7 TIPS for Effective Study Techniques for Full-time and Working Law School Students
Whether you are a full-time student or a working student trying very hard to balance your time between work that pays the bill and your limited study time in pursuit of your dreams of becoming a lawyer someday, the question of whether or not your study techniques are efficient and effective always hold true.
Here are 7 Tips for Effective Study Techniques
1. Codal is King
Codal provisions contain the text of the law per se. Codal is what the law provides. By reading the codal provisions first, you are giving yourself an overview of the law, its general principles, as well as its exemptions to the general rules. Some successful bar takers and professors often mentioned that you can answer a Bar question by citing the codal provisions of the law as a legal basis. This works well for definition of terms, as well as enumeration. By being familiar with the codal provisions, you will have legal basis when answering in class recitation and of course in the bar exam.
Atty. Myra Baranda, Top 3 of the 2019 Bar Exams, affirmed the idea when she said that, “Codals are so important so these are to be prioritized.”
2. Listen to Codal Audiobooks
As the saying goes, “Law School is a jealous mistress.” Studying law requires a lot of time. You need to allocate one hour per every unit of subject. Which means, a three-unit subject requires a study time of 3 hours to say the least. But remember to study smart, instead of just studying hard.
One of the ways to maximize your time is to listen to audiobooks for law school subjects. Get your earphones and listen anytime, anywhere. Whether you are sweating out in your morning workout, or working on your desk job, you can listen to audiobooks and learn at the same time.
Visit Law School Buddy’s YouTube channel and choose among the available codal provision audiobooks free of charge. From Criminal Law, Civil Law, to Political Law, the playlists are being updated every week. Enhance your understanding of the law one audiobook at a time. Don’t forget to subscribe!
3. Choose Book that Suits You
Every law school book author has a unique writing style in explaining the law in their textbooks and commentaries. One easily defines and enumerates the elements of a certain topic while another one provides essential landmark cases to cite as examples. And then we have authors who love to give examples in order to better explain each concept. These are all helpful. And you might find a book that catches it all. Of course your professor might also prescribe a book to use.
However it is important to assess which is the most effective material for you. Scan the available books and stick to your preferred style. We have great authors and books, just pick one that suits you.
4. Have an overview of the book
Muhammad Yunus once said, “In a bird’s eye view you tend to survey everything and decide on a particular point, then you swoop down and pick it up. In a worm’s eye view, you don’t have that advantage of looking at everything.”
By looking at the table of contents or outline of your commentaries and textbooks, you are giving yourself a glimpse of what’s ahead, and also getting affirmation on the topics to be discussed in relation to what you have read in codal provisions.
Many students often jump right into reading their textbooks with no idea how extensive the topic coverage is or how long it takes to finish a chapter. Start by browsing the outline first and use it as your study guide so you can better manage your time to make sure all topics are covered.
5. Jurisprudence is Queen
The rule of precedents. Jurisprudence are judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution that form part of the legal system of the Philippines. If Codal is King, then Jurisprudence is Queen.
The Supreme Court has laid out important decisions in landmark cases on how they rule over a case. The Supreme Court’s decisions are, more often than not, widely used as a legal basis in answering essay questions, law school class recitation, and ofcourse, the bar exam.
Jurisprudence are also beneficial to law school students to better understand the fundamentals of the law and help them figure out the actual rule of the law. The lawyer and judges can use jurisprudence as a guide to correctly interpret certain laws that require interpretation.
Law School Buddy is featuring jurisprudence from Supreme Court decided cases. Don’t miss this out! Join us on Facebook and Instagram, along with fellow law school students, and together we learn essential jurisprudence every single day.
6. Read Full Text of Cases
I know what you are thinking. How can one read the full text of cases when one has limited time to study, add to that a voluminous number of supreme court decided cases to digest?
If you have the luxury of time to read the full text of cases, you already know its benefits. Reading the full text will not only help you understand how the supreme court came about its final ruling but also the basis and decisions of the lower courts and why the supreme court affirms or reverses previous decisions are explained. The narration of facts are often lengthy, no one can argue about that, but the laying of legal basis in every decision of the court is so encompassing that it will surely help you understand how the law is applied. Not to mention, it will highly enrich your knowledge of Jurisprudence.
Who knows? Your next question in law school might be based in one of the cases you have read.
7. Practice Answering
Now that you have read and study your law school subjects, time to test the waters. One of the most effective ways is to practice answering essay questions, preferably those previously asked in the bar exams. This will gauge your depth of knowledge about certain topics. When you understand what you read, it should be easy for you to answer the questions. Otherwise, you might need to spend more time to fully understand the topic until such time that you can discuss it with ease, and be able to answer the questions with confidence.
By going through the past questions asked in the Philippine Bar Exams, you can have an idea of the important topics that are usually given more weight and attention in exams.
And that’s the 7 Study Tips for Law School. I hope you learned something today. Join us in this law school journey as we inspire and help each other toward a common goal.