If I could do my first semester over again...

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar
underdawg
Posts: 1131
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:15 am

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby underdawg » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:12 am

hey ed did you see the admin sample answer where the prof fell asleep in the middle of writing it? good times

it went like this...

blah blah chevrronnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

awiotljwtk wioetjewlrw

wetwajo

User avatar
BradyToMoss
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:00 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby BradyToMoss » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:24 am

edcrane wrote:I would have done exactly what I did in the second semester.

During the second semester I didn't refer to any supplements and didn't brief any cases. During the first half of the semester I did very little work outside of reading cases. During the second half of the second semester, I put a decent amount of time into outlining. Based on the syllabuses, I produced big hearty 40+ page outlines that I later distilled into 15-20 page outlines and 2 page ultra-condensed charts of the law. For the classes that involved policy, I also spent some time finding (on lexis) and outlining major policy points.

Before the exams, I did a lot of practice tests and tried to discern the best format for each professor. One professor wanted extremely mechanical answers, so I produced well organized but boring IRAC answers. Another had given us sample answers that were extremely concise and had a sort of practical tone. I mimicked this format and tone, writing what was likely one of the shortest exam answers in the class. Finally, one had emphasized in class that we should stick to the obvious stuff she was attempting to elicit with each prompt. I did precisely that, attempting to differentiate my exam on the basis of policy answers rather than breadth of legal analysis.

Result: GPA > 4.0.



I took the opposite approach of Ed as far as the materials I used to prepare (All supplements, no casebooks or assigned readings) but also had 4+ both semesters. I think the important thing is that both of us focused on the professor, referring to old exams and sample answers, and creating outlines that were well suited for the type of exam the prof would give. I also did lots of practice tests (outlining issues only, never writing them out fully), and also tried mimicking the format that old sample answers had used.

User avatar
edcrane
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:28 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby edcrane » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:52 am

underdawg wrote:hey ed did you see the admin sample answer where the prof fell asleep in the middle of writing it? good times

it went like this...

blah blah chevrronnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

awiotljwtk wioetjewlrw

wetwajo


To be fair, that accurately describes the majority of the sample answers. They were all around 1100 words, consisting of 1050 blahs and 50 chevron/c.f. brown & williamson/etc.

I carefully crafted my answer according to this proportion.

AdCommie
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:42 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby AdCommie » Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:23 pm

BradyToMoss wrote:I took the opposite approach of Ed as far as the materials I used to prepare (All supplements, no casebooks or assigned readings) but also had 4+ both semesters. I think the important thing is that both of us focused on the professor, referring to old exams and sample answers, and creating outlines that were well suited for the type of exam the prof would give. I also did lots of practice tests (outlining issues only, never writing them out fully), and also tried mimicking the format that old sample answers had used.


So how do you know what outline is well suited for the exam? Are you getting good outlines from 2/3Ls? Modeling it according to the practice exams?

User avatar
steve_nash
Posts: 256
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:35 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby steve_nash » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:28 pm

i would really chose carefully who i did a study group with, and when i did it. second semester, i only did them around finals time, when people were generally prepared, and with people i knew had done well the previous semester. a little clickish, true. but no point on wasting time--happened first semester.

ls2009
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:35 am

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby ls2009 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:09 am

awesome thread!

User avatar
ChattelCat
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:59 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby ChattelCat » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:27 pm

AdCommie wrote:
BradyToMoss wrote:I took the opposite approach of Ed as far as the materials I used to prepare (All supplements, no casebooks or assigned readings) but also had 4+ both semesters. I think the important thing is that both of us focused on the professor, referring to old exams and sample answers, and creating outlines that were well suited for the type of exam the prof would give. I also did lots of practice tests (outlining issues only, never writing them out fully), and also tried mimicking the format that old sample answers had used.


So how do you know what outline is well suited for the exam? Are you getting good outlines from 2/3Ls? Modeling it according to the practice exams?


I think it's kind of hard to say what a "good" outline is because some of it really depends on you and what you need to remember and how you understand the material. I got outlines from 2L's and 3L's but really only used them to check my own outlines to make sure I hadn't left out anything big. I know some people on here are anti-outlining but the process of going through all of my notes and the class materials to create my own outline was really when the real learning took place for me. The outline is just that, an outline. It shouldn't be a depository for notes - it should be more of a memory tool. Then I would go back and slowly edit my outlines down until they were about 20-25 pages tops (my Civ Pro was only 16). This editing process was how I really learned them. Second semester I got one outline from someone who had CALI'd the class the year before expecting it to be a huge time saver and was sorely disappointed because, while it covered everything in the class, the way it was organized didn't really make sense so I ended up making my own anyhow.

