Tag Archives: study skills

Attention Spring Admits (and all students): Preparing for Finals Workshop – this Thursday!

It’s hard to believe, but final exams are just around the corner.  While performance on the exam should be your top priority, you can help yourself get there by preparing early, developing an action plan, and sticking to it.  To help you with that, we will be presenting a workshop titled ‘Preparing for Finals’ this Thursday, April 11, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in room 505.  At that workshop, one of our Academic Success Counselors will go over tips and strategies to help you ensure you will be ready for your final exams in a few weeks.  Food will not be served, but please feel free to bring a lunch to enjoy since the workshop is being held during the lunch hour.  We hope that you will find the information presented to be helpful.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to meet with your Counselor or another member of our team.

Helpful Workshops This Week

Now that the semester is underway, the Academic Success Department is here with a variety of helpful workshops for you to maximize your academic potential this semester.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 5th, we will host the first of our writing workshops titled Punctuation I.  There will be two presentations.  The first will be from noon – 1:15 p.m. in room 425.  The encore one will be from 4 – 5:15 in room 425.  Please REGISTER for the workshop by signing-up in the Academic Success Office, Suite 580, by 4 p.m. TODAY if you plan to attend.

On Thursday, February 7th, we will host the first of our optional study skills workshops titled Creating a Study Schedule.  There will be only one presentation from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in room 505.  You do NOT need to register to attend this workshop.  Please feel free to bring a bagged lunch to enjoy during the workshop.

Keep an eye out for other reminders about workshops throughout the semester.  We look forward to seeing you there!

How to Create a Study Group

Since you began law school, you have probably heard dozens of people recommend studying with a group.  Well, those people are right; listen to them!  However, that may be easier said than done.  How should a student create a study group?  Many students have no idea how to begin.  Keep reading for some advice about creating a study group. 

First, have any groups already been created for you?  Often during orientation or on the first day of class, administrators or professors place students into groups.  If this happened to you, you’re practically done; your study group already formed.  Talk with the group, determine who is interested, and then make a plan. 

You may think this is a very haphazard way to create something as important as a study group, but it isn’t that risky.  Most students in law school had to be smart, hard workers to make it that far.  The odds against getting an ignorant slacker are in your favor.  Also, if you do have someone who doesn’t want to put for the effort, he or she will usually decline the initial invitation or drop out after a couple meetings. 

If you weren’t lucky enough to have a study group handed to you, don’t worry; creating your own won’t be that difficult.  First, you may not want to start by populating your group with your friends.  You like your friends.  You get along with your friends.  You don’t mind spending time with your friends.  All of that is true, but all of that could be a problem.  One of the main complaints students have about study groups is that they never get any work done.  Before many groups can discuss what constitutes a valid contract, the conversation has devolved into a discussion of who punched whom on the latest episode of Real Housewives of Whatever County.

Your study group is like a business partnership.  You are there to accomplish a specific task, and the better you focus on that task, the more helpful the time with the group will be.  Sure, you can have a good time with your study group, and if none of you has trouble focusing, studying with your friends can be great, but if you can think of any reason why a friend group wouldn’t work, don’t hesitate to look elsewhere.

So whether you need a whole team of total strangers for your group or you and your buddy are looking for a couple folks to round it out, the next step is to watch and listen while you are in class.  Which students always seem to be prepared?  Depending on your personality, you may want to avoid the “gunners,” but finding students who are clearly as serious as you are about learning the law is important.  If you can tell that a student hasn’t prepared for class, you can probably feel safe betting he or she won’t prepare for your study group.  If a student never knows an answer, never has his book, and often doesn’t even come to class, you probably want to choose someone else.  However, that doesn’t mean you only need the absolute smartest people in your group.

Some students think they should only have the very brightest people in a study group, but a more varied group will likely be more beneficial.  When students are studying, they likely have two settings: either they understand or they are confused.  If a student is confused, he or she will need a group member to help clarify the confusion.  If a student understands, he or she could be the one to clarify for others.  Often, the best way to prove you really know something is to try to explain it to someone who doesn’t understand.  By varying the ability level of the members of your study group, you increase the likelihood that you will get to play both roles at different times, which will help ensure that you understand the material by the end of the semester.

