How to Choose a Law School Study Guide

With so many study guides to choose from, choosing the right one can be difficult. If you’re preparing for law school exams, consider the answers to the following questions before you choose a law study guide.

1. How quickly can you spot legal issues? If I gave you a lengthy fact pattern and asked you what the issues were, would you be able to state the issues quickly or would you hesitate? If you would hesitate, spotting legal issues is likely one of your weaknesses, and is something that you should master before your next law exam.

To succeed in law school, you need to be able to spot issues fast. If you have trouble issue spotting, look for a study guide that is geared toward helping you spot legal issues. Some study guides contain fact patterns specifically written to help you spot issues quickly.

2. Can you state the rules fast? Do you know the law? Have you memorized the rules? If I asked you to state the rule for battery, would you be able to state the rule quickly? What about voluntary manslaughter? If I asked you to state the rule, would you hesitate? If you would hesitate, stating the rules is likely one of your weaknesses, and is something you should improve.

Keep in mind that memorizing the rules will not only help you state the rules fast, but will allow you to better analyze law questions. If you have trouble stating the rules quickly, select a study guide that is geared toward helping you memorize the rules. Some study guides contain condensed rule statements that are easy to memorize.

3. Are your essays well-organized? Are you able to write a well-organized essay, or are your essays disorganized and hard to follow? If your essays are disorganized, writing is one of your weaknesses, and it’s important that you improve your writing skills before your next law exam. If you have trouble writing a well-organized essay, choose a study guide that is geared toward helping you improve your legal writing skills.

In addition to study guides, one of the best ways to improve your writing skills is to take practice exams. Taking practice exams will not only help you write a good essay, but will give you an idea of the type of questions you might encounter on your law school exams. Check your law library for past exams.