Oh and I totally agree that focusing on the professor is absolutely the way to go. I did that from day 1 in all my classes and I think it really paid off. I didn't try mimicking the structure exam answers because only one of my professors actually had old exams available but I definitely think I'll try that next year.

User avatar
JPeavy44
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:57 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby JPeavy44 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:35 pm

ChattelCat wrote:
AdCommie wrote:
BradyToMoss wrote:I took the opposite approach of Ed as far as the materials I used to prepare (All supplements, no casebooks or assigned readings) but also had 4+ both semesters. I think the important thing is that both of us focused on the professor, referring to old exams and sample answers, and creating outlines that were well suited for the type of exam the prof would give. I also did lots of practice tests (outlining issues only, never writing them out fully), and also tried mimicking the format that old sample answers had used.


So how do you know what outline is well suited for the exam? Are you getting good outlines from 2/3Ls? Modeling it according to the practice exams?


I think it's kind of hard to say what a "good" outline is because some of it really depends on you and what you need to remember and how you understand the material. I got outlines from 2L's and 3L's but really only used them to check my own outlines to make sure I hadn't left out anything big. I know some people on here are anti-outlining but the process of going through all of my notes and the class materials to create my own outline was really when the real learning took place for me. The outline is just that, an outline. It shouldn't be a depository for notes - it should be more of a memory tool. Then I would go back and slowly edit my outlines down until they were about 20-25 pages tops (my Civ Pro was only 16). This editing process was how I really learned them. Second semester I got one outline from someone who had CALI'd the class the year before expecting it to be a huge time saver and was sorely disappointed because, while it covered everything in the class, the way it was organized didn't really make sense so I ended up making my own anyhow.

Oh and I totally agree that focusing on the professor is absolutely the way to go. I did that from day 1 in all my classes and I think it really paid off. I didn't try mimicking the structure exam answers because only one of my professors actually had old exams available but I definitely think I'll try that next year.


So you'd have a separate thing for just your notes that you take in class n such and then throughout the semester you'd continually alter your outline from your notes?

User avatar
iagolives
Posts: 687
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:24 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby iagolives » Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:21 am

I think this should be stickied, FWIW.

User avatar
nightlight
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:20 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby nightlight » Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:27 am

iagolives wrote:I think this should be stickied, FWIW.

+1

Until then...... tagged.

User avatar
OperaAttorney
Posts: 517
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:48 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby OperaAttorney » Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:33 am

nightlight wrote:
iagolives wrote:I think this should be stickied, FWIW.

+1

Until then...... tagged.


Yeppers.

User avatar
Cole S. Law
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:50 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Cole S. Law » Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:46 am

Great info. Will return in 7 months to share with future 1Ls...pay it forward and whatnot.

User avatar
BradyToMoss
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:00 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby BradyToMoss » Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:21 am

I only made an outline for one class. All the others I used old outlines that I had gotten in the beginning or middle of the semester. Once I had a good one I would read along with that during class and edit as I felt necessary, redacting information I thought wasn't of much use, and adding something if it were a new topic or the outline lacked it and I thought it was important information (Ctrl-F becomes very useful since outlines aren't class-by-class outlines).

The one class I did an outline for was in 1st semester, and the professor was new to the school. Made my own outline because the ones from his old school I could get a hold of were crap. Making my own outline taught me the subject inside and out (probably better than I knew any other subject), and I would recommend it for all 1st semester classes.

For classes in which I used old outlines and didn't have notes of my own I always read the supplement on which I would rely before reviewing the outlines. For these classes I think the supplement taught me most of what I knew, and the outlines became tools that helped me review what I had learned and helped highlight the areas that the professor covered more closely or had a different take on the issue. I used this approach for two classes 1st semester, and all 4 second semester. It is definitely more efficient, but would probably not prepare you as well for taking a law school exam if you had not gone through the process before.

In the end, I rarely looked to the outline during an exam, and never once for most classes. I did create Table of Contents for my outlines (and a table of cases listing their page # in the outline, page # in the casebook, and the page # in my CaseBriefs book), and tabs for the major topics. This may have saved a little time, and should provide some mental comfort going into the test, knowing you have a quick back-up if you happen to blank on a certain area of the law come test time. If you prepare yourself properly, you will know the subject well enough that you wish it were a closed-book exam because you know you don't need yours. 3-4 hours seems like a long time for an exam, but law school exams are all about hitting as many points as you can and the exams have more points than you could fully cover in the allotted time, no matter how fast you think and type.

snotrocket
Posts: 334
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:13 am

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby snotrocket » Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:43 am

Cole S. Law wrote:Great info. Will return in 7 months to share with future 1Ls...pay it forward and whatnot.

You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.

User avatar
Cole S. Law
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:50 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Cole S. Law » Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:41 am

snotrocket wrote:
Cole S. Law wrote:Great info. Will return in 7 months to share with future 1Ls...pay it forward and whatnot.

