1L prep / study

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Tape Dog

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1L prep / study

Postby Tape Dog » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:17 pm

HI all,

I want to crush my 1L year.

What do you all recommend doing / reading now so I will be ready for August?

Thx

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totesTheGoat

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:34 pm

Read for enjoyment. It'll be the last time you get to do so for a while.

Seriously, any preparation you do now will be helpful for about a month, maybe two. Plan on kicking ass starting in August.

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northwood

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby northwood » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:28 pm

Tape Dog wrote:HI all,

I want to crush my 1L year.

What do you all recommend doing / reading now so I will be ready for August?

Thx



Have fun!!! Find a good and healthy way to manage stress! Read the book you want to read!! If you must, read getting to maybe. Do not try to read for any of your classes once you find out your schedule. But other than that just relax!!

Npret

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby Npret » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:01 pm

Practice typing to get your speed and accuracy as high as possible.

basketofbread

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby basketofbread » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:13 pm

Hi, good luck.

Where are you starting school? That's important, crushing 1L means different things depending on where you are and what sort of work you're looking for. I got top 5% at a T2, but it's a T2 so take with a grain of salt. I don't think my advice is too different from what you'd hear on average.

Three recommendations:

0) Actually this an important threshold recommendation. Drill this into your head right now: You are graded on a curve. You are graded in relation to how well your classmates do. There is no amount of work you can do that is objectively "A material;" only write an exam that is better than 90% of your classmates. If you truly accept that this is where you are now, and this is how you are graded, everything you do should be aimed toward doing better / different things than your classmates.

1) Read all of the 1L guides in the sticky. All of them. Realize what most of them did in common. Follow that advice largely, but don't be afraid to adjust as you go. This is the most important thing you can do. That is a wealth of great advice and I doubt anyone will type anything as thorough on this thread.

Realize that your classmates will be mostly clueless and your professors / guidance staff might be well meaning but can't give you the best advice to game the system that they're a part of.

Most guides recommend Getting To Maybe. I highly recommend you read/skim it several times throughout the semester starting your first week, but also do LEEWS in its entirety early in the semester (a few weeks - 1 month in).

2) Learn how to type pretty fast. On exams, I typed a lot, and so did the other high scoring kids. Not as much as some of the insane numbers I've seen bandied about here. In fact, on my longest exam (8k words in 5 hours). TheSeaLocust said that it's not about typing "Fast" but typing "constantly." I didn't type constantly, I definitely spent plenty of time thinking and reading, but I typed fast when I was typing. The point is: on the typical law school exam with no word limit, or a high word limit, more words = more arguments = more points. It's often that simple and it's the easiest thing you can train.

3) Replace one or more of your solitary hobbies with reading. You need to have the attention span to handle the workload. Honestly I think some kids are doomed to fail because they are just too distracted and don't have the ability to read for hours a day. I'm not trying to cast aspersions, it's a matter of habit. Reading constantly is not just something most people can decide to do. Don't be a person who spends zero time reading during the summer, and all of the sudden has to read for 3-12 hours a day in order to be successful in law school. You'll put yourself at a pointless disadvantage to the people who can read faster and with greater focus.

Beyond that I didn't do any substantive prep. Some people did and say it helped. Use your discretion. I would definitely consider doing substantive prep between 1st and 2nd semester.

Good luck!!

P.S. READ THE GUIDES

Lolstudent

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby Lolstudent » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:44 am

Also top 5% at a T2.

Typing speed is definitely important. I read Getting to Maybe and 1L of a Ride, but you'll do just fine without them. If you absolutely feel like you need to do something, I guess I'd recommend one or both of those. But really, just enjoy yourself. Workout, spend time with friends and family, etc. Once the law school train takes off it's amazing how fast things move. There is always a deadline around the corner like finals, 1L summer job applications, oral arguments, OCI, etc. Don't waste your summer reading hornbooks or anything like that. You'll only confuse yourself doing that and learn the law differently than the professor wants you to learn it.

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SilvermanBarPrep

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby SilvermanBarPrep » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:35 pm

It's quite difficult to prepare for law school before law school. Once you start you should get some commercial supplements to help you understand what you were supposed to learn from the cases you'll be reading in your casebook. You should read the cases for sure (law school is expensive and this is a great time to learn how to read cases, analyze legal issues, etc.) but don't rely on the casebooks for exams. The professors might try to deter you from buying supplements but that's really not a great move.

Sean (Silverman Bar Exam Tutoring)

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threelayerpsych

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby threelayerpsych » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:39 pm

Some of this is premature but...

1.) Enjoy your free time for the rest of the Summer.

2.) Never forget: once school begins, you will be graded on a curve. Your grade depends on how much better you do than the other students. To really excel, you should always STRIVE to do more than your classmates - spend more time studying, spend more time focusing in class, going to office hours for ANY questions, etc.. It's not always possible, but that mentality and competitive drive is what leads to success.

3.) Use supplements and hornbooks. Read what these materials say about the cases you review in class - find something different from your professor? Office hours time.

4.) Find the balance of school and yourself. Get an outlet for stress that doesn't consume all your time.

5.) Find a study group. Even if you're the smartest person there, you will learn how to bounce ideas off people and look at the law in different ways. Although, perferably, get into a study group of students you feel are smarter than you.

