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Preparing to Learn: Helpful hints on how to learn in law school


Before classes begin: Week before classes begin

Print a copy of each syllabus and read through the requirements and assignments, noting the topics. Create a working outline by using the syllabus and the table of contents. For more information, please read the section on outlining.

Preparing for classes each day: 3 hour time block per 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. For more information, please read the sections on case briefing, outlining, and note taking.

Preparing after classes are over: Prior to final exams

Condensing Outlines: If you have created an outline all semester, this is the time to make sure it is condensed to a point of easily retainable material.

Memory Techniques: After you have condensed your outline, use the memory techniques discussed in Memory & Concentration to memorize the various elements, factors, and rules that you will use on the final exam.