Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

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muscleboundlaw
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby muscleboundlaw » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:03 am

RSN wrote:When I was a 1L all the "you know what's best for you so do that" advice about outlining kind of freaked me out, since I had no idea if what I was doing was even remotely helpful. I decided to make up a sort of format and go with it, and then take a bunch of practice tests to see how it was working, and it turns out it was going pretty well. So my version of this advice is to say that you won't really know what's "best" for you or not, since you've never done this before, so just try to start organizing the rules and policy points from the cases you've read in a coherent way that makes sense, maybe taking a look at some old outlines to get a general idea of what they look like, and then get to practice exams.

Also, something that's mentioned often here but not enough is that if you haven't seen a law school exam before, it's really helpful to look at some model answers to figure out how you're supposed to write the thing, because no one actually teaches you that in school. It will freak you out a little because generally model answers by definition are people who did really well, but professors are by and large looking for a certain structure in exam answers, and just organizing your responses in the typical format will help you when they're grading even if you miss some issues.

One other point -- don't relax too much over Thanksgiving. Take the day itself for family and turkey and whatever, but you should be going hard every other day on your outlines, particularly if you haven't done much until then. Many people will slack off over the break, so those who keep working can get ahead of the curve, literally and figuratively.


I am actually taking this bolded point to heart. Unfortunately, the memo for legal research has kept my outlining pushed back until Thursday (most likely). So I plan on finishing all of my readings for the remaining classes by then and outlining by Friday or Saturday. In a perfect world, I finish everything up by Friday after thanksgiving and spend the remaining week doing practice exams, and studying.

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RSN
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby RSN » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:44 pm

muscleboundlaw wrote:
RSN wrote:When I was a 1L all the "you know what's best for you so do that" advice about outlining kind of freaked me out, since I had no idea if what I was doing was even remotely helpful. I decided to make up a sort of format and go with it, and then take a bunch of practice tests to see how it was working, and it turns out it was going pretty well. So my version of this advice is to say that you won't really know what's "best" for you or not, since you've never done this before, so just try to start organizing the rules and policy points from the cases you've read in a coherent way that makes sense, maybe taking a look at some old outlines to get a general idea of what they look like, and then get to practice exams.

Also, something that's mentioned often here but not enough is that if you haven't seen a law school exam before, it's really helpful to look at some model answers to figure out how you're supposed to write the thing, because no one actually teaches you that in school. It will freak you out a little because generally model answers by definition are people who did really well, but professors are by and large looking for a certain structure in exam answers, and just organizing your responses in the typical format will help you when they're grading even if you miss some issues.

One other point -- don't relax too much over Thanksgiving. Take the day itself for family and turkey and whatever, but you should be going hard every other day on your outlines, particularly if you haven't done much until then. Many people will slack off over the break, so those who keep working can get ahead of the curve, literally and figuratively.


I am actually taking this bolded point to heart. Unfortunately, the memo for legal research has kept my outlining pushed back until Thursday (most likely). So I plan on finishing all of my readings for the remaining classes by then and outlining by Friday or Saturday. In a perfect world, I finish everything up by Friday after thanksgiving and spend the remaining week doing practice exams, and studying.


Sounds like you're very on top it. Just a note not to beat yourself up too much if things don't go quite according to schedule (things always take longer than you expect, and no need to add extra stress on yourself), but keeping disciplined in general is the key.

muscleboundlaw
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby muscleboundlaw » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:09 pm

RSN wrote:
muscleboundlaw wrote:
RSN wrote:When I was a 1L all the "you know what's best for you so do that" advice about outlining kind of freaked me out, since I had no idea if what I was doing was even remotely helpful. I decided to make up a sort of format and go with it, and then take a bunch of practice tests to see how it was working, and it turns out it was going pretty well. So my version of this advice is to say that you won't really know what's "best" for you or not, since you've never done this before, so just try to start organizing the rules and policy points from the cases you've read in a coherent way that makes sense, maybe taking a look at some old outlines to get a general idea of what they look like, and then get to practice exams.

Also, something that's mentioned often here but not enough is that if you haven't seen a law school exam before, it's really helpful to look at some model answers to figure out how you're supposed to write the thing, because no one actually teaches you that in school. It will freak you out a little because generally model answers by definition are people who did really well, but professors are by and large looking for a certain structure in exam answers, and just organizing your responses in the typical format will help you when they're grading even if you miss some issues.

