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Author Topic: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?  (Read 2776 times)

russell

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Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« on: November 30, 2007, 02:24:45 AM »
I created my own outline covering the first half of the semester, but since then, I've acquired a very thorough and well-organized outline created by a student who had my professor last year. I know the overwhelming suggestion is to create your own outlines, and I recognize some of the benefits of doing that. I compared this person's outline with my first half outline, and the outlines were almost identical. He included all of the elements that I included and organized the same way that I organized mine. I figure that this outline will include everything that I would include if I created my own.

Because of the way that I learn, I felt like reading over my completed outline multiple times helped me more than the process of actually creating the outline. If I used this person's outline for the second half of the material and spent more time reviewing it and my first half outline, do you guys think I would be at a huge disadvantage compared to if I spent more time creating my own and had less time to review? I know this is a subjective question, but I'm looking for any similar experiences any of you may have had.

I've done all the readings and gone to every class. I plan to review all of my own notes from class and the readings.

Thanks for any information

jacy85

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 07:47:52 AM »
If you review this outline several times, and still go through your classnotes thoroughly and compare w/ the outline, you should be fine. 

I no longer outline on my own unless I can't find an old outline to use.  Instead, I take an old outline and add to some parts, shorten it, reword things, etc. so that it fits my classnotes and my needs.  This review and editing process is more helpful for me than just recreating the wheel every semester.  I did much better using this method for my 2 open book exams second semester 1L than I did first semester 1L, and I've used it ever since.  (note, however, that I'm not sure how much my grade improvements were due to my change in outline strategy or just due to the fact that I "figured" law school out)

Prizark

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 11:12:25 AM »
If you review this outline several times, and still go through your classnotes thoroughly and compare w/ the outline, you should be fine. 

I no longer outline on my unless I can't find an old outline to use.  Instead, I take an old outline and add to some parts, shorten it, reword things, etc. so that it fits my classnotes and my needs.  This review and editing process is more helpful for me than just recreating the wheel every semester.  I did much better using this method for my 2 open book exams second semester 1L than I did first semester 1L, and I've used it ever since.  (note, however, that I'm not sure how much my grade improvements were due to my change in outline strategy or just due to the fact that I "figured" law school out)


What do you mean by figured law school out?

jacy85

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 02:18:56 PM »
I mean that I figured out what exactly was important in terms of what to focus on studying, or that I honed my study time so that it fit my needs better, or that I figured out what precisely to write on exams, or maybe none of the above.

I did pretty well first semester, but hit the ball out of the park second semester 1L, and have done extremely well since then.  How much of it was attributable to changing out I outline vs. all these other things, I'm really not sure.

Prizark

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2007, 11:58:17 AM »
I mean that I figured out what exactly was important in terms of what to focus on studying, or that I honed my study time so that it fit my needs better, or that I figured out what precisely to write on exams, or maybe none of the above.

I did pretty well first semester, but hit the ball out of the park second semester 1L, and have done extremely well since then.  How much of it was attributable to changing out I outline vs. all these other things, I'm really not sure.

So do you have any tips for studying for 1L exams? :-)

jacy85

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2007, 01:28:10 PM »
My biggest advice is not necessarily how to study.  Most everyone in law school is capable of learning the material.  The biggest difference is understanding how it all works together, as well as how to write a good exam.  For both of these, the best way to figure it out is to write (or at least outline) practice exams.

For how everything works together, I would do practice problems and formulate a checklist or flowchart of issues to consider and what order is makes the most sense to consider them in.  This was where my study group was most helpful for me.

For how to write an exam, LEEWS is great.  Ultimately, IMO, a good exam answer requires 2 things:

1.  You must figure out which issues are the "big ticket" issues, and w/in each issue, which elements or factors are key.  Some issues are going to worth more than others, and it makes more sense to deal with those first so you can get the most points for your time.  Then, if you have time left, hit the smaller issues.  Second, when you're dealing w/ each claim or issue, not every element is going to be important.  Some can be summarized in one sentence, and others you'll want to spend more time analyzing more indepth.  The easiest example would be a claim for negligence.  If there's a property owner who, on the facts, clearly invited someone onto their property, then it's pretty easy to see that whatever the defendant might argue, he, the property owner, owed a duty to the invitee.  Whether he breached that duty may be the much more complex issue. So spending a page on whether there was a duty woudl be a waste of time, when the point of that issue was really the discussion of breach.

