A Week by Week Study Schedule

Happy Thursday!

This post come s by request and I think it will be super helpful. I have alluded to my weekly study schedule in the past but I have never devoted a whole post to it so that is what's on tap for today.

Figuring out what you need to study and work on week to week in law school can be challenging. There is always a ton of stuff to do and just so many hours in which to complete it. I am sharing the study schedule which has worked well for me over my 2.5 years in law school. I have honed it to what works perfectly for me. I hope you find it helpful as well!

Here is a sample look at my week to week study schedule. This is what I do during the majority of my semester until about a month before finals. Then I integrate more study time to prepare for finals. More on that in this post: PREPARING FOR LAW SCHOOL EXAMS ONE MONTH OUT






Here are some tips for formulating your own weekly study schedule. 


1. USE SPARE TIME THROUGHOUT THE WEEK TO REVIEW CLASS LECTURE NOTES & MAKE SENSE OF THE MATERIAL
I like to use some of my breaks between classes or spare time in the evening when my reading is light to review what we did in class to make sure I understand it. Sometimes something will make perfect sense in class but by the time I get home and look back at my notes, it looks like gibberish. Checking in with the material regularly helps me to identify where I am confused and address it throughout the semester instead of finding out I don't understand something right before the exam.


2. KEEP A RUNNING LIST OF QUESTIONS FOR YOUR PROFESSOR SO WHEN YOU GO TO OFFICE HOURS YOU HAVE A PLAN
Speaking of making sure you understand stuff, part of my weekly study plan is to keep a running list of any questions or confusion areas to go over with my professors. I find it easier to have a list of questions so that when I go to my professor's office hours I have a plan of what I need help with and I find I get better feedback and assistance from them that way.

It is not good to wait until the end of the semester to get your questions answered and things clarified because it leaves you less time to understand and learn that information. It is much more manageable to do it in small chunks throughout the semester so that you have time to learn the material you get clarified by the professor.


3. MAKE SURE TO KEEP UP WEEKLY WITH YOUR READING ASSIGNMENTS & OUTLINES
I find law school to be less stressful when I can stay up to date with my assignments and outlines. Following the above schedule, I make sure to stay on top of my reading day by day as well as reviewing in my spare time throughout each week. Further, I have no class on Fridays so that is my day to play catch up on my outlines. By outlining a little bit each Friday, I am much less stressed when finals roll around because the bulk of my work is done on my outline.

Obviously, life happens sometimes and you have a rough week or get sick and may fall behind. It is not the end of the world and you just need to spend a little extra time catching yourself back up so that you don't fall more behind. In those instances, I give up some of my relax time on Thursdays and Saturdays and get myself caught up before a new week starts. Law school is much more manageable when you stay on top of things.


4. DON'T GET TOO FAR AHEAD
It is great to be on top of your work but if you get too far ahead, it can be a bad thing. The reason I always do my reading the day before the class is because I want to make sure I have learned the previous lesson before I move on. I find that if I try to do a full week assignment of reading for my Tuesday/Thursday class on Sunday, I will be mixed up in class on Tuesday and I may not pay as close of attention because I know where the material is going because I already read ahead. Additionally, by Thursday's class, I have mostly forgotten the reading assignment and I probably didn't get as much out of the reading because I had not had the lesson from Tuesdays class yet.

For this reason, I find reading only the day before to work best for me. This way, I am working through the material in smaller pieces and keeping everything in order and not getting ahead of myself.

This may not work for everyone- I know plenty of people who can read ahead of time and read a full week set of assignments over the weekend and do just fine. Part of law school is determining what works best for you and doing that to the best of your ability.


5. ONCE YOU HAVE A STUDY SCHEDULE ESTABLISHED, IT IS EASIER TO MAKE TIME FOR EXTRACURRICULARS BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHERE THE SPARE TIME IS
One of the biggest positives to setting a study schedule for yourself is that it will help you to know where/when you have free time. Basically, by laying out a study schedule, you know exactly what you need to do at particular times and on certain days. This leaves a clear schedule of when you have free time as well. I like this because I can allocate when I will make time for extracurriculars (i.e. Moot Court) and when I have time to relax.

For example, I know that I will do my reading for my Tuesday class Monday night. I have three classes on Tuesday so Monday nights will be very full of reading for class. In contrast, I only have one class on Wednesday. Therefore, my reading time will be significantly less on Tuesday night which means that is a good night to work on extracurriculars (i.e. writing my brief for Moot Court). Additionally, having no class on Friday means that I can either take Thursday evening off to relax or use it as a catch-up time on my extracurriculars.

My established study schedule helps my to avoid procrastinating my reading so that I don't have to cram it in in the 20 minutes before class. My study schedule also helps me to allocate my time to all of my extracurriculars week by week so I am not struggling to finish something at the eleventh hour because I didn't have time for it prior.

Here is an hourly view of my week with more specific allocations of my time. 

The benefits of establishing a weekly study schedule are endless. All you have to do is put a little time and thought into what schedule will be most effective and beneficial for you and stick with it.I find that my study schedule saves me from a lot of additional stress and allows me to go through my weeks with a plan. This also leaves me with more time to binge watch Netflix so it's a win-win. 

2 comments

  1. This is what I'm having trouble with. I'm starting my second semester of law school tomorrow and I am not really sure when I should study, review notes, outline, apply for internships, etc. I have a planner, but I'm quite unsure about where to put what. Where do I put my due dates, where do I put WHEN I'm actually going to work on assignments, I just don't know. I also want to lose weight, but don't know when to go to the gym. I don't know, so last semester I made it though without a true schedule and it caused me anxiety like no other. Can you show us what your planner week looks like? I looked at a past one that you did, but when do you outline for specific classes? when do you review before class? etc?

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    Replies
    1. My best advice is to make an estimated hourly schedule and try it for a week. Then adjust as you get a better idea of how long everything takes you. I will add to this post what my week looks like hour by hour to help.

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