Academics News

Academic Success Tip - New Study Techniques

There is always a buzz around the law school when a new semester begins.  Students are enthusiastic about starting new courses, and some students have decided new study strategies are in order.  Here is some information that will help you to be successful in implementing any new strategies:

  • Research shows that it takes 21 days to implement a new habit fully.  Do not expect overnight success with new study techniques.  It will take several weeks before the new technique “feels part of you” and is more natural.  21 days is the normal time needed, so do not give up if you are almost there for full implementation and need more time.
  • Do not expect to change “everything” at once.  If you expect yourself to lose 20 pounds, quit smoking, cut out all caffeine, cut out all sugar, call your parents every Sunday, learn how to salsa dance, find true love, write the great American novel, get straight “A’s” instead of “C’s” …  Well, you get the picture.  You need to make realistic changes in several areas rather than try for the impossible and set yourself up for defeat.
  • Be very reasoned in your selection of new study techniques.  Ask the following questions: 

          a.  Is the new study technique compatible with my learning preferences?
          b.  If not, is the new study technique compatible with solving a concern I have because of my learning preferences?
          c.  Is the new study technique part of “law school mythology” or does it make sense for me?
          d.  Is the new study technique compatible with necessary areas of improvement that my professors have mentioned during evaluations of my exams?
          e.  If the new study technique is touted by other students who use it, do I know if they are “A” or “B” students so that I know it has a record of success? 
           f.  Does the new study technique help me learn material throughout the entire semester rather than in the last few weeks? 
          g. Does the new study technique boost memory or work against memory? 
          h. Will the new study technique work for all courses or is it more specific to a certain subject matter? 
           i. Does the new study technique help me to be more efficient and effective in my studying? 
           j. Is the new study technique tied to learning or just to avoiding doing the work myself? 
          k. Do I know someone who uses the new study technique so that I can discuss the pros and cons before I invest the time? 
          l. What do I see as the pluses and pitfalls of implementing this new study technique?

  • Very structured time management helps to curb procrastination.  Working on curbing procrastination helps you have better time management.  It is a “hand in glove” relationship.  If you need help with these two aspects, work individually with Ms. Kimberly Ballard on these aspects.
  • If you are unsure about a new study technique even after evaluating it, consider whether it has enough positive potential that you want to try it out for 1 week to decide whether to implement it permanently.


If you are planning to take the KY Bar Exam in July, and you have not started to complete the KY Bar Exam Application, you need to start TODAY.  The deadline to submit a completed application, application fee, authorization and release forms, credit report, computer testing release of liability form (if applicable), and non-standard testing accommodations application (if applicable) is FEBRUARY 1.   If you were unable to attend the KY Bar Presentation on January 7, be sure to stop by Kimberly Ballard's office (Room 212) to pick up handouts that were distributed at the meeting.  As soon as the video from the 1/7 presentation is posted on LawTube, a notice will be posted in the Daily Docket.  All students taking the KY Bar Exam in July need to watch the presentation.

Weekly Academic Success Tip - Tips for a New Semester

Here are some things to consider at the start of this new semester.  I am happy to help you with any of the areas for which you want to make an appointment.
  • Remember that a grade measured your knowledge and application on one set of questions at one point in time on one day.  If you did very well, congratulations.  But do not slack off because you think you will do that well again without working hard.  If you did not do as well as you wanted, realize that changes in study habits can make a world of difference.  Some people catch on to law school faster than others.
  • Study smarter not harder.  There are many strategies and techniques that can make you more efficient and effective.  Law school success is not only about knowing the law and applying it.  Law school success is also about knowing how to study the law.  Even 2L and 3L students can benefit from new study habits. 
  • Ask for assistance if you are not happy with your grades.  You are not destined to be the “great middle” of your class if you are willing to take control of the situation and seek help.  Make an appointment with the Director of Academic Success.  Ask questions regularly of your professors.  Find a good study partner or study group.  If you are a 1L, sign up for the Structured Study Group program. 
  • Use study aids wisely.  Study aids are supplements to your own work and processing of the material.  Study aids are not shortcuts to avoid your own work.  You must do the struggling with the material to understand it deeply and be able to apply it.  Use study aids to assist in your understanding.
  • Remember that memorization of the law takes time.  You must know your “black letter” law as a foundation.  You must know the main rules, the exceptions to the rules, the variations on the rules, and the exact elements/factors of the rules.  Drill.  Drill.  Drill.
  • Outline every week for every course.  By staying on top of your outlining, you give yourself a master document from which to study for exams.  You need to understand the overview, the relationship among concepts, the methodologies (steps of analysis and tests), and enough detail to flesh all of it out.  By condensing material each week, you begin to master these four levels of knowledge.
  • Review regularly throughout the semester.  Study for exams all semester long.  If you distribute your learning, you will have deeper understanding of the law, retain information better, recall information better, recognize issues more easily, and be able to answer questions more effectively.  You forget 80% of what you learn within two weeks without regular review.  If you wait until the last six weeks to study for exams, you will be re-learning nine weeks of material while you are learning six weeks of material for the first time. 
  • Practice applying the law.  It is essential to know the law, but you MUST be able to apply the law to new fact scenarios.  The more practice questions you do, the better you will be at spotting issues, understanding nuances in the law, and using proper test-taking techniques.
  • Use time management techniques to your advantage.  You can get all of your tasks done every week and still have time to enjoy life!  If you will work with the Director of Academic Success on how to structure your time, you can read/brief, review before class, outline, review for exams, write papers, and complete practice questions each week with time left over.


