Welcome to Learn Law Better.
Are you wondering whether you should join a study group, or if you’re in one, how to
make it work better?
Stay to the end and learn how to improve your grades by properly using a study group.
Hi, this is Beau Baez, and today I want to provide you with some tips on how a study
group can improve your grades.
There is an ancient Japanese proverb that says: “None of us is as smart as all of
In general, that is true.
But study groups that are not designed well can lead to pooled ignorance.
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
Here are seven tips for successful small groups.
One, set a time limit and the number of hours you will meet.
For most of the semester, a one hour meeting, two or three times a week should be enough.
As you get closer to finals, you will want to increase that amount.
More than that, and you will probably be wastimg time.
Two, focus on discussing the confusing areas, not everything that was discussed in class.
All too often, a study group can morph into a social group.
While we all need community, too much social interaction defeats the learning aspect of
the group, as group members start gossiping about others and griping about professors.
That’s just not productive.
Three, trade outlines.
Before your meeting, decide on what part of the law you are going to work on and then
at the meeting, swap outlines.
Everyone has to prepare their own outline, but by trading them you can expose gaps in
your understanding and discover errors.
Four, do practice exams and then grade someone else’s essay.
Doing a practice exam, without feedback from someone, is practically worthless.
Take an old exam, or a commercial practice exam.
Once you complete the exam then, trade it with someone else in the group.
Each person will grade that other person’s exam, and you have to agree to be brutally honest in
Now, here’s the magic with this approach.
Not only are you getting feedback from someone else, but you are grading someone else’s exam
so you will be more objective.
Unfortunately, when we grade our own work, we are often unable to see the flaws.
But when you grade somebody else’s exam, you see lots of their problems.
And by spotting that other person’s problems, guess what.
You develop a more critical eye, which will help you when you take your final exam.
Five, eliminate distractions during your sessions.
This means either turning off your phones, placing them in airplane mode.
You may have to agree to place all your phones in the middle of the table to keep them from
Six, review the law by asking each other questions about the law.
You can make a game out of this, where two of you take one side, and two on the other.
You might even want to use flashcards, which will help you expose gaps in your knowledge.
The key here is to focus on the rules of law that are likely to appear on the final exam.
Seven, assign tasks.
Divide the work evenly and in a way that each member knows exactly what they are responsible
Okay, let’s shift and talk about who to have in your group.
Limit the group to 3 or 4 people.
Two is not enough, and when you start getting to 5 and above, you create a situation where some members
may not fully participate. You get the freeloader problem.
The members of the group should have similar goals, be focused, and motivated.
Remember, the study group is helping you prepare for the final exam and it’s not a therapy session.
Also, look for a bit of intellectual diversity in the group.
If you’re all progressives or you’re all conservatives, you are more likely going to develop group think.
By mixing it up a bit, the group will be stronger as you bring your differences with you to
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Thanks for watching.