Sunday, October 27, 2013

What Can I Do in Sixty Minutes or Less?

It is a common misconception among law students that studying cannot be accomplished in small time blocks.  Yet students feel that lots of other things can be accomplished in smaller amounts of time: e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, cell phone calls, surfing the Web, watching TV sitcoms, exercising. 

Here are some study tasks that can fit into less than sixty minutes and less than thirty minutes:

Less-than-60-minutes tasks:

  • Read and brief one mid-sized case.
  • Read and brief two short cases.
  • Draft the statement of facts for a legal memo.
  • Draft the short answer for a legal memo.
  • Complete ten multiple-choice questions without reviewing the explanations for the answer options.
  • Complete five multiple-choice questions with reviewing the explanations for the answer options.
  • Complete a one-issue fact-pattern essay and review the model answer.
  • Review part of a paper draft for punctuation and grammar.
  • Review part of a paper draft for citation.
  • Review several pages of an outline for intense learning.
  • Create a graphic organizer to summarize a course topic.
  • Compare an outline or class notes with a classmate.
  • Outline the material from several class periods.
  • Read a study aid to clarify a topic.  

Less-than-30-minutes tasks:

  • Complete memory drills with flashcards. 
  • Make some flashcards for later memory drills.
  • Read and brief one short case.
  • Stop by a professor's office to ask some questions about the material.
  • Discuss the cases with a classmate before the next class.
  • Review your brief, margin notes, and prior class notes to re-visit your class preparation for the next class. 
  • Review your class notes from a class earlier in the day to fill in gaps, reorganize the notes, and gain deeper understanding.
  • Read a study aid to clarify a subtopic.
  • Outline a couple of short subtopics.

On the downward slope of the semester, it is important to use time well.  Major blocks of time are not needed to make progress.  (Amy Jarmon)

 

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