Top 5 Mistakes 1Ls Make (and How to Avoid Them) - Part 2

1l law school Sep 29, 2016

Mistake #2: Taking too many notes

Yes, you read that right. When you're in class, you want to channel your inner absorber—not your inner stenographer. If you're focused so much on taking down every word your professor is saying, you're likely not processing the information in the optimal way. You aren't "thinking" about how what your professor just said connects to what they said last class and so on.

"When you're in class, you want to channel your inner absorber—not your inner stenographer."

The fix: Think of your notes as cues. In class you should be writing down cues that will help you unlock the more detailed substance of what your professor is saying. How will you remember this more detailed substance? You'll be listening now, instead of writing. Better yet, you want to be attending to what your professor is saying. Write down key words and phrases, and pay attention to the rest thinking about how the concepts fit together, and if you can tie it to a relevant hypothetical you've encountered in your own life or in your at-home studying, that's even better. Every night you should review your notes (your cues) and then embellish them bringing to bear what has now settled in your mind after having paid more attention to the substance of the lecture. We know it may run counter to what you've been doing your entire academic career. But give it a try, and you'll find that this spaced repetition in varying degree of detail makes a more meaningful impression, which equates to easier memorization and long-term retention.

Stay tuned for Parts 3 through 5.