If there was just one piece of advice that I could give to every law student, or any student for that matter, it would be to write your own outline for each and every course and for every subject on the bar exam. I want you to start from scratch and build it completely. Don't use an outline borrowed, bought, or downloaded; if you touch those outlines at all, it should only be to fill the few holes present in your own. By the time you reach finals, you should have a highly condensed outline with which to reference. 

         I know for a fact that this method works. For every subject in school and on the Bar Exam, I built my own outline. In fact, I spent 75% of my budgeted time per course on those outlines. From day one of a course, when I briefed a case or took notes during class, it was all typed into the outline. If the teacher gave us a study resource, it was copied and placed in the outline. Halfway through each semester, I began editing and organizing my outlines so as to have a perfect flow chart on the subjects in preparation for the final. This system worked very well for me.

         By devoting so much time to writing, editing, then condensing my outlines, I became very familiar with the details of each subject and my retention increased greatly. More importantly though, the time spent organizing each outline gave me a deeper understanding of each course. For example, If there was a multiple part test on a given subject, going through my outline and determining the best way to lay it out in sequential steps was often the point when I finally "got it" and understood what the court or law makers were trying to do with that test.


         To conclude, I would like to repeat the phrase "Write your own outlines!" a hundred times, but I know that wouldn't be effective. I just hope that you take my advice and try my method. It really does work.


See Also:
How to Build an Outline