Time Management Using the Pomodoro Technique

Do you struggle with wasting time and need a tool to help you focus your attention?  The Pomodoro technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s, is been used by me and millions of others. Let me quote from his book, The Pomodoro Technique. “Every day I went to school, attended classes, studied and went back home… feeling that I didn’t really know what I’d been doing, that I’d been wasting my time…. It was clear to me that the high number of distractions and interruptions and the low level of concentration and motivation were at the root of the...

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How to Take Notes in Law School

Law students in classroom taking notes

How to take notes in law school isn’t difficult, if you use the Cornell notetaking method. Developed at Cornell University over 50 years ago, it has been used by people around the world to better organize their thoughts. Once class is over, you will have a better way to find what you covered in class, and to connect ideas covered in previous sessions. Handwrite or Type Notes This has become an issue because many students wanting to take notes in law school on their computers during class. While it is possible to use this method on a computer, the preferred method for...

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Study Space Ideas

Are you looking for some good study space ideas? Do you know how to create a study space that will help your learning? In this article I will discuss some tips to help you create a better study space that is more conducive to learning. Primarily, you can accomplish this by eliminating distractions from your study space. Distraction #1: Internet When you get bored or the work gets hard, do you start checking your favorite social media site? Do you prefer Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit over boring tasks? Who doesn't. When I grade exams, which I hate to do, I go and find...

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Study Group How To

study group

Are you wondering whether you should join a study group, or if you're in one, how to make it work better? There is an ancient Japanese proverb that says: “None of us is as smart as all of us.” In general, that is true. But study groups that are not designed well can lead to pooled ignorance. Advantages One advantage of study groups is that it creates accountability. If you know you must complete a group project by a certain date, you're going to get it done. But if you're not convinced, here is a scientific article on the benefits of small...

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Learning Faster with the Feynman Technique

Confused student.

Have you ever left class wondering what your professor was even talking about? The Feynman Technique will help you learn material faster and at a level where you will remember the concept for years to come. Professor Richard Feynman was a Nobel prize winning physicist who had the nickname “the Great Explainer.” By following four steps, you will learn a topic well enough to remember it on the final exam and the bar exam. Step 1 Step one: write the name of the concept you want to learn at the top of a page (try to handwrite as much as possible; see...

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Answer an Essay Question Before You See it!

Word test on chalk board.

Would you like to answer an essay question before you see it!  Want to have more time on exam day to think through your answer? You can have 60% of your essay exam complete before exam day with this preparation method. Ideally, you should already have three sets of notes, as I mentioned in my episode called “Three Sets of Notes Method.”  In addition, you need to create a fourth set of notes, which I call your Exam Answer outline. This is an organizational tool that will allow you to move quickly during the final. Also, you will write a much...

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Deep Learning with Elaborative Interrogation

Elaborative Interrogation Exemplified with question mark in maze

The elaborative interrogation technique may sound like a spy how-to manual, but it is used to go beyond simply memorizing difficult concepts to understanding them. For example, you may be able to recite the three elements for res ipsa loquitur, but have no idea what they mean or how to apply them in a fact pattern. This method helps you remember and understand by having you ask how and why questions, thereby allowing you to see connections between the various concepts. Compare and Contrast As you use this technique you will compare and contrast ideas by asking how two concepts are similar and...

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How to Make a Law School Outline

Coffee and notepad for making a law school outline

Do you need to learn how to make a law school outline? Your outline is, nothing more and nothing less, than your blueprint for doing well on the exam. This means understanding law school exam grading, which I cover in detail in the episode called Law School Exam Grading. First, let’s discuss what you should NOT do when creating a law school outline. A mistake that many law students make is to take their class notes, rearrange them a bit, and then place them into their outline. That is not an outline, but rather a rearranged set of notes. Also, do NOT...

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How to Remember Better

Finger on brain, helping to remember better

If you want to improve your memory and remember better, try the spacing effect. The spacing effect is a scientifically documented phenomenon where people learn better when they learn material over time. The opposite of spaced presentation is massed presentation, which we call cramming. Many students wait till a week or two before the exam to really begin studying. And then spend the night before the exam reading the material over and over again. Though cramming works up to a point, studies confirm that students who use spaced repetition outperform those that cram. By the way, if you cram the...

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