When to start outlining?

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Adjudicator
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When to start outlining?

Postby Adjudicator » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:05 pm

As I begin 1L, I have been re-reading the infamous "TLS Collected Wisdom" guides and finding them extremely helpful. However, there is one point that the various guides seem to differ on, and that is when to begin outlining. Some say that it is best to start very early and build steadily, and others say it is best to wait until towards the end and then go back and outline everything as a form of review.

I was contemplating starting my outlines this weekend, just preliminarily, but I can also understand how starting later would serve as a useful review. However, I'm worried about avoiding a time crunch down the road.

Are there any 2Ls, 3Ls, or graduates here who would be willing to weigh in on this issue? What worked or didn't work for you?

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Heartford
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby Heartford » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:39 pm

Adjudicator wrote:As I begin 1L, I have been re-reading the infamous "TLS Collected Wisdom" guides and finding them extremely helpful. However, there is one point that the various guides seem to differ on, and that is when to begin outlining. Some say that it is best to start very early and build steadily, and others say it is best to wait until towards the end and then go back and outline everything as a form of review.

I was contemplating starting my outlines this weekend, just preliminarily, but I can also understand how starting later would serve as a useful review. However, I'm worried about avoiding a time crunch down the road.

Are there any 2Ls, 3Ls, or graduates here who would be willing to weigh in on this issue? What worked or didn't work for you?


I say start later. It's better for review, and also right now you don't have an idea of the total amount of information you'll be covering in your class, so you don't know how much to condense the information you've already gone over. Outlining only takes a couple of days and there's really no reason to start now. FWIW I started outlining in the 3rd week of my first semester, but then didn't outline until a week before exams during my second semester. I did MUCH better during my second semester.

All that said, like every other studying technique, you should do whatever works best for you.

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Talon
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby Talon » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:49 pm

It doesn't matter. The key is to go into the exam with most of your outline memorized; you can't simply walk into an exam with an amazing outline on your laptop and expect to do well. I like to start outlining early so that I don't have to work crazy hours as exams near, but a lot of other students are more comfortable working longer hours later on in the semester and would rather relax more in the beginning. As exams approach I begin to reformat my outlines to make them shorter, so I feel as though I'm still interacting with the outline enough leading up to exams to internalize it.

Last semester I got lazy and saved most of my outlining until the two weeks leading up to exams. I was perhaps a bit more stressed out, but it didn't affect how prepared I felt going into the exams, and my grades were mostly the same.

KafkaLover
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby KafkaLover » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:53 pm

I'm all for about a month before exams. I think that now is way too early though - you're still scrambling to understand the material at a basic level, so you can't appreciate the bigger picture of how the law works together or the smaller details that might be necessary come exam time. That's just me though, and I'm sure that others have different habits that work for them.

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MC Southstar
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby MC Southstar » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:56 pm

Start now.

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Heartford
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby Heartford » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:58 pm

LOL glad to see that everyone has already given OP conflicting advice.

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MC Southstar
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby MC Southstar » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:01 pm

I started a little under a month before exams.

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Cupidity
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby Cupidity » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:05 pm

Reading Period.

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worldtraveler
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:12 pm

I never outlined. Use that strategy at your own risk, but it worked for me. I'm also very lucky in that I have friends who are awesome outliners and they give theirs to me. Why, I do not know.

shock259
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby shock259 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:24 pm

I'm going to do it as I go along with the understanding that I'm going to be cutting huge portions of my outline. I won't really have a clear idea of what I need to have on there until the end, I'm guessing. But I think it is way easier to have something to work with and then cut from as opposed to starting something from scratch a month before your final.

Oh, and I'm a 1L too. So I could be doing it all wrong. :D

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bceagles182
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby bceagles182 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:29 pm

TCR is to start in about mid-October. You want to have them up to date by the time you need to bear down on the memo and then get them back up to date after the memo.

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Adjudicator
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby Adjudicator » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:37 pm

:) Thanks for all the input, though there is hardly a consensus.

I think it's cool that Talon responded, since his 1L guide is so awesome. Thanks Talon!

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Doritos
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby Doritos » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:13 pm

I say start immediately. You can always do an outline of the outline or a meta-outline which incorporates various outlines of outlines you have been outlining throughout the year.

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Cupidity
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby Cupidity » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:17 pm

Doritos wrote:I say start immediately. You can always do an outline of the outline or a meta-outline which incorporates various outlines of outlines you have been outlining throughout the year.


