Outlining Tactics

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Kess
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Outlining Tactics

Postby Kess » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:38 pm

Is it a bad idea to use someone else's outline as the basis for my own? Instead of starting an outline from scratch, I'm thinking of comparing the things in this person's outline to things in my notes/text. I'll delete/add things in as seen fit.

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Kess
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby Kess » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:04 pm

Maybe I should have put this in the "Ask a law student" thread, oops.

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kalvano
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby kalvano » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:30 pm

No. As long as you end up going over an outline fairly intensely, it doesn't really matter. The point is to fix the law in your head, how you do it is up to you.

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piccolittle
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby piccolittle » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:37 pm

I did exactly what you're suggesting, OP. It works well if you really know it by the exam.

delusional
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby delusional » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:42 pm

Kess wrote:Is it a bad idea to use someone else's outline as the basis for my own? Instead of starting an outline from scratch, I'm thinking of comparing the things in this person's outline to things in my notes/text. I'll delete/add things in as seen fit.
Some people swear by creating their own, others say it's a waste of time and you can be more efficient using someone else's. You should know what is most likely to work for you.

I have found that creating my own is best. OTOH, I could also see where, especially on longer exams where you are working through the issues rather than pounding them out as fast as possible, using someone else's could be just as effective and much more efficient.

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ilovesf
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby ilovesf » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:08 pm

I am a fan of making my own and just looking at others for thinking about organization and if I get confused by a topic.

shock259
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby shock259 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:17 am

I always made my own. I then compared them to other peoples outlines for organization and content. I found that I primarily "learned" the law through the outlining process + taking sample tests. I don't think I would be able to use someone an outline from someone else very well because it doesn't make you learn the law in the same way. But that's just my two cents. Different strokes for different folks.

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Kess
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby Kess » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:01 am

Thanks for the input everyone... I'm not really sure what will work for me since I've never took a law school exam before. As it stands, it seems like a better idea to take someone else's outline and compare it page-by-page to the notes I took in my textbook, adding or deleting things as I see fit. I guess time will tell if this is a good approach or not.

sophie316
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby sophie316 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:59 am

I always took 2-3 other old outlines, plus my class notes and just combined the 4/reorganised them. Never made one completely from scratch. Found that generally with 3 old outlines plus my notes everything I could possibly need to know was in there, and that by going through each one and comparing them to my own notes and then deciding what to put into my own outline I read everything through several times/it was an active enough process that I retained things well.

ClubberLang
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby ClubberLang » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:15 pm

If you have never taken a law school exam before it probably isn't that prudent to get started looking for shortcuts. Personally I find others outlines to be useless. Generally they are too long, and if it isn't from your professor it probably misses what they emphasize. My approach is to take notes in class, type them into a rough outline, and towards the end of the semester condense this into what can actually be used on a test. Lots of people use outlines others make, but in my experience this is not a tactic of top students. Professors test what they teach.

Another thing I'd suggest is scrapping traditional outline organization (I, A, ii, (c)). Just make a couple paragraphs for each topic, important BLL, and things you want to discuss on an exam if asked and make a table of contents. If you do this well you'll have half your exam written before walking into the room.

morris248
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby morris248 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:27 pm

You need to do your own. There is no problem getting a couple of outlines from students that took the class last semester but hold them until it is time to study for the exam. Use the syllabus as your headings and then fill in your notes during class. Then for the exam drill it down to a 2 page attack outline. If you are not going to do something, skip briefing he cases, huge waste of time.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby Bildungsroman » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:32 pm

morris248 wrote:You need to do your own. There is no problem getting a couple of outlines from students that took the class last semester but hold them until it is time to study for the exam. Use the syllabus as your headings and then fill in your notes during class. Then for the exam drill it down to a 2 page attack outline. If you are not going to do something, skip briefing he cases, huge waste of time.

Wrong. You need to do what works for you. Anyone telling you there is an objectively correct approach to outlining (and even whether to outline), briefing, etc. is thinking that what works for them is the only thing that would work for anyone, which seems arrogant.
Last edited by Bildungsroman on Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AreJay711
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:32 pm

I usually make my own first and then finds someone else's that is legit and either reorganize theirs or add their extra insights to mine if theirs isn't the way I think about the course. I usually compile 2 or 3 others into my outline. Also, definitely come up with a 1-4 page "attack" outline with the basics a couple days before the exam.

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Mick Haller
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby Mick Haller » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:34 pm

for most of my classes, I read 3 or 4 outlines prepared by others. outlines for the same professor are the best, but often outlines based on the same casebook work well too.

that said, I often wished I'd taken the time to write my own. the easiest way for me, was to take very diligent notes during class, and then summarize my class notes into an outline.

don't fall into the crowd during your first year, briefing cases and studying for an exam with a casebook. I even found supplements like E&E to be too time-consuming. (1) take good notes in class (2) make outline from your own notes (3) read 2 or 3 outlines prepared by others to make sure you havent missed anything.

that's about the least time consuming way to be well prepared for a law school exam. I only read for classes if I expected to be called upon to speak in class.

lynch
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby lynch » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:50 am

I think there's now wrong of looking from different ideas, for me you can gain from it, and your ideas will expand.

