How to study outlines

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
rawrab
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:28 pm

How to study outlines

Postby rawrab » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:16 pm

So for most of my classes I have around a 30-40 pg outline at this point. For the exam how do I go about studying it? Do I memorize the full 40 pages or condense it down to like 10 pages and then memorize that?

User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby traehekat » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:35 pm

might depend a little bit on if you can use your outline or not. if you can then i would just break it down into a small check list of things to go over while you are taking the exam and then just refer to your bigger outline for little rules, nuances, phrases, etc. if not then i would take more pains to memorize a lot of it i guess. just remember its more important to understand how the big concepts in each class actually work than it is to have every single exception to an exception memorized.

rawrab
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:28 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby rawrab » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:36 pm

I should add that I have all closed book exams except for 1

User avatar
leobowski
Posts: 511
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:11 am

Re: How to study outlines

Postby leobowski » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:47 pm

Break it down to 5-10 pages and memorize it (for closed book exams). Most people use notecards for this process.

User avatar
Gettingstarted1928
Posts: 407
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:45 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:51 pm

traehekat wrote:might depend a little bit on if you can use your outline or not. if you can then i would just break it down into a small check list of things to go over while you are taking the exam and then just refer to your bigger outline for little rules, nuances, phrases, etc. if not then i would take more pains to memorize a lot of it i guess. just remember its more important to understand how the big concepts in each class actually work than it is to have every single exception to an exception memorized.



I've heard a couple people say this. Could you elaborate?

StyrofoamWar
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:16 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby StyrofoamWar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:45 pm

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:
traehekat wrote:might depend a little bit on if you can use your outline or not. if you can then i would just break it down into a small check list of things to go over while you are taking the exam and then just refer to your bigger outline for little rules, nuances, phrases, etc. if not then i would take more pains to memorize a lot of it i guess. just remember its more important to understand how the big concepts in each class actually work than it is to have every single exception to an exception memorized.



I've heard a couple people say this. Could you elaborate?


Big topics = implicated in lots of fact patterns

Exceptions/nuances = implicated only in very specific fact patterns.

You're real likely to see an offer/acceptance issue on a K's exams. As in, basically guaranteed (depending on how its taught, clearly). Whether or not a certain exception to rules of offer/acceptance will only come up in really narrow fact patterns.

Play the odds! Make sure you've got the general topics down cold, since those are so incredibly likely to be on your test

morris248
Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:30 am

Re: How to study outlines

Postby morris248 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:23 pm

There are usually 14 key legal issues per course. You must memorize this list and be able to reproduce it in shorthand form. Practice writing out your list over and over until you can reproduce it in less than one minute. There are usually six to ten major cases. You need know the facts from each case by heart since you will see them on the exam. Again, memorize the cases in shorthand form and list them below the 14 issues. Practice so the list only takes you two or three minutes. When the test starts, immediately prepare your 14/10 list so you will have it to refer to as you take the test.

StyrofoamWar
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:16 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby StyrofoamWar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:02 pm

morris248 wrote:There are usually 14 key legal issues per course. You must memorize this list and be able to reproduce it in shorthand form. Practice writing out your list over and over until you can reproduce it in less than one minute. There are usually six to ten major cases. You need know the facts from each case by heart since you will see them on the exam. Again, memorize the cases in shorthand form and list them below the 14 issues. Practice so the list only takes you two or three minutes. When the test starts, immediately prepare your 14/10 list so you will have it to refer to as you take the test.


Totally disagree. These numbers are so arbitrary. A ton of professors don't require case names/recall at all.

Know the major topics, however many there are, don't pick a number. And don't waste time with cases unless professor requires them explicitly. I have never voluntarily cited a case in my life on a test.

User avatar
biglaw$
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:18 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby biglaw$ » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:15 pm

I study mine by reading it and refining it. Cutting it down. Typing it out a few times. Most of all, applying it to practice tests under timed conditions.

User avatar
MC Southstar
Posts: 1238
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:27 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby MC Southstar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:41 pm

Attack sheet bro.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby 09042014 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:42 pm

Use it to do hypos, and practice exams.

