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Thriving at UConn Law

How to Make the Most of Your Study Time

1. Prioritize.  Don't spend all of your time studying for your first exam, only to realize that you now only have a day or two to prepare for the next one! 

2. Make a Plan with Your Study Group.  Make sure you all know what you're going to prepare before you meet up, and ensure that everyone knows what the group's goals are for each study session. 

3. Go to Office Hours or Email the Professor. When you're grappling with a difficult question, don't be afraid to reach out or email the Professor to keep yourself from wasting hours looking for the answer. 

Study Groups

Hey, do you want to join a study group?

The bottom line with study groups is that you have to do what works for you.  A lot of successful students say that while they do have a study group, they also do a lot of work independently.  

Basically, a study group should be a place for you to bounce ideas off of each other and work through difficult concepts.  This only works if you've already done the reading and come prepared to talk about it.  

Beware of falling into the trap of a "study group" that spends more time talking about the NBA draft than that tough Civ Pro case.  

Also remember that while your classmates are some of the best and brightest, if their explanation of a difficult concept seems a little off to you, always go to the Professor for clarification.  

Husky Pro Tip: To reserve a spot for your study group, check out the "Reserve a Study Room" link in the box on the upper right hand corner of this page! 

Printable To-Do Lists!

Apps for Productivity!

Quick Tips

Getting Organized and Staying Productive

Between classes, clubs, Mock Trial, and the Negotiation Competition, most 1L students (and 2 and 3L’s too) have a tough time staying organized.  Part of learning how to be a successful lawyer is learning how to manage a busy schedule with a lengthy list of shifting priorities and deadlines.  Here are some quick tips on how to stay organized in law school. 

Image result for planner

  1. Get a calendar!  Invest in a paper planner or commit to using a digital version to keep track of your commitments.  You don’t want to miss the first meeting of your favorite club because you remembered the time wrong.  This is also a good place to keep track of meetings with Professors and big assignments.  Being able to visualize the day, the week, and even the month ahead will keep you on top of deadlines and prevent you from overcommitting to extracurriculars (do you really have time to join a fifth club!?)

 

  1. Keep a to-do list.  Besides the undeniable satisfaction of finishing a fifty-page Torts reading and physically crossing it out on a list, keeping a to-do-list is a great way to manage your tasks.  Don’t forget to include small but important to-do’s too, such as sending emails and scheduling meetings with your advisor.     

 

  1. Make a homework schedule and stick to it.  Say you have two free hours between your morning and afternoon class. It’s easy to get caught up chatting with friends or scrolling through Instagram, so make a plan to keep yourself on track.  Plan in advance to dedicate most of that time to a specific assignment so that you can walk out of your first class with a goal and into your second class with a sense of accomplishment.   In the beginning of classes, make sure to budget more time than you think you need- making this schedule will get easier as the semester goes on and you get a better sense of how long it takes you to do an assignment.

  1. Take breaks.  If you find yourself rereading the first couple of lines of a case over and over again- it’s probably time to take a break.  You can only focus continuously for about 45 minutes to an hour, so it’s important to give your brain a breather.  Check out our exercise and meditation pages for quick break ideas, or just do a lap around the beautiful campus!  Raining?  Try going up and down the library stairs a couple of times to clear your head. 

 

  1. Ask for help when you need it.  You knew this was going to be on the list, but don’t skip over it!   Yes, you’ve made it to law school and you’re a competent person, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from asking for help. 

Stress-Free Productivity

Gaming the System (or at least your homework)

Is it really possible to have a little fun while doing all that reading?  

Maybe!  Check out these tips adapted from an article by Alison Monahan.  

The Circles

The basic format of this is pretty straightforward.  Say you're sitting down to do work in the library after class.  You know you need to do a 50 page torts reading and a hypothetical for crim.  Take your best guess of how long these are going to take to do.

 For each hour of work, draw a circle on your piece of paper that's big enough to write the assignments inside.  Can't do the whole reading in an hour?  Split it up into multiple circles!  When you're ready to work, start a timer for an hour.  

If you finish the work before the hour is up- you get to color in the circle.  (Use those multicolored highlighters we all know you carry with you everywhere).  If you didn't finish in time, put an X through the circle, finish the work, and start a timer for the next circle.  The goal is that at the end of your work session you have a nice page of colored in circles!  You can also make a page of circles for each day and add in things like cooking dinner and going to the gym! 

 

The Buzzer 

Similar to the circles in that the idea is to get you to actually focus for a chunk of time, the Buzzer method requires a bit of will power.  Start by getting an actual timer (kitchen timers work, but you're not allowed to use your phone).  Put your phone away, sit down with your assignment and start a timer for 45 minutes or an hour.  You are now stuck in your seat for that block of time.  No breaks!  

Work Smarter

OneNote

Check out OneNote!  It's free to download for UConn students on Mac and PC.  

OneNote lets you sync your notes across devices, plus you can tag your notes for easier outlining! 

Onenote

Click on the photo above to watch a tutorial about how to use OneNote as a student, or check out the link below for one law student's OneNote strategy!  

http://lawschooltoolbox.com/tech-correspondent-my-love-affair-with-microsoft-onenote/ 

The Creative Lawyer

The Introverted Lawyer