« on: August 14, 2007, 02:02:01 AM »
IMO, definitely make your own outline. If you goof off all semester and don't have time to do so, then use a classmates. Whatever you do, do not rely exclusively on a commercial outline as it's likely the case that 80% of it won't apply to your exam - and the other 20% will probably use different terminology.
The biggest benefit in having your own outline is that it covers exactly what your professor covered, which is exactly what will be on the exam. This same benefit can be achieved by using a classmate's outline or to a certain extent an outline of a student who took the class from that professor previously (although to a lesser extent because most professors change their emphasis regularly).
A secondary benefit of doing an outline is that you're able to wrap your head around the subject better when you are forced to organize it yourself and put it into understandable form. Also, by being so involved in trying to figure out how to organize and word everything, you become intimately familiar w/ the subject matter. These benefits are only achievable by actually making your own outline.
As far as the contents of the outline, it's really a personal thing. Whatever you do, don't worry about outlining until at least a month (minimum) into the semester. Anything you do before that will be pretty useless as the whole point of the outline is to organize the ideas together. Just take good class notes and then about a month+ in things will start to come together and you can organize your notes into an outline. Like amoebalaw said, you can google to find out different example outlines. Re: cases - although most classes are based around cases, most tests are not. In my experience it is typically most usefull to outline essentially just the black-letter law and note casenames just to keep track of things. Most professors don't give credit for mentioning case names on exams (except important cases such as in Constitutional Law).