User avatar
goosey
Posts: 1543
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:48 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby goosey » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:16 pm

MC Southstar wrote:Attack sheet bro.


yeah, even if youre not allowed to take in, making an attack sheet helps you learn because its basically a condensed outline.

if you put issue and then list the elements underneath, it will give you a complete list of every possible thing you can encounter on the exam. after that read it over and over again and explain it to yourself.

i think: read your outline [talk to yourself..say it out loud and explain the concepts as you go through it] at least 10 times. then make an "attack sheet" and then go through it over and over just by looking at the issue [zoning out the list of elements] and saying "You need to have an offer and an acceptance..an offer is xyz, issues that arise in offers are abc.."---as if you are teaching a class :) it works! saying it out loud helps becaus enot only are you saying it, you are hearing it over and over as well.

then do a crapload of practice exams

User avatar
D'Angelo
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:29 am

Re: How to study outlines

Postby D'Angelo » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:32 pm

for open book exams is this length too long? people are saying that you shouldnt look at your outline at all...

User avatar
Gettingstarted1928
Posts: 407
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:45 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:28 pm

D'Angelo wrote:for open book exams is this length too long? people are saying that you shouldnt look at your outline at all...



I've heard this too, but it seems like other people suggest going straight to the section in your outline so that you don't miss anything.

User avatar
5ky
Posts: 6384
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby 5ky » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:23 am

D'Angelo wrote:for open book exams is this length too long? people are saying that you shouldnt look at your outline at all...


For my 1L spring, mine were ~60 each. 30-40 is a good length, though.

User avatar
biglaw$
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:18 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby biglaw$ » Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:47 pm

5ky wrote:
D'Angelo wrote:for open book exams is this length too long? people are saying that you shouldnt look at your outline at all...


For my 1L spring, mine were ~60 each. 30-40 is a good length, though.


Those are some pretty long outlines. The entirety of my class notes don't even total 60 pages. 15-20 pages is the max I'll bring into an exam. IMO any longer and you're just wasting time, no way you'll cover everything. Booked two classes with outlines of 7 pages and 15 pages.

User avatar
5ky
Posts: 6384
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby 5ky » Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:32 pm

biglaw$ wrote:
5ky wrote:
D'Angelo wrote:for open book exams is this length too long? people are saying that you shouldnt look at your outline at all...


For my 1L spring, mine were ~60 each. 30-40 is a good length, though.


Those are some pretty long outlines. The entirety of my class notes don't even total 60 pages. 15-20 pages is the max I'll bring into an exam. IMO any longer and you're just wasting time, no way you'll cover everything. Booked two classes with outlines of 7 pages and 15 pages.


I brought them, but I had them memorized, so length was not really an issue.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1394
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:59 pm

morris248 wrote:There are usually 14 key legal issues per course. You must memorize this list and be able to reproduce it in shorthand form. Practice writing out your list over and over until you can reproduce it in less than one minute. There are usually six to ten major cases. You need know the facts from each case by heart since you will see them on the exam. Again, memorize the cases in shorthand form and list them below the 14 issues. Practice so the list only takes you two or three minutes. When the test starts, immediately prepare your 14/10 list so you will have it to refer to as you take the test.


This generally, but not so particularized.

Basically, boil it down to a one page, hand-written listing of every major topic, with subsets of every major rule and its elements. I used mnemonic devices to remeber the first letter of (1) the major topics, then (2) the sub rules and all their elements. I ended up having five or six nonsensical sentances that, once remembered, gave me the first letter of everything. I then remembered where to place each letter on the page, and then I would practice recreating the outline over and over.

Commit it to memory so you can jot it down first thing - but don't work on committing it to memory until the day before the exam, so it will be fresh.

This way, you can brain dump as soon as the exam begins, and now you have an outline you can refer to as you go along to be sure you hit every element.

BTW - with some exceptions, a 30-40 page outline is far too long. You probably have way too many facts from cases listed, when what is really most important are the basic facts and the rule elements. Edit it down to 20 pages or so, so that you can read it front to back three times in an hour.

User avatar
5ky
Posts: 6384
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby 5ky » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:07 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
morris248 wrote:There are usually 14 key legal issues per course. You must memorize this list and be able to reproduce it in shorthand form. Practice writing out your list over and over until you can reproduce it in less than one minute. There are usually six to ten major cases. You need know the facts from each case by heart since you will see them on the exam. Again, memorize the cases in shorthand form and list them below the 14 issues. Practice so the list only takes you two or three minutes. When the test starts, immediately prepare your 14/10 list so you will have it to refer to as you take the test.


