Tips for law students studying at home
Studying at home can be difficult, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, law students across the country do not have a choice right now and are forced to make do with an at-home study space.
Instead of putting off studying until later (maybe in hopes of places opening back up) make the most of your time at home! In this post, we go over some tips for law students studying at home.
Tips for law students studying at home
If you are stuck at home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and/or under a shelter-in-place order, now is the time to study for law school finals! We hope these tips help you make the most of your time at home.
1. Stay focused
Distractions are more prevalent when studying at home. From family to TV to your comfy couch—there are more opportunities to get distracted.
This is why our first tip is to stay focused when studying at home. Every law student has their own methods to stay focused, so use what has worked for you in the past! Coffee/tea is always a great tool to keep your focus. Also, keep in mind that your work now is both for your final grade and for the bar exam (since many law school classes cover material that shows up on the bar exam!). This mindset that you are studying for two exams (law school and the bar exam) should be a strong motivator!
If you are finding it hard to study at home for long periods of time, try shorter periods of time! Take a short walk inside or outside to clear your mind, then get right back to it!
Here are some extra tips on how to pay attention in law school online classes!
2. Make a study schedule
If you are a law student dealing with a shelter-in-place order, making a study schedule is important for a few reasons. First, it keeps you on track so you do not fall behind, which can be easy when all classes are online. Second, it makes sure you get your work done at a reasonable hour, so you have time for non-law school activities (practicing social distancing, of course).
Your schedule should be reasonable. We suggest making it similar to what it would be if there were no shelter-in-place order.
If you live with others or have noisy neighbors, it may be necessary to work around other peoples’ schedules. For instance, if you have a roommate that is still working, try to study at the time he/she is away. Or, if you live with little siblings, study during their nap time or when they play outside. This might require you to be flexible with your schedule, but it is worth it to utilize that quiet time.
For more about scheduling, check out this post with tips for law students attending online classes!
If you are studying for the bar exam, JD Advising has created a study schedule for you that is free to download!
3. Find a quiet space
Since many libraries and coffee shops are closed to the public at this time, law students are forced to study at home. This can prove difficult for law students who are not used to a noisy environment. So, try to find a quiet space in your home that will be your study spot. When you are in this spot, the only thing you should be doing is studying.
If you live with others, let them know where your study spot is so they are aware of what you are doing and know not to bother you. And, ask your roommates/family members to try to be quiet when you are studying, to the best of their ability. You cannot expect them to change around their entire schedules for you, but hopefully, they can accommodate.
If there is no quiet space in your home, consider earplugs or noise-canceling headphones or a white noise maker. Do what you can to make the most with what you have!
4. Take breaks
Taking frequent breaks is important when studying at home. These breaks can be mental and physical breaks. For example, you can stop studying to do a puzzle, or take a short walk. Anything that will put your mind at ease for a little bit before starting up again. These breaks can really help you when studying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
For a mini mental break, download and complete our law school word search!
5. Have a goal
Let’s say you want to get through 20 pages of your Evidence book, or finish a quarter or your Real Property outline. Those are great goals to have in mind during a study session.
If your goal is to get a great grade on your final exam, or at least get a pass, that is great! This is a great motivator for any study session. If you are interested in what remote law school exams might look like, check out our post! Knowing what you should be preparing for will help when studying at home!
No matter what your goal is, keep it in mind when studying at home.
6. Study as you normally would
If you normally study with headphones and music—do that! If you normally study in the middle of the night—don’t switch up your routine! Basically, if something has worked for you in the past, stick to it, to the best of your ability. We understand that the coronavirus has affected many students’ normal lives.
On the flip side, if you don’t have a normal study routine, or what you have done in the past has not worked for you, now could be the perfect opportunity to try something new! Many schools are going to a mandatory pass/fail grading system, so this gives you more leeway to switch up your learning style—without the pressure of a final grade riding on it!
Through all this, it is important to stay positive. If you start to only see the negative, your mental health and studying will suffer.
We know this is a very difficult time for law students. For those that are graduating, check out how coronavirus might impact law school graduation and how to prep for the bar during the coronavirus outbreak. And, if you have a summer associate or clerkship position lined up, read this post!