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

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

Postby fluffybunny » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:17 pm

spleenworship wrote:Why do you recommend briefing all the cases?

Because it leaves me with really complete notes which is nice come exam time. Plus, I actually understand the material if I've spent some serious time with it ahead of time. That means that I can listen for nuance and professor style in class instead of trying to figure out what's going on in the cases.

I might be over-studying, but the system works and I don't mind the extra time. The fluffybunny method isn't for everyone, but I'm basically married to it since I've performed WAAAYYYYY better (top 2%; moderately-sized (but not too big) law; fed clerkship) than my incoming stats would have suggested (under both medians; pretty far below LSAT median).

Also, since I barely got in, I'm paying sticker, so I need the grades to get the job so I don't wither under a pile of non-dischargeable debt.

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

Postby dingbat » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:31 pm

I agree. Two further points:
When you're outlining, you can just slot in parts of your briefs.
You can print out your outlines and take them into an open book exam, for quick reference. This is particularly useful when a professor says she wants to see citations / authority for anything you say

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bk1
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby bk1 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:48 pm

dingbat wrote:You can print out your outlines and take them into an open book exam, for quick reference. This is particularly useful when a professor says she wants to see citations / authority for anything you say

This is true of any outline and has nothing to do with briefing or reading.

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

Postby dingbat » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:02 pm

bk1 wrote:
dingbat wrote:You can print out your outlines and take them into an open book exam, for quick reference. This is particularly useful when a professor says she wants to see citations / authority for anything you say

This is true of any outline and has nothing to do with briefing or reading.

Sorry, I meant to say you can print out your briefs for quick reference

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

Postby spleenworship » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:25 pm

dingbat wrote:
bk1 wrote:
dingbat wrote:You can print out your outlines and take them into an open book exam, for quick reference. This is particularly useful when a professor says she wants to see citations / authority for anything you say

This is true of any outline and has nothing to do with briefing or reading.

Sorry, I meant to say you can print out your briefs for quick reference


But this would contradict the maxim that your outline should be short as all hell to avoid spending time flipping pages when you should be typing, yes?

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

Postby dingbat » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:48 pm

spleenworship wrote:But this would contradict the maxim that your outline should be short as all hell to avoid spending time flipping pages when you should be typing, yes?

I typically took 4 things into my exams*:
1) a short (3-5 page) summary of every topic. Basically a memory job (For Contracts, we were specifically told to cite cases, so I also created a cheat sheet listing every case and the key point/issue, organized by topic, which was about 3 pages)
2) an outline (20-25 pages) that included details
3) briefs for all my cases
4) The textbook and extra applicable items (e.g. UCC)

As an example, the summary would have 1 line under MPC:
Mens Rea: Purposefully, Knowingly, Recklessly, Negligently

The outline would have a separate line for each of these, followed by a brief description

I'd then have 1 or 2 case briefs for each of these, which are no longer than a page, giving a brief example of each.

The summary is basically an issue spotter checklist, telling me what kind of things to consider. In the above example, I know I need to spend some time discussing the mental state of the defendant. If, for some reason, I couldn't remember the difference between mental states, I'd then look to my outline for a brief description.
In all likelihood, part of the exam question may resemble a case you worked on. An example from a past exam is that the question involved a drag race in a stolen car resulting in a head-on collision. Well, not being entirely sure whether the other drag racer would have accomplice liability for the innocent accident victim, I'd look up a case we discussed in class about drag racing, discussing whether a drag racer is liable if his opponent gets killed. Looking over the reasoning on the brief, I'd then have a ready-made argument to slot into my answer.

For my open book exams, I scanned my checklist for each question, and made a list of all the different issues. Typically, I could answer each one without referencing my outline, but every so often I needed to give it a quick peek.

For Crim, I did not look at my case briefs at all, but I did look something up in my textbook once.

For Contracts, because we needed to cite cases, I used both the checklist and my case list cheat sheet. I barely used my outline (once?) but several times I double-checked to make sure that the case I was referencing matched up in the way I thought it did, or I wasn't sure exactly how it fit in, so I looked it up to make sure I got it right.


