Saturday, May 14, 2005

Unsolicited Advice

Whew! Finals are over! Civil Procedure was not fun yesterday – I was almost convinced we had the wrong professor’s exam.

As threatened promised, here’s some unsolicited advice about the first year of law school. In no particular order:

1. Don’t freak out. Yes, it’s work. It requires a lot of time and energy. But remember, you know how to “do school.”
2. Law school exams are different from undergrad. You must not only know the law, but how to apply it to new fact situations. Study for multiple choice exams the same way you would study for an essay exam.
3. Start outlining partway through the semester. Not right away, but about halfway, when you start to see a big picture. Even if you don’t see the big picture, actually. And by “outline” I just mean some kind of summary – structure it however works for you. Use a true outline, or a flow chart, or pictures – be creative with whatever works for you.
4. Keep up with the reading and outlining/summarizing. That will leave the exam period for practice questions.
5. Do practice questions. Actually write them out – or at least an outline of how you would approach the question. If your professor doesn’t provide practice questions, use some from another school, or from a study guide.
6. If your exam is open book and open note, write in the margin of your book what day you covered that material in class – it’s much easier to cross reference during the exam, especially if your professor skips around in the book.
7. Get outlines from 2Ls and 3Ls who had your professor – but just use it to supplement your own. It’s the process of creating the outline that makes it worthwhile.
8. It is possible to do an outline for a 2 credit class in one day. It is in no way fun to do that.

Don’t I sound like an expert? Unfortunately, this is a lot of the stuff I learned the hard way. That’s all for now – I’m sure I’ll think of more.
For my fellow students who have finished finals – We did it!


Blogger CM said...

Thanks for the advice. Congratulations on being done with 1L!!

15 May, 2005 04:57  

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