You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.



??? I think it does.

http://www.wikihow.com/Pay-It-Forward

User avatar
ChattelCat
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:59 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby ChattelCat » Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:03 am

JPeavy44 wrote:
So you'd have a separate thing for just your notes that you take in class n such and then throughout the semester you'd continually alter your outline from your notes?


I used Microsoft OneNote (which is a fantastic program) so I would take notes as a read (first semester I briefed every case, second semester not so much) and then take class notes on the other side of the page in a different color. In OneNote I had separate notebooks for each subject and then the section tabs along the top I used for chapters/units and then each individual page within the notebook was usually a separate case. The nice part about OneNote is that you can organize things however they makes sense to you - the way I did it is nothing special, it just made sense to me. I thought this was far superior to having to sort through one 80 page Word document - but I know a lot of people who did it that way too.

I started outlining about halfway through the semester which seemed to be far enough into the class that I had enough of an idea of the "big picture" that I could put together a coherent and useful outline. I tried to start earlier first semester but just ended up having to re-do most of the initial portions that I had done. Also, for me a big part of outlining is really committing the information to memory for the exam so doing it too early in the semester wasn't as helpful because I basically ended up having to go over all my notes again anyhow to make sense of the earliest parts of my own outline since so much time had passed (well, okay, not really that much time, but in terms of the information overload that is first semester of law school, it seemed like ages)

Again, this is just me. Even though you probably feel pressure to have a study technique set and ready to go by day 1 (I know I tried to) but you'll have to tailor any method to you own style of learning by trial and error. I wish there was some perfect "technique" but after a year I've realized there isn't and I'm still planning on trying different things next year as well. Also please believe me when I say that there will be time first semester to figure this out. I would just go in with a lot of different ideas and be open to trying everything. (e.g. the rainbow highlighter method - some people love it, I personally don't, but I did try it)

User avatar
BradyToMoss
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:00 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby BradyToMoss » Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:27 pm

^OneNote is incredible, both for law school and general organization.

User avatar
underdawg
Posts: 1131
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:15 am

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby underdawg » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:21 am

don't rainbow color highlight if you want to have any friends

User avatar
dotcom
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 5:01 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby dotcom » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:36 am

BradyToMoss wrote:^OneNote is incredible, both for law school and general organization.



Is there a comparable program for Macs?

AdCommie
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:42 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby AdCommie » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:47 am

dotcom wrote:
BradyToMoss wrote:^OneNote is incredible, both for law school and general organization.



Is there a comparable program for Macs?


I heard Omnioutliner is pretty sweet. http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnioutliner/

User avatar
BradyToMoss
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:00 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby BradyToMoss » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:00 pm

underdawg wrote:don't rainbow color highlight if you want to have any friends


Best advice yet.

arich24
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:33 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby arich24 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:01 pm

Broken up with the ex sooner so it wouldn't have happened the week before the final memo and finals.

Been tested for hyperglycemia before devouring a regular vanilla coke and Snickers powerbar...15 minutes before the Civ Pro exam. DUMB.

Outlined throughout the semester instead of Thanksgiving break.

Other than that, 1st semester was AWESOME!!! Met so many awesome people, partied like I was 20 (haha), and experienced snow for teh first time!

User avatar
JPeavy44
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:57 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby JPeavy44 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:01 pm

I've read which supplements are recommended, but what about hornbooks or gilberts? I'm not sure exactly what their purpose is but I remember my tour guide at my school talking about them. Are they helpful?

Mark71121
Posts: 132
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 3:39 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Mark71121 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:06 pm

JPeavy44 wrote:I've read which supplements are recommended, but what about hornbooks or gilberts? I'm not sure exactly what their purpose is but I remember my tour guide at my school talking about them. Are they helpful?


i found the gilberts commercial outlines helpful for property and crim proc. you basically want those for classes that are heavy on black letter law.

User avatar
ChattelCat
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:59 pm

Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby ChattelCat » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:58 pm

Mark71121 wrote:
JPeavy44 wrote:I've read which supplements are recommended, but what about hornbooks or gilberts? I'm not sure exactly what their purpose is but I remember my tour guide at my school talking about them. Are they helpful?


i found the gilberts commercial outlines helpful for property and crim proc. you basically want those for classes that are heavy on black letter law.


agreed. It depends on the class. Although if I had to do it all over again I probably would have only bought one commercial outline (the Gilbert's for Property because it was written by my casebook author) cause the other ones I bought I didn't even pick up - but if you can get them cheaply (a lot of 2L's at my school were selling them at the beginning of the year for $10) it can't hurt to have them on hand I suppose.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ndp1234, ppatel5150 and 6 guests