A big tip I have for exam time is to tab all your material. For example in my outline, stack of case briefs, and textbooks, I had a yellow tab sticking out for Rape, a green tab for Homicide, a pink tab for Aiding & Abetting, etc. That way, you're not flipping like crazy trying to find the right page, but can home in on it in 2 seconds flat

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

Postby spleenworship » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:53 pm

dingbat wrote:

A big tip I have for exam time is to tab all your material. For example in my outline, stack of case briefs, and textbooks, I had a yellow tab sticking out for Rape, a green tab for Homicide, a pink tab for Aiding & Abetting, etc. That way, you're not flipping like crazy trying to find the right page, but can home in on it in 2 seconds flat



I three hole punch mine and put it in a 3 ring binder. In addition to tabs I also put in tabbed dividers so that it was even quicker to flip. For Torts, for instance, I put a divider in between each element of negligence, and then tabbed the subsections. Another divider for intentional torts with tabs for each section, and a divider at the front which my attack outline (2 pages, with an attached 1 page table of contents referencing page numbers on my outline) went in front of.

Future 1Ls, if you are reading, I think the important thing is to use what we talk about to come up with ideas of what works for you.

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bk1
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby bk1 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:00 pm

spleenworship wrote:
dingbat wrote:
bk1 wrote:
dingbat wrote:You can print out your outlines and take them into an open book exam, for quick reference. This is particularly useful when a professor says she wants to see citations / authority for anything you say

This is true of any outline and has nothing to do with briefing or reading.

Sorry, I meant to say you can print out your briefs for quick reference


But this would contradict the maxim that your outline should be short as all hell to avoid spending time flipping pages when you should be typing, yes?

Alternatively: go to a school where you can use digital copies of your outline. ctrl+f = AWWWYEAH!!! :mrgreen:

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

Postby dingbat » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:01 pm

spleenworship wrote:Future 1Ls, if you are reading, I think the important thing is to use what we talk about to come up with ideas of what works for you.

exactly.

Part of your exam prep should be to come up with a methodology that will allow you to look up whatever you need to look up as quickly as possible.

A girl in my section had a 70 page outline - not only is that a big no-no because it's just too much, she then had to waste time finding whatever she was looking for each time she was stuck.
While you do not need to be typing every second of the exam (take a minute or two to organize your thoughts first) you don't want to interrupt your thought process, and you want to be able to type while you think. During a 3 hour exam, taking 30 seconds to look something up doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you do so 10 times per question (which is not unreasonable), over those 3 questions you've lost a quarter hour you didn't need to lose

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

Postby doceydoe » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:14 pm

1.) leave the highlighters at home. better yet no highlighters period. highlighting is misleading. you think you are learning whatever it is you marked when all you did was mark something.

2.) not get caught up in minutiae when briefing cases (even at the risk of looking stupid during a cold call)

3.) limit involvement in extracurricular activities

4.) buy car and rent parking spot instead of trying to save money w/mass transit (damn you suze orman!)

5.) quit job (wtf was i thinking!?)

6.) invest in E&E's

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

Postby spleenworship » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:28 pm

bk1 wrote:Alternatively: go to a school where you can use digital copies of your outline. ctrl+f = AWWWYEAH!!! :mrgreen:



I'm so jelly.

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

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:32 pm

bk1 wrote:Alternatively: go to a school where you can use digital copies of your outline. ctrl+f = AWWWYEAH!!! :mrgreen:

This saved my ass in a few spots on my exams. I had a few outlines stored on my computer and CTRL + F random stuff that was on the test, but not a focus of my outlines. It was awesome.

I think I might try to outline as the semester unfolds this year, or at least type up my notes after each week. That way it'll be a lot easier to create my outline at the end of the semester. Making 3 outlines by myself was really time consuming. It was a great way to learn the material, but it just took waaaay too much time.

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

Postby yips » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:10 pm

dingbat wrote:A girl in my section had a 70 page outline - not only is that a big no-no because it's just too much, she then had to waste time finding whatever she was looking for each time she was stuck.


Aren't you still waiting for your first semester grades? Why worry about other people and their methods? I had a huge outline for one class my first semester and looked things up—rocked the course. To each her own; no need for you to concern yourself.

dingbat wrote:Shouldn't we then wait with necroing until August?


Or at least until you see your actual grades. It's a bit presumptuous for 1Ls to go around doling out advice on exam taking like it's gospel truth when your transcript is still blank.

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

Postby spleenworship » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:16 pm

yips wrote:
dingbat wrote:A girl in my section had a 70 page outline - not only is that a big no-no because it's just too much, she then had to waste time finding whatever she was looking for each time she was stuck.


Aren't you still waiting for your first semester grades? Why worry about other people and their methods? I had a huge outline for one class my first semester and looked things up—rocked the course. To each her own; no need for you to concern yourself.

dingbat wrote:Shouldn't we then wait with necroing until August?