6.) Exam study time: try your best to make practice hypos. This will help you see how rules/cases overlap and interact to focus your understanding and studying.

7.) Learn to type anything and everything quickly. Exams are a time crunch.

Anecdote: I went from below median 1L Fall to above median end of 2L Spring with a decent number of book awards. This was the advice I wish someone would have given me prior to school.
Last edited by threelayerpsych on Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby totesTheGoat » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:42 pm

SilvermanBarPrep wrote:The professors might try to deter you from buying supplements but that's really not a great move.


This is something I learned a couple years too late. I'm sure they're right at some level that overreliance on commercial products can be detrimental, but the commercial products cut through the BS so you're not wasting your time running down rabbit holes your prof sent you down.

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Tape Dog

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby Tape Dog » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:00 pm

Loving this advice. Do you guys have any tips on how to begin the semester?

What are things I can do before and after class that will help me rank near the top? What is the best way to outline? Etc.

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northwood

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby northwood » Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:55 pm

You’ll figure it out... trust me. But if you do outline your cases just go issue, rule holding brief application with pertinent facts. Once you get the hang of that (may be a a couple of weeks may be more than half way through , then just write case name, rule.

For outlining, do what works. Be open to everything. Some people like the outlining process and finding works for them. Others feel it’s a big time trap and use canned outlines from the outline bank. Try to find recent ones from your prof. About three quarters though start looking at old practice exams. Remember to try to see the big picture. If you want to hone in on a particular topic- grab a hornbook or supplement. If not, or you get it. Then don’t.

Look at your profs old exams for guidance.

Focus on your mental health and make time to do something non law related.

There’s plenty of guides in here as well.

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby WarriorPoet » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:13 am

Top 5% at a T14. There is no magic bullet; just do what works for you. I'll throw my perspective in here not because it's better than what you've already gotten, but so you know there are a few different ways to get good results. One thing I think we all agree on is that you don't need to do much in particular the summer before you start. I didn't do anything the summer before except read Getting to Maybe, and I probably didn't need to do that--I learned more about exams from taking old exams that the professors provided and looking at their sample answers.

What worked for me was reading every case, all the notes, all the practice problems, etc. assigned. Any hypos the casebook authors put in, or even hypos/counterfactuals in the opinion are really useful--think about those for a little bit and play around with them so you can see the limits and flexibility of the doctrine at issue. I think a lot of people just look for the black letter rule and move on, but you're rarely going to get something that on the nose on an exam so it's good to be comfortable with the outer edges of a doctrine and especially where it may overlap others.

I outline every case. It seems like a pain, but it actually saves a lot of time when you're doing your exam outline. It takes a little bit of discipline, but it's not an inordinate amount of work. Reading and outlining each case and spending some time thinking about each assignment probably took me an average of 1.5 hours per class and there is plenty of time in your schedule; if I'd been a little more disciplined and efficient I probably wouldn't even have had to do anything on weekends until close to exams. But I generally ended up screwing around on Thursday and Friday instead of reading for Monday, so there I was.

I hand take all my notes. People disagree on this, but I'm in the camp that feels typing your notes can turn into stenography vice analysis. Not only does hand writing them force you to parse and distill more carefully what the professor is saying, you also have to reorganize and type all your handwritten notes into your exam outline at the end of the semester, which is a great learning tool in itself. A lot of people will advise you that you need to learn to type quickly, and I think that's true to a point, but it's not hard to learn to type faster than you can think useful thoughts about complex law and it's pointless to type faster than that. In my personal anecdotal experience, monster word counts on exams are neither necessary nor sufficient for success. On the raciest racehorse exam I've taken so far I wrote about 4500 words (got an A), and I've also gotten an A+ for as low as 3500 words and an A for as low as 2100. If you're in the 1000-1500 words per hour range you can do just fine if your analysis and writing are solid.

I do not use supplements unless the professor wrote it. You will very much be dealing with gray areas of the law in law school, and the thing about gray areas is that they are subject to interpretation and opinion. Your professor's interpretation and opinion. The professor who will be grading your exam's interpretation and opinion. What Chemerinsky has to say about something may be interesting to me academically, but I'm not going to burn a lot of gray matter on it or trot it out on an exam if it doesn't line up with what the professor is emphasizing. If you are unclear on a concept, go to office hours.

I start working on my outlines about four weeks before exams and outline one class a week (plus that week's notes/briefs for any outlines I did previously). I do not use other people's outlines or commercial outlines (though some people do fine this way). Outlining for me is much more about the process than the product, and most of my learning occurs from actually putting it together myself. I look to have my outlines done when classes end. The couple days before each exam is spent reviewing the outline and taking practice tests for that exam only. I take 1 or 2 under test conditions, which I think helps with mental endurance and a better sense of timing in the actual exam. I'm not a fan of study groups generally but I do find a small group (2-3 others) useful at this stage, especially if the professor has not provided any sample answers.

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SilvermanBarPrep

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Re: 1L prep / study

Postby SilvermanBarPrep » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:49 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
SilvermanBarPrep wrote:The professors might try to deter you from buying supplements but that's really not a great move.


This is something I learned a couple years too late. I'm sure they're right at some level that overreliance on commercial products can be detrimental, but the commercial products cut through the BS so you're not wasting your time running down rabbit holes your prof sent you down.


Very, very true.



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