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Reboot for Second Semester Success in Law School

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Welcome to the New Year as a returning law student! The holidays are over, grades are out, and soon you’ll be back on campus (if you’re not already) for second semester. No matter how you performed grade-wise last semester, now is the time to make a resolution to reboot your study habits for greater success and to improve your GPA.

Even if you crushed it, remember that second semester students are bound to be savvier and more competitive than ever before...

Even if you crushed it, remember that second semester students are bound to be savvier and more competitive than ever before – so read on to check out great tips on how to become more efficient when it comes to learning the law.

  1. Learn from your exams.
    When it comes to grades, the opinions of your professors are the only ones that matter. Be sure to get your exams back, then make appointments to discuss them with your professors. Find out where you racked up points, didn’t go into enough detail and left points on the table, or wasted time by providing extraneous information. This insight will help when preparing for future exams. Additionally, if one or more of your courses continue into the new semester, you’ll have a better understanding concerning what the professor is looking for and rewarding on exams.
  2. Audit your skill set.
    Keeping up with course reading, note taking, briefing cases, creating outlines, and answering practice questions to get ready for exams are skills you need to hone. Ask yourself if you allotted adequate time for each of these tasks throughout last semester so you can plan accordingly. Review your notes and outlines for clarity and brevity, with an eye for improvement during the coming semester.
  3. Take a hard look at the structure of your study habits.
    Just as personalities differ, there will be no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to studying that will guarantee you success. Now, before the semester gets into full swing is the perfect time to reflect on what worked for you, and what didn’t. Ask yourself the following:
    • Where were you most focused and least distracted when studying? At the library, a quiet nook at home, or somewhere else?
    • When was your most productive time of day?
    • What about study groups? Helpful, a waste of time, or something you avoided but now think might be worthwhile?
    Use the answers to these questions to set up a study strategy and stick to it.
  4. Identify past problem areas and get support early.
    It’s natural to find some courses more difficult than others, from understanding the big picture, to mastering a mountain of material, to applying the rules correctly. Most students find study aids helpful, but often wait until midterms or finals are looming before using them. A better approach is to purchase study aids at the start of the semester and begin using them early on for maximum benefit. If you haven’t had experience using study aids, it’s wise to check the most popular ones. But, even if you already have your favorites, it’s good to know which are most highly recommended by professors and students alike.

Choose the Best Study Aid for You

  1. Problem: Understanding relationships between key concepts.
    As you read your casebook and attend class, you may have difficulty figuring out how the readings and lectures build on each other. In this case, turn to the Examples & Explanations series, which provides an alternative perspective to help you learn. E&Es provide key definitions, a thorough review of rules and concepts, and hypothetical examples of how to apply the law so you can assess your comprehension. The detailed explanations (analysis) that follow the hypos make it easier to comprehend complex material.
  2. Problem: Feeling overwhelmed by the volume of course material.
    This is where a top-notch outline can help you master course material. Emanuel Law Outlines covers topics, cases, and black letter law in an easily digested format. To help you consolidate your learning as you go, Essay Q[&]As make it easy to test your knowledge and zero in on areas for continued study. Worried about the final exam? ELOs feature capsule summaries and exam tips that include issues and fact patterns often used on tests.
  3. Problem: Applying the rules correctly.
    Constant feedback is important to let you know how you’re doing, which is why answering practice questions is so important. Glannon Guides help you learn with a thorough review of course content through multiple choice questions. A complete analysis of both correct and incorrect answers brings clarity to the nuances of the law and its application. More challenging questions at the end of each chapter – called “closers” – test students’ ability to synthesize the answers to more sophisticated questions, and is followed by an entire final chapter of “closers” covering all material.
    Bonus Tip: Go digital for an interactive experience with meaningful feedback. Trusted by law students, Examples & Explanations series, Emanuel Law Outlines, and Glannon Guides are now available in a digital-only format in addition to the traditional print format. Each connected study aid includes an online e-book with search, highlighting, and notetaking capabilities; access to an Interactive Study Center filled with practice questions that allows students to track their progress; and an Outline Tool that compiles notes and highlights to help jump start a course outline.
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