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Author Topic: Should I write my own outlines?  (Read 2318 times)

Julie98

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Should I write my own outlines?
« on: August 13, 2007, 10:11:14 PM »
I read in PLS II that each student should write his/her own outline instead of buying commercial outlines. I have never seen an outline of this sort-- is it just an outline summarizing the readings or the cases or what? Is there an example someone could point out so that if I should decide to write my own, I can check out the example for tips?

Please let me know if you (especially you 2Ls and 3Ls) think I should write my own, buy it, find a student who took the prof's class? If you bought outlines, please let me know which ones you thought were helpful.

Thanks!

amoebalaw

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2007, 10:30:50 PM »
Do a google search, you'll find a ton of outlines. Lexis also makes outlines for first-year courses.

Most professors I've talked to insist that you should make your own outline, at the very least for the benefit of organizing your materials and thoughts, and doing a thorough review of the course. (I made all my own, although it was helpful to compare it with some classmates, after we had each completed ours)

If you are going to use a commercial outline, it's recommended more as a supplement, to fill in areas you don't quite understand. (although you really should go to your professor or classmates for help)

Of course, to each their own. If you really find outlining to give you a huge headache and that it is confusing you more than helping, maybe a commercial outline is the way to go...

oscarsonthepond

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #2 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).

LVP

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2007, 01:28:50 PM »
There is more benefit gained from making an outline than from having an outline.  If you make your own, you get both benefits.  If you buy one, you only get the lesser benefit.
Pizza is the reward, death is the risk.

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4DClaw

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2007, 03:06:17 PM »
Definitely make your own outline. You'll really learn the material that way, even though it can be tedious. I like to do it at the end of every week, synthesizing class notes, materials from cases, hornbooks, and, if necessary, commercial outlines. It helps to do it ever week, because then you'll have your outline completed at the end of the semester and you can spend that precious time using your outline on old exams and revising it where necessary.
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jacy85

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2007, 04:19:57 PM »
I agree with most everyone else here - you should make your own outline.  If you're confused as to what it should look like, you can look at commercial ones, or better yet, outlines from upperclassmen that had your profs.  After first semester, you can try to figure out how helpful making your own was, and judge whether you can still effectively learn everything you should by taking an old outline from a 2 or 3L and updating/changing it instead of making your own from scratch.

One piece of advice - don't fall into the trap of relying solely on commercial outlines.  Many professors that have open book exams will not allow anything commercial into the exam room - it turns into a potential disadvantage for people who can't afford to buy commercial outlines.  If you use commercial outlines, use them to clarify points or study.  If you have open book exams, your own outline (or an updated 2L or 3L's outline) is probably best.

LVP

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007, 09:32:29 AM »
Another funny exam "horror story" - I talked to a girl who worked so long and hard on her outline - she had flowcharts, and everything was tabbed and cross-referenced, and color coded, and she even had it laminated - she was so proud.  Then, she got to the exam, and she couldn't use it because the proctors were sure it was a commercial outline.

So maybe, keep it amateurish!   :D
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jacy85

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2007, 09:57:45 AM »
Another funny exam "horror story" - I talked to a girl who worked so long and hard on her outline - she had flowcharts, and everything was tabbed and cross-referenced, and color coded, and she even had it laminated - she was so proud.  Then, she got to the exam, and she couldn't use it because the proctors were sure it was a commercial outline.

So maybe, keep it amateurish!   :D

This is the most retarded thing I've ever heard.  Why the hell would you laminate an outline?  This girl deserved it.

slacker

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2007, 08:42:03 PM »
Why the hell would you laminate an outline?
Drool protection -- when she falls asleep overstudying.

jacy85

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Re: Should I write my own outlines?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2007, 08:44:33 PM »
Why the hell would you laminate an outline?
Drool protection -- when she falls asleep overstudying.

touche!