2.  Forking your answers - don't miss easy points by not addressing both parties' arguments.  Lots of people think they do this, but they don't.  And many people that do this, miss the final step.  Once you've said what Ptf and Def will argue, you know that you need to pick an answer - say the defendant successfully proves in the example above that he didn't breach his duty to the invitee.  If that's true, then the plaintiff's entire claim for negligence fails.  Lots of people just stop there, think they've finished, and move on to the next issue or problem.  You lose lots of points for this, especially if your final conclusion, that defendant will probably win, is WRONG.  Even if you think it's clear that one party wins, make sure you say what happens if the other side wins.  Mine usually go something like, "based on x, y and z, it seems likely that the defendant will prevail on the issue of breach.  In that case, the plaintiff's claim for negligence will fail.  However, if the court finds that the defendant did in fact breach his duty to the plaintiff, the next issue the court must consider is whether that breach of duty caused the plaintiff's injuries..."

By not just ending your analysis w/ your conclusion on issue 1, you'll get the points for addressing issues 2, 3 and 4.  This seems pretty basic, but a lot of people fail to do this.

I'd suggest creating an outline at the beginning of every problem with your issues, from biggest to smallest, w/ the elements of each that are key, defenses, and who you think would win them. This way, if you don't get to some of the minor issues, you may still gain a point here and there if your professor looks at your outline.

Anyway, this is very off-topic for this thread...but since someone asked, I figured I'd share.

Prizark

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2007, 01:51:10 PM »
Thanks Jacy85!!

I'm def. going to try and take as many practice tests as possible. Thanks for the insight

A1

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2007, 11:44:08 PM »
The majority of the students I know who were in the top 10% 1L combined 2 or more excellent upperclass outlines into one master outline for most of their classes.

It depends how you learn.  Do what works for you. 

whit1981

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2007, 12:55:32 AM »
If you want to live a life that isn't obsessed with law than the best way to learn with least amount of work as possible is to have two fairly good outlines side by side and go through them with a supplement next by you. As you go through the outlines look at the main headings and prepare yourself mentally for easy issue spotting. That is, for any issue there is a set of facts that should trigger your mind. I always do this, re-writing outlines is a clearly a waste to me. Especially if you have a closed book exam. I like closed book exams because many law students actually are not good at arguing or analyzing they are just good at regurgitating outlines. I prefer in depth argumentation on exams and it has served me well. No I am not top 10% but i don't work very hard and have managed to keep my sanity by living my life and preparing for exams the same way that I plan to practice law. Law is not my obsession, living life in way that allows for sanity is my aim. So yes, if you want to be top 10% don't listen to me, but if you're a normal person (unlikely if you're in law school really) than study in a way where you feel sane and competent with the material.

Live and let live.

ngdo2007

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Re: Any success stories using upper-classmen outlines?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2007, 12:24:06 PM »
If you want to live a life that isn't obsessed with law than the best way to learn with least amount of work as possible is to have two fairly good outlines side by side and go through them with a supplement next by you. As you go through the outlines look at the main headings and prepare yourself mentally for easy issue spotting. That is, for any issue there is a set of facts that should trigger your mind. I always do this, re-writing outlines is a clearly a waste to me. Especially if you have a closed book exam. I like closed book exams because many law students actually are not good at arguing or analyzing they are just good at regurgitating outlines. I prefer in depth argumentation on exams and it has served me well. No I am not top 10% but i don't work very hard and have managed to keep my sanity by living my life and preparing for exams the same way that I plan to practice law. Law is not my obsession, living life in way that allows for sanity is my aim. So yes, if you want to be top 10% don't listen to me, but if you're a normal person (unlikely if you're in law school really) than study in a way where you feel sane and competent with the material.

Live and let live.

I  have had the same approach- sadly, once you work for a firm, you no longer have control and must (most of the time) sacrifice your life.