How Can I Prepare for Law School Exams as a 0L?

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Churchill
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How Can I Prepare for Law School Exams as a 0L?

Post by Churchill » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:42 pm

I'm a 0L starting law school at a T2 regional school this fall. I've read quite a few guides on TLS (and TheSeaLocust's guide here) about law school success, and all of them emphasize that learning the skill of legal analysis and applying that skill on exams is a/the key to success. I've started reading Getting to Maybe and am considering taking LEEWS as well.

The problem I'm grappling with is that 0L seems like a great time to develop those legal analysis skills and get ahead of the competition, but I don't know how to do this without learning the law as well.

So my question is: can anyone recommend a product (like maybe a workbook with exercises) or method for practicing legal analysis that doesn't involve learning the law itself (at least not in its entirety)?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

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ymmv
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Re: How Can I Prepare for Law School Exams as a 0L?

Post by ymmv » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:53 pm

Getting to Maybe is the book you're looking for, and you already have it. It covers the basics of law school exam prep and the IRAC/CREAC method (though many law school 1L writing courses teach you these skills first semester anyway).

That said, you really can't study effectively before you've even started your courses. You'll need to learn how to read a case first, how case law actually works, and what analysis looks like for each of your individual 1L subjects — as well as your professors' idiosyncrasies and preferences. Studying for exams this prematurely is more likely to hurt you by ingraining bad habits before you have a chance to learn the right ones; it also makes you far more likely to burn out in advance of actual exams.

The best way you can help yourself right now is by relaxing and enjoying any free time you have before 1L begins. Even once the term starts you'll have at least a month to acclimate yourself to your courses and readings before you need to start worrying about preliminary exam prep. Reading Getting to Maybe this summer won't hurt you, but you certainly shouldn't start doing workbooks or exercises for any actual courses yet.

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ymmv
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Re: How Can I Prepare for Law School Exams as a 0L?

Post by ymmv » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:03 pm

More generally, thinking about law school in terms of "getting ahead of the competition" probably isn't going to help you much as a mindset. In fact it's a good shortcut to developing an anxiety disorder during 1L, if you don't already have one. Focus instead on improving your own understanding and abilities, measuring yourself on the basis of your own progress and daily/weekly goals once it actually comes time to start studying around mid-to-late October. Everyone learns differently, works differently, studies differently; don't give in to the temptation of obsessing over how much your peers do or don't seem to be working.

Now would be a great time to get yourself into good shape physically and mentally. Relax, enjoy your friends and family and hobbies, and (if you haven't already) get yourself on a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen you can keep up once law school begins. Start therapy if you need it and have been putting it off until now. These things will help you infinitely more than trying to develop law school exam skills in advance of actually going to law school, or grinding yourself against the impossible mental specter of competitor classmates you haven't even met yet.

Churchill
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Re: How Can I Prepare for Law School Exams as a 0L?

Post by Churchill » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:11 pm

@ymmv: Thanks for the advice! I'll definitely work on healthy habits and reading Getting to Maybe. Actually I'm not racked with anxiety, just excited to get started and hoping to do well so I can get more open doors in the future. Again, thanks for the advice!

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ggocat
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Re: How Can I Prepare for Law School Exams as a 0L?

Post by ggocat » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:49 pm

Agree that getting to maybe is the best prep for exams. I thought LEEWS was duplicative and overly technical.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: How Can I Prepare for Law School Exams as a 0L?

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:02 pm

ymmv wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:03 pm
More generally, thinking about law school in terms of "getting ahead of the competition" probably isn't going to help you much as a mindset. In fact it's a good shortcut to developing an anxiety disorder during 1L, if you don't already have one. Focus instead on improving your own understanding and abilities, measuring yourself on the basis of your own progress and daily/weekly goals once it actually comes time to start studying around mid-to-late October. Everyone learns differently, works differently, studies differently; don't give in to the temptation of obsessing over how much your peers do or don't seem to be working.

Now would be a great time to get yourself into good shape physically and mentally. Relax, enjoy your friends and family and hobbies, and (if you haven't already) get yourself on a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen you can keep up once law school begins. Start therapy if you need it and have been putting it off until now. These things will help you infinitely more than trying to develop law school exam skills in advance of actually going to law school, or grinding yourself against the impossible mental specter of competitor classmates you haven't even met yet.
I second all of this. :clap:

TransferHopeful
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Re: How Can I Prepare for Law School Exams as a 0L?

Post by TransferHopeful » Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:41 am

Lol don't know if it's too early for me to be popping into these kinds of topics, but what the heck. I second what ymmv said. Getting to Maybe is what I read summer before law school. Other than that, start healthy habits, improve your time management, and focusing on consistently getting a good night of sleep. The reality is law school professors teach classes the way they feel like it and write their exams based on how they feel. The best way to prep is to put yourself in a position to succeed by figuring out your financial health, physical health, and mental health in advance of the semester starting.

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