Do I Need to Join A Law School Study Group? - JD Advising
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Law School Study Group

Do I Need to Join A Law School Study Group?

Are you wondering if you need to join a law school study group?  The short answer is absolutely not!  However, as final exams approach, you may be asked to study with a partner or group.  In this post, we discuss the benefits of group study, as well as some of the things you should be cautious of before joining a study group!

Do I Need to Join A Law School Study Group?

Figure out if a law school study group is for you.

Study groups are not for everyone.  Some students learn best by independently reading and writing.  For these students, a study group is likely not a productive use of their study time.  On the other hand, some students are verbal learners: they learn by hearing and explaining concepts out loud.  If the latter category sounds like you, a study group might be ideal!  If you are wondering what kind of learner you are, you can find out by taking a learning style quiz!

Study with the right people.

Being good friends with someone is not a good reason to be their study partner or join their study group.  You are probably less likely to be productive if you are studying with your friends.  If you know that your friends are just looking for a social opportunity, it probably isn’t worth your time to get together to “study.”  Instead, if you are looking for a study group, ask someone you know is doing well in class, or in law school generally.  If you know that the person or people you are studying with are taking studying seriously, that will likely increase your productivity during group study to ensure that you get the most out of your study group.

Benefits of a study group

With the aforementioned cautions in mind, there are many benefits to joining a study group!  First, having a set meeting time will encourage you to stick to your study deadlines and prevent you from procrastinating.  If you know that you are meeting with your study group to discuss the first five chapters of your casebook (for example), that really gives you a deadline to finish reviewing those chapters and have your outline updated!  If you are a procrastinator, you might find the structure of a study group helpful in keeping on tract with your study goals!

A study group can also help you see issues that you might have missed, or understand concepts that you might have struggled with.  Even if you didn’t realize you had questions about a particular topic, someone else in your group might raise an issue that you simply didn’t think of.  Group study can open your eyes to new interpretations or perspectives on the material from class.

What should I do with my study group?

Getting together with a study group to create an outline is probably not an effective use of your time.  Outlining is very much a solo endeavor and should not be undertaken as a group.  Check out this post for tips on how to outline.

Although the process of outlining probably is more of a solo endeavor, going through your already-completed outline and taking turns explaining concepts to the rest of the group is a great group activity!  You might discover some issues that you forgot in your outline, or realize that you don’t know a concept as well as you thought you did as you try to explain it to the rest of the group.  This might also help you see the “big picture” if you are struggling to understand the overall structure of a class.

A study group is also a great opportunity to go over practice exams.  Check out our post for where to find sample practice exams if your professor has not distributed any sample exams.  Other people in your study group might help you spot issues that you otherwise would have missed or provide ideas for how to approach law school exams that you otherwise would not have thought of.

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