Congratulations! You are beginning your third week of classes. For those of you who are new to law school, things should be getting into a routine now. For those of you who are returning to law school, you probably feel like you never left because it is all so familiar.
You now have a long weekend that you can look forward to. Use this time wisely to improve your future workload as a law student. Three days can be a blessing for law students who have gotten behind in their reading or who are feeling sleep-deprived. This week's tips will provide suggestions for getting the most out of this weekend.
Tip 1: If you are still getting settled in to your apartment, try to finish all of those tasks by the end of the weekend. Finish unpacking boxes. Finish organizing your study area. Finish the final decorating touches. Starting Tuesday morning, you want to make law school your priority. Even if you are settled in your home, take advantage of the long weekend to get your errands run and to get your space in order.
Whether it's by helping Habitat for Humanity or caring for people at the Ronald McDonald House, law school students show they can help in more places than the courtroom. Before they started classes, they went out to give back to the community where they live and to get to know it a little better.
Source: UofL Today, August 26, 2010
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.
- 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.