Here are some general tips I just wrote for friends. YMMV. HTH
1. Dont stess about cold calls. They are no big deal. Dont waste your time over preparing for class so you look good on the cold call. No one is actually paying attention to what you say. Try to keep your eye on the prize, which is the final exam.
2. Dont over contribute in class. No one likes that person. Theres a lot of material to get through, and usually when students comment or ask questions, it gets the lecture off track. The worst questions are hypothetics ("What if X..."). If the prof wanted to talk about a particular hypothetical, they will bring it up themself. Dont ask questions in the last 5 minutes of class, let the professor wrap everything up.
3. Find friends to study with, even if all you do is sit next to them in silence in the library. Reading and outlining all day can get really lonely really fast if youre on your own.
4. Its a competition. Almost everyone will be friendly, and at the very least civil, but at the end of the day everyone is competeing for the A. This is why having a close group of friends is so important. Kind of like survivor. People arent going to be freely handing out their outlines. Thats their work product; their playbook. No one wants to give their competition their playbook. It can get cliquey. Youll want to find friends that you can mutually benefit from. I had two friends in my section who I shared everything with (outlines, practice tests, notes, model answers). We would talk about the assignments in depth,answer each others questions, challange each other to do better, and encourage each other to keep working. We were each others best resources, and all definitely did better becasue of how much we were able to help each other.
5. Everyone is going to be smart. Its kind of amazing actually; to be in a room with so many smart people. Some curves are very tight. For most people, to do well, theyll have to work really hard and be really efficent with their time. There are only so many hours in the day. There will be people who study 12 hours a day. Studying 70+ hours a week isnt necessary, but in order to out perform people that do, youll have to be super efficient.
6. Read ahead. its makes everything less daunting when you dont have to read for the next day, but instead you choose to read to stay ahead. Plus, youll reinforce the laws more, becasue youll read it, brief it, let it sink in, and then review it quickly again before class. I actually read and outlined all of property class by the end of week 4. This was a huge relief, which gave me time to reinforce the lessons several more times over than everyone else.
7. Read the lesson in a supplement after you read the lesson in the case book. If it wasnt in the casebook or lecture, ignore it. These are the ones I would recommend:
Con Law: Chemerinsky
Civil Procedure: Glannons
Property: Understanding Prop, Gilberts
8. Find out what kind of final youre going to have immediately and tailor your studying and preperation accordingly. Is it a 3 hour exam? 4 hour? 8 hour take home? Is it all essays? How many essays? what does a model answer look like for their exam? What scores points on their exam?
9. Do practice tests. They are not fun, but it is the only way you will get better at articulating the law and applying law to fact in a sophistocated manner. Dont wait till 2 weeks before the exam to start practice testing. As soon as you finish a unit (for example, intentional torts) you should be able to practice writing essays on the topic.
EXAM BANKS: http://lawmedia.pepperdine.edu/exam/examlookup.php
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I would also highly recommend the Siegels series, which is a book of essay prompts and model answers. http://www.amazon.com/Siegels-Contracts ... 0735556865
10. Outline as you go. Once you finish a unit, go back over it, pick out whats important, and outline it.
11. Make attack outlines for easy access to the law.
12. Read getting to maybe and the leews primer immediately if you have not. These give you a foundation for how to write essays and how to extract the most important lessons from lectures/casebooks/supplements.
13. Prewrite answers to exam questions. DONT TELL ANYONE YOURE DOING THIS. Because its a great strategy and almost no one uses it.
14. use some sort of organizing system for you notes, whether it be onenote or the equivielnt for mac. It saves a lot of time.
15. Enjoy yourself! For some 1L year will be hell. However, 1L year can be a very rewarding experience if you let be.
For fun: http://ponyuplaw.tumblr.com/
16. Use TLS forums. lots of good insight. Here is a collection of guides viewtopic.php?f=3&t=123092
17. look at online case briefs and outlines to compare your extracted law to theirs. http://www.boalt.org/outlines/outlines.html#civpro http://www.4lawschool.com/casebrief.htmhttp://www.onelbriefs.com/ http://www.lawnix.com/http://www.invispress.com/law/http://www.ilrg.com/students/outlines/
***REALLY GOOD CASE BOOK SPECIFIC http://legalthree.com/law-school-outlines/http://lawschool.mikeshecket.com/