Academics News

Academic Success Tip - Read the Instructions

Read the instructions!  This is the most obvious advice imaginable, but every exam period one or more students will lose points on an exam for not following a professor's directions.  Most students get flustered at the start of an exam, so this type of mistake is more common than you might imagine.  When the exam starts, take a deep breath, slow yourself down, and read the instructions.

Academic Success Tip - Studying over the Thanksgiving Holiday

Decide how you need to balance your play and study time over the holiday.  What family commitments do you have?  Are your outlines complete?  Where are you in your review for exams?  Here are some tips to consider:

  • Be realistic about your ability to study over the holiday.  Do not expect to accomplish six weeks of work in 5 days.  Enjoy Thanksgiving Day with family or friends.  Block out times when you can realistically study during the remainder of the vacation.
  • Make a priority list of tasks.  Work on tasks in the order of priority.
  • Break tasks into smaller steps.  It is easier to motivate yourself to outline one topic or rewrite one section of a paper.  You will not be motivated by too large of a task. 
  • Consider productive ways that you can use travel time:  listen to Sum and Substance CDs or a homemade tape of your outline while driving back and forth; review an outline sitting in the airport; quiz yourself with flashcards instead of watching an in-flight movie; if traveling with a classmate, consider answering practice questions together during the trip.
  • Consider whether you can include your family or friends in helping you study: quizzing you from flashcards or quizzing you on your outlines, for example.  You get to study, and they get to participate.
  • And, most importantly, have safe and healthy traveling and holiday celebrations.

Academic Success Office - Study Aids

The Academic Success Office will close today at 11:30 a.m.  There are still study aids available for a variety of subjects, including a set of CDs for Torts, Family Law, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Evidence - perfect if you have a long commute.  E&Es are also available for many subjects.  Stop by today before 11:30 if you would like to check out a study aid.  The office will reopen on Monday.

Academic Success Tip - Do not procrastinate!

During the last week of class and especially during the Thanksgiving holiday, beware of the false sense that “I have all day to do X,” which will likely cause you to procrastinate.  Instead, fill in blocks of time each day with the topics you will study during that time period.  Stay focused and stay on task.  If you plan your work and work your plan, you will not fall behind.   

Academic Success Tip - Study Groups

Use study groups judiciously as you prepare for finals.

  • Do not skimp on your personal review time by joining too many group activities.
  • Schedule group time when you have reviewed the material enough to gain the most from discussions.
  • Alternate who explains concepts or answers questions so everyone has to “work” and get practice.
  • Have individual practice question time as well – your group cannot help you during the exam.
  • If study group sessions become too frustrating, consider gracefully bowing out to study by yourself or with just one other person.

Academic Success Tip - Stress Resilience

It's that time in the semester when stress begins to escalate to new levels of intensity.  However, now is also the time when you need to use your best stress resilience skills.  Stress that is out of control can lead to illness, anxiety, lessened concentration, lack of sleep, and many other problems.  Below are a few tips on managing your stress for the remainder of the semester.

  • Put grades in perspective.  Grades are not equal to who you are as a person.  You have knowledge of the course, talents, character strengths, and other skills that go beyond that one exam.  We have many extraordinarily gifted and successful graduates in law practice and on the bench who will openly state that they graduated in the “great middle” of their class.  
  • All you can ask of yourself is to do the best that you can.  No one can do better than his or her best.  No man or woman is perfect.  The important thing is to do as well as you can within your intellectual capabilities, talents, and skills.  Our best does not always get us an “A” grade, but it does get us self-respect.   
  • Do not dwell on what you have no control over.  You cannot control the days of your exams in most cases.  You cannot control the questions on your exams.  You cannot control how a professor grades.  Do not waste time wishing that you had control over these things.  Focus instead on what you can control.
  • Do not dwell on what you did not do earlier in the semester.  You cannot change that you did not study enough during the first part of the semester.  You cannot change that you did not do practice questions earlier.  You cannot change that you did not outline earlier.  Regrets get you no further along the path to exam success.  Make a note to change next semester.  But for now, spend time and energy focusing on what you can still control.    
  • Take control of what YOU can control.   You can ask your professors questions about material you do not understand.  You can study with classmates to gain new or broader perspectives on the material.  You can do more practice questions.  You can set up a structured time management schedule to distribute tasks more effectively.  You can use study aids to help you understand material that is still vague.  You can use breaks to increase your focus during intense study periods.  You can use rewards to keep yourself motivated.

Reminder: Input on 2011-12 Schedule Due Today!

All student input about which courses you would like to see offered next year, 2011-12, is due today, Friday, November 19 to Dean Arnold, tony.arnold@louisville.edu.  Over the next few weeks, the schedule will be developed and potential instructors contacted.  Dean Arnold hopes to have an initial draft of the schedule out shortly after final exams are over (but no later than the start of classes in January).  Thanks for your participation!

Academic Success Tip - Practice Questions

Practice; practice; and then practice.  Doing several practice questions for each of your classes is essential to exam success.  Make sure that you practice all questions given to you by your professors.  Practice questions are also available from study aids such as Examples & Explanations.  You can also look at CALI and bar prep materials for questions.  Make time this week to find practice questions for each of your classes that you can do over the break.   This extra effort will save you time in the end.

Academic Success Tip - Recharge Your Study Schedule

Take a close look at your study schedule.  Are you utilizing your free time effectively, especially the time that was once reserved for classes that have now ended, including Basic Legal Skills and Professional Responsibility?  Put this additional free time to good use - review your class notes, finalize your outlines, meet with your professors.  Whatever tasks you need to accomplish in preparation for finals, be sure to take advantage of the time you now have available.

Academic Success Tip - Plan to Meet with Your Professors

Goal:  After each class this week, make a list of questions that you need to ask your professors.  This is the perfect time to organize the areas on which you need help.  By being ready to ask questions by the end of the week, you will avoid the rush on the very last class days and the difficulty of finding professors over the exam period.