Taking notes and studying

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ghostowl
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:11 pm

Taking notes and studying

Postby ghostowl » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:13 pm

Hi everyone, I just started my 1L adventure. It's only been half a week and I've been feeling the stress and burden of law school already. That being said, I wanted to ask the people who successfully went through 1L for tips. I had a bunch of questions about studying, taking notes, structuring them.

First and foremost,
common wisdom here is "don't brief cases". When you guys say don't brief cases, does that mean just don't write down each part of each case (the holding, the dicta, the facts, the party), but rather just know the important facts of the case and what made those facts important for the case? I guess, what I'm asking is, is it enough to simply know the holding for each case and the significance of the judgment for the holding without memorizing every part of the case? I feel like I'm spending too much time spending the details of the case rather than looking at the bigger law picture

Another thing I wanted to ask is, is it okay to structure my notes/outline in sections of the laws? For example, for my torts class, I'm thinking about making sections like this:
intentional torts:
- battery
=====the cases that were important to this law, -facts about the law -any extra stuff

- false imprisonment
=====the cases that were important to this law, -facts about the law -any extra stuff

privileages
- defense to false imprisonment
=====the cases that were important to this law, -facts about the law -any extra stuff


Does this look okay? or is it better ordered in a different manner..chronologically, etc?

And finally, how should I balance my study time? Should I devote most of my time to supplements and read the casebook during the weekend? Or do you recommend I read the casebook the night before the class to keep it fresh in my head?

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Nelson
Posts: 2061
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:43 am

Re: Taking notes and studying

Postby Nelson » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:17 pm

You need to figure out what works for you. Try a few things and see what makes sense for you. There is no single right answer.

You shouldn't touch an outline or supplement until mid October in my opinion. I at least partially briefed every case I read during 1L.

But other people disagree and do things totally differently and do well in law school.

Void
Posts: 857
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:56 am

Re: Taking notes and studying

Postby Void » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:21 pm

I never understood what people are "studying" in law school. You read cases, and the cases stand for legal propositions. All you need to do on the exam is apply the proposition to some made-up facts. What is there to "study," especially given that many/most exams allow outlines or are open book?

OP: just try to keep up with your reading and understand that the bigger picture (which you can't quite see yet) is what's important. Outlining now is basically a waste if effort, in my opinion.

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Nelson
Posts: 2061
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:43 am

Re: Taking notes and studying

Postby Nelson » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:23 pm

Void wrote:I never understood what people are "studying" in law school. You read cases, and the cases stand for legal propositions. All you need to do on the exam is apply the proposition to some made-up facts. What is there to "study," especially given that many/most exams allow outlines or are open book?

OP: just try to keep up with your reading and understand that the bigger picture (which you can't quite see yet) is what's important. Outlining now is basically a waste if effort, in my opinion.

This is basically credited in my experience but people have varying natural ability to see the big picture so some need to work harder and get more outside help than others.

NYstate
Posts: 1566
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:44 am

Re: Taking notes and studying

Postby NYstate » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:27 pm

Aren't there several guides to doing well in 1L? I know there was one by Arrow. There are others too.

The most important thing in law school is the final exam. You need to figure our how you are going to get there.

Void
Posts: 857
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:56 am

Re: Taking notes and studying

Postby Void » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:34 pm

Nelson wrote:
Void wrote:I never understood what people are "studying" in law school. You read cases, and the cases stand for legal propositions. All you need to do on the exam is apply the proposition to some made-up facts. What is there to "study," especially given that many/most exams allow outlines or are open book?

OP: just try to keep up with your reading and understand that the bigger picture (which you can't quite see yet) is what's important. Outlining now is basically a waste if effort, in my opinion.

This is basically credited in my experience but people have varying natural ability to see the big picture so some need to work harder and get more outside help than others.


True. But I still think that in the first month of school, the best way to succeed is to just do the reading, pay attention in class, and take great notes (which you will later turn into outlines). It feels overwhelming at first but if you just stay on track with what your profs are expecting of you, everything will start to click. For me, adding supplements, early outlining, study groups and case briefing into the mix just made it all more chaotic and confusing. My advice is to just stay the course, ask questions in class if you don't understand something, and keep grinding. Fwiw I was top 10% my 1L year and never used a supplement and didnt start outlining until Thanksgiving. I'm not even a smart guy- I just stuck to the syllabus and trusted that the professor teaching the course would be the best resource for learning how to take the same professor's exam.

ghostowl
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:11 pm

Re: Taking notes and studying

Postby ghostowl » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:24 pm

Thanks for the tips guys. Can I still have feedbacks on my first two questions?

I mean, I realize whatever works for you works. But I don't know what works for me. so before I start out a bad study habit / note taking method, I want to see if people approve/disapprove of it

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NoodleyOne
Posts: 2358
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: Taking notes and studying

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:42 pm

ghostowl wrote:Thanks for the tips guys. Can I still have feedbacks on my first two questions?

I mean, I realize whatever works for you works. But I don't know what works for me. so before I start out a bad study habit / note taking method, I want to see if people approve/disapprove of it

Fellow 1L so take with a large grain of salt, but I think initially briefing cases I'm finding helpful, just because in discussing them in class, I'm already finding out which stuff I'm briefing is extraneous, and which stuff is relevant. Also, briefing is just making notes about what you are reading... doesn't seem like such a huge endeavor.




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