One big difference between law school and many undergraduate programs is that law school is a lot of work. You will have cases to read, legal writing and research assignments to complete, outlines to write, and exams to prepare for. You can help tackle this workload ahead of time by figuring out a good law school study schedule before law school even begins.
A good law school study schedule is essential for a few reasons:
First, it can help reduce any stress and anxiety you might feel. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do, you will feel confident and secure because you will have a plan to get it all done. You won’t feel like you are “flailing.” You will have an organized way of approaching the work you have ahead of you.
Second, it will help you get everything done throughout the semester. It will help you prioritize, plan ahead, and stay in control of your schedule. You will not put off the “important” for the “urgent.” By thinking about your plan of attack ahead of time, you will be able to get everything done.
To create a study schedule that you can use throughout law school, begin by finding or making a blank weekly calendar with all seven days of the week on it. It should start from the time you get up and go in half hour increments until the time you go to bed. You can use your iPhone, an excel spreadsheet (an example of one is below), or a blank piece of paper. It is a good idea to “draft” a study schedule on a sheet of paper. I recommend using different colors to indicate activities.
You should fill in the following activities on your weekly calendar:
- The days and times you have class
- Time to get ready in the morning
- Time to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner
- The time it takes to walk or drive to school
- Some time with family and friends
- Religious commitments
- Time for breaks (it is nice to plan a half-day off on the weekend!)
- Time for exercise (at least three times a week is ideal)
- Time for sleep
After filling in all of the above necessary tasks, decide when and where you will study. Consider both when you study best (that is, when you can focus and have the least amount of distractions) and where you study best (A library? Coffee shop? Your house?).
An example of a schedule might look like this:
The above study schedule is geared toward someone who likes to study after class (rather than before class) and prefers to study at home or in the library. Your study schedule might look completely different.
If you would like a more detailed post on how to create a study routine, then see this detailed post on how to craft the perfect law school study schedule.
Ms. Ashley Heidemann graduated as the number 1 law student out of over 200 students in her class of 2011 at Wayne State University. She now works as a tutor for law students and the bar exam. She also offers LSAT tutoring, an outstanding Law School Preparatory Course and a Legal Writing Prep Course for students interested in learning the skills necessary to achieve a high GPA in law school.