5 Secrets to Being Top of Your Class in Law School | By the #1 Law Student
If you are looking to be at the top of your class in law school, pay close attention to these five tips by a student who graduated #1. These five basic principles will help you succeed in law school from day one so you can accomplish whatever you set out to do!
5 Secrets to Being Top of Your Class in Law School
1. Don’t follow the crowd
The first thing to keep in mind is that if you want to be at the top of your class in law school, you cannot follow the crowd. If you want to be average, do what the average person is doing (spend all of your time reading and briefing cases, joining study groups, and trying to impress your classmates on call…).
If you want to stand out, you will also need an approach that stands out. That is, you will need a different approach.
So, the first secret to being top of your class is to recognize and embrace the fact that you will not be spending your time the way your classmates spend their time. And that is okay. In fact, it is necessary.
2. Focus on the exam from the first day of class
You will be at the top of your class in law school if you get good law school grades.
You will get good law school grades if you do well on the final exams. In law school, your course’s final exam will likely determine your entire law school grade for that course.
So if you want to be at the top of your class, you must focus on your law school exams from the first day of class. Keep your eyes on the prize!
If you start focusing on trying to impress your classmates on call, or writing the perfect case brief, then this is a sign you are not following this tip. Instead, you need to focus on outlining, learning your outlines, and practicing exams (as discussed below in tip #5 and in detail in this guide)
We just established the key to being top of your class in law school is to focus on your final exams from day one.
Who writes your law school exam? Your professor.
Who grades your law school exam? Your professor.
So who do you need to impress? Your professor.
Focus on what your professor says in class. Your class notes are infinitely more important than any commercial outline or supplement. If your professor states a rule a certain way, memorize the way they say it. If your professor cares way too much about the policies behind the rules, make note of these policies (and recite them back on the final exam). Also, it goes without saying that you should pay careful attention to anything your professor says will be tested or won’t be tested, and any notes they make about the format of the final exam.
Your professor spends class time talking about what they think is the most important. So, pay very close attention to this and recite it back on the final exam. They will love to read their own words written back to them. (We all do! It is human nature.)
4. Your #1 way to gain an advantage is to complete practice exams
The most underutilized resource among law students is practice exams.
Students who know the law get B’s. Students who know how to apