1L schedule tips to manage the heavy workload

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When you think of law school, what comes to mind? Is it time management? If it’s not, let’s put it on your list.

As a 1L, you’ll need to become adept at managing your time as you juggle classes, study and reading activities, extracurriculars, possibly a job and even downtime. The best way to manage everything is by building some solid time management skills and finding a schedule that works best for you.

Let’s review some ways to navigate your 1L schedule for a stellar first year:

Plan your reading assignments

Advice will vary when it comes to exactly when you should complete your assigned readings. Some will say that it’s best to complete the reading two days before class, while others may recommend the day before. In theory, having a set timeframe is great. While in reality, this may be overwhelming because certain weekdays will have a heavier class schedule than others. Plan your reading time but make allowances based on your daily workload and class schedule. If you have certain weekdays that you know you won’t be able to fit in reading assignments, make sure you add the time into a lighter day.  

Prioritize your outlining

You will want to start preparing your outlines before the reading period. The best time to start an outline is after you’ve finished a topic. Remember, you can always add to it throughout the semester. Your outlines will be an important tool to help you review and memorize key points of each topic and, ultimately, to help you study for final exams. In some cases, your outlines will even be your guide should you have an open-book exam. It’s crucial to add blocks of time to your schedule to review your class notes and work on creating effective outlines.

Amplify your study time with practice questions

You can often access past exams in the library. Or, your professor may even provide some practice questions. You can also get practice multiple-choice and essay questions from 1L resources such as BARBRI 1L Mastery. Practicing early will reinforce concepts to help you better learn the law and be more prepared for exams.

Remember to build in “me time”

Keep in mind that just because you are a law student, doesn’t mean you’re only a law student. With everything going on in your busy schedule, it can be easy to be solely focused on school. However, make sure your schedule includes time for you! This involves making time for friends, family, your health and hobbies, as well as time to decompress.

Create your schedule

Once you know the major building blocks of your schedule, map everything out and come up with a schedule that you can stick with. Whether you love a hardbound planner and some fresh pens or a digital calendar and task list, be sure to actively build a schedule with which you are comfortable.

Adapt your schedule

Spend a little time each week to review the weeks ahead, so you feel prepared and can make any needed adjustments. Time management isn’t only about creating a plan. It’s also about allowing for some flexibility as life carries you forward.

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