Checklist For 1st Year Law Students, Part Two
The following is the second part of a checklist for first-year law students:
- Consider group study. While study groups are not for every law student, they may be a productive and efficient way to learn and prepare for a course, in the short-term, i.e., classes, and long-term, i.e., final exam. Discussing legal concepts outside of class in a different environment may increase a student’s understanding and retention of course topics. If interested in a study group, seek and find those students with whom you share similar study group goals. Time spent away from class and solitary studying is most precious, do not waste it during a study group session by socializing. Based on the concept of personally preparing outlines, the workload in a study group should not necessarily be shared. The work of each member should supplement rather than substitute for the work of fellow members.
- Review for the long-term. Do not let the idea that the absence of any examination until the end of the semester means a few weeks of preparation beforehand will suffice as it did during undergraduate studies. It is all but impossible to cram right before finals and get a good grade. It is crucial to frequently review and outline a subject’s material over the semester.
- Attend academic review sessions. During the school year, some professors will have review sessions before final exams. This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions about any problem areas.
- Take advantage of professor feedback and office hours. Personal one-on-one time with a professor before finals for his or her input may help answer any final questions and provide a few exam tips as well.
- Take Practice Exams. Take many practice exams, especially any previously administered by a course’s professor. This will help gain familiarity with the format and style of the questions.
- Create a study plan. First and foremost, all of the aforementioned tasks may be overwhelming, especially if approached haphazardly “by the seat of your pants.” Formulating a study plan that provides a “roadmap” of the semester’s activities necessary for success will help get the semester off to a productive start from day one.
- Never wait until the last minute to do anything. Again, this is not undergraduate school. You cannot throw a paper together the night before it is due and expect to receive a good grade (or for that matter, a passing grade). Good legal writing takes time and lots of editing so start working on your LRW assignments as soon as possible.
- Review exams. Meet with professors for a review of an exam to determine individual strengths and weaknesses going forward related to the material, as well as studying and understanding the material. Find out what you did well and what you must improve.
- Don’t compete against but work with fellow students. The CDTA stresses that each student is equal, and no student is an island. Focus on individual success but support, respect, and nurture classmates to create and engender a more positive law school experience for everyone.
- Get help when needed. Even the brightest students find a substantive nemesis in law school, whether it is promissory estoppel or the privacy clause in the U.S. Constitution. It is not uncommon for students to have issues related to class preparation, exam preparation, time management, or exam-taking. It is truly a rare student who does not have a question about the foregoing, particularly during the first year of law school.
- Minimize stress.
- can be stressful
- is stressful
- is a “blast”
Pick one. The answer? It depends on the individual. There are ways to minimize stress during law school. How each student chooses to address this issue will determine how much stress he or she experiences. Exercise. Humor. Diet. Sleep. Social release. These are all factors.
If you are interested in becoming an exceptional legal advocate, consider the benefits of the California Desert Trial Academy. As a member of CDTA’s growing family, you’ll receive access to our student and alumni attorneys, who freely and openly share their legal experiences, career advice, and academic tips. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.
The California Desert Trial Academy was founded with the philosophy of not only teaching students the substantive law, but on training, educating, and developing students to be exceptional attorney-advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.