All students planning to take the Kentucky Bar Exam in July are strongly encouraged to attend the presentation today at 1:00 in Room 275.  Bonnie Kittinger, Director and General Counsel of the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, will discuss the bar application process, character and fitness issues, and the format of the Kentucky Bar Exam.  This program will be recorded for evening division students who are unable to attend. Feel free to bring your lunch.  Snacks will be provided.

The Law School's Bad Weather Policy

In light of snow being forecast for Thursday, 1/7/2010, we should all be reminded that the Law School follows the University’s bad weather policy and announcements.


If the University announces that classes are closed for the day, then the Law School is closed that day.  If the University announces that classes will be delayed (starting at 10:00 am, for example) then Law School classes beginning  before 10:00 am are cancelled and classes that begin at or after 10:00 am will meet at their regular time and for their regular length of time.


The University announces its bad weather decisions at the top of the University homepage,,  by direct email and text message to those of have signed up for this service and through local media.


The Law School’s policy is written in paragraph X of the Student Handbook, which I quote here:


“X.  Bad Weather ScheduleThe Law School follows the University’s lead in all weather-related cancellations and delays.   1)  We will cancel classes up to a certain time and begin with our full class schedule at that point. For instance, if we delay opening until 10:00 a.m., all classes that begin before 10:00 a.m. will be cancelled.  Classes meeting at 10:00 a.m. and later will meet at their regular times and will include the full instruction period. 2)  For purposes of this policy, evening classes will be defined as any classes beginning at or after 4:15 p.m. 3)  Please note that the University will provide official school closing information in the following ways:  A notice at the top of the University home page,; e-mails sent to all students and employees on their Groupwise accounts; a recorded message at 852-5555. 

These are the only venues through which we can guarantee accurate information.  They are the first three methods by which we will communicate, although we will continue to announce our decisions through media as well.”


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Kentucky Bar Exam Presentation

All students planning to take the Kentucky Bar Exam in July are strongly encouraged to attend the presentation this Thursday, January 7, from 1:00 to 2:00 in Room 275.  Bonnie Kittinger, Director and General Counsel of the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, and Mary Riddell, Deputy Director, will discuss the bar application process, character and fitness issues, and the format of the Kentucky Bar Exam.  This program will be recorded for evening division students who are unable to attend.

Last day to add a class and withdraw from a class

Friday, January 8, 2010, is the last day to add a class.

February 26, 2010, is the last day to withdraw from a class, but if you withdraw from a class after Friday, January 8, a W will show on your transcript.


Thursday, January 28, 2010, is the last day to apply for a May 2010 degree.

ULink, Student Services, under Degree Information - Degree Application


Reminder - Kentucky Bar Exam Presentation on Thursday

All students planning to take the Kentucky Bar Exam in July are strongly encouraged to attend the presentation this Thursday, January 7, from 1:00 to 2:00 in Room 275.  Bonnie Kittinger, Director and General Counsel of the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, will be one of the presenters, and will be available to answer your questions about the bar application process, character and fitness issues, and the format of the bar exam.  This program will be recorded for evening division students who are unable to attend.

Weekly Academic Success Tip - Evaluating Your Exam Performance

Grades for the fall semester are in.  Were you pleasantly surprised or dismally disappointed or somewhere in-between?  Regardless of your situation, most every student can benefit by participating in an exam review with their professor.  No one gets a perfect score on a law school exam and there is always room for improvement.  Below are some tips for having a productive exam review:

  • Be very clear about the professor's requirements.  Some professors have specific dates and times when they will hold exam reviews with students.  If you are unsure of a professor's availability, send him or her an email.
  • Before you meet with a professor to do a formal exam review, request to see a copy of the exam.  Doing your own assessment will help you prepare your thoughts before meeting with the professor.  You will be amazed by what you notice about the exam question and your answer when you can look at it without the stress and time pressure of an exam period. 
  • Come to the meeting with only one thing in mind - learning from past experience and gaining from professional reaction to your product.  Do not expect that this meeting with lead to a grade change.
  • Take an active role in the meeting.  Do not expect a packaged answer from the professor, pinpointing your precise strengths and weaknesses.  The following questions, if you ask them consistently, can identify trends in your exam-taking:
  • Did I misread the instructions for the exam?
  • Did I spot the important issues?
  • Did I miss important issues entirely?
  • Did I display the rule/test/framework/standard properly and clearly?
  • Did I adequately explain exceptions and/or counter arguments?
  • Did I organize my answer based upon what was asked in the call of the question?
  • Did I thoroughly develop the analysis/application?  Did I explain each step of my legal analysis?
  • Did I explore the facts of the question thoroughly in light of the legal principles and issues that I identified?
  • What ways could the answer have been better organized?
  • Did I make unwarranted assumptions in order to reach my conclusion?
  • What aspects of my exam were strong?

Take a hard look at your performance last semester.  Be honest with yourself about what worked and what did not work.  Give yourself credit for your study strategies that were efficient and effective.  Admit what study strategies were disasters.  If you did not put in enough effort, own up to it.  If you procrastinated, own up to it.  To improve this semester, you must know your strengths, be honest about your weaknesses, and rigorous in your time management.