Friday, September 2, 2016

Law School Study Schedules


Being a law student is a full-time job. I heard people say that long before I ever started law school, but until I actually was a law student, I didn't fully understand what that meant. For every hour you spend in class, it seems that you spend at least two hours outside of class reading and studying. So, lets do the math:
  • 16 credit hours = 16 hours per week in class
  • 2 hours outside of class for each hour in class = 32 hours
Total = 48 hours per week spent on school. 

Yup, people meant it when they said that law school is a full time job. Personally, 48 hours seems as though it is a bit of a stretch, but I would expect a minimum of 40 hours per week, and usually a few more. So with all of the time that one should be allocating to his or her studies, it is important to have an organized study schedule in order to get all of the studying necessary done. 

There are several different options for creating your study schedule. Obviously, you should do whatever works best for you. However, it is important to create a study schedule in order to keep yourself accountable for your time and to make sure you allocate enough time to get your work done. Creating a study schedule also helps you keep your life organized outside of school, because you always know when you will have free time for other activities. 

Every person's study schedule will vary slightly, depending on their habits and how they want to spend their time. My study schedule is completely different from my roommate's, and her schedule is different than a lot of her friends, who have different schedules than my friends. Everyone studies in a different way and at different times, so do not feel bad if your study schedule is completely unique. Just make sure that it works for you and it should work out.

There are a few common approaches to creating a study schedule, so here is a list of some that I have heard:

The Average College Student

This one is similar to what many of you may have done in undergrad, and a lot of people continue to use this type of schedule in law school. This is the schedule where you wake up whenever you need to start getting ready for class, whether it be 6 a.m. or 11 a.m., and you get up and go through your classes. You might study at the library at school between your classes, or just use that time to relax. Once your classes are done, you go home and eat, relax, hang out, and do whatever it is you enjoy. Then, before going to bed for the night, you study and do your readings. You might not start studying until 8 or 9 p.m., and stay up late into the night getting everything done. This works especially well for night owls or people who are accustomed to this schedule.

Study Chunks

This is the transitional study schedule, and it seems like it is the most common way for law students to study. This is where, along with going to class, you study at random points in the day for smaller chunks of time. This could be for an hour between classes, an hour or two right after, in the middle of the evening, and again late at night. This is a good way to break up your studying and not have to focus on one thing for a long period of time. The downside to this study method is that it may feel like you are studying all day - but hey, that is expected for law students anyway.

9-to-5, School is Your Job

Last but not least is the study method that I use. This seems to be the most common for students that have spent time in the workforce before coming to law school or students with families. Studying with this method means that you treat law school like it is a 9 to 5 job. Get there early in the morning, stay until around 5 p.m., and then take your nights and weekends off. This is easiest on days where I have 8 a.m. classes; but even on Tuesdays and Thursdays where I do not have class until 1 p.m., I head to the library at around 9 a.m. and get all of my stuff done and leave by 5 every night. The biggest perk of this study schedule is that I know at the end of every day I will have a few hours of "me" time before I go to bed. However, I also get up by 6:30 every morning at the latest to ensure that I get to school to study on time.

These are obviously not the only options out there, and each method can be tweaked for your own personal preferences. No matter which method you choose, make sure it is one where you can be sure that you will have enough time to get everything done?

What study method do you use?

- Bailey




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