Academics News

Weekly Academic Success Tip - Stay Positive

Are you feeling fatigued or discouraged?  Does it seem as though there is no way to get everything done?  Are you stressing out over the time crunch you are in right now?  Take a very deep breath and count to ten.  Then, use some of the pointers below to get things under control. 

  • Get a pep talk from someone.   You can do this!  Talk to whomever you have in your life who will encourage you and help you calm down.  It may be a professor or Academic Fellow.  It may be a spouse or significant other.  It may be a non-law mentor.  It may be a counselor or doctor.  And, if no one comes to mind, schedule a “pep talk” appointment with the Academic Success Office.
  • Be an optimist and not a pessimist.   Optimists are more successful in academics than pessimists.  Look for that silver lining in the cloud.  Go ahead and make yourself feel better!
  • Use visualization for success.   Athletes visualize themselves making the winning basket, breaking the speed record, or throwing the fastest pitch.  You can visualize yourself studying diligently each day, conquering a difficult concept in a course, and confidently taking an exam. 
  • Post inspirational sayings around your apartment.   For some, these will come from favorite authors or famous people.  For some, these will come from scriptures.  For some, these will be found using Google searches for quotes on various topics.
  • Put things into perspective.   As anxious as you may be about law school, it is not a life or world crisis.  Each day there are ordinary people dealing with hunger, poverty, homelessness, illness, natural disasters, or armed conflict.  Law school is nothing by comparison.  So, lighten up and be thankful for the opportunities that you have.
  • Be cooperative and not cut-throat competitive.   Explain a class concept to another law student who is struggling.  Provide class notes to someone who has been sick.  Offer to lend a supplement to someone who cannot afford one.  Praise another student for an excellent presentation in class.  Thank someone for supporting you when you needed help.
  • Take one day at a time.   Consciously decide each day how to use your time and talents.  Do the best you can do and then let it go.  Do not dwell on mistakes or lost time.  Re-evaluate your priorities and keep going.  The best you can do is the best you can do.
  • Set up a support system.   Decide with another law student what each of you needs help on and consciously help each other.  If the other law student needs a phone call in the morning to get moving, then make the phone call.  If you need someone to monitor your wasted time chatting in the student lounge, then ask the other student to confront you when you procrastinate.
  • Cuddle a cat, pet a pooch, or hug a horse.   Animals have a way of calming us.  Some furry friendship can do wonders.  
  • Give yourself some credit.   Remember that you are here because we believed in your abilities when we admitted you.  You were selected when hundreds of others were denied admission.  You still have the same attributes and talents as when you walked in the door on day one of law school.  There are a lot of very bright and competent people here.  And, you are one of them.  You may need to learn some new study strategies, but that is different than not belonging here.

1L Spring Break Challenge Champion Crowned - Julie Simonson

Please join the faculty, staff, and administration in congratulating the Champion of the inaugural Spring Break Challenge - Julie Simonson.  Ms. Simonson is a first-year student in Section One.  She took the Challenge on March 23, and answered the most Contracts questions correctly under timed conditions.  As Champion, Ms. Simonson will receive a $300 certificate for a Kaplan PMBR Bar Review Course, 3,200 Lexis Rewards points, and a Lexis Finals Survival Kit.  Congratulations are also extended to Lani Burt, runner-up, and third-place finishers Amanda Anderson and Nancy Vinsel.  The Champion, runner-up, and third-place finishers are all from Section One!  Congratulations and excellent work!

DEADLINE TO ORDER GRADUATION APPAREL

May, August and December 2010 Graduates

Wednesday, March 31 is the deadline to order graduation apparel for the May 8, 2010 School of Law Convocation.  Please keep checking the Docket for other graduation information.

www.louisville.edu/commencement

Weekly Academic Success Tip - Think About Your Review Process in Preparation for Finals

Some of you have been studying for exams all semester by staying on top of your course reading, adding to your outlines each week, and conscientiously learning new material while reviewing past material.  This ongoing process is the key to the highest grades because deeper understanding and long-term memory result.

As you study for exams, consider the four kinds of review that you should include in your study plans.  If you incorporate all four types, you are more likely to master your courses and garner better grades.

Intense Learning.  First, you need to learn intensely each topic.  This type of study has deep understanding as its goal.  It may take several study sessions to reach this level of learning for a long topic that was covered over multiple class sessions.  Intense learning may need to include additional reading in study aids or time asking the professor questions in order to clear up all confusion and master the material.  In addition to learning this one part of the course, the student should consider how it relates to the course as a whole. 