One other point -- don't relax too much over Thanksgiving. Take the day itself for family and turkey and whatever, but you should be going hard every other day on your outlines, particularly if you haven't done much until then. Many people will slack off over the break, so those who keep working can get ahead of the curve, literally and figuratively.


I am actually taking this bolded point to heart. Unfortunately, the memo for legal research has kept my outlining pushed back until Thursday (most likely). So I plan on finishing all of my readings for the remaining classes by then and outlining by Friday or Saturday. In a perfect world, I finish everything up by Friday after thanksgiving and spend the remaining week doing practice exams, and studying.


Sounds like you're very on top it. Just a note not to beat yourself up too much if things don't go quite according to schedule (things always take longer than you expect, and no need to add extra stress on yourself), but keeping disciplined in general is the key.


I have a general structure (follow book table of contents, rules, elements, and any examples for rules that can have variation). I figure that I shouldn't write a 40 page outline with two weeks left and needing to condense all four in about a week.

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Nebby
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby Nebby » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:11 pm

No, what little outlining I did was a week out.

muscleboundlaw
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby muscleboundlaw » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:53 pm

Dumb question- the people who either didn't outline, or waited until the last couple of weeks to do so- are you guys exceptionally good at retention? Did you already remember much of the material from the readings earlier in the semester, or did you guys go in there knocking it out in the last week or two?

I only ask because my methods professor told me he had the same method, and it worked for him. I just want to gauge if that method is best served for the inherently brilliant, or if it can be utilized by anyone.

mcmand
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby mcmand » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:29 pm

muscleboundlaw wrote:Dumb question- the people who either didn't outline, or waited until the last couple of weeks to do so- are you guys exceptionally good at retention? Did you already remember much of the material from the readings earlier in the semester, or did you guys go in there knocking it out in the last week or two?

I only ask because my methods professor told me he had the same method, and it worked for him. I just want to gauge if that method is best served for the inherently brilliant, or if it can be utilized by anyone.


I always waited until the last couple of weeks, or even days before, to make an outline. I usually didn't make time for the hours it took to really wrap my head around the whole class until then.

With that said, most of my classes weren't closed book, so some kind of outline was permitted, and sometimes even notes were allowed. I still made an outline in almost every instance to help filter the information and remove anything extraneous. It also helped immensely with knowing which issues to spot intuitively, without having to re-read anything to figure out what I was looking for.

The outline will help you retain no matter when you do it. But what will really help you is the outline + practice exam questions. That's the final step, the synthesis and application, and it works. You don't even need to be closed book as you do the practice exam questions, if you don't feel ready to. Just doing the practice questions with your notes handy will help.

muscleboundlaw
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby muscleboundlaw » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:27 am

mcmand wrote:
muscleboundlaw wrote:Dumb question- the people who either didn't outline, or waited until the last couple of weeks to do so- are you guys exceptionally good at retention? Did you already remember much of the material from the readings earlier in the semester, or did you guys go in there knocking it out in the last week or two?

I only ask because my methods professor told me he had the same method, and it worked for him. I just want to gauge if that method is best served for the inherently brilliant, or if it can be utilized by anyone.


I always waited until the last couple of weeks, or even days before, to make an outline. I usually didn't make time for the hours it took to really wrap my head around the whole class until then.

With that said, most of my classes weren't closed book, so some kind of outline was permitted, and sometimes even notes were allowed. I still made an outline in almost every instance to help filter the information and remove anything extraneous. It also helped immensely with knowing which issues to spot intuitively, without having to re-read anything to figure out what I was looking for.

The outline will help you retain no matter when you do it. But what will really help you is the outline + practice exam questions. That's the final step, the synthesis and application, and it works. You don't even need to be closed book as you do the practice exam questions, if you don't feel ready to. Just doing the practice questions with your notes handy will help.


I have to admit- given what I have seen from so many students, I kind of expected this board to be a constant force of negativity. You guys are all extremely level- headed, and it really gives me perspective. Obviously, I am well aware that I will need to bust my ass, but I know that I will be okay if I do things right.

Thanks to all of you.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:19 am

muscleboundlaw wrote:Dumb question- the people who either didn't outline, or waited until the last couple of weeks to do so- are you guys exceptionally good at retention? Did you already remember much of the material from the readings earlier in the semester, or did you guys go in there knocking it out in the last week or two?

