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Author Topic: Unique studying strategy  (Read 1552 times)

lawness

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Unique studying strategy
« on: February 13, 2009, 05:30:47 AM »
Have you guys read this article on TLS? What do you think about the students approach? I think he has some valid points, but I am anticipating my social life will suffer a little while in law school. However, I like the view of always keeing the end game in sight, which is the final exam. Any thoughts?

http://www.top-law-schools.com/success-in-law-school.html


non parata est

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2009, 08:20:13 AM »
I'm sort of embarrassed to say that it was already in my bookmarks.

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lawness

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2009, 09:36:58 AM »
Would that mean you endorse his approach?

vap

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2009, 09:59:34 AM »
I just skimmed it.

I don't think you need to read anything other than your case book to do well.

But you should definitely start taking practice exams early and make sure your outline is not super-long.

Preparing for a final exam will depend on your professor and whether the exam is open or closed book.

non parata est

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2009, 10:08:56 AM »
Would that mean you endorse his approach?

As an 0L, I don't feel qualified to endorse any particular approach.  When the time comes, I'll probably use some aspects of his advice and ignore other aspects of it.  I just saved it because I found it to be an interesting and different perspective on the way to do things.
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Slumdog Lovebutton

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2009, 06:13:11 PM »
I read this before 1L, too.  I did not end up following much of the advice, since I carefully read my casebooks in all but one class and mostly ignored hornbooks and supplements.

My grades actually corresponded quite well with the degree of attention I paid to the professor in class and the degree to which I kept up with the casebook.  My lowest grade was in a class where I stopped doing the reading and focused on the hornbook.  My highest grade was in a class where I did almost all of the reading, and wrote a long outline and flowcharts the week before the exam.  I also read the E&E for that subject and took a few practice exams.

Overall, I found the most useful parts of my test preparation to be E&Es and practice exams.  I also think it's very important to make your own outline as a tool to study and understand the material.  I tried to cut corners with one of my outlines by using one made by an upperclassman, until I realized I didn't understand many of the tough principles of the course.  Making my own outline fixed this problem.

Definitely, definitely give yourself time to take lots of practice exams.  Also, one mistake I made, which I will not make again, is that I will bring in my practice exam responses if I get to take an open-notes exam.  My civ pro professor had pretty predictable past exams...usually a huge fact pattern case involving 12(b) motions, a summary judgement/class action question, an erie question, a policy question.  I could have saved myself a lot of time re-conceiving a structure had I brought the stuff I'd already written.

I disagree that you need to read a separate policy book.  I found it sufficient to make "policy sheets" summarizing the arguments of some of the law review articles and books that were mentioned at different points in the book.  I threw in a few citations to those, and I doubt someone who'd read a different book would be at more of an advantage.
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mtbrider59

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2009, 06:36:27 PM »
Ok strategy but I was thrown off at the beginning. Going to Law school and partying every night- if this is your goal in law school, don't go, you won't make it. The part about focusing on the final is right on the money. You should read your casebokk so you can at least follow the class discussion. Briefing cases- try it for a while its a good exercise to train your brain on how to read cases, hypos, and exams. I gave up formal written briefs after about two weeks, now its just book briefing plus maybe a sheet of handwritten notes or questions to bring with me to class. but the briefing process is important, its how you need to think about your exam, spot issues, Figure out which rule to use, apply the facts to the rule- analysis, this is where you should focus  for most profs this is where the points are on an exam. Supplements are good for reading period where you might need help tackling a difficult concept that you just haven't quite gotten yet. A hornbook that follows your casebook, maybe written by the same author can help with this too. Also,the strategy you referenced talks about the herd mentality and ending up in the middle of the pack- in some classes that might be ok, as much as we'd like to all have straight As, the curve will eventually get you and give you a B- or C, so its good to set your expectations accordingly, the grades you got as an undergrad will be hard to come by, there just aren't that many A's given, so accept that its really about class rank and straight B's might put you in the top tier depending on what school you're at.

sheltron5000

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2009, 10:09:36 PM »
I appreciate the "don't brief" approach here. Having read several of these, as well as "How to succeed" books, I can tell you: writing a full brief is a silly thing to do. The only book that encouraged it was 1000 days, and the author spent most of the book (literally %50) trying to convince you to brief every case (and not very successfully).

However, I disagree with his "don't really read the cases" approach. While it does a good job of teaching BLL, it seems to lack a venue for learning how a court actually decides a case. Typically there is too much emphasis on reading cases, the obsessively careful readings of the gunner approach is a little too much.

The best strategy I've seen so far is something like the approach in Law school confidential, which says to read E&E's before reading the cases, and horn books after to deal with any questions.

Also, the author of that method could really stand to have an editor. Maybe the real reason he needs such short outlines is his own verbosity.
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Tetris

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2009, 09:00:08 PM »
Reading an E&E, outline, or hornbook "summary" of the chapter you are ABOUT to read is a life saver.  It helps you amalgamate every discussion and case into the general frame, rather than scrambling to decipher each element of the law "as you go" and missing all the subtle points and insights. 

I'm incorporating a watered down version to this approach -- mostly b/c I'm afraid of getting lost in the class discussion and missing out on the professor's "personal twist" to each class.

So I'm going to read the E&E chapter beforehand and keep up with the cases like normal.  For subjects that are particularly confusing OR that I think the professor has a propensity to test us on, I will read a hornbook article or print off a couple of journal articles on LEXIS to give me depth of understanding.
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Netopalis

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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2009, 12:35:54 AM »
I read this a while back, and I thought it sounded like good advice, but something was bugging me about it...Now, I'm a 0L, so take my advice with a few pounds of salt, but it seems to me that one of the biggest points in law school and one of the key skills that you are supposed to learn is how to read caselaw.  If you are skipping or skimming the actual caselaw, then you lose that skill...You may ace the final, but there's no hornbook or Examples and Explanations for the actual practice of law.  Therefore, while you may do your grades a service, you are probably doing your career a great disservice.  I agree that hornbooks and E&Es have their place as very useful study aids, but to stop reading the casebook is to toss the baby out with the bathwater.
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