Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

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ThreeRivers
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Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby ThreeRivers » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:42 pm

I have a couple questions in which I am not expecting a consensus answer, but I am curious about some of the educated opinions of those who have or are attending law schools…. The first one is one that I could not find much discussion about when I did a search function, the other 2 I found some threads about but if individuals wouldn’t mind further comment I would appreciate it

1. Are study-groups really that important?
My entire life I have HATED studying in groups / or anything similar. I obviously find it to be beneficial to have friends in the class that you can get notes if you miss for some unexpected reason, text or call about something you don’t understand, discuss major points of class, etc but sitting around in a circle every day studying would / has done NOTHING for me. It appears that this is a popular method of studying in LS / TLS… I’ve always been the type to go to a quiet section of the library and study my ass off. I’m not sure if I should a) study how I have always studied best OR b) Since ls is completely different this should be an adjustment I need to make and study groups really are pretty important

2. Note-taking, Pen and paper or laptop?
Once again this is a comparison on of if I should continue what has always worked best for me, or if I should make adjustments for LS. I have never taken notes on a laptop, I have loved writing stuff down and my primarily means of learning has always been when I later transferred my notes to word / by the end of doing so I pretty much know everything… I generally get everything down without much problem (some exceptions), do LS professors generally move so much quicker that this will not be possible and I will have to use a laptop or should I be alright with a good old notebook?

3. When to outline?
I’m a GPA whore (not a good LSDAS GPA, but since sophomore year when I changed some of my ways I’ve had a 4.00 every semester). All I care about is the final grade in a class, and I don’t really understand those who stray from this… so I don’t think I’ll have much problem in understanding the concept to primarily prepare for what count, the final exam… my question is how to do so? Does starting my outline that I will be constantly adjusting after day 1 make any sense, or should I wait for the typical “once Thanksgiving comes along?”

I apologize for the LONG post, but any input would be appreciated

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gin
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby gin » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:11 pm

I'm only a 1L so take my "experience" with a grain of salt
Studying seems to be highly subjective and I think you should do what you are comfortable doing.

1. I honestly don't think study groups are all that important and I've never been a big fan of dividing up the work and then talking about it. Having said that, I do have a study group where, but we basically talk at the end of the week after we had classes and we've all done the reading, so basically we just go over stuff in case we had any questions or we missed something

2. Doesn't matter IMO. My writing prof says he thinks its better to write stuff down and then pass it but to be honest I think it varies from person to person. I take notes in class on my comp and the notes I take when reading are handwritten. At the end of the week a pass everything to my outline

3. I cannot speak about being a GPA whore, but starting your outlines on thanksgiving seems like the dumbest idea ever. Having said that, at least your first year, you won't have any idea what's going on for about a month so starting your outline right off the back might not be the wisest thing ever. People might disagree on this though.

Everyone has their own study habits and you probably shouldn't try to do what everyone else is doing if it's not your thing

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The Gentleman
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby The Gentleman » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:24 pm

I take it that you're a 0L? Do yourself a huge favor and don't even start thinking about this kind of stuff until the summer. When August rolls around, read some of the TLS threads on success in law school (even some of these won't make complete sense until a few weeks into the semester), get your personal life in order, and enjoy your last days of freedom.

adonai
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby adonai » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:45 pm

1. Not important at all. Might be slightly beneficial if you don't fool around. I tried a couple study groups before, but all that happens is screwing around and reinforcing incorrect law amongst each other. Office hours and working alone is a lot better IMO.
2. I recommend typing depending on what your professor is like. If your professor is very methodical and just spews black letter, it probably won't matter whether you type or write. If your professor is all over the place/unclear, it might be better to type so you can edit/clarify statements quickly.
3. Outline from Day 1 and edit as you go. What you wrote on day 1 probably won't be correct/relevant a couple months in, but the important thing is to learn from the process of outlining. It was either Arrow or Xeoh who said that the point of the outline is that you are never really finished, but being finished isn't the point of an outline either.

