Getting the Semester Started Off Right

Exam season may seem like the far-off future now, but it is precisely what you are doing at the beginning of the semester that will prepare you for exams at the end.  The new semester means a fresh start, and now is the time to get your study practices off on the right foot.  Here are some techniques to help:

  1. Condense your briefs and class notes into outlines every week – outlining throughout the semester will help you retain the information you learned and keep you from having to re-learn material at the end of the semester.  Additionally, having your outlines finished or close to completion at the end of the semester will decrease your stress level.
  2. Begin reviewing your outline early – regular review of your outline will lead to a deeper understanding of the material, and will make memorization of key subject components much easier.
  3. Meet with your professors – visit your professor during office hours to clarify any confusing points or issues.  By doing this frequently, you will have a strong foundation before moving on to the next course topic.
  4. Stock up on school supplies – with an arsenal of pens, paper, ink cartridges, and index cards, you will always have what you need when you need it.
  5. Evaluate your study strategies and revamp if necessary – do you study best at home, at school, or in some other location such as a coffee shop?  Do you get more out of focusing on one topic for a long study session or by switching among subjects?  Are you using study time efficiently?

For more thoughts on how to get your semester started off well, read Amy L. Jarmon’s ABA Student Lawyer article titled “Exam Review Begins Now” on the ABA Student Division website (requires sign-in).  Larson offers some excellent techniques for improving your exam results in May.  Look at the “Thinking About the Review Process” post on the Law School Academic Support Blog as well.  This post is a little old, but its information on the four kinds of review that students need to accomplish throughout the semester to be prepared for exams is still useful.