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sundance95
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby sundance95 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:26 pm

lynch wrote:I think there's now wrong of looking from different ideas, for me you can gain from it, and your ideas will expand.

Image

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AZN MegaPoaster
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby AZN MegaPoaster » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:29 pm

i used them only if they were from the same teacher (and sometimes the same textbook), but only to clarify information. I felt far more comfortable making and using my own.

morris248
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby morris248 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:37 am

Bildungsroman wrote:
morris248 wrote:You need to do your own. There is no problem getting a couple of outlines from students that took the class last semester but hold them until it is time to study for the exam. Use the syllabus as your headings and then fill in your notes during class. Then for the exam drill it down to a 2 page attack outline. If you are not going to do something, skip briefing he cases, huge waste of time.

Wrong. You need to do what works for you. Anyone telling you there is an objectively correct approach to outlining (and even whether to outline), briefing, etc. is thinking that what works for them is the only thing that would work for anyone, which seems arrogant.


Arrogance is not being willing to take advice from someone that actually knows what they are talking about.

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cinephile
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby cinephile » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:58 am

I found doing my own outlines to be a huge time suck and worst of all, writing and cutting it down didn't help me remember the material. Reading outlines prepared by others who had my professor recently was the best help I had. I looked at multiple to see if there were gaps in one or another outline. Super helpful.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby Bildungsroman » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:54 am

morris248 wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:
morris248 wrote:You need to do your own. There is no problem getting a couple of outlines from students that took the class last semester but hold them until it is time to study for the exam. Use the syllabus as your headings and then fill in your notes during class. Then for the exam drill it down to a 2 page attack outline. If you are not going to do something, skip briefing he cases, huge waste of time.

Wrong. You need to do what works for you. Anyone telling you there is an objectively correct approach to outlining (and even whether to outline), briefing, etc. is thinking that what works for them is the only thing that would work for anyone, which seems arrogant.


Arrogance is not being willing to take advice from someone that actually knows what they are talking about.

Someone who knows what they're talkin about would, by definition, frame it as "here's what worked for me." Someone talking out his ass frames it as "here's the way it works." At least when we're talking about something so individual-dependent as success on law school exams.

Or was your post some transparent attempt to whip it (your law school success) out?

FlanSolo
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby FlanSolo » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:11 am

One thing I haven't seen anyone mention (I don't think), but really worked for me was to outline each class, just about every week. There were a couple of advantages to doing this. First, it avoided a time consuming process of outlining at the end of the semester, which allowed me to start on practice tests earlier. Second, because I could start on practice tests earlier, it allowed me to fix gaps in my outline as I took tests, turning the outline in to a more useful test taking tool. Finally, because everything was fresh in my head while outlining, I (imagine) I took note of more nuances than people who were outlining all at the end of the semester (though this may not be true). It would only take 20-30 minutes to outline each class, each week, so it wasn't even all that time consuming.

The only disadvantage I can think of to doing it this way is that it's a bit trickier to organize without a full view of the course, but in most cases, the syllabus or old outlines will help you with that. Also, it takes up time on your weekends.

pballer
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby pballer » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:16 am

I found that this method worked well for me. I sat down 2-3 weeks before exams, went through all of my class notes, and created my outline as I went (succinctly stating rules of law, exceptions, applicable policy concerns, and very brief summaries of notable cases). Where it seemed like my class notes were somewhat thin, I'd go back to the cases and notes in the casebook to supplement. By doing that, I made sure that I not only understood the concepts, but that I was able to articulate those concepts effectively. Where I was unable to do so, I'd talk to students in my section, consult secondary materials, and in one isolated instance I contacted the professor in order to gain a better understanding.

It's not as quick as building an outline off of a preexisting outline, but I found it to be very effective. I also found that by doing it this way I didn't have to re-learn things that I'd already outlined (some of my classmates who outlined as the class progressed seemed to have this problem). One obviously important component of creating outlines this way is to take good notes in class. If you don't do that, this method isn't feasible.

Edit: for most classes this resulted in a 30-40 page outline. I find longer outlines to be unmanageable.

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Kess
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby Kess » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:47 am

Thank you everyone for the very helpful suggestions...

Another (sort of off topic) thing- is it generally a good or bad idea to use the professor's language in the model answers for your answers?

for10s88
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Re: Outlining Tactics

Postby for10s88 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:13 am

When possible, use the professor's language.

You should still realize that SOME professors give ZERO points for stating the rule of law. They only give points of applying the facts. You won't get far having the perfect outline completely memorized if you can't see important issues and apply the law in your head to the facts on the paper. Focus more on practicing with your outline than on creating the best outline in the class.




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