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Author Topic: How to tell if an outline is good?  (Read 1206 times)

emory2011

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How to tell if an outline is good?
« on: July 27, 2008, 05:45:01 PM »
For all you 2Ls and beyond, is there anyway you can tell if an upper classmen's outline is good? I have heard that when structuring and making your own outline it is better to use someone else's outline who had the professor rather than a commercial outline, but how can you tell if that outline is good, or if the person who used it did well?

juliemccoy

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Re: How to tell if an outline is good?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2008, 05:59:01 PM »
For all you 2Ls and beyond, is there anyway you can tell if an upper classmen's outline is good? I have heard that when structuring and making your own outline it is better to use someone else's outline who had the professor rather than a commercial outline, but how can you tell if that outline is good, or if the person who used it did well?

There really is no way to tell unless you know the person and their grade! It helps to get them from an upperclassman friend who 1) had that same prof, 2)using the same casebook and 3) your friend got a good grade. Otherwise, you really don't know what you're working with. However, it can be helpful to look at other, older outlines to get an idea of what you should be doing. But you should remember that everyone learns differently. Someone may be very successful writing Roman Numeral 1, bullet point, etc., whereas someone else is a visual learn and utilizes colors and tables and charts. Play around and see what works best for you.

Ultimately, the value of the outline isn't the final product. It's the hours you spend synthesizing your notes into the outline. During that process, you really learn to see how the material fits together. This stays in your brain and is very helpful on the exam.

Hope this helps!
Vanderbilt 2010

jacy85

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Re: How to tell if an outline is good?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2008, 06:05:09 PM »
While a good outline is better to work from, even if you get a shoddy outline, you're ultimately just using it as a base anyway.  You're still going to need to put time into updating it and incorporating your notes from reading and class.  So if the author of the outline missed some stuff, or worded things differently than you have them from both class and reading, then you can change and correct it.

But otherwise, asking for their grade is really the best way to judge.  In my experience, most people are pretty up front with outlines, saying they either did pretty well, or the person *they* got the outline from the year before did pretty well, etc.

skeeball

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Re: How to tell if an outline is good?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2008, 06:31:00 PM »
A person's grade in a class has very little to do with quality of the outline. Success in law school is about good exam taking skills, not including every single item of information from the class.

And the definition of a *good* outline varies from person to person. The outline is quite personal–everyone learns and remembers material differently.

I was never a fan of relying heavily on old outlines. I might glance at an old one to see how another person organized the material or to see if I left anything out, but that's about it. That said, the best outline comes from a student who took the same prof within the last year or two. Even then, it might not be 100% perfect because the prof could include different things or leave some stuff out.