GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona
One of the major things I decided to implement much earlier this semester was outlining earlier and reviewing it frequently. I struggled with this last semester and by
The answer for me was creating a “shell” outline.
So instead of creating an outline as you go, with a “shell outline” you fill it in as you go. The advantage of this is that everything is well organized. You don’t have to think about what to call each area, as it is already done for you. Since you are just filling in the details as you go, it makes it much easier to keep your notes organized. If you use the headings feature you can create an attack and concise outline at the same time, but we will talk about using the heading feature at a different time.
Now is the perfect time to create your shell outline and fill it in! Here is how to get started:
Step 1 – Gather the Required Materials
To do this, you will need your
Step 2 – Merge the Documents
The next step is to merge your professors outline and the casebook table of contents together. I prefer to have the table of contents from the casebook to be the “base” of the outline. I will usually copy and paste this either from the digital casebook or from the index pdf into a google doc or word doc. Then copy and paste the headers from the professors course outline. This will provide you a document that has all of the major headers from the textbook and your professor, plus all of the cases. This will take some time, but as you go through the professor’s outline, you can delete cases you will skip and sections of the casebook you will not cover.
Step 3 – Begin Filling in the Shell Outline
Voila! The shell outline has not been created through the end of the semester! Now the final step is to start filling in your notes from the previous weeks. For cases, be sure to note the Rule, Determinative Facts and any other information your professor likes you to know. Once you have caught the outline up, you can use this shell outline to take notes the rest of the semester.
If you follow this method, you will have an outline that has every major case, organized by topic in a way that matches the structure your professor intended. You can also organize the outline using various headings, so you can also create an attack outline as you go.
If you have any questions about this you can reach me @The1LLife on Twitter and Instagram