Law Students: Start Outlining for Finals During Spring Break

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 04, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

For those law students that will be taking an actual vacation for Spring Break, you might want to just leave the books at home. After all, can you really relax if you have to lug around a hundred pounds of law school reading?

While law textbooks make excellent drink trays on the beach (minus the whole binding getting filled with sand problem), your torts book will probably just end up being a constant reminder of the zone of danger you are entering every morning that you order a pile of pina coladas for breakfast?

But if you're not going anywhere, getting a head start on your outlines for finals during spring break will help you relax a little bit more than your well-traveled peers when exam time rolls around. Below are a few tips on how to get started on your exam outlines.

1. Start From Syllabus

Luckily, you don't ever have to start your outline from scratch. Take your professor's syllabus, and use each of their sections as your outline's main headings. If the syllabus is just a bunch of page numbers, use the headings and sections within your course text.

2. Review an Old Exam or Two Before Outlining

Reviewing exams early is critical to understanding your professor's specific criterion. The earlier you can get a sense of what your prof is looking for, the better able you'll be to prepare yourself to give them what they want come exam time.

For 1Ls, actually seeing prior exams can be extraordinarily illuminating as to what's expected.

3. Take Shortcuts

While many people strongly advocate against taking shortcuts by purchasing commercial outlines, there's probably just as many who advocate using whatever will help. The key when it comes to commercial outlines is not relying on them over your professor, your text, the actual codes/caselaw, or the assigned supplements.

4. Let Your Notes Guide You

While including everything from your notes in your outlines is just a waste, your class notes can guide you in your outline preparation. For the most part, the subjects covered in class will be what you want to emphasize in your outlines.

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