This generally, but not so particularized.

Basically, boil it down to a one page, hand-written listing of every major topic, with subsets of every major rule and its elements. I used mnemonic devices to remeber the first letter of (1) the major topics, then (2) the sub rules and all their elements. I ended up having five or six nonsensical sentances that, once remembered, gave me the first letter of everything. I then remembered where to place each letter on the page, and then I would practice recreating the outline over and over.

Commit it to memory so you can jot it down first thing - but don't work on committing it to memory until the day before the exam, so it will be fresh.

This way, you can brain dump as soon as the exam begins, and now you have an outline you can refer to as you go along to be sure you hit every element.

BTW - with some exceptions, a 30-40 page outline is far too long. You probably have way too many facts from cases listed, when what is really most important are the basic facts and the rule elements. Edit it down to 20 pages or so, so that you can read it front to back three times in an hour.


It annoys me when people make claims like this. Any outlining thread inevitably turns into people saying that others should do exactly what they did. You can do really well with short outlines. You can do really well with long outlines. You can do really well if you rely on your outline during the exam, and can do really well if you barely look at your outline. You can also do really poorly with any of these.

Sure, 60 pages is too long if you aren't familiar with the material, and have to look everything up, but that's not how I studied. 60 pages included just about everything from the course that was discussed, implications, policy arguments, etc. The purpose of that was to have everything right there, all organized, from which I could study.

StyrofoamWar
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:16 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby StyrofoamWar » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:17 pm

5ky wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:
morris248 wrote:There are usually 14 key legal issues per course. You must memorize this list and be able to reproduce it in shorthand form. Practice writing out your list over and over until you can reproduce it in less than one minute. There are usually six to ten major cases. You need know the facts from each case by heart since you will see them on the exam. Again, memorize the cases in shorthand form and list them below the 14 issues. Practice so the list only takes you two or three minutes. When the test starts, immediately prepare your 14/10 list so you will have it to refer to as you take the test.


This generally, but not so particularized.

Basically, boil it down to a one page, hand-written listing of every major topic, with subsets of every major rule and its elements. I used mnemonic devices to remeber the first letter of (1) the major topics, then (2) the sub rules and all their elements. I ended up having five or six nonsensical sentances that, once remembered, gave me the first letter of everything. I then remembered where to place each letter on the page, and then I would practice recreating the outline over and over.

Commit it to memory so you can jot it down first thing - but don't work on committing it to memory until the day before the exam, so it will be fresh.

This way, you can brain dump as soon as the exam begins, and now you have an outline you can refer to as you go along to be sure you hit every element.

BTW - with some exceptions, a 30-40 page outline is far too long. You probably have way too many facts from cases listed, when what is really most important are the basic facts and the rule elements. Edit it down to 20 pages or so, so that you can read it front to back three times in an hour.


It annoys me when people make claims like this. Any outlining thread inevitably turns into people saying that others should do exactly what they did. You can do really well with short outlines. You can do really well with long outlines. You can do really well if you rely on your outline during the exam, and can do really well if you barely look at your outline. You can also do really poorly with any of these.

Sure, 60 pages is too long if you aren't familiar with the material, and have to look everything up, but that's not how I studied. 60 pages included just about everything from the course that was discussed, implications, policy arguments, etc. The purpose of that was to have everything right there, all organized, from which I could study.


+1,000,000

Find what works for you. Outlining is a means to an end, not an end in itself

Apple Tree
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:19 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby Apple Tree » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:23 pm

As for taking practice exams (for open book class), is it better to study outline and take the practice exam w/o referring to the outline, and then make adjustments to the outline and study again and then take practice exam again; or is it better to take practice exams referring back to the outlines?

User avatar
5ky
Posts: 6384
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: How to study outlines

Postby 5ky » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:34 pm

Apple Tree wrote:As for taking practice exams (for open book class), is it better to study outline and take the practice exam w/o referring to the outline, and then make adjustments to the outline and study again and then take practice exam again; or is it better to take practice exams referring back to the outlines?


I think the best thing to do, always, is try to take the practice exam under exam conditions, just like you did when studying for the LSAT. If your exam is open-book, then it's probably helpful to take the exam with your outline there, if only to get used to it. I had never taken an open-book exam before, and so having an outline in front of me was a bit of an adjustment the first couple of practice exams.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: sam91 and 7 guests