This is probably the biggest mistake. Most students are afraid of "spoiling" the subject by looking ahead. But if you lack a basic understanding of how the concept you are learning today fits with the concept you will be learning tomorrow and next week and so on, you are hindering your ability to better learn the subject. Don't be afraid of spoilers when it comes to studying the law.
"Don't be afraid of spoilers when it comes to studying the law."
The fix: Start studying the subject by first getting an overview of the subject, or by reviewing a simple framework that outlines the general structure of the subject. Some professors' syllabi are detailed enough to do the trick, but you may find the need to consult a secondary source or study guide instead. Bar Secrets' PowerLaw gives you the basic framework in just about every subject tested in most law schools. You could start with that program...
The outline is finished. And now it's time to study and memorize as the exam gets closer. Most law students simply try to memorize their whole outline, or a condensed version of it, over and over. What most do not do, though, is consolidate it.
"Most law students simply try to memorize their whole outline, or a condensed version of it, over and over. What most do not do, though, is consolidate it."
The fix: First, you have to know what consolidation is, in order to put it into action and start seeing the results. Consolidation is a final phase of exam preparation, in which you have already encoded the information you want to have memorized—that is, you have written out the entire outline (in chunks, of course) perfectly from memory at least one time. Having done this, you have stored the information into your brain, and now you need to make it readily accessible for the exam. Consolidation, or fishing back, does...
Technology has most of us moving from pillar to post, from our books or our work or whatever it is we should be focused on, to our phones, our computers, or our tablets. Too often we see students (and we can be guilty of this ourselves) sit down for a planned study session, and as soon as they hit a tough concept, or one that isn't so particularly exciting, their focus wanes and they turn to their device of choice or to some other distraction. This could be as quick as five minutes even. Constantly switching from task to diversion not only hinders your ability to learn (think multitasking), but it also robs you of "getting stronger" at focusing.
"Constantly switching from task to diversion not only hinders your ability to learn (think multitasking), but it also robs you of 'getting stronger' at focusing."
The fix: Put the phone away. If you need your computer to study, turn off the Wi-Fi, or otherwise close any applications that might...
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...
As a 1L, you enter law school with the best of intentions. You're full of excitement and drive, and you may even be bringing with you some study habits from undergrad. Some may help, others may not. Follow along over the next few days as we roll out a short and sweet, yet infintely helpful, series on identifying the top 5 mistakes 1Ls make, and, of course, how to fix or avoid them.
You're finally in law school, which for some of you is the start of your lifelong dream of becoming an attorney. So your excitement and ambition is completely justified and understandable. But there's a reason most law schools rein-in your extracurricular and work schedules. Even though most first-semester 1Ls cannot work, intern, or join competition teams, they can still run for student government positions or even assume volunteer roles. Or they devote a lot of time to networking.
"You need to develop a sterling work product worthy of your network's...
Right now. Yes, right now.
One of the biggest mistakes law students make is putting off practicing multiple choice items and reviewing past essay exams until the very end of the semester. The thought goes something like this:
Multiple choice items and past essay exams are testing my knowledge of the law. I don't yet know or have memorized all of the law. Therefore, I should wait until I do know all of the law or have it memorized.
Now, doing so at the end of the semest may end of giving you a realistic indication of where you are at that point. But it's not the best implementation of these practical skills.
The best way to learn the law is to apply it. And what are you doing when you take multiple choice items and take your professor's past essay exams? You are applying the law. True, you may not have covered a concept yet and so you may get the question wrong. But now you've given yourself a frame of reference and a hypothetical...