I Finished My Outlines, What’s The Best Way To Learn Them?
The preparation of a law outline is an arduous, time-consuming process. And then comes the fun part: learning them. Once you have finished your outlines, what is the best way to learn them?
*Outline the material yourself
This is advice that seems to be repeated ad nauseum but that’s because it is important to create your own law outlines. It is significantly easier to understand and memorize a body of work that you have organized yourself. Do not use a commercial or other student’s outline as your main outline but only as a supplement to creating your personal outlines.
*Interact with your outline as you review it
Reading an outline over and over repeatedly is not enough. It’s important to actively review your outlines. This means using a learning style that enables you to concentrate on the material, as well as understand and remember it.
*Break up the learning process
Start with the first section of your outline and learn it before moving on to the next section. As mentioned above, do not simply read the entire outline but learn what’s in it incrementally. Only after learning one section, should you move on to the next. Trying to learn an entire outline at one time will only cause you to experience anxiety and feel overwhelmed.
Memorizing any type of material, but especially law is mentally taxing. It’s not something that may be accomplished for long periods. You simply cannot memorize outlines all day and all night. You must incorporate breaks into your studying with a reasonable degree of frequency. You can take a practice exam or read some cases illustrative of the material to break up the monotony of the outline.
*Don’t just know but understand the material
Knowing the material isn’t enough, you have to understand it. If you have trouble learning any portion of your outline, look at the public policy or rationale for a rule, as well as formulate fact patterns and real-life examples to help you understand how a rule works.
*Focus on what your professor emphasizes
Focus on the material that your professor emphasizes in class or seems to care about most. Look at past exams. Once you’ve created a foundational knowledge base, incorporate the important parts of your class notes into your outlines.
*Regularly review your outlines
It is not very helpful to review something intermittently. Studying a portion of your outline once, memorizing it, and then ignoring it for a few weeks is inefficient and ineffective. It is nothing less than a waste of time. A continuous, systematic review of your outlines is essential.
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