Critique my Approach

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X_Soda
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 6:41 am

Critique my Approach

Postby X_Soda » Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:50 pm

So I'm a 1L this semester, and I'm looking for a little input on my current study methods. I know, I know -- it's all highly subjective and I should do what works best for me. Well, so far, the method I've been employing works well for me in terms of time management, but surely there are things that 2Ls and 3Ls could see in my methods and say, "You are leaving out THIS vital aspect," or "What you're doing here seems like a bit of a waste of time, when doing X could get you the same results faster." Feel free to bring your biases. This is my approach:

I read the assigned cases for the next day of each course on the day the course is held. So, if my schedule is Torts and Property on Monday, I read the next Torts and Property cases even if Tuesday's sole course is Criminal Law. I take notes on the cases the first time I read them, highlighting relevant policy, issues, and rules. Later in the day, I revisit each case and prepare a very small brief for each case. The briefs look like this:

Facts: (1-2 very terse sentences)
Issue: Short sentence, often quoted from the book
Rules: List of various rules and their elements (if any) that are mentioned in the case.
Holding: The outcome of the case in a short summary sentence
Any policy or dissent considerations.

I find that this helps me retain and engage the material in a more meaningful way. I like to keep them brief, but perhaps I am leaving out a key aspect of the cases that I should be focusing more intensely on. If so, I would desperately like to know. I take the briefs to class, use them for the discussion, and also use them while taking notes. I spend weekends working on LWR stuff and reading E&Es that cover the topics for the next week. I take notes in the E&Es, then revisit them and transfer the notes and relevant sections to a skeletal outline with basic rules in Circus Ponies. I use that as the basis for the next week's in-class notes. I have not begun outlining, but likely will within the next week, revisiting my outline each week to cut/add to it.

I always stay at law school from 9-5:30. I then leave for a workout and continue working from home, but I often find that I don't need to put in the ridiculous hours I see some students putting in, which leads me to believe that I'm missing some key ingredient. I want to be at the top of my class and don't mind crushing a bit of my social life to do so, but I also don't want to do any useless diminishing returns crap that is just going to waste my life and leave me mired in soulless regret. Thoughts?

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kalvano
Posts: 11724
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Critique my Approach

Postby kalvano » Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:55 pm

It's literally whatever works for you. You know yourself best. I like to get all my reading out of the way before the week starts.

You're not missing anything because you're not in the library all day and night.

X_Soda
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 6:41 am

Re: Critique my Approach

Postby X_Soda » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:40 am

I'm just thinking that perhaps I am not focusing on certain areas where I should be giving more attention. Like somehow honing my legal analysis skills or something instead of obsessively focusing on extracting law from cases and looking for issues. Nice avatar, btw.

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kalvano
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Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Critique my Approach

Postby kalvano » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:43 am

Could you be doing something different? Absolutely. Would it be better? Debatable.

As long as you are getting the rule from a case and understanding why you were assigned the case and how it fits into everything, you're on the right track.

abudaba
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:57 pm

Re: Critique my Approach

Postby abudaba » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:29 am

it looks like a solid approach to me - its great that you are engaging the material, and I would offer a comment that might help with that even more because it is so important:

as you take down the issue and rules in your short brief, make sure that you are able to put them in your own words. Better yet, type them out in your own words - this is after all what you will be doing on exams. I think often 1L's will copy a quote from the casebook, memorize it, and call it a day. Best evidence of this are the people who get cold called, parrot the rule to the professor thinking they nailed it, then after the professor asks a harmless follow up like "okay, so what does that mean," they breathe heavily as they randomly flip through pages in the casebook.

If you continue to stay focused and study everything with the exam in mind, I'm sure you will do great.

truevines
Posts: 198
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:16 pm

Re: Critique my Approach

Postby truevines » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:15 pm

.

shock259
Posts: 1737
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: Critique my Approach

Postby shock259 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:18 pm

This is basically my approach. I plan on getting ahead in reading/outlining as the semester draws closer, however. By Nov 1, I want to have my reading and outlines done for the semester. I'll then do practice exams till the end to focus on legal analysis. I'll have to review the readings before class, and my outline will be in flux, but I think this is the best approach for me.

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FeelTheHeat
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:32 am

Re: Critique my Approach

Postby FeelTheHeat » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:35 pm

I read ahead. Cases and supplements. Let teachers fill in the gaps. Miller high life by 9

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Michaela
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:20 am

Re: Critique my Approach

Postby Michaela » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:58 pm

jesus fucking christ

eta: i am torn between being in awe of your dedication and feel like shit myself for not doing the same. but also its week two sooooo....




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