LSAT Kung Fu Blog / Semester 2, Week 15: A Different Approach

Semester 2, Week 15: A Different Approach

Categories: 
Calvin.

A sketch artist's depiction of me at work.

This is probably going to be a very short post. I’m in the last week of class (meaning next week finals start! IT FLEW BY), and I’m feeling lazy.

But I was thinking about the way I’ve read for class this semester, and how it’s different from the way I read for class last semester, and especially different from the first half-ish of last semester.

As I wrote back then (a little bit here, and a little bit more here), I read for understanding. Thing is, I’ve decided now that I spent WAY too much time reading. I over-read like a boss. Now, to be clear, that method of reading is GREAT for learning. Making sure that I understood every difficult point before I moved on was a powerful strategy for gettin on top of the material.

But!

There was just no need for me to do that much work. This semester, I’ve been doing the reading at a much higher-level skim. I am not trying to make myself understand every nuance. In fact, I’m applying almost exactly the strategies I use for the LSAT Reading Comp. 

The reason I’ve changed my approach so much is that I’ve realized that I spent all of my first semester doing my professors’ work on top of my own. That is, I taught myself most of the law from the cases, to the extent that in most of my classes, my class time was essentially a review of what I already knew (not always. Some cases were so hard to read that I benefited hugely from my professors’ help. In others, I understood some point from the case, but when I got to class I found out that my professor wanted to focus on some other point instead. This latter scenario actually happened often enough that I’d credit it as the main reason for my change in approach. I found, overall, that I could only predict with maybe 75% accuracy what was important in the reading. That meant that a fourth of the time, I was focusing time and attention where it did not do my grade any good. That’s not efficient!).

So, this semester, I’ve done a reasonable job of reading for the big picture. When I’m done with a case, I know the major facts and I have a pretty good sense of what the law is. But I don’t write anything. Instead, I do all my note-taking in class. This way, I get down everything that the professor thinks is important, without wasting my time on the stuff that doesn’t matter to her (and therefore doesn’t matter to my grade).

Is this the best method for learning the law? Probably not. My earlier attempts, while not as efficient, probably resulted in a broader base of knowledge. Plus, when you gain the knowledge on your own, it sticks in a way that knowledge someone just gives to you does not.

But my job right now—at least as I’ve set it out for myself—is to do well in class. And this new method—read for the big picture, then let the professor fill in the details—is a highly efficient and effective way of doing that.

And that, my dear reader, is that. The end of my second semester. I’ll maybe write another post or two during the two weeks of finals, but I don’t know that I’ll have much to say. I do intend to blog my summer, so you know what a 1L summer job looks like. But that’s about one month away. See you then.

Hours for the week: Class = 9.5 / Study = 3.5 / Other = 6.5 / Total Time on Schoolwork = 19.5 / Total Time on Campus = 29

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Post them below, or shoot me an email.

Be good to one another, for we need it now more than maybe ever,

d

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