Most students realize fairly quickly that the study strategies they used in prior academic settings won’t cut it in law school. While you may have been able to survive (or even excel) in undergrad by rereading, highlighting, and cramming the night before an exam, relying on those techniques in law school is a recipe for disaster. To help you meet the challenges of law school and achieve success, it’s essential that you incorporate effective and efficient study techniques into your routine. So, while rereading and highlighting might still be a part of your study plan, they certainly shouldn’t be the main component. Instead, make sure that your study plan incorporates two of the most effective learning strategies: self-testing and spaced review.
Self-testing is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: taking practice tests on the material or skills to be mastered. Self-testing may consist of writing out answer to hypos, completing multiple choice questions, or even forcing yourself to recall information (like legal rules) from memory. We’ve already sung the praises of spaced review, which involves implementing a schedule of studying over multiple periods rather than cramming at the end. Essentially, the most effective learning strategy can be boiled down to one simple refrain: practice, practice, practice! There’s no substitute for practicing the skills and using the substantive law that you’ll need to know for an exam.
But you don’t have to take our word for it! There’s been plenty of research into figuring out the study strategies that are most beneficial to students. If you’re still not convinced that self-testing and spaced review can have an impact on your learning, check out the following two articles, which examine the effectiveness of various learning techniques: Smarter Law Learning: Using Cognitive Science to Maximize Law Learning by Jennifer Cooper and Strengthening the Student Toolbox by John Dunlosky.
We’re almost halfway through the semester, so there’s no time like the present to start incorporating these effective learning techniques into your study schedule. If you’re not sure how to incorporate spaced review, self-testing, or any other strategy into your routine, please stop by Suite 315 or contact us!