Thursday, December 26, 2013
All members of AASE (Association of Academic Support Educators) should have received emails reminding them to renew their AASE membership for 2014. All current members will also receive, by mail, a copy of their membership information from 2013 and an invitation to renew for 2014. Membership runs from Jan-Dec (calendar year) and dues are due by Jan. 30 for 2014. Two types of membership are available; individual and institutional memberships (for schools with 3+ ASP professionals).
If you have any questions, or would like to join AASE, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, December 23, 2013
All of us here at the Law School Academic Support Blog hope that you and yours enjoy the holiday season. The Blog will be taking a vacation while law schools are closed for the semester break. We will look forward to having our readers back in early January.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Are you traveling to New York for the Association of American Law Schools Conference? If yes, please consider joining the Section on Academic Support at AALS for our Business Meeting, Dinner, and Program. The details are below.
- Section on Academic Support at AALS for our Business Meeting on Friday, January 3, 2014, 6:30pm
- Informal/ Unofficial Dinner Gathering: Friday, January 3, 2014, 7:30pm.
- The Section on Academic Support Program: “Early Intervention for At-Risk Students" will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2014, 10:30am-12:15pm.
In light of shrinking budgets, smaller applicant pools, and media criticism of legal education, how can law schools proactively address the potential influx of at-risk students? What does “at-risk” really mean? Are law schools responsible for ensuring that students succeed once they are admitted? Should law schools even admit at-risk students? This panel will address these questions and provide helpful insights to benefit faculty, administrators, and institutions. Specifically, panelists will discuss programs and methods for supporting at-risk students, the important issue of “stereotype threat,” at-risk students and bar passage, and a unique empirical method of predicting academic success.
Joanne Harvest Koren and Alex Schimel (University of Miami): “At Risk” of What? Definitional Issues in Law School Academic Intervention
Chelsea Baldwin (Oklahoma City University): Intervention Without Threat
Jamie Kleppetsch (John Marshall Law School): Providing “At-Risk” Students with the Skills Necessary to be Successful on the Bar Exam
Allison Martin (Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law) and Kevin Rand (Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis): Early Identification & Intervention: Is There “Hope” for At-Risk Students?
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Last week, the New York Times ran this article, "Bar Exam Passed, Immigrant Still Can’t Practice Law" http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/04/nyregion/for-immigrant-passing-the-bar-exam-wasnt-enough.html?ref=education While I think that changes are on the horizon, it is important to know how your state stands on the issue so you can best advise your students currently facing this dilemma.
Once exams are over students may feel a sense of elation. Some may feel a let-down. After expending so much time and energy on preparing for and taking exams, the next hurdle is waiting for grades. Law school grades are a tricky subject. Students who receive “good” grades in law school, have opportunities for jobs and clerkships that others may not enjoy. Law students compare themselves to each other which leads to self-doubt and even to the destruction of relationships. However, grades are not destiny. Avoid dwelling on grades, and instead, focus on getting as much feedback on exams as possible. If you are able to review an exam, do so early in the semester before you get too busy. If there are comments on the exam, note what they are. What did you do well? What do you need to improve? Talk with your professor in person about your exam. Then, with this feedback, reach out to your academic support professional to work on improving performance on exams. Most importantly, evaluate whether you are learning. Most students will see a steady increase in their grade point average. Staying mindful of the learning process will aid you in haveing a more meaningful and fulfilling law school career. (Bonnie Stepleton)
Friday, December 6, 2013
When we are in the thick of things, it is sometimes easy to lose our common sense and work off of emotion and stress alone. So here are some practical tips for exam takers:
- When you lose focus, become more active in your studying: read aloud, ask yourself questions about what you are reading, switch study tasks, or discuss the material with another student.
- If you focus does not improve by being more active in your study approach, take a break from studying and come back to it fresh. 10 - 15 minutes every couple of hours works for most students. If you have been studying for a longer period of time, take a longer break.
- If you hit a wall and cannot absorb anything else no matter what you do, then it is definitely time to walk away for some time. Perhaps go run and then have a meal. Or go to the cinema and lose yourself in a good movie. Or window shop to take your mind off things.
- If even one of these diversionary breaks does not help you re-focus, then your brain and body may be telling you to stop and go to bed early. Get up the next day and start over.
- Stop listening to the exaggerations, outlandish claims, and scare tactics disseminated by other students. Do the best you can do each day and ignore all the stress-mongers.
- After an exam is over, do not talk about it with others. You are likely to stress over what you think you missed; others are often wrong about issues on the exam. Put the exam behind you and mentally focus on any exams still ahead. You cannot change what is already done, so put your efforts on the exams that you can impact.
- If you get sick, go to the doctor. Putting off medical attention has negative consequences: you infect others, you get even more ill, you delay your serious illness until the middle of exams.
- If you have a meltdown, go to the counseling center. Do not just sit around and be miserable. You need to talk with someone who can help you handle your stress and be more objective.
- Come up with an appropriate reward system for small, medium, and large tasks. Enjoy a cup of green tea for completing a small task. Take a 30-minute walk for finishing a medium task. Go out to dinner with friends for completing a large task. Set the rewards that will have meaning for you.
- Eat balanced, nutritious meals so that your brain has the fuel necessary for exam heavy-lifting. Avoid junk food, sugary treats, and overdoses on caffeine. Get those fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains!
- Keep a regular sleep schedule with 7-8 hours of sleep each night during the exam period. Minimal sleep and all-nighters are a sure way to arrive at an exam too tired to think. If your exams are early morning ones and you are a night owl, begin the change over in your body clock now so that you are able to wake up and be alert for that early exam. If you tend to sleep poorly the night before an exam, then go to bed even earlier for the week prior to your exam and stockpile some ZZZZZs.
Good luck on exams to everyone. (Amy Jarmon)
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Working with others to prepare for exams can be an uplifting and productive experience. However, it can also cause frustration and waste valuable study time. Therefore, as you begin to prepare for your final exams, reflect on whether a study group could be a beneficial or whether you should steer clear of them. If you decide to move forward with a study group keep these considerations in mind:
- Think about your study goals and your expectations for the study group before agreeing to work with others.
- Be thoughtful about the group size, meeting times, and purpose. Explicitly agree to all of these parameters. A larger study group that meets at night may not be the most effective for you if you are not a night owl and prefer small groups.
- Have each group member identify their learning style. If 3 out of 4 are read/write learners and you are aural, it may not be the right group for you.
- Establish a start time and an end time for your study group sessions. Time is of the essence and you do not want your study group to take over all of your free time.
- Try to keep open lines of communication. End each session with a recap and reflection to discuss whether the session was productive. Or, follow up via email with suggestions for the next group meeting.
- Create an agenda that will help each member of the study group come to the meeting prepared. Knowing what to expect will help retain the focus of the group meeting and help everyone stay on task.
- Give everyone in the study group a chance to take on a leadership role like: drafting the agenda, leading the discussion, providing handouts or examples, or scheduling the sessions. When everyone plays a part in the process, a more cohesive group will develop.
- When you leave you study group sessions, how do you feel? If you feel positive, that is a good sign. But, go one step further. List the top five things you learned during the session. You want more than a warm and fuzzy feeling after meeting with your study group. Revisit your personal goals for the group session and make sure that you assess whether you are consistently meeting those goals.
Ultimately, a study group can be a great way for you to grasp difficult legal concepts and to review for final exams. Additionally, a study group can provide a great support network and can help you avoid procrastination. Good luck on your finals!