It is good that you are thinking about these things now cause I was in the same position as you thinking about these things and formulated a good plan and stuck with it. It has helped a lot so far and is probably the best 0L prep you can do. You will save lots of precious time by not having to go to seminars and school support programs that 90% of your nervous classmates will waste hours on.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:28 am

Wow, thanks for the great input! Actually really helped me

So based on this I'm planning on not really having a formal study group (just have people I can talk about classes with of course), I'm also planning on outlining right away but if I'm struggling too much I'll hold off a couple weeks... Also going to first classes with laptop / notebook ready and see what happens lol

adonai
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby adonai » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:48 am

ThreeRivers wrote:Wow, thanks for the great input! Actually really helped me

So based on this I'm planning on not really having a formal study group (just have people I can talk about classes with of course), I'm also planning on outlining right away but if I'm struggling too much I'll hold off a couple weeks... Also going to first classes with laptop / notebook ready and see what happens lol

I personally just got close to a few people who I knew I could trust and we could help/support each other morally and in case life happened. I felt this was a lot more personal and efficient, as most will probably roll around in huge cliques. But then again this is just my own personality. Also, there are people who do hybrid note taking, meaning they write and use their laptop at the same time. I think this is hard to do in class, but then again it depends on your prof's teaching style. The benefit is probably that you are reinforcing things mentally 2x. Formulate a broad and rough plan, but adjust accordingly the first few weeks of class.

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Grizz
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby Grizz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:50 am

1) No
2) Laptop, so I can Internet in class
3) Whatever works for you

taxguy
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby taxguy » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:08 am

Depends on whether you really want to get mostly A's. Here is the procedure that I recommend:

1. During the week, you do your briefs and, if time permits, work on your outline.
2. DEFINITELY make friends with upperclassmen who have done well in your class with your teacher and get their outlines. This should only be used as a reference for your own outline. In fact, if you don't have the time to do all this, this one step would be the most crucial.
3. During weekends, finish working on your outlines each week and study the outlines duing the weekends.
4 By Thanksgiving, at the latest, you should know all of your outlines cold as a result of studying them each week.
5. After or during Thanksgiving, focus on finishing the outline for what you may have missed.
6. Reduce your outlines to no more than 20 pages each
7. Use most of your study time to focus on test questions relating to each subject. You might see test banks in your school and I would look online for tests and answers found in other schools. I can't emphasize this enough.
8. ALWAYS. ALWAYS back up your outlines and/or briefs. I would use an external hard drive AND get Carbonite,which backs up on the cloud. It is only $59 per year.

Do NOT USE COMMERCIAL OUTLINES.

This whole process should take you about 10-13 hours per day ( which includes class time) as well as at least 8-10 hours a day on the weekend. If you follow my advice, you should do well.

WilliamSmith
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby WilliamSmith » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:23 am

.

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cinephile
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby cinephile » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:08 am

1. A lot of our study group time is just chatting and a waste of time, but there are some things that it's good for. A couple of our professors don't post model answers for the practice exams. The only way to check if you've caught all the issues is to compare your response against those of your study group.

2. You should do what works best for you. Some of my professors don't even allow laptops, which makes the choice even easier.

3. I hate myself a bit for waiting to outline until the end of the semester, but it's been great in reminding me about the cases we've studied. It works as review, and you'd miss out on that if you outlined at the end of every week.

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NinerFan
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby NinerFan » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:48 am

You're going to get different answers because there's no right answer, it's whatever works for you and whatever you feel comfortable with. That said, here's my take.

1. I didn't participate in hardly any study groups and I have done fine. I find them to generally be a waste of time unless your group is super focused or has a specific area they want to tackle. Most of the time they seem to devolve into gossiping and/or argument over meaningless hypotheticals that are probably not related to class.

Study groups can be useful, though, for reviewing practice exams that the prof doesn't release answers for.

2. Laptop is better if allowed and if you won't get distracted by the internet. I'd generally recommend laptop because most everyone takes notes faster on it, and you can read them better.

3. Some people outline as they go (take notes, outline after class), some people starts halfway through, some people wait until November, and some people wait until close to the end of class, and some will make their outline right before the exam so it's "fresh". It's whatever works for you. I'm a procrastinator and a crammer, so the last method has worked fine for me.