I only ask because my methods professor told me he had the same method, and it worked for him. I just want to gauge if that method is best served for the inherently brilliant, or if it can be utilized by anyone.

I formally outlined 1L, but did better after that when I stopped formally outlining (and just for context, my school curved to the same median all 3 years, in all classes, and most people didn’t get jobs through OCI, so post-1L grades weren’t different from 1L grades as they are at a lot of T14s). I did better writing my class notes as an outline all the way through the semester and then I just studied from my class notes. I guess I did a little bit of further outlining at the end of the semester in that I did go through everything once and make sure related concepts were in the same place and I knew the big picture/what the major concepts/subjects of the course were, but it was pretty relaxed. In 1L I wasted a lot of time trying to force material into an online format that did nothing for me (I have also never been able to learn from someone else’s outline, though I consulted some for points I didn’t get (I tended to do better with treatises though)). Lots of review of concepts and for me, practice exams were the most helpful study aid.

My retention’s decent but definitely not top of the class. I’d just review my notes to relearn the material I’d forgotten. I never rote memorized unless I had a closed book exam. Basically I reread and reread my notes a lot. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with outlining for most people. I’ve just always studied by rereading my notes. I was one of the tools who came into exams with like 90 pp of notes tabbed up the wazoo so I could consult as needed during the exam (and I actually did, a number of times, because I read and write fast. Definitely doesn’t work for everyone).

mcmand
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby mcmand » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:07 am

muscleboundlaw wrote:
I have to admit- given what I have seen from so many students, I kind of expected this board to be a constant force of negativity. You guys are all extremely level- headed, and it really gives me perspective. Obviously, I am well aware that I will need to bust my ass, but I know that I will be okay if I do things right.

Thanks to all of you.


No problem. Most people on here want to help.

My last words for this are don't stress yourself out, and change your method if it isn't working for you. If you're like nony and outlining isn't working for you, switch it up. Trust yourself.

Also, 40 pages is a little long for an outline. It should be dense and short. Some of your 1L classes can be less than 20 pages. Civpro can be longer since it's often overloaded with detail.

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mtf612
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby mtf612 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:32 am

Reading through this thread gave me some comfort, but I want to find out if I am approaching my outlines incorrectly.

All semester I typed up my reading notes (in OneNote), took handwritten notes in class, and then transcribed those class notes to the right of my reading notes. All in all, if I combine everything in Word, I am looking at around 100 pages per course. My outlining strategy thus far has been to read my class/reading notes for a given topic and then condense the material into a shorter format. I haven't really done a whole lot of deep thinking in this process though, it primarily feels like review. Which is fine because I feel somewhat lost in contracts. So far with outlining, I really have only tackled contracts and I have turned about 50 pages into 12. My contracts exam is closed book, so my plan is to refine the finished ~25 page outline into a short 5 page attack outline.

Some other concerns:
I was planning on using this approach for each class, but Civpro allows a single page attack outline and torts is open book. Not sure if that means I should use a different strategy. I have extremely poor handwriting so I have been doing everything on my pc, but I haven't started making flowcharts for that reason. Should I be making flowcharts? I am super pressured for time. I plan on being as caught up as possible over the next two days so that I can move on to practice exams, but finals are basically two weeks away. Any thoughts?

Sorry for ranting, I am panicking again.

mcmand
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Re: Should I worry if I am beginning to outline four weeks out?

Postby mcmand » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:23 pm

Don't make flowcharts if you don't think they will help. Some people love them, some don't. I rarely made flow charts and it was fine.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say you condensed your contracts notes. Outlining is condensing, but it's also synthesis and reorganization. If you're doing those things as well, you're probably fine. Your final product shouldn't just be shorter notes. It should be something that you could actually use very quickly if your test was open note to outline an exam response. (In my opinion. Others might have different thoughts.)

An "attack" outline is helpful for developing analytical steps/checklists and to help trigger your memory of more detailed information. When I would outline, I'd usually make a checklist for each section that helped me remember what to do.

For torts, you really should try to do something. It sounds like you have too many notes, so you're going to need to filter it or you'll be overwhelmed and slow on test day trying to sift through it for key elements of claims and defenses. A basic outline, such as a checklist with some case names thrown under each item, for each claim and defense, will save you time. Do more if you can.

Next term, try to be more discerning with what you're taking notes on. Nony is right that writing your notes as an outline as you go is helpful, especially if you run out of time to outline.




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