Law school can be very challenging. There is a lot of material covered, you have to be on top of your time management skills, and overall it can add a lot of unwanted stress to your life. It is a completely different beast from regular undergraduate studies, and if you do not fully prepare yourself before the start of your classes, you will find yourself well behind the pack before you know it. Plus, you will find it difficult to get the most out of your law school experience if you’re not prepared. So, with that said, take a look at some of these tips to help better prepare anyone in the process of starting law school.
Review Before Each Class
You will likely receive a set of assigned reading materials before your classes, and your temptations may drive you to ignore these readings and put them off. However, doing so will be a grave mistake, and if you fall behind early, you may never catch up. Make sure to do the readings at the time of day you are the most alert, and in a location where you have fewer distractions and temptations. Make sure you are also going over your reading notes (case briefs) before each class. You want this information to be fresh in your mind so that you can increase your ability to follow along in class, and provide adequate participation in the discussions. You also don’t want to have that feeling of embarrassment that comes with the professor calling you for an answer that you are not prepared to give.
Try Forming a Study Group
The stress of law school might make it difficult to find friends, but you may find it helpful to form a study group with like-minded people. These study groups can be valuable as a learning tool as talking through the material with your classmates could increase your retention of the information. Make sure that are forming this group with people are just as goal-oriented to succeed in the class as you are. You don’t want to create a group with people who will hold you back and turn the study meetings in a social session. These study sessions should be a chance to bounce ideas amongst peers in order to better understand what you are learning. If you feel you are not getting that vibe from your current group, you can resign from the group and find a new one.
Take Practice Exams
Taking multiple practice exams will be extremely useful. It may be best to seek exams previously administered by your professor because it will allow you see how they typically draft their exams. You can refer to the Fowler School of Law Library to find a collection of previous exams from law professors. Be sure to find a past exam that also has a sample answer on file. You want to check your answer against the sample to better evaluate your performance and see what you need to work on. In the event, there isn’t an answer on file, take your exam to the professor to review. But, make sure to give them enough time to review the answer and don’t leave it until the last minute.
Originally published at chartwestcott.org on February 22, 2018.