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ladybug89
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby ladybug89 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:46 am

just a 0L, but TLS has really awesome threads about this: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=123092

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downing
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby downing » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:40 pm

study groups may constitute a fun way to unwind and discuss the law that you've already learned by yourself, otherwise I'd avoid them.

spondee
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby spondee » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:10 pm

If your study group is full of students looking at Bs, it'll be a confusing waste of time; but if it's full of the A students, then it's a VERY helpful way to discuss exams/practice problems.

Of course, you won't know which you have until it's too late. The value of the second kind is great enough, though, that I'd still join as a 1L. But if I felt like we were wasting time trying to understand doctrine, or I felt like everyone was applying the doctrine in wildly different ways, I'd ditch it and study alone.

picklebarrel
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby picklebarrel » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:13 pm

I don't necessarily do study groups, but I find it really helpful to discuss practice exams with other people. Just make sure you are discussing the concepts with someone you trust.

For class notes, I really think a laptop is the way to go. I always hand wrote my notes in UG and I tried it out for the first few days in law school, but I like the laptop because it allows me to write quickly and organize effectively. For example, one professor would always start the class with a recap of the previous day's material. I like to get every word he says here because every sentence is pretty useful for outlining later on, and keeping up with paper and pen would be tough.

For outlining, don't start right away. I think you should wait a month because you might not be able to determine what is actually important and how concepts work together.

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JoeMo
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby JoeMo » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:25 pm

downing wrote:study groups may constitute a fun way to unwind and discuss the law that you've already learned by yourself, otherwise I'd avoid them.


even though I'm also a 0L, I've heard this all over the place. But it also can create a social atmosphere that you might otherwise lack so they might be a good idea for that.

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Mce252
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby Mce252 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:37 pm

1.) I used a study group and it was very helpful. My opinion to creating a successful study group:

-DON'T JOIN UP WITH PEOPLE YOU DON'T LIKE - NOT EVEN ONE
-Meeting during the semester is a waste of time, especially if you're talking AT ALL about the cases specifically
-Preferrably, make a group out of the number of substantive classes that you have (probably four)
-Assign each person a class for which they are responsible making "packets" of problems that cover all of the material for that class.
-Start meeting once or twice a week (one class per week) at 6 weeks before finals begin covering the problems that you have ALREADY WORKED individually and do NOT have answers for. If you're discussing problems that you have answers for, you're wasting time.
-Use the time the make sure that you haven't missed anything on problems without answers and cover strategy for exam writing

2.) I think it's stupid to do anything but type, unless you are just a really slow typist. Using OneNote, you can organize and consolidate 100 times faster than actually writing by hand.

3.) Outline along the way at the end of each week. Don't try to narrow it down too much until finals time because it needs to remain dense so you can go back over it and relearn stuff. Then, once your final is imminent, make an attack outline or a summary sheet of the course.

alicecarroll
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby alicecarroll » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:50 am

1) I think study groups are helpful depending on what class and what prep materials your prof provides. For example, in my torts class my prof gave us a ton of practice exams but no model answers. I learned so much from talking over my answers with other students. On the other hand, my crim prof provided model answers, so I didn't really feel the need to use a study group in preparing for that exam.

2) Some professors won't let you use your laptop--this is an increasing trend. It makes sense. I pay attention so much more in the classes I'm not allowed to use my laptop. I also took much better notes, if I wasn't allowed to use my laptop. I would say the main reason to use your laptop is if your professor talks really fast and you need to type in order to keep up.

3) Unless you do a bunch of summer prep or just catch on to things really quickly, you aren't going to understand what the hell to put in an outline for at least the first month. But don't wait too long to start it. If you start the first week like some of these people recommend, be prepared to redo it all later. What you should be doing though, is reading over your notes before the next class--it doesn't take that long and it really helps solidify the concepts.

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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby LawSchoolSurvival » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:21 pm

1. Are study-groups really that important?

I never found study groups helpful for studying in general, we would always end up talking or joking around and such. But, for big events like paper assignments and finals, I found it helpful for a few trusted people to gather a few times during the process and go over what we want to do with the assignment, what we have already done, and what we might need to change.

