Law Students: Can You Trust Your Study Group?

By George Khoury, Esq. on April 17, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As the end of the semester and final exams loom, law students who are depending on their study group may start wondering about their group members' abilities. The more that law students rely on a study group, the more they may be concerned about whether what their fellow group members are doing will help or hurt.

There may be several questions floating through your mind, from whether you can trust your study group members to prepare adequate outlines, to concerns about being overly social, or even whether you are being deliberately lied to by the entire group in a massive conspiracy to ensure you get the worst grade and skew the curve up. If you're leaning towards the latter, you may be letting paranoia get the best of you. Get some rest and maybe get some help.

Below you can find three tips to make sure you're not going to be sorry for joining a study group.

1. Review Group Member Work Against Your Class Notes

While some folks may claim that having a good study group means you don't have to take notes in every class, those folks obviously aren't living up to the reasonable person standard. If you've split up the responsibility for outlining various classes with your study group, while this may be inadvisable compared to just comparing each others' outlines for every class, you should still be taking class notes. Minimally, you can use your class notes to review whether anything significant that was covered in class has been left out of your group's outline.

2. Review Group Member Work Against Past Exams

One of the best sources for exam prep is old exams. You should check your group's outlines against old exam answers to see whether the outline actually measures up. Ask, if the exam was open book/notes, would your outline spot every issue?

3. Review Group Member Work Against Commercial Outlines

If you haven't taken notes, or made your outline, and you are steadfast in saving the old exams to use as practice tests, spend the money to buy some commercial outlines. This isn't the best way to make sure your group members' outlines are thorough, but it's better than nothing.

Lastly, in conclusion, if you see something wrong with a group member's outline, say something. Your other group members will thank you, and more likely than not, the outliner wasn't deliberately trying to tank everyone else.

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