Once you have your group, or while you are finalizing membership, you should agree to a set of rules.  What will your goals be?  What must each member prepare for each meeting?  What will the format of your sessions be?  If a group member cannot abide by the rules, he or she should probably leave the group.  If a student isn’t contributing, the rest of the group will quickly become frustrated with that student reaping any benefits.  (Watch for a future post explaining how to “break-up” with a study group.)

Study groups can be a very important and beneficial part of the law-school learning process.  Many students have had bad, or at least mediocre, experiences with study groups in the past.  However, if you follow the simple steps above, you will be able to form an efficient study group, and you will quickly see how helpful it can be.  If you have any questions about how to form a study group, what to do once you have one, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to come by the Academic Success Department.  We’re ready to help!

ASP Workshop #2: Outlining and Course Summaries

Are you worried about your course outlines?  Have you tried to work on them, but you just don’t know where to start?  Are you unsure if your outline is as effective as it could be?  If you answered “Yes!” to any of those questions, then you need to attend one of our outlining workshops next week.

The Academic Success Department will host the second in its series of ASP workshops geared toward first-semester students titled Outlining and Course Summaries.  On Tuesday, September 11th, we will be at The Flats at Kernan from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the clubhouse.  Please feel free to attend even if you are not a resident of The Flats.  The address is 4850 First Coast Tech Parkway, Jacksonville, FL 32224.  On Friday, September 14th, there will be an encore presentation from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in room 250.

We look forward to seeing you at one of the workshops next week!

Creating a Weekly Study Schedule – Day 4

Using your Master Study Schedule to Create your individual weekly schedule 

Finally, each week you will need to adjust the schedule you’ve created based on your assignments, project due dates, and any meetings or appointments.  You can create a master schedule and then make any necessary changes each week. 

Try out your new schedule for a week or two and then evaluate the schedule to make sure it is working for you.  You will probably continue to make small changes to the schedule as you get a better sense of how long it takes you to complete your reading for each class, brief your cases, and create and review outlines for each class. 

If you need assistance in working out your weekly study schedule, please come and see an Academic Success Counselor.

Creating a Weekly Study Schedule – Day 3

Today we will discuss how to actually create your individual study schedule. 

Let’s get started!

  1. Add your classes to the schedule
  2. Add any mandatory personal commitments to the schedule (this could include time for family, work, church, and errands)
  3. Plan when to read for classes - think about how long you need for each subject – one subject may take you longer than another subject
  4. Consider doing a 2-day-ahead schedule for reading to adequately have time to prepare for all classes.  For instance, for a Friday class, you would be reading on Wednesday.  This way, if something comes up that keeps you from reading when scheduled, you still have a day to catch up.  Schedule time for both reading for class and briefing the cases covered in the assigned reading. 
  5. Be sure to include at least 30 minutes before each class to review your notes and briefs.
  6. Your assignments will vary each week for Lawyering Process.  However, you must include sufficient time each week for all LP assignments to ensure you stay on top of all reading and assignments.  If you have a lighter week for LP, you can use that time to work on another class/assignment/subject.
  7. Outline and Review – you will need to find a good amount of time each week to review the material covered so far in the class and to work on outlines for the class.  Try to find about four hours of time each week that is not already committed in your schedule to review and outline.  Consider outlining for two subjects one week and two subjects the next week.
  8. Practice, Practice, Practice – find available time to do practice multiple choice and essays each week – consider doing two subjects each week and alternating.
  9. Add in extra personal time – watch a movie, your favorite TV show, go to the gym, etc.
  10. Finally, allow an hour before you go to bed each night so that you have some time to wind down before sleep.

Here is an example of a completed study schedule:   

Sample Study Schedule

Check back tomorrow for our final study schedule installment: Using Your Master Study Schedule to Create Your Individual Weekly Schedule .

Creating a Weekly Study Schedule – Day 2

Thanks for checking back with us about creating a study schedule! 

The first step is to gather the information you will need to make your individual study schedule.  You will need the following materials:

  1. Your schedule
  2. Your syllabi
  3. The Academic Success Study Schedule sheet available in the paper carousel in the Academic Success Department or on the Academic Success SharePoint site:  Blank Study Schedule
  4. A list of your personal and family commitments as well as errands and chores that you will need to complete each week.  This could include time for family, work, church, going to the grocery store, doing laundry, etc.  Be realistic about what you must do each week so that you can include those tasks in your schedule.

Be sure to check back tomorrow to learn how you are going to combine all of this information to create your weekly study schedule!