The Catholic University of America

 How to Effectively Utilize your First Year in Law School



First Year: First Semester

            -This is a time of trial and error

-Inefficiency is inevitable

-Use outside aid with reading if you have trouble “getting” doctrinal points

-After each class review:

                -What did we do? How much time did we spend on each topic?

                -What are the most important points?

                -Cues on what to learn?

-Start outlining as soon as you have a “chunk”


After your first semester of your First Year

                -Reflect on the past semester

                                -What worked for YOU and what did not?

                                -How are the expectations of THIS course the same/ different?

                                -Did you spend enough time studying? If so, what will make your use of time efficient?

                                                *This probably will require less time on reading

-Review last semester’s exams

                                -Understand where you lost credit and relate it back to your study preparation


First Year: Second Semester

                -You should be spending <80% of your time prepping for class

                -By the 2nd half of the first semester have the end of the first half of the semester outlined

                -Predict what will be tested on the final from the first half second semester

                -Issue spot utilizing past exam questions


First Year: Third & Fourth Quarter of the Semester

                -You should be spending <75% of your time prepping for class

-Start working practice problems

                -What issues do the professor test?

                -What does the professor expect in his/her answers?


Last 2 weeks before your final (if not before)

                -Have outline completed

                -Create a reduced “backbone”/ skeletal outline

                -Practice pre-written answers