ktg808 wrote:Maybe this would be obvious to me if I wasn't a 0L, but how do you know that the outlines are good? Where do these outlines come from?
This is not a bad question. "Good" is a relative term. An outline that may be good for one person, may not work for another. It depends on how you organize information, and the accuracy of the information presented as specifically tailored to your professor. If you are going to rely on others outline, I think you should in the beginning of the term try to collect outlines from various sources, trying to get those as tailored to your professor as possible. Multiple organizations generally keep banks, across years (and information rarely changes). If you can get 5-6 different outlines, generally they will be different enough to figure out which one you want to use.
My approach was to build my own outline, but cross-reference it to 1-2 other ones that I found on a section-by-section basis. I think outlining actually is not that painful, and does not take that much time, if you do it systematically throughout the term, and do not wait until crunch time. Given the lack of feedback you get as a 1L, while of course the focus needs to be on the exam, it felt good being able to create a work-product that combined information in the way that made sense to me, utilizing all the different sources, so towards exam-time i could just have one document that I studied with. The problem I would have encountered with solely using another person's outline is that (1) you may not trust everything, which is not good and (2) it may not incorporate all the sources you necessarily want incorporated.
The criticism of not being able to have time/use an outline on a final seems sorta weird to me, because the sole reason outlining was valuable to me was being able to study with. I generally had memorized my outline before the exam, and had memorized the attack-outline as well (which is definitely I recommend). I think the thing about outlining is that you can't use it as a pure information dump. It is important to go back and organize it into a systematic way that captures the big-picture approach of the course as well as the little-picture stuff. Anyways, I thought I'd just say outlining made sense for me and helped. This was said above, but to reiterate different things work for different people - just keep in mind different approaches, focus on finals, and be flexible to try different approaches if you see that your approach is not working.