Interesting that you say there is "no one way to do law school" and then you proceed to instruct the OP how to study and read for classes. I was stating what worked very well for me - and what didn't work very well for my classmates.
I disagree with most of this post, but particularly the contention that the cases lay out the BLL clearly. Maybe we weren't reading the same casebooks. But many of my cases involved black-letter rules that are no longer the law. I understand the value in building your reading comprehension skills. But really, law school isn't the place to begin doing that. Yes, there is some value in reading every single case, but when you're in law school you have to think about the end game, which is doing as well as possible on exams. If reading the cases gets you there, then do that. If reading only supplements and hornbooks gets you there, then do that.
Also, outlining every week forced me to continue thinking about the material. And when it came time for exam studying, I was able to spend the time applying the law to practice exams rather than re-hashing my notes into an outline.
Bottom line: I think we do agree that there isn't one method of success in law school. But I do worry when people automatically try to foreclose the use of supplements and other non-classroom methods, because sometimes they can be the best method.
You need to take each and every piece of advice that you read or receive with a grain of salt. There is no one way to do law school. There is nothing that you absolutely "need" because what I need to do to get As may not necessarily be what you need to do to get As.
Case in point:
You need supplements. I don't need any supplements. Sure, the E&Es were useful, especially for CivPro, and they're a decent source of practice questions. I also really like the Seigel essay question books with answers. But I don't need any of that stuff and in many classes I found that purchasing outlines were a waste of money.
You need to begin outlining at the beginning of the semester.
I have never started outlining at the beginning of the semester, and I'm ranked near the top of my class. The earliest I start is early October, after we have gone through at least 2 "sections" of the syllabus. I also never make my own outlines from scratch if I have access to an old outline. I end up completely rewriting the old outline, but the process works better for me and saves me a little time. If you can't take the time/effort to rewrite an old outline line by line, however, you may be better off making your own.
You need to do every hypo you can find.
I do sign on with this. Doing practice exams and hypos helps me learn how to apply the law we learned in class in an organized way. It also helps me learn the law. Between rewriting and reading through my outlines, cutting my outlines down, and doing hypos, I know the law well enough to apply it quickly. However people still disagree over whether practice exams and hypos shoudl be done under timed conditions or not. I have never done one hypo under "timed" exam conditions. Not a single one. And I've been completely fine, and finished every single exam I've sat down to take. Others swear by timed exams.
People also disagree fundamentally over whether its even necessary to do the reading assigned. I read every page that's given to me, and I've never skipped an assignment. I feel the cases assigned lay out the BLL law clearly, and provide a good example of how to apply the law to the facts of the case. Some people refer to the case method as "hiding the ball" and they expect to be hand fed the rules. Well, law school isn't about hand-feeding you anything. It's about teaching you to be able to sit down, read a case in an area of law you've never looked into before, and be able to figure out the relevant facts and the rule of law all on your own. When you're in practice, no one is going to hold your hand and tell you what the rule is all the time. At first, picking out the rule can be difficult, and you maynot be able to figure out exactly what facts are relevant, etc. But its a skill. Sometimes I wonder if the people who female dog about "hiding the ball" are either too dumb to find it, too lazy to look for it, or just oblivious to the fact that they're *supposed* to find it themselves.
So anyways, the bottom line is this - people learn differently, they study differently, and different things work for them. What worked for me maybe would not have worked for 4DClaw, and certainly would not have worked for Atticus Falcon. You should keep an open mind about how to study. The one suggestion I'd make is start off doing the reading, and you might want to wait until you finish one section of a course before outlining (assuming you want to start asap, and not wait until October). For example, if you start talking about Offers in Contracts, wait until you finish the section on Offers. Then try to get a decent outline from a 2L, and just look it over for how they outlined Offers, what they pulled out. Then make your own, see how it comes out, etc. Don't be afraid to borrow from other outlines, but just be aware of whether you're still doing your own work and thinking.
I'd suggest that its better to start out this way than start out not doing the reading and relying on supplements, etc. Once you fall behind, it's near impossible to catch up. And waiting until you have one full section to outline may help you learn to see the big picture as you go. Otherwise you may find that the first half of your outline may completely miss the point, or be missing a larger organizational component. Otherwise, keep an open mind, take suggestions and use them if you like them, and don't be afraid to adapt what you're doing as you go along.