LAWTUTORS ULTIMATE GUIDE ON HOW EXACTLY TO GET GOOD GRADES DURING YOUR FIRST YEAR OF LAW SCHOOL
DATA FROM HUNDREDS OF OUR LAW STUDENTS: PART II
By Professors Brittany Raposa, Hemanth Gundavaram, and Heather Kenny, Attorney Instructor Sheri Mason, and CEO of LawTutors Tania Shah
What do we know? Our LawTutors Team, still decidedly relatable and hip, have not been 1Ls for a long time. We heard you. You want the real stuff from the people who are in it right now. So, the LawTutors Team gathered data from hundreds of first year law students who had just completed their first semester of their first year of law school and had received their grades to put together this Ultimate Guide.
The purpose of article is to share with you the feedback we received from all of these students on what worked for them (and what did not work for them).
In Part I, we shared with you guidelines for class preparation, class time and condensing your notes. Please read on for Part II
Creating your own outline correlated with better performance, even if you were using other outlines to do so.
Here are some tips to help with your outlining based on students who performed well:
• Start early. Students who waited until late in the semester felt like they did not have as strong as a grasp on the material as they could have.
• Be mindful when you outline. Outlines should be set up in a way to help you answer an exam hypothetical. Lengthy outlines tend to be a regurgitation of your class notes/case briefs, which are not as helpful.
• Aim to condense your outline to 20-30 pages (which equates to about half a page or one page per class session).
• Create an attack outline (1-2 pages) to help you answer the hypothetical. Doing many practice exams in conjunction with outlining can help you determine what questions you need to ask and answer on the exam in order to determine what should be included in an attack outline.
PRACTICE PROBLEMS, EXAMS AND SUPPLEMENTS
There is a clear correlation with the amount of practice problems you did and your grades. You need to be constantly testing your understanding of material, such as with multiple choice questions, miniessays, problem sets, and exams rather than just focusing on taking and organizing your notes.
Here are some tips to help you incorporate practice exams into your studying based on students who performed well:
• Aim to complete one hypo per week. Students who did practice problems frequently reported greater comfort with the material as it helped them see issues and recite law more quickly on the actual exam. Frequently practicing applying the law helps to increase your understanding of the material more than simply memorizing the law.
• Do practice problems from a variety of sources, including LawTutors, Study Buddy Pro and Casebriefs, Examples & Explanations, and practice problems from your professor. Students who did the best utilized a wide variety of sources for practice problems. You can use supplements as “refreshers” and for practice problems.
• Review your answers against a model answer. The most successful students did not just do the practice exams, but they reviewed the model answers (when available) or discussed the answers with their study groups. To get the most out of your review, you should not only see if you spotted the issue but you should also see how your analysis compares to the analysis in the model answer.
• If you do not feel like you know enough information to do a full practice exam, you can always do a mini practice problem from SB Pro, Siegel’s, or your book on issues that were covered earlier in the semester.
• Lastly, be weary of suggestions from upperclass students!
Stay Tuned for Part III