Or at least until you see your actual grades. It's a bit presumptuous for 1Ls to go around doling out advice on exam taking like it's gospel truth when your transcript is still blank.



Except that 3 of the people giving advice today are 2Ls and 3Ls. Like me, I'm a 2L.

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

Postby fluffybunny » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:20 pm

spleenworship wrote:Except that 3 of the people giving advice today are 2Ls and 3Ls. Like me, I'm a 2L.
Yup. 4L joint degree student. I've been taking law exams for a loooooong time.

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

Postby yips » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:27 pm

You'll note that I quoted neither of you precisely for that reason.

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

Postby fluffybunny » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:33 pm

yips wrote:You'll note that I quoted neither of you precisely for that reason.
Noted and appreciated. I know it's a slow day at work when I'm reading TLS.

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

Postby spleenworship » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:38 pm

yips wrote:You'll note that I quoted neither of you precisely for that reason.



Ah, I misunderstood.

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

Postby Pokemon » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:18 pm

It is hard to have keys when it comes to exam taking. There are things that you can do wrong, but it is impossible to know what you can do right.
I got my best grades in classes where I did not outline, though I did feel as if I was "getting" intuitively those classes. I did worse in the class that I made the longest outline + felt like I was getting it.
Overall, in super-competitive courses I feel comfortable making my own outline, with advice from the outline of an older classmate, + 1-2 page attack outline to make sure that I do not miss anything. I basically review my attack outline at the same time as when I read the question, and then when I write the answer, I control-f the longer outline to reach more details.

Generally, I recommend people to read the question more than once. Misreading questions/facts happened to me in two exams.
I recommend to attend classes and write down what the professor says. This is what you will be graded on, not on the notes on the back of the book.
Realize this is not philosophy; this is closer to math, you use formulas, BLL, and apply it into a complex set of facts. I think a lot of people, me including during 1L semester, approached things a little bit too philosophically. Once you realize this, you will be able to write shorter outlines, shorter notes on cases, use supplements, etc...
4): Take practice exams, especially during 1st semester.
5): Relax... a clear mind achieves more than cramming two hours before the exam some random case.

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5ky
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby 5ky » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:31 pm

These threads always just devolve into people saying that if somebody didn't do what they did, they're wrong.

Especially with something like outlining and briefing, it's completely personal and there's no one size fits all. I'm a 3L and almost all of my outlines have been 60-80 pages, and I have no regrets.

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

Postby spleenworship » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:33 pm

5ky wrote:These threads always just devolve into people saying that if somebody didn't do what they did, they're wrong.

Especially with something like outlining and briefing, it's completely personal and there's no one size fits all. I'm a 3L and almost all of my outlines have been 60-80 pages, and I have no regrets.


i think people agreed with this:

spleenworship wrote:
Future 1Ls, if you are reading, I think the important thing is to use what we talk about to come up with ideas of what works for you.

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5ky
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby 5ky » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:44 pm

spleenworship wrote:
5ky wrote:These threads always just devolve into people saying that if somebody didn't do what they did, they're wrong.

Especially with something like outlining and briefing, it's completely personal and there's no one size fits all. I'm a 3L and almost all of my outlines have been 60-80 pages, and I have no regrets.


i think people agreed with this:

spleenworship wrote:
Future 1Ls, if you are reading, I think the important thing is to use what we talk about to come up with ideas of what works for you.


Oh yes, I certainly agree with you. But dingbat followed his agreement by saying 70 page outlines were a no-no, so I wanted to drive your point home.

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

Postby dingbat » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:52 pm

5ky wrote:Oh yes, I certainly agree with you. But dingbat followed his agreement by saying 70 page outlines were a no-no, so I wanted to drive your point home.

Sorry, it can work - everyone has their own way of doing things. As Spleen said, do what works for you

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

Postby Nova » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:55 pm

If I could do the semester over, I would finish reading earlier, finish OLing earlier, and start taking PTs sooner.

Its a terrible feeling to know a breakthrough was likely on the horizon, but you ran out of time.

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

Postby PitifulDolfan » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:56 pm

Same:
-Outline all semester (summarize each section on weekends)
-Take as many practice exams as possible
-Use Emmanuel's Outlines as precursors to each class session.

Different:
-Take better care of myself, eat right.. hit the gym more often (got really sick and spent 3 days in the hospital the week before finals. couldn't get any studying done in those 3 days)
-sleep better, which goes hand-in-hand with eating right and working out.




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