2. Note-taking, Pen and paper or laptop?

My advice has always been to use a laptop for notes. I always started my outline from day one (see below) and under each assignment/subheading, I would have a section to put notes that were relevant to the subject matter. Using a laptop for this allows you to input your notes once, and not have to worry about them again until it is time to revise the outline, saving some time.

3. When to outline?

I always pre-formated an outline before the first day of class, and added to it as the semester progressed. I would Look at the syllabus and make a heading for every assignment, and subheadings for any assigned cases, readings, and the inevitabel class notes. Then, under these headings, plug in the material as it arrives, whether during study or class. The end result of this process will be a very comprehensive list of information covering what you may be tested on, but it will be too large to be a good study aid.

Revision will cure this problem. About halfway through the semester, I would make a copy of what I had created so far and reorganize it into a more logical order, and cut out any unnecessary information. Then, as class continued and final approached I would start copying and pasting the info from the most recent classes into the new outline and repeat the revision and reorganization. This repetitive addition & revision of my outline comprised roughly 50% of my entire semester's studying, and I always had a good understanding of the material by the time finals rolled around.

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MG95
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby MG95 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:47 pm

.
Last edited by MG95 on Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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YourCaptain
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby YourCaptain » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:51 pm

Grizz wrote:1) No
2) Laptop, so I can Internet in class
3) Whatever works for you


titcr.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Questions regarding "how to study" in LS

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:18 pm

ThreeRivers wrote:I have a couple questions in which I am not expecting a consensus answer, but I am curious about some of the educated opinions of those who have or are attending law schools…. The first one is one that I could not find much discussion about when I did a search function, the other 2 I found some threads about but if individuals wouldn’t mind further comment I would appreciate it

1. Are study-groups really that important?
My entire life I have HATED studying in groups / or anything similar. I obviously find it to be beneficial to have friends in the class that you can get notes if you miss for some unexpected reason, text or call about something you don’t understand, discuss major points of class, etc but sitting around in a circle every day studying would / has done NOTHING for me. It appears that this is a popular method of studying in LS / TLS… I’ve always been the type to go to a quiet section of the library and study my ass off. I’m not sure if I should a) study how I have always studied best OR b) Since ls is completely different this should be an adjustment I need to make and study groups really are pretty important

2. Note-taking, Pen and paper or laptop?
Once again this is a comparison on of if I should continue what has always worked best for me, or if I should make adjustments for LS. I have never taken notes on a laptop, I have loved writing stuff down and my primarily means of learning has always been when I later transferred my notes to word / by the end of doing so I pretty much know everything… I generally get everything down without much problem (some exceptions), do LS professors generally move so much quicker that this will not be possible and I will have to use a laptop or should I be alright with a good old notebook?

3. When to outline?
I’m a GPA whore (not a good LSDAS GPA, but since sophomore year when I changed some of my ways I’ve had a 4.00 every semester). All I care about is the final grade in a class, and I don’t really understand those who stray from this… so I don’t think I’ll have much problem in understanding the concept to primarily prepare for what count, the final exam… my question is how to do so? Does starting my outline that I will be constantly adjusting after day 1 make any sense, or should I wait for the typical “once Thanksgiving comes along?”

I apologize for the LONG post, but any input would be appreciated


1) I think study groups are GREAT if you do them properly: use them for comparing your answers for practice exams, only. Sitting around everyday is a waste of your time. But my group had a schedule of when we would go over practice exams (all the practice exams we found for our classes) together and it was great for 3-4 reasons. First, nobody ever saw every issue/point on their own, so it was good to compare and see what really could come out of a fact pattern. Second, if there was anything you were even mildly confused about, it was a good time to bring it up in the context of that particular exam. Third, if you're the type who does better when someone else is holding you accountable, it really made sure that you got every practice test done in time to meet with the group. A few group members commented to me that they wouldn't have stuck to the schedule if there wasn't the group responsibility dynamic, and that they were really relieved later that they did stick to the schedule instead of letting themselves fall behind. Fourth, my group didn't assign outlines, but we did share whatever outlines/typed up notes we made for ourselves, and between everyone there was at least one good outline for each course.

2) I prefer laptop because my handwriting is atrocious.

3) I didn't outline. We'll see how my grades turn out.




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