How To Effectively Study During Reading Week
Final exams are just around the corner! If your law school gives you a break between the end of classes and the beginning of finals (often called “Reading Week”), it is important to effectively use that time to study! In this post, we give you some tips on how to study during Reading Week.
How To Effectively Study During Reading Week
1. Make a schedule.
There is no right way to make a schedule for reading week; the important thing is that you make one and do your best to stick to it! How to divide your time depends on your personal feelings about the different classes you took that semester. Maybe you missed a couple sessions of one class and need to spend a little extra time preparing for the final exam for that class. Or maybe one of your classes was significantly harder than the others, requiring additional prep work for the final. In either case, you might want to allocate more of your time during reading week to those classes. Or, maybe your classes were equally challenging and your time is best spent equally divided amongst all of your classes.
Regardless of how you divide your time, be sure to sit down before Reading Week starts to make a schedule. Figure out exactly how many free days you have and then divide that time up amongst your classes. Try to stick to the schedule after you make it to ensure that you spend time studying for all of your finals!
We also recommend that the day before you take a final exam, you study for only that final exam if possible. Otherwise, you may find it hard to concentrate.
2. Finish your outlines early.
Reading week is not the time to start your outlines – you should be finished (or almost finished) with making your outlines BEFORE reading week even starts! We strongly recommend that you outline throughout the semester so that your outline is complete going into reading week. (For tips on outlining, check out this post.)
That being said, it is very easy to fall behind during the semester! If you need to spend some time finishing up your outlines, be sure to do it early so that you have the rest of Reading Week to tackle some other important aspects of studying.
Which brings us to the next point . . .
3. Memorize and review!
Once your outlines are complete, what do you do with them? Make sure you understand and memorize those outlines!
If you are having trouble understanding some of the more difficult concepts, this is the time to go back to your class notes, case book, or commercial outlines to try to wrap your head around the material. Still not sinking in? Meet with a study group and see try to explain the concepts to each other! Or, if your professor is holding office hours, visit the professor and ask questions! Be sure to take advantage of any optional study sessions your professors offer – they tend to provide very helpful exam tips during those sessions!
Once you understand the material, it is time to memorize! If your exam is closed-book, you will need to memorize the rule statements (at the very least) so that you are prepared to recite them on the exam. If your exam is open-book, memorization is less crucial, but still important! It is very likely that even if you have an open-book exam, you do not have time to look up every single thing during the test! Having the key concepts memorized will help you quickly and accurately answer the questions!
We have tips for memorizing your law school outlines here.
4. Do practice exams.
Once you are comfortable with the material, Reading Week is the perfect time to try some practice exams to ensure that you are fully prepared for the test! Some professors may provide you with a practice exam – try taking it under real test conditions! Many students simply read through the practice exam to get a feel for what the exam will be like. Taking it under real test conditions will give you a better sense of whether you are prepared! (We have more tips on taking practice exams here.)
If your professor has not provided you with a practice exam, your school might keep old exams from other professors on file. You can also find practice law school exams online; many schools and professors make their old exams available. Here are some online sources for practice exams:
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