four hour blocks of sleep twelve hours apart are as good as one eight hour block. Amazing but true.

NIGHT BEFORE EXAM

I don't know how it is possible to fall asleep naturally before a law school exam, especially 1L year. I truly think people just don't sleep well the night before and suffer mentally as a result. DON'T DO THAT. Take Ambien, as it allows you to plan your sleep with certainty, which removes the anxiety of the fear of not being able to fall asleep.

There. Success. It is yours for the taking, but you have to be hungry and want to crush your peers. Good luck.
Last edited by NotMyRealName09 on Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:25 pm

cranberry wrote:4. Wash your hands a lot, and don't touch common areas at school if you can avoid them. Everyone is sick.


YES YES YES YES YES.

Further, be concious not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands. Use your shirt (or elbows) to open doors. Always use paper towel to open the bathroom door. Wash your hands, leave the water running, grab paper towel and dry your hands, use your paper towel to turn off the sink - IN THAT ORDER.

I'm always amazed - people wash their hands, use their wet, clean hands to turn off the faucet handles, then grab paper towel. Someone touched their anus, balls, penis, vagina, runny nose, or mucusy tissues before touching those faucet handles, and your wet hands just facilitated the transfer of bacteria. Don't touch the faucet with your bare hands once you've cleaned them. This seems so basic, but everyone turns off the faucet before grabbing towels, and I don't know why. I don't know about you, but this is the sort of thing that once you see it, you'll notice it every time.

I'm not OCD, but I became acutely aware of disease in law school, if only because I could not afford to get sick.

071816
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby 071816 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:31 pm

All this ambien, caffeine, and procrastination shit would not work for me. Holy shit. "Let fear be your motivator?" No thanks man.
Last edited by 071816 on Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Verity
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby Verity » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:38 pm

No way I'll be hopped up on caffeine and ambien to pass exams. That's just fucking dangerous. I'm tempted to call flame.

071816
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby 071816 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:42 pm

Verity wrote:No way I'll be hopped up on caffeine and ambien to pass exams. That's just fucking dangerous. I'm tempted to call flame.


Go for it:

Image

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japes
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Re: What are the top 5 tips you would give an incoming 1L?`

Postby japes » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:45 pm

Verity wrote:No way I'll be hopped up on caffeine and ambien to pass exams. That's just fucking dangerous. I'm tempted to call flame.


As someone who's had bad experiences with ambien, I agree.




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