The way you manage your time is paramount for law school. There is an abundance of complex material, much of what is presented at an extremely fast pace. Therefore, no matter whether you consider yourself a quicker or slower studier, it’s best to have a plan in place before you become overwhelmed.
- Create a study plan: It’s simple, but using a calendar/planner is the best way to properly organize your time. Make sure to list all assignments, examinations and appointments on your planner to make yourself aware of upcoming important dates. Beyond that, you may want to plan out blocks of time in which you plan on reading, outlining, creating flashcards or reviewing with study groups. Block out enough time that you anticipate you will need, but also be realistic about your goals and skills. The last thing you want to do is to create a study plan that overwhelms you.
Determine the best way for you to be efficient and effective: You must determine how you study best. This may very well be an issue of trial and error at first, but once you determine what works best then you should implement a strategy. Many students get distracted about what their classmates are doing or other tips that they pick up, but you must use your own strengths and weaknesses to formulate a study plan to be the most efficient and effective use of your time. Some strategies include: flashcards, group study, repetitive outlining, essay writing and comparing to sample answers, practice MC questions, reviewing class notes weekly, and listening to or creating audio tapes. Although many students prefer to study during the evenings, research has shown that one day time hour of studying is equal to one and one half hour of evening studying.
- Be realistic: take study breaks! There is no need to “power through” studying or study past the point of concentration. Therefore, make sure that you take necessary breaks to recharge and refuel. Every hour, take at least a 5-10 break to walk around, eat a snack or get some fresh air. Your studying will become more effective if you are focused and motivated.
- Balance: It’s important to maintain balance with your study schedule and personal life. Eat well, exercise and don’t forget to schedule in time for you to reconnect with your friends and family. Though law school is a priority, you’ll feel better and do better if you are balanced in the other aspects of your lives.
- Prioritize: There are a lot of time restrictions on your schedule and therefore it’s important to prioritize your time. If reading cases is taking you an extraordinary amount of time, then it’s important to reprioritize your study schedule. That’s not to say to neglect an aspect of your studies, but determine what will be the best use of your time and adapt.
- Adapt: If a study tactic isn’t working, then don’t be afraid to switch it up. If studying at night isn’t effective, then don’t be afraid to switch it up and study in the morning. Adapt constantly to utilize your strengths!
For more time management suggestions, come in to ASP for help creating a study schedule.