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Author Topic: Less is More?  (Read 899 times)

M_Cool

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Less is More?
« on: June 02, 2009, 11:17:56 AM »
Last semester I did pretty well (somewhere in the top 1/3) but I studied excessively, maybe 70+ hours a week, every week.  I felt burned out by the time finals were around and then afterward I felt cheated that 90% of what I knew wasn't even on the exams.  I then decided on a new strategy--just keep my mind completely fresh.  I didn't read cases the entire way through, just got what I needed from listening to class, and looked over old outlines so I knew where we were at.  About three weeks before exams I did my own outlines and it made me sort of nervous because it felt like I was teaching myself all of the material for the first time.  The result was that I felt really brimming with intellectual energy right when exams rolled around and not burned out at all.

I got my grades back the other day and aced every single class.  Furthermore, I got the top grade in 3 of 4 classes.  Less really is more--I deserved these grades last semester when I busted my ass but got them this semester when I probably averaged 5 hours a week of study until the last few weeks. 

I know a few other people on this board were taking this approach.  How did it turn out for you?

botbot

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Re: Less is More?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 11:29:48 AM »
I go to class and take notes but I don't read or outline.

Lots of A's and B-'s...

Edit: Suggesting that my strategy is hit or miss.  Your strategy is pretty standard among non-1Ls.  Congrats nonetheless.

SEC_2L

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Re: Less is More?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 11:53:30 PM »
I seriously almost mirror your exact scenario...Top 30% 1st semester after busting ass and probably being too neurotic about exams and then...all As or A-s (on a B- curve) this semester after a more laid back but probably more efficient approach...

It seems crazy but I'll take it!

Last semester I did pretty well (somewhere in the top 1/3) but I studied excessively, maybe 70+ hours a week, every week.  I felt burned out by the time finals were around and then afterward I felt cheated that 90% of what I knew wasn't even on the exams.  I then decided on a new strategy--just keep my mind completely fresh.  I didn't read cases the entire way through, just got what I needed from listening to class, and looked over old outlines so I knew where we were at.  About three weeks before exams I did my own outlines and it made me sort of nervous because it felt like I was teaching myself all of the material for the first time.  The result was that I felt really brimming with intellectual energy right when exams rolled around and not burned out at all.

I got my grades back the other day and aced every single class.  Furthermore, I got the top grade in 3 of 4 classes.  Less really is more--I deserved these grades last semester when I busted my ass but got them this semester when I probably averaged 5 hours a week of study until the last few weeks. 

I know a few other people on this board were taking this approach.  How did it turn out for you?

Ninja1

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Re: Less is More?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2009, 04:52:55 AM »
I did much better this semester doing much less work than last semester.

Last semester, I read everything, sometimes took notes on the readings, took a *&^% ton of class notes, and had some big outlines. Meh grades ensued.

This semester, I read if I thought I was due to get called on, skimmed stuff most of the time, did shorter outlines, took way fewer notes, and got much better grades.

I think just focusing on whatever your professor decides to focus on is the key.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

EdinTally

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Re: Less is More?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2009, 10:36:17 AM »
So is the reasoning here that the anxiety of trying to do everything is somehow causing a loss of focus as to what the teacher wants on test day?

Changed Name

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Re: Less is More?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2009, 11:03:45 AM »
So is the reasoning here that the anxiety of trying to do everything is somehow causing a loss of focus as to what the teacher wants on test day?

That seems like one possibility.  Another possibility is that after the 1st semester, some students figure out what works and what doesn't.  First semester 1L year, almost everyone tries to do everything.  They read everything.  Sometimes twice.  They take notes on their readings and the write non-stop in class.  After first semester exams, people start thinking: "hmm, all that extra reading and work was kind of worthless."  I think it really is just having the experience of one set of exams that changes the way people study for the second semester.  For most, it often means not having to study more but just changing things they were doing (or how they were thinking about the material).

Advocate

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Re: Less is More?
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2009, 12:16:27 PM »
It's the basic rule of diminishing marginal returns.  A certain amount of studying is necessary.  Beyond that, you get very little improvement per hour (or whatever unit of time you want to use) of studying.  At a certain point, it would even become counterproductive, as you would be too tired to remember things.  The cliche "work smarter, not harder" seems appropriate -- although, you have to work pretty hard too!

rene_descartes

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Re: Less is More?
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2009, 02:26:02 PM »
I'm not sure if really less is more. It's about how to study in the smartest and most efficient manner.
I found that each class requires a different approach. I think it's about knowing what the professor wants and tailor your study method to the professor's style.

Ninja1

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Re: Less is More?
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2009, 08:56:49 PM »
So is the reasoning here that the anxiety of trying to do everything is somehow causing a loss of focus as to what the teacher wants on test day?

You have to remember, profs are people too. They know what they know and they don't know what they don't know. As a result, certain *&^% will play better than other *&^% from class to class. For example, my crim law prof spent a ton of time talking about murder and manslaughter doctrines and almost no time talking about accomplice liability and conspiracies. As a result, half of our test was murder/manslaughter sort of *&^%, and there was like 5% accomplice/conspiracy *&^%.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.