Starting law school is a big endeavor. You'll learn how to be a great law school student by trial and error, but here's where to start.
Tip 1: Know the Law Frontward and Backwards.
The number one thing every law student needs to do is know the black letter law. To ensure success and get an A, you’ll need to memorize the elements of claims, defenses, and various doctrines in the subject you are studying. This is done by studying your notes, reading case briefs, memorizing flashcards, outlining, study groups, etc.. If you put your focus anywhere, start here.
Tip 2: Spot Issues Like It’s Your Job.
After memorizing the law, you’re next focus should be on issue spotting. Often 100% of your grade depends on taking an issue spotting exam at the end of the semester. To master issue spotting, you’ll need to take lots of practice exams. You should start doing this much earlier than you think in order to get ahead of our classmates. After you’ve gotten the hang of issue spotting, make sure you’re taking timed practice exams.
Tip 3: Get a Deeper Knowledge of Your Professor.
Your law school finals are graded by your professor and, although they are usually graded blindly, the professor has certain things they’re looking for. But not all professors are the same. Do as much as you can to learn more about your professor and understand their expectations. The easiest way to do this is stop by their office hours and simply ask, “what are you looking for on the exam?” Specifically, get into details about what kind of analysis they want you to show. For example, do they want to see a detailed exploration of one issue, or do they want you to spot as many issues as possible? This is an important distinction and knowing the answer will help you figure out how to approach that professor’s exams.
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