In this post, we discuss some critical second semester law school tips! Many students do not get the grades they want the first semester. The good news is, there is plenty of time to improve your grades during the second semester of law school. Here are a few of our best second semester law school tips.
Second Semester Law School Tips:
1. First, start outlining right away!
Do not wait until week 10 to outline. It is much better to outline from the first week of class. If you do this, you will have the following advantages:
- First, you will get a bigger picture of the material from the start.
- Second, you will understand how new concepts you are learning fit into existing concepts you have already learned.
- Third, you can start learning your outlines right away! So you can start this critical step of memorization.
- Fourth, you will not be scrambling at the end to learn your outlines.
2. Second, start memorizing your outlines right away.
By “memorize” we do not mean you need to learn your outlines verbatim. However, you should be able to recite the fundamental elements of rules. If you are looking for some memorization tips, check out our 7 tips to learn your law school outlines here.
Don’t wait until the end of the semester to memorize. It is too late! It will be much easier and you will remember much more if you start from the beginning.
3. Third, start practicing exams earlier.
Do not put off practicing exams until the end of the semester. Instead, you can start practicing earlier by doing two things:
- First, get a supplement like Examples and Explanations, and do the practice problems in the back. You can do these as the weeks progress in law school.
- Second, print off all your professors old exams or find exams online that correspond with the classes you are taking. Do this early and start looking at exams a few weeks in. If you already have them printed, you are more likely to do them!
Practicing exams will help you fine-tune your knowledge of the law and perfect the art of writing a stellar exam answer. To read an in-depth guide to answering law school exam questions, check out this post. It also contains sources to find practice exams.
4. Don’t obsess as much over cases.
Maybe you read every word of every case your first semester. If so, you may have been disappointed to see that it does not help you on final exams. Reading and briefing cases generally do not help you on your final exams. So instead of reading every word (or even worse, briefing cases!) start focusing on outlining, memorizing outlines, and practice exams. Check out this post on how to spend less time reading cases in law school.
5. Evaluate what went wrong last semester.
You can learn valuable information from your last semester. You can set up meetings with professors to go over your exams. This can help you find out, from their perspective, what you need to work on. You should also reflect on what worked and what didn’t–for example, did your study group help at all or not really? Did certain memorization techniques work better than others? Where did you study best?
Asking these questions now won’t take much time but they can help you study much more efficiently next semester.