Jesus Christ. You are a student. Have fun. Law school is a marathon, enjoy yourself.

morris248
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby morris248 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:13 pm

You need to start outlining at day 1. Take the professor's syllabus for your major headings and then each case under the main heading. Then fill it in as you go along. As a time saver, you can get an outline from a 2L but only use the headings. You need to fill in your own outline.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:19 pm

morris248 wrote:You need to start outlining at day 1. Take the professor's syllabus for your major headings and then each case under the main heading. Then fill it in as you go along. As a time saver, you can get an outline from a 2L but only use the headings. You need to fill in your own outline.


No, you need to be more proactive. I think it is absolutely required to start outlining about a week in advance of the first day of classes. You must go over your schedule in excruciating detail and figure out the pre-assigned chapters and go through the whole casebook. Everyone else's outlines will be inferior, so you need to make yours from scratch for every class.

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Doritos
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby Doritos » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:24 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
morris248 wrote:You need to start outlining at day 1. Take the professor's syllabus for your major headings and then each case under the main heading. Then fill it in as you go along. As a time saver, you can get an outline from a 2L but only use the headings. You need to fill in your own outline.


No, you need to be more proactive. I think it is absolutely required to start outlining about a week in advance of the first day of classes. You must go over your schedule in excruciating detail and figure out the pre-assigned chapters and go through the whole casebook. Everyone else's outlines will be inferior, so you need to make yours from scratch for every class.


I was half way done outlining my response to this post when I realized you made it in jest.

23402385985
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby 23402385985 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:25 pm

Might as well start now while the workload is light. Get it started, get the feel of it, and set the basis for how you want to outline out now. That's my justification for starting now. As said, it's a marathon. So do the outline like you would a marathon. Chug along throughout the race and when everyone is freaking out trying to get theirs done, you will be studying yours and editing it down. I'm sure well over half the people in school are going to wait until two weeks before exams to begin their outlines no matter how many times it's emphasized by faculty that that isn't the best idea.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:09 pm

Outlining is about the big picture. Outlining early makes you focus on needless details because you haven't yet figured out where the professor is going, or what is important or not.

Instead, if you outline after the bulk of class is done, you'll craft your outline with ALL sections in mind, and you will see the overlap as you build and structure your outline.

Wait until later when you start thinking like a lawyer before you begin to make your own personal exam bible. Your early work will be lousy. You have to understand something before you can write about it. Surrender to full time outlining post-thanksgiving and you will do well.

And other people's outlines were always shitty - yours will always be better if you bust your ass and craft a fine one. Sure, read several others, but make your own. When you find a mistake in someone else's outline, you know you're learning the material.

It takes about 4 (non-stop working) days to outline an entire 3 credit class. 5 days for a 4 credit class. 12-14 hour days. Plan accordingly, but wait until the end.

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istara
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby istara » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:37 am

bceagles182 wrote:TCR is to start in about mid-October. You want to have them up to date by the time you need to bear down on the memo and then get them back up to date after the memo.


This is what I was planning to do until I learned that I have a mid-October torts midterm (25% of the grade) and a professor that seems to want to cover absolutely everything in great detail, as quickly as possible. I think I'm going to have to start outlining for that class quite soon or be drowned by the restatement..

nborders
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby nborders » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:10 pm

I was wondering out outlining for midterms too. I have midterms in both torts and property. I guess I need to start pretty soon for those.

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YourCaptain
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby YourCaptain » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:27 pm

Start around early-October. Do not start now. It is too early and you simply don't have enough information to understand where your outline will be going.

The value of making an outline lies in giving you perspective. If you make a good outline, the organization of it will be very important, not just for reference, but primarily in the re-familiarization of old material and its incorporation with newer concepts. If you start now, you A) won't know where you're headed conceptually and B) the material will not be as fresh come exam time.

Learn the material, grapple with the concepts, gain some perspective, acquire some older outlines, look at those, and by early-mid October you should have a grasp on what the outline should look like and have a very rudimentary structure of how yours will work.

If you have midterms, then I can't help you. If your final is comprehensive, make one big outline, but if the two exams are exclusive in their subject matter, then try to begin outlining for the midterm 3 weeks prior.

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zeth006
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby zeth006 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:32 am

Conventional wisdom on TLS encourages starting outlines from day one and finishing them by Thanksgiving. That sounds great and all, but your understanding of the subject tends to change over the course of a few months.


I may at least try to hunt down a few outlines and get something going with respect to the basic skeleton. Doubt I'll get far with the way my schedule is getting super busy.

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MC Southstar
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby MC Southstar » Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:44 am

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Outlining is about the big picture. Outlining early makes you focus on needless details because you haven't yet figured out where the professor is going, or what is important or not.


This is the credited response.

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spleenworship
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Re: When to start outlining?

Postby spleenworship » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:17 am

So is everyone on board with the "outline for your midterm 3 weeks in advance" line of thinking? I have at least one, possibly two graded midterms.




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