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Author Topic: Are study groups worth the trouble?  (Read 3353 times)

MidgetFoot

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Are study groups worth the trouble?
« on: May 27, 2009, 03:29:08 PM »
Hi all, I just wanted to find out from current law school students if study groups are useful enough to join one. I found study groups to be a waste of time while in UG because oftentimes people would either come unprepared, show up unacceptably late (if at all), spend a lot of time on their cell phones, etc. I imagine that there are aspects of the law that are far easier to learn by discussing it with others, but are study groups worth the risk of it being a waste of precious time throughout the whole semester?

I know that one should do practice exams with other students and look over each other's stuff.

M_Cool

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2009, 04:57:21 PM »
The only class I did a study group for was Civ Pro and I found it to be a waste of time.  The best thing to do is probably discussing old exams.  Other than that I'd probably avoid them, though some people seem to NEED them or they'll freak out and wonder if they're "getting" it like other students. 

bryan9584

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2009, 05:44:52 PM »
The lawyerly answer to that question is Yes and No. Yes in the sense that it can be beneficial to learn and review with other students, especially if you are able to explain concepts to others. No, in the sense that you will still have to do the same amount of studying that you would do without a study group. Well, maybe a little less, but I use study groups as a supplement to my studying. I also would come and go and wasn't forced to attend all the time, especially since there would be lots of time where we would go off on tangents. Another point, I definitely appreciated study groups when I wanted to take a break from rigorous self-study and interact with people.

Hope that helps

,.,.,.;.,.,.

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2009, 06:35:29 PM »
"Getting" law school involves seeing issues in a fact pattern and subsequently recognizing their complexity.  For instance, you may see a substantial performance issue that involves plugging in a toaster half-way.  The issue is:

Did the breaching party substantially perform when they plugged in the toaster half-way?  You could argue that plugging in the toaster half-way does not rise to the level of substantial performance because there is still much work to be done with the plug; the breaching party must flip the switch, and troubleshoot the machine.  On the other hand, plugging in the toaster is a minor problem that can be remedied by plaintiff . . . .

Other issues may include:

Is the government allowed to take the property for four years without compensation?
Did J commit felony murder when he shot a co-felon during a robbery?
Did Governor D deprive his constituency of "honest services" pursuant to S. 1346 when he aired a commercial claiming that he would not steal from municipal governments?

Study groups are generally useless for understanding the law -- you SHOULD be able to understand it yourself -- but a good study group will teach you legal thinking and help you to see issues that you may otherwise not see.

Unfortunately, 0L, most study groups do not rise to the level required for excellence, because most 1Ls are as clueless as you are.  Therefore, study groups discuss irrelevancies such as the nuances of the BLL (sub-sub-issues are generally not tested); policy tangents that the professor used to invoke legal thought, not for testing purposes; and the length of a classmate's skirt.

UnbiasedObserver

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2009, 06:51:10 PM »
As others have mentioned, study groups can be beneficial.  The best method, IMHO, is to have a schedule where everyone does practice tests and you discuss them.  This allows you to see what issues you may have missed, and it encourages you to study at a consistent pace which is conducive to learning the law.

However, choose your study partners wisely!  So many study groups devolve into "parties" rather than studying. 

Also, note that Wally's right: be wary of discussing irrelevant materials such as sub-sub-points or crazy policy tangents. 

Ninja1

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2009, 09:06:09 PM »
I've found them to be reasonably helpful. Not all groups are created equal of course, but as long as you pick the right folks to study with, they can be really helpful. This is especially true second semester of 1L after everyone kind of has an idea of what they're doing.
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lyre

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2009, 12:26:32 AM »
Some people like to meet up with a study group to see if they're "getting" the class.  Personally, I hate doing that because if a friend starts talking about something I don't remember/understand, I start freaking out and thinking I'm totally clueless, when in reality I'm doing fine.  So it does more harm than good for me.  Kind of the same thing as talking about exams afterwards -- some people like to so they know they put the same answers as other people, but for some people it just scares them if a friend brings up an issue they totally forgot to write about.

jacy85

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2009, 07:13:30 AM »
As others have mentioned, study groups can be beneficial.  The best method, IMHO, is to have a schedule where everyone does practice tests and you discuss them.  This allows you to see what issues you may have missed, and it encourages you to study at a consistent pace which is conducive to learning the law.

However, choose your study partners wisely!  So many study groups devolve into "parties" rather than studying. 

Also, note that Wally's right: be wary of discussing irrelevant materials such as sub-sub-points or crazy policy tangents. 

I could have typed this post myself.  This was exactly how my study group functioned.  There was a core group of 2 or 3 of us, and occasionally we had 4 or 5 people.  Our core group did very well and we all ended up pretty highly ranked.

UnbiasedObserver

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2009, 10:55:04 PM »
I could have typed this post myself.  This was exactly how my study group functioned.  There was a core group of 2 or 3 of us, and occasionally we had 4 or 5 people.  Our core group did very well and we all ended up pretty highly ranked.

My group also had essentially the same numbers of core vs. occasional "groupies," and the core group did very well.  It's so hard to tell if that's just self-selection, but that's the case with much in life!

,.,.,.;.,.,.

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Re: Are study groups worth the trouble?
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2009, 12:14:05 AM »
Study groups are very good . . . in bed.