Reading and note-taking

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MrSam
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:10 am

Reading and note-taking

Postby MrSam » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:54 am

A few quick question for you all, what's your approach to reading and note-taking?
How long are the notes that you take while reading?
I've always been a bit OCD, and have adopted an "everything's important, everything must be written down approach." This worked in UG, where the readings were short and simple. I just checked the page count for my notes (just for the readings, not class notes)...for each class I have 100+ pages. Yes, I know, highly inefficient. So what should I take notes on? How detailed should said notes be?

cavalier1138
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Reading and note-taking

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:06 am

You should take notes on the important stuff, and you should include as much detail as you need to help you remember the concepts.

But there's literally no one way to do this. Different people require different levels of detail. Some people brief every case fully throughout law school, and some people don't brief at all. Some people barely read the note material surrounding cases. If what you're doing is inefficient, then change something and see how it feels.

toast and bananas
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:59 pm

Re: Reading and note-taking

Postby toast and bananas » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:50 am

The problem is that, as a 1L, you have no idea what's important while you're reading. Thus, I'd err on the side of over-inclusiveness. Once you start taking practice exams (DO THIS A LOT), you'll start to realize what you need and what you don't.

The way I did it (1L ONLY!) was to pseudo outline-brief the cases as I read them. Doing this, I found that I was able to follow along in class much better. Note, however, that this way is very time consuming. But it was worth it for me because it ended up saving a lot of time on the back end. Basically my outline was done, so I just had to tweak it.

Some will say putting in the long hours is unnecessary and recommend that you stop briefing cases after you "figure it out". I would be very weary of this advice. I know of very few people who did well 1L that didn't take the time to go through all of the materials. You only have to do it for one year (unless pursuing a clerkship or some other 2L/3L grade dependent job), and I cannot stress the importance of 1L grades - they have more impact on your legal career options than anything else.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Reading and note-taking

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:32 am

But outlining a course is very different from briefing a case, and a lot of what goes in a brief shouldn’t be in an outline.

toast and bananas
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:59 pm

Re: Reading and note-taking

Postby toast and bananas » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:37 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:But outlining a course is very different from briefing a case, and a lot of what goes in a brief shouldn’t be in an outline.


Absolutely! So when I started I had no idea what should or shouldn't be in an outline until I started taking practice tests. So what I did was just cut stuff from my outline and didn't really have anything to add. My way is definitely not for everyone, just thought I'd throw it out there because it worked well for me. YYMV

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CountingBlue
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Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:53 pm

Re: Reading and note-taking

Postby CountingBlue » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:54 pm

I take zero notes when reading prior to class. After class, I go through the material and augment my class notes with relevant material from the text. In an ideal world, I would do the updating throughout the year, but in practice most of it is at the end of the semester. I think for law school exams it is almost as important to keep the wrong stuff out of your mind as it is to put the right stuff in it. If you learn all of the facts and rules in the book, you will not be able to recall as quickly the information that actually matter to the professor during the exam due to interference.

I make no claim that this approach is the right way or even better than average, but it has worked well for me.




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