Hey, guys! Today is my last day of law school ever! It’s so hard to believe it has been 3 years, and I’m about to graduate. I know everyone is finishing up their classes and studying for finals, so I wanted to share some tips that will help you to excel in school. I thought I knew everything about how to study and prepare for tests, but law school proved to me I was wrong! I have learned so much about what it takes to adequately prepare and ace your exams. If you’re a new college student, or a returning student that needs some study tips, follow along to learn what it takes to rock your classes!
Buy the Textbook For Your Courses
This is one I think a lot of students are guilty of. As an undergraduate student, there are some classes you can get by in without even purchasing the textbook. Typically you can get an A in the class just by showing up, taking notes, and studying those notes for exams. However, as tempting as this can be, resist the urge to not buy your textbook. I know textbooks are expensive, but it really is important for learning the material and getting the most out of your classes. Plus, if you plan on continuing your education and going to law school, medical school, etc. you need to get into the habit of reading the textbook for your class or you will not pass. Trust me on this one! That brings me to my next point…
Read the Assigned Pages BEFORE Class
I am totally guilty of not doing this one as an undergraduate student, but law school completely changed all of that. In law school, students get “cold called” each class which means we need to have read all of the material before class, fully understand it, and be prepared to be called on to give the facts of a case or to participate in the Socratic form of questioning. As overwhelming as it can be preparing for class, my life would have been so much easier if I had read the assigned reading. It’s always great to know what the professor is talking about in class and you can get clarification on anything that confused you in the reading.
Turn Off Your Cell Phone
Students these days live in the age of technology. Everyone and their mother has a cell phone. We have become so detached from the real world since the introduction of the iPhone. Unfortunately, as great as our phones are, they are a huge distraction. It won’t hurt you to turn your phone off during class and give your full attention to the professor.
Take Notes the Old-Fashioned Way
Studies have shown that students retain information and remain focused more when taking notes by hand. Yes, this may seem like an ancient practice, but trust me, it actually works! The highest grades I have ever received in law school were in the classes where the professor prohibited laptops in the classroom.
Create an Outline
This is my biggest tip for success. It took me awhile to figure out what worked best for me in law school, but I finally discovered the secret. Not only do you need to be reading the assigned textbook pages before you go to class, but you also need to create an outline while reading. I like to type up notes on my laptop instead of handwriting. Creating the outline makes me pay more attention to what I’m reading, and I retain more of the information.
Add Your Class Notes to Your Outline
When you get out of class, it is important to type up the notes you wrote down in your notebook into your outline. Even if you took notes on something you already had in your outline, still include it! When you go back to study your notes, you will start to see what points are important to remember, and seeing it more than once will help you to remember the information.
Print Outline and Create Binder
I can only recount a few classes in law school where my outline was less than 80 pages. I know a lot of students who just studied their outline on their laptops. I highly recommend against doing this! Make sure to include pages numbers on your outline (you can create a table of contents if you want) and print out your outline. Hole punch your notes and stick it in a cute binder. This is the best way to study because you can highlight your notes and even write in the margins of the pages.
Study Your Outline a Few Weeks Before Your Exam
I know most students were able to cram the night before an exam and was still able to do well. However, you’re not in high school anymore. This tactic isn’t going to work anymore. There is just too much information to do this. Plus, starting to read your outline a few weeks before your exam will give you the confidence to go into your exam and ace it!
I hope these tips have been helpful! It took me awhile to figure out what worked best for me! If you start incorporating these tips now, you are setting yourself up for success whether you are working on your bachelor’s degree or dream of going to law school, medical school, etc. If you missed my post about how I rocked my first semester of law school and was able to transfer to a top school, check it out here! What is your favorite study tip? Let me know in the comments below!