Fresh Review.  Second, you should strive to keep fresh everything in the course.  This type of study is focused on reading your outline cover to cover at least once a week.  It makes sure that the law student never gets so far away from a topic that it gets "foggy."  Students forget 80% of what they learn within two weeks if they do not review regularly.  After intensely learning a topic, it would be a shame to forget it.  Constant review reinforces long-term memory and provides for quicker recall when the material is needed.

Memory Drills.  Third, you should spend time on basic memory drills.  This type of study helps a student remember the precise rule, the definition of an element, or the steps of analysis.  For most students, these drills will be done with homemade flashcards.  Some students will write out rules multiple times.  Other students will develop mnemonics.  Still others may have visual reminders.  The grunt work of memory can be tedious.  However, if you do not know the law well, you will not do well on the exam.

Practice Questions.  Fourth, you must complete as many practice questions as possible.  This step has several advantages.  It monitors whether you really understand the law.  It tests whether you can apply the law to new fact scenarios.  It allows you to practice test-taking strategies.  And it monitors whether you need to repeat intense learning on a topic or sub-topic because errors on the questions indicate that it was obviously not learned to the level needed.

Ideally, you should set aside blocks of study time to accomplish each of these reviews every week for every course.  The proportion of time for each course will depend on the amount of material covered, the difficulty of the course, and the type of exam.

Spring Break Challenge - March 23

FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS:  ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE CHALLENGE?

Finals are right around the corner!  This is a great opportunity to test your knowledge.  The Challenge begins at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Room 275.  Snacks and drinks will be provided.

The challenge will consist of several objective-type (non-essay) questions covering one subject – either Contracts or Torts.  You will be asked to answer as many questions as you can within 30 minutes.  The student who answers the most questions correctly will be crowned the Spring Break Challenge Champion.

Prizes sponsored by Lexis and Kaplan PMBR:

  • $300 certificate towards the purchase of a Kaplan PMBR Complete Bar Review Course or MBE Combination Course
  • 3,200 Lexis Rewards Points
  • 1L Finals Survival Kit

1L Spring Break Challenge

1Ls:  TAKE THE SPRING BREAK CHALLENGE on MARCH 23

What do I need to do?

  1. Enjoy your spring break (March 15 – 21), but reserve some time each day to catch up on your reading; catch up on your outlining; and to review your outlines (especially Torts and Contracts).
  2. On Tuesday, March 23 (right after your 9:00 a.m. class), go to Room 275.
  3. The Challenge will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will end at 11:00 a.m.
  4. All you need to bring is a pen.
  5. We will flip a coin.  If it lands on heads, the Challenge questions will cover Contracts.  If it lands on tails, the Challenge questions will cover Torts. 
  6. Each student will receive a handout with the Challenge questions (there will be different handouts for Section One students and Section Two students).
  7. You will answer as many questions as you can in 30 minutes.  There will not be any essay questions.  The following is an example of the type of question you may see:  "List the three types of warranties you studied in Contracts at the beginning of the semester."
  8. After 30 minutes, all students will submit their answers for grading.
  9. The student who answers the most questions correctly will be crowned the Spring Break Challenge Champion and will receive:  a $300 Kaplan PMBR certificate towards the purchase of a Complete Bar Review Course or MBE Combination Course; 3,200 Lexis Rewards Points, and a 1L Finals Survival Kit.
  10. What do you have to lose?  NOTHING 

If you have any questions, please email Ms. Kimberly Ballard - kimberly.ballard@louisville.edu

TAKE THE CHALLENGE
Tuesday, March 23
10:30 a.m.
Room 275

Weekly Academic Success Tip - Be Smart During Spring Break

Spring Break is almost here!  How can you have an enjoyable break and boost your learning for finals?  It is possible – consider the tips below:

  • Spend time with family and friends.   Make sure that you have some fun time and get some relaxation during Spring Break to re-charge your batteries for the last push through classes and exams. 
  • Plan ahead for your studying.   Plan in advance what tasks you need to accomplish.  Plan which days you will do those tasks.  Plan what materials you need to take with you so that you do not forget something.  For example, if you want to work on practice problems, copy them this week so you do not have to lug a study aid around with you. 
  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish during Spring Break.  You are unlikely to study 15 hours a day every day.  Instead of telling yourself that you will accomplish 100 tasks, make a list that you think you actually will accomplish. 
  • Get on a regular sleep schedule before you return to school.  Catch some extra sleep hours to build up your stamina for the last push of the semester.  Take some power naps in the afternoons.
  • Take the time to play in active ways and not just in mental ways.  By exercising, you can release stress and prepare your body for the marathon ahead.  Enjoy the movement and healthy competition.
  • Exercise your brain cells by doing lots of practice questions for each course.  You accomplish several positives - better memory of the black letter law; better understanding of how to apply concepts; faster use of exam taking techniques and strategies; and greater confidence in the nuances of the law.
  • Catch up on any back reading that was not completed before the break.  Also, it is a good time to read for the first two days after break so that you do not feel behind when you start classes up again.
  • Eat healthy foods.   You are in training for exams now.  The better your nutrition during the break, the better your body and brain will serve you.  Keep up the healthy eating once you get back from break so that you will be at the top of your productivity and brain power during the remainder of the semester.
  • Keep on track.   By planning your studying, you can be more productive.  By starting with the hardest task first, you can make your day more pleasant.  By breaking tasks into small steps, you can cross them off more quickly for a sense of accomplishment.  By focusing on your priorities, you can accomplish more of your study tasks. 

1L SPRING BREAK CHALLENGE

Good News:  Spring Break is almost here!  Your brief is done!!!!
        Bad News:  Finals are right around the corner!
               Solution:  Take the 1L Spring Break Challenge!

Spring Break is an important time for law students to review and outline, and can be a real boost to preparing for exams and catching up on study tasks.  So, be sure to take advantage of this time and to TAKE THE CHALLENGE!

Here’s how the Inaugural Spring Break Challenge will work:

  1. Enjoy your spring break (March 15 – 21), but reserve some time each day to catch up on your reading; catch up on your outlining; and to review your outlines (especially Torts and Contracts).
  2. On the Tuesday that you return from Spring Break, take the challenge!
  3. The challenge will consist of several objective-type (non-essay) questions covering one subject – either Contracts or Torts. 
  4. Students taking the challenge will be asked to answer as many questions as they can (in any order) within 30 minutes.
  5. The student who answers the most questions correctly will be crowned the Spring Break Challenge Champion.
  6. The Champion will receive:
    *  $300 Kaplan PMBR certificate towards the purchase of a Complete Bar Review Course or MBE Combination Course
    *  3,200 Lexis Rewards Points
    *  1L Finals Survival Kit

Second and third-place finishers will also be recognized.
 

TAKE THE CHALLENGE
Tuesday, March 23
10:30 a.m.
Room 275

Weekly Academic Success Tip - Are You Being Efficient?

Time is a precious commodity in law school.  Law students are always looking for shortcuts; however, shortcuts are not the answer.  Instead, you want to use your time more efficiently and effectively.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Learn the material as you read it rather than highlight it to learn later.  Ask questions while you read.  Make margin notes as you read.  Brief the case or make additional notes to emphasize the main points and big picture of the topic after you finish reading.  If you only do cursory "survival" reading, you will have to re-read for learning later which means double work.
  • Review what you have read before class.   By reviewing, you reinforce your learning.  You will be able to follow in class better.  You will recognize what is important for note taking rather than taking down everything the professor says.  You will be able to respond to questions more easily.  Your confidence level about the material will increase.
  • Be more efficient and effective in taking class notes.  Listen carefully in class.  Take down the main points rather than frantically writing or typing verbatim notes.  Use consistent symbols and abbreviations in your notes.  
  • Review your class notes within 24 hours.  Fill in gaps.  Organize the notes if needed.  Note any questions that you have.  If you wait to review your notes until you are outlining, you will have less recall of the material.
  • Regularly review material.   We forget 80% of what we learn in 2 weeks if we do not review.  Regular review of your outlines will mean less cramming at the end of the semester.  You save time ultimately by not re-learning.   You gain deeper understanding.  You have less stress at exam time.
  • Look for the big picture at the end of each sub-topic and topic.  Do not wait until pre-exam studying to pull the course together.  Synthesize the cases that you have read on a sub-topic: how are they different and similar.  Determine the main points that you need to cull from cases for the sub-topic or topic.  Analyze how the sub-topics or topics are inter-related.  If visuals help you learn, incorporate a flowchart or table or other graphic into your outline to show the steps of analysis and/or inter-relationships. 
  • Ask the professors questions as soon as you can.  Do not store up questions like a squirrel storing nuts for winter.  The sooner you get your questions answered, the greater your comprehension of current material.  New topics often build on understanding of prior topics.  Unanswered questions merely lead to more confusion and less learning.

THE LAST DAY TO WITHDRAW FROM A CLASS

The last day to withdraw from a class is Friday, February 26.

The system is normally available Sundays through Thursdays, from 2:00 a.m. to midnight; Fridays from 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Due to this expansion of hours, there may be some times the system will be down that is unplanned.  This normally occurs on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you try to withdraw from a class and unable to complete the process, please contact Barbara Thompson in Student Records before 4:30 p.m., Friday, February 26.