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Law School Study Groups

Transcript

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

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