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Exam Tip - Skeletal Outlines, Instructions, and Organization

Skeletal Outlines - You will be nervous when the examination proctor says “Begin,” so the worst thing you can do is to start writing out your answer immediately.  Instead, consider writing out your skeletal outline as soon as the exam begins.  A skeletal outline is merely an organized list of principles and issues, created by you, which relates to a given area of the law.  Think about the outline you have been creating all semester, but now reduce it down to a page or two – this is your skeletal outline.  Writing out this list will give a few moments to compose your thoughts before digging into the exam. 

Instructions - Read the instructions!  This is the most obvious advice imaginable, but every exam period several students will, for example, answer 3 short exam questions, only to discover that the instructions said “provide an answer to 1 of the following 3 hypotheticals.”  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.

Organization - Before answering an essay question, you must outline and organize your response.  Too many students read the first sentence in an essay exam question, recognize an issue, and are so overjoyed at finding an issue that they spend the next 20 minutes responding to it.  The problem with this approach is that the fact pattern was probably over a page long, and the writer just spent more time than was necessary in responding to a relatively straightforward issue.  While different students outline differently, students who perform well on law school exams take the time to read through the entire essay question, create a list of the various issues contained therein, and then take a few more minutes to separate out the major issues from the minor ones.  This approach will give you a better sense of how much time you have to complete your entire answer. 

Legal Aid Barbri Fellow

On March 30th, Ryan Feola auctioned one law review course and two gift certificates that were generously donated by Barbri. The money that was raised will fund the first Legal Aid Barbri Fellow, Greg Thompson. Lauren Bean, Doug Dawson, and Barry Dunn were the winning bidders. Kudos to Colleen Hagan for organizing the event!

 

Senior Day at the Downs

All graduating law students are invited to attend Senior Day at the Downs.  On Thursday, May 6th, the Churchill Downs gates will open for a celebration for the May 2010 graduates.  Admission for May 2010 Graduates is free.  $15 is the price for everyone else. 

Tickets must be reserved by April 29th. Visit UofL's Alumni Connections for details.

1L MINI PRACTICE EXAM TODAY

ATTENTION 1L STUDENTS:  If you are not a member of a Structured Study Group this semester but would like to take a mini practice exam and receive feedback, plan to meet in Room 275 today at 1:15.  The mini exam will consist of one short answer question for Civil Procedure, Torts, Criminal Law, Property, and Contracts, plus 7 Civil Procedure multiple-choice questions.  If you take the practice exam today, your exam will be returned in your mailbox by Friday with feedback. 

Law Clinic Open House

The University of Louisville's Law Clinic serves low income individuals and victims of domestic violence in Jefferson County District and Family Courts and provides an opportunity for third-year law students to practice law under supervision.  During the 2009-2010 academic year, we handled 169 cases. 

On Thursday, April 15, we were joined by friends and partners in celebration of the success of the Law Clinic at an Open House.  We gratefully acknowledge our partners, donors, students and staff who have helped us make an impact in our community.

Senior Picnic at the Red Barn

There will be a Senior Picnic at the Red Barn on Wednesday, May 5th, from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.  Admission is free.   For more information, please to the following website:  http://louisville.edu/commencement/calendar-of-events.html

ATTN Graduating Students: Please fill out the "Hooding Poll"

Every year the graduating class picks up to three professors whom they would like to hood them at Graduation.  The May 2010 Graduating students can choose up to three  (3) professors at the following link to hood them during graduation: http://www.law.louisville.edu/students/sba/grad-survey. Graduating students will be able to vote from April 6, 2010 until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, 2010.  The list is only comprised of the professors that will be attending this upcoming graduation.  If you have any questions about this poll, then email Victor Revill.

Upper Division Academic Advising Session

For any students who missed the upper division academic advising session Monday, April 5, 2010, a recording is now posted online at media.law.louisville.edu/node/169.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7 DEADLINE TO SUBMIT PRE-REGISTRATION FORMS

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7 IS THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT PRE-REGISTRATION FORMS.

Be sure to read all of the registration instructions before registering for classes.

Weekly Academic Success Tip - Make the Most of the Last Two Weeks

Congratulations!  You are about to finish another semester in law school.  Here are some tips to make the most of the last two weeks of classes in preparation for finals:

  • Do not skip classes.  Professors often give information about the exam during the last few classes.  In addition, there is a good chance that there will be questions on the exam specifically on the last week’s material.
  • Attend all review sessions that your professors offer.   Professors provide review sessions to help you do well on the exam.  Whether the session is a professor-led review of the material or based on questions and answers, you can use the session to your advantage.  If you are confused about certain areas, then this is the time to get the material straight.  If you think you understand the material, then this is the time to “test” your depth of understanding. 
  • If there are not scheduled review sessions, ask your professors any questions that you have this week.   Once classes are over, many professors work from home or work in their offices during limited hours.  Yes, you could e-mail or telephone the professor regarding your questions; however, there is no substitute for being there face-to-face. 
  • Try to have all of your reading and outlining completed by April 16.   You want to allow yourself plenty of time for learning your outlines, memorizing black letter law, and applying the concepts through practice questions.  
  • Evaluate your status in each course.   Determine which topics and sub-topics still need to be learned for each course.  Determine which topics and sub-topics just need to be reviewed.  Determine how many practice questions need to be completed for each topic and sub-topic.  Prioritize your studying tasks.  Be realistic.  
  • Map out your plans for each day for the next two weeks.   A monthly calendar format may help you to see when your exams are, when papers are due, when other projects may be due.  Mark down review sessions being held by professors.  For each day, indicate the course(s) you plan to study, the topics or sub-topics for that course, and the hours of study.  
  • Maximize your study time within your plan.   Decide whether you learn better by studying one course all day or by mixing up two or even three courses in the same day.  Decide when you are most alert and place the most difficult tasks (intense learning and memorization for many students) in those time slots.  Use time slots when you are less alert for tasks that you find easier (review of material already learned, practice questions, and flashcards for many students).  
  • Re-check the exam schedule to make sure that you have written the correct days and times down for all of your exams.   Nothing can be more distressing than to find out that you missed an exam because you were not careful enough in noting the dates and times on your calendar.  If in doubt, find out now. 
  • Have a talk with your significant others about the fact that you will be studying for exams and need their understanding.   Have a heart-to-heart with your friends, parents, spouse, children, and any others who need to be cooperative with your efforts.  Schedule needed babysitters now.