As first semester grades roll in, many students find themselves to be disappointed. If you are disappointed with your grades, you should keep in mind that the curve your first year of law school is very tough. Very few A’s are given. The vast majority of students get B’s and C’s. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change your strategy your next semester and improve your law school grades. If you are looking to improve your law school GPA, it is a good idea to take an inventory of your study habits your last semester and look for ways to improve them. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
Questions to Ask Yourself to Improve Your Law School Grades:
- Do I need to spend more time studying? Some students simply do not dedicate sufficient time to studying. Law school requires a lot of time and dedication.
- Do I need to improve my study habits? Some students “study” all the time, but instead of really focusing, they are on Facebook, talking to friends, or thinking about what they are going to eat for dinner. If you find yourself frequently distracted, you might make it your goal to eliminate distractions (i.e. don’t study with your phone out, or don’t study in the library with friends). It might also be a good idea to take more breaks.
- Do I need to make my own outlines? If you borrowed someone else’s outlines and just stamped “Outline” on top of your class notes and used those as an outline, it is a good idea to try making your own outlines this semester. Creating your own outline allows your brain to understand and organize the law. It may surprise you to see how much better you know the law after outlining it yourself. (We have an in-depth guide to making a law school outline here if you are not sure where to start!!)
- Do I need to start outlining sooner? Some students rush to complete their outlines at the end of the semester and then do not have enough to time learn their outlines or take practice exams. If you start outlining sooner, you will have more time for these important tasks at the end of the semester.
- Did I take enough practice exams? It is crucial to take practice exams before the final exam. If you did not practice writing exam answers last semester, make it a priority this semester. It will help you get used to the format of the final exam and it will give you practice at identifying issues, writing accurate statements of law and a good analysis. It will also make the final exam seem less daunting and more familiar. We have an in-depth guide on how to answer law school exam questions here, as well as tips on how to take law school practice exams to maximize your chance of a high score on the real exam.
Asking yourself these questions is a good start. If you honestly reflect on the answers to these questions, you will likely find ways to improve your study habits throughout the semester to achieve a better final result.