Strategies for managing your time in the library

student reading a book in a study carrel in the law library.

Student studying in the law library.

We are approaching the time of the semester where law students, especially first years, begin to feel the time crunch.  In addition to balancing or juggling demands on your time from outside of law school, law school places its own demands on your time—read for class, brief cases, outline, study for exams, meet with study groups, etc.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you make the best use of your time in the library.

  • Plan to study when you are freshest—some of us are morning people, others are night owls. Try to do the most mentally taxing work when you are freshest and your concentration levels are highest.
  • Set aside some time for individual study and some time for group study. Consider the way that you best learn material—flash cards, outlines, flow charts, working through hypotheticals out loud, etc. If you learn best making outlines or flow charts by yourself, spend your time accordingly.  On the other hand, if going through flash cards with a partner, reserve a study room and get to it!
  • Treat law school as if it were your full-time job. (Note:  This is harder if you are in the part-time program and already have a full-time job.)  Plan your ‘work week’ around your classes, so that you can maximize the amount of time you have on campus to focus on school.
  • Come to the library between classes. Make use of the opportunity to study between your 9:00 and 2:00 classes by coming to the library for some quiet.  Take advantage of the view from the 6th floor terrace when you need to refresh yourself, it’s only steps away from our designated quiet study area.
  • Book your study room ahead of time. Plan for your study group to meet regularly at the same time.  You can reserve your room in advance of picking up the key at the circulation desk and you will spend less time in line and more time with your group.
  • Chunk your studying. Our brains work best when we give them breaks—study for up to 50 minutes and then take a brief break before switching to a new topic or task.
  • Use the Exam Archive wisely. Many College of Law professors make sample past exams available for student use through the Exam Archive.  Visit InsideLaw to view these exams.  Some professors even include sample answers!

If you would like to consult library resources about time management, we have a few titles you might find interesting.  Singletasking:  Get More Done—One Thing at a Time and Time Management are two online resources you may find helpful.

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