The Academic Support Program offers specialized workshops and useful guides that will help you reach your full academic potential.
We can help provide the support you need:
- Class preparation and participation skills
- Class examination preparation
- Substantive review sessions
- Bar examination preparation
Throughout the academic year, our program holds workshops on case-briefing, note-taking, time and stress management, outlining, and examination-taking. One-on-one tutorials are also available to assist you in assimilating course material and applying classroom knowledge to law school examinations.
Preparing to Learn
Before classes begin
The week before classes begin, print a copy of each class syllabus and read through the requirements and assignments, noting the topics. Create a working outline by using the course syllabus and the table of contents.
Preparing for classes each day
Block out 3 hours of time for each 1 hour class period
- 15 to 20 minutes: Review the topics covered in the previous class. Utilize the chapter and section headings to give yourself context. Review the cases discussed in class and condense the content of your case briefs and notes (or outline).
- 2 hours: Read the entire assignment through once. Look for the big picture. Then, read through the assignment once more. Use your highlighter/pen/pencil to synthesize and organize the material during this second reading.
- 30 to 45 minutes: Create case briefs, take notes, and even outline.
Preparing for final exams
Condensing Outlines: If you have created an outline, this is the time to condense it to easily retainable material.
Memory Techniques: After you have condensed your outline, use the techniques discussed in the Memory and Concentration section below to memorize the various elements, factors, and rules that you will use on the final exam.
Here are some tips on taking productive breaks :
- Mini breaks: Renew your attention span by looking up for two to three minutes when reading. Think about how the material you're reading works with the material you have already covered.
- Full breaks: Take a fifteen-minute break and engage in an activity that will stimulate your senses like:
- Expose yourself to a cold temperature
- Take a sniff of perfume
- Eat a piece of hot or sour candy
- Take a walk
A 15-minute break every two hours will combat restlessness and enable you to get back to work quickly with increased focus.
Memory and Concentration
Human memory has been compared to a filing cabinet. You have drawers of information, and you have files within each drawer. If you file in an organized manner, it follows that you will retrieve information more easily. There are several principles that can help improve memory:
- Intention: Plan to remember. Have a positive attitude and use active techniques.
- Selectivity: Focus on the important pieces of information. It is impossible to remember everything.
- Organization: Group ideas into categories. Use outlining and mind mapping to increase retention and retrieval.
- Visualization: Make a mental picture of what you need to learn. Use mnemonic devices, such as POACHER for adverse possession in property.
- Recitation: We retain more information for a much longer period of time if we recite it in our own words.
- Association: Relate the information to something you already know and understand.
- Steeping: Allow time for new information to be processed. Make time for reflection, helping consolidate ideas in long-term memory.
- Layer Your Learning: While working on one week’s assignments, continue to review and practice information given throughout the semester. Use it or you will lose it!