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The Ultimate Study Guide  

How-to tips for studying any type of material and organizing your studying to avoid duplicate work throughout an extended program.
Last Updated: Aug 24, 2011 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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There's no way around it. Getting through law school means reading. A lot. But, if you want to avoid re-reading things, a reading log can get you a long way.

Your reading log, which can be created with pen and paper, a word processing program, or a spreadsheet program, will have four to six columns. 

The first two columns are optional and will be used to help keep you on track with your course syllabi so that you can use the guide as a sort of calendar as well. The second column indicates the date by which the material needs to be read and the first column indicates whether the material has actually been read. This allows you to to add material to the reading log in advance so that it can serve as a sort of calendar for class readings.

One column should contain a citation for the material, so that it can be re-located or cited as a reference if necessary. This means an article should be cited from the journal, and a case should be cited from the reporter. You can also include the textbook, casebook, or database you got it from, but an original citation will be more helpful in the long run. 

The main column will house notes and keywords from the material. You can include direct quotes and/or paraphrasing in this column, but reserve ideas or questions you came up with while reading the material for another column.

If you create this document on a computer, you will have a searchable collection of everything you've read in law school. If you create it with pen and paper, you'll still have the collection, it just won't be as searchable.

Reading Log Templates

Although building a reading log from scratch is quite simple, and often more helpful because you can customize it, it never hurts to look at some templates for a foundation.


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