What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

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dj_roomba
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What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

Postby dj_roomba » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:11 pm

Outlining- is that just generally putting the entire semester on an outline or is it some specific activity that we learn later on (like briefing)?


If it's the former, what's the general approach to this?
Use an old outline, add and subtract from it?
Start from scratch?

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Nelson
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Re: What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

Postby Nelson » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:56 pm

Get a bunch of previous years' outlines. Compare. Pick one you like. Modify to suit your purposes. Create your own if you don't like any of the ones you find.

Void
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Re: What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

Postby Void » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:01 pm

IMO creating you own is the only way to go. If done right, the process of condensing your notes into an outline is the only studying you need to do. But it's more about the process than the final product.

apollo2015
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Re: What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

Postby apollo2015 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:52 pm

Basically they state the primary legal principle shown in each case you covered. They can be as short as two pages, or over one hundred. The shorter the better in theory, though in practice I've gotten better grades with longer outlines.

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:05 pm

Void wrote:IMO creating you own is the only way to go. If done right, the process of condensing your notes into an outline is the only studying you need to do. But it's more about the process than the final product.


This.

Take the course syllabus and convert it into an empty outline - a syllabus is a good starting point because it's all the concepts in the course organized the way the professor thought they should be organized. So whatever headings/sections your professor came up with are the headings/sections in your outline.

Then go through your notes and start filling the outline in - what are the rules for each concept? What cases define those rules? Anything stick out about those cases that might cause a hypothetical to be distinguishable? Did your professor say anything in class that tells you how he/she reads the cases?

Then go through your casebook, particularly the notes after the cases - where have courts found exceptions to the rules? What was the driving force of the exceptions? Are there any worthwhile dissents that might be good on an exam but aren't black letter law?

Once you've built in your notes and info from the casebook the outline can get ungodly large, I've had several that were 80+ pages, but then the next step is to edit down. Condense without removing content, which will increase your understanding as your force yourself to cut down to just the language you need.

I cannot emphasize enough how well this has worked for me. I basically quit doing practice exams after my first semester and now just spend my study time building up outlines like this. By the time I'm done I'm usually good to go for the final, though I'll probably read through the outline a few times as part of an ongoing edit process, which will also help commit the concepts to memory.

dj_roomba
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Re: What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

Postby dj_roomba » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:04 pm

Is there anything wrong with making 2 outlines if the exam is open book?

Make one 60+ pages, with a table of contents and shit. Don't need to memorize it but obviously know where to go to look for everything.

Then another one that's about 15-20 pages, the main one. Same structure except obviously much more edited.

Would bringing the 60+ page outline "just in case" be smart? Anything wrong with this approach?

welkertexasranger
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Re: What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

Postby welkertexasranger » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:01 pm

dj_roomba wrote:Is there anything wrong with making 2 outlines if the exam is open book?

Make one 60+ pages, with a table of contents and shit. Don't need to memorize it but obviously know where to go to look for everything.

Then another one that's about 15-20 pages, the main one. Same structure except obviously much more edited.

Would bringing the 60+ page outline "just in case" be smart? Anything wrong with this approach?


This is exactly what I did last year as a 1L and it worked well. The shorter outline makes you think more about how cases fit together / what themes you can draw out.

Also, contrary to pretty much everything I heard, I did use my longer outline during exams. Granted, not the "typing contest" exams, but often on multiple choice and frequently on essays with word limits.

Void
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Re: What exactly is outlining and what do you put on it?

Postby Void » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:51 pm

My outlines were always at least 30 pages, and got as big as 80 for some classes. Like I said, outlining was the only studying I did- it was the actual act of condensing and organizing the information that prepared me, not so much the outline itself. But I brought the outlines, with indexes organized by subject, to the exams. That way I would spot an issue and think "what was that case about the train explosion?" Then look at my index, find Palsgraf under "explosion," and then write an exam answer about the zone of danger.




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