How To Design Your 1L Study Schedule
There are many ways to organize your study time in law school. Given this, we thought we would give you a few ideas about how to design your 1L study schedule. To begin, consider the first two questions—when and where do I study best (you may even consider writing down your responses!). Once you’ve worked through your answers, move on to step 3, designing your 1L study schedule.
How To Design Your 1L Study Schedule
1. When do I feel best?
When you’re designing your 1L study schedule, knowing when you feel best is a very important piece of the puzzle. This is really just another way of saying are you a morning person or an evening person? (Pro-tip—you may be neither, and that’s ok too!)
Some people thrive in the morning while others can barely function before 9:00 a.m. Knowing when you feel your best is important because it will impact how effective your study schedule will be. If mornings are a challenge, you may want to think twice about planning to study every day at 7:00 a.m. Likewise, if you are an early bird, then there’s absolutely no reason to force yourself to stay up outlining until 2:00 a.m. While this may seem like common sense, the truth is many people spend a lot of time struggling with their studies because they do not align their study schedule with times that best suit them.
2. Where do I study best?
Kind of like the morning person versus evening person question, this is highly personal. As you are designing your 1L study schedule, think about where you study best. And by best, we mean where you can focus for long periods of time and get work (or studying) done. This may be in your bed, away from the confines of the law school. Or it could be at a large table in the library with friends nearby. Some students are most productive at their local coffee shop while some need to be outdoors. Others work best in complete silence while some students need a little noise in the background. Wherever it is, it’s important to use space to your advantage and to avoid the environments that you know will be distracting.
3. Time to plan.
Once you’ve answered the questions we posed above, it’s time to get planning! First, the basics. Schedule all of your classes into your calendar of choice. Block off time for travel to and from classes. Next, schedule any office hours that you might attend. (If you are someone who likes color coding, this may be a great opportunity to bust out those highlighters!) Once you’ve scheduled classes and office hours, next add anything that you know will take your time. This could be a club, attendance at a gym or intramural sport, a family commitment, a job, or anything else that you already know you will be doing. Did we mention cooking? Showering? Etc.? These are also important and should be accounted for on your calendar.
Now for some math. Students typically study for approximately 30 hours per week (sometimes more!) and are often in class between 12 and 15 hours per week. It can be a useful exercise to calculate how many hours you have committed each week. Putting an actual number on how you spend your time can provide you with some perspective. Does it take you a long time to get ready? Do you do spend a lot of time at the gym? How about procrastination—how much time do you spend doing that? And what about breaks? Are you someone who can sit for ten hours straight or do you need to go for walks, talk to friends, have a snack?
If you’re honest, you’ll know what you’re up against and be able to adjust accordingly. Remember, this is intended to maximize your study time: no one else’s.
For a helpful grid schedule and other tips and advice for designing your 1L study schedule, take a look at our post on how to craft the perfect law school study schedule.
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