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This may be the worst question ever but...Outlining?


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Re: This may be the worst question ever but...Outlining?
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2008, 04:51:23 AM »
I've got a question: I just bought a mac, and I've been using a pc and onenote all year... I'm in love with onenote, and the only problem with my new computer is that I don't know what program will be best for notetaking/outlining.  I really loved how intuitive outlining in onenote was, does anyone know of any programs for mac that are similar and good for outlining?

Supposedly, the Mac version of Windows does the same thing as OneNote. I have a really old version of Office on my computer, so I haven't gotten a chance to try it yet. This past semester I used Google Docs, but I wouldn't recommend it b/c I don't think it's totally compatible with Safari yet.

Re: This may be the worst question ever but...Outlining?
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2008, 05:13:25 AM »
I was planning on making a thread like this too. Except I'd also like to know what "briefing" is? Just short reading notes on the cases you read for class? Seems like it'd be really useful to do, but I've heard people say its a waste of time. Would these be incorporated into your outline?

Also, another stupid question: in general, you get to use your outlines on exams, right?

Again, I am too lazy to explain anything, but man do I love google:

As to the second question.  Yes you can use your outlines for the most part.  Most exams are open book, meaning you can bring the course book, your notes, outlines, whatever.  Some of my profs would specify that you could only bring stuff you had written, some would say only stuff "you had a part in making", some would say "use anything you want, your own notes, commercial outlines and hornbooks, bring anything".  That's just something you have to confirm with the prof.  Also, some exams are closed book, meaning you get nothing.  So far I only know of one section (out of 5) at my school that had one closed book exam... it's not that common.

I think it depends on the school how common closed note exams are ... I had 2 last semester (my first semester - contracts and torts). And I have two this semester - con law and property.

For closed note exams, you probably want a really short outline.  My Contracts was 2 pages (B+ in the class) and I had a rule chart for torts and a 20 page outline.  A in torts.  I have an 11 page outline for con law, and our property professor made us outlines that I will study for our exam next week.

My outlines are generally short ... my longest ones are for civ pro (open note) - around 30 pages.  I'm not sure what the hell everyone else is putting in their outlines, b/c I include everything o.0  Oh well.

This semester I had no open note exams (Evidence, Admin, Sales, Wills and Trusts, Methods III), and same thing last semester (Fed Tax, Con law II, International law, Pro Rep, Biz Orgs).  Just something to keep in mind for OL and 1L's.  There WILL be times when you need to get all that info in your head.  IMO the best thing to do in those situations is to start your outlining 1 month prior to exams as stated by others.  Keep it short and succinct so you can recall key points. 

Also, as a general tip, Sum and Substance is your friend if you can get the recordings.  Playing them in the car while you drive helps.


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Re: This may be the worst question ever but...Outlining?
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2008, 06:08:14 AM »
I'll be a bit of a contrarian here.   This is what worked for me, but attempt it at your own risk:

Don't outline.  At all.

Here's my story:  1L year I outlined religiously, had a great study group (the other two people in my group both made the flagship journal), did all the crap you were supposed to do.  At the end, my grades were only so-so.  So this year I pretty much said screw it and just studied the way I always did before I got to law school.  In the fall I was well above the cutoff for top 10% for my class for the semester, and I'm feeling pretty good about this semester too.

That being said, I think this will only work if you take really good class notes.  I do not transcribe.  I only write down the important stuff as it comes up.  For every case we go over, I write down the case, court, and year of the decision, a line with a quick summary of the facts so I can remember which case it was, and then whatever was important about it.  I usually end up with 40-50 pages of notes over the course of the whole semester.  Then before the exam I go over what we covered and read the appropriate chapters out of a good hornbook, and supplement my notes with stuff from the hornbook.  Print them out, tab them for quick reference, and take the exam.

I also may try to get a good outline from someone else who took the class previously, and I'll try to check both my notes and the outline whenever I feel the need to look something up.  That depends on how confident I feel about my notes - some professors do screwy things that make it difficult to take good notes in their classes (no laptops allowed, giving out preprinted copies of their lecture notes that turn out to be more questions than answers, crap like that).

Your mileage may vary.  But my advice is to do what works for you, and don't get caught up in the need to do what everyone else does if it's not the way that you learn effectively.  By now you should have a good idea of what works for you.  Don't abandon that completely because of what the people around you are doing.


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Re: This may be the worst question ever but...Outlining?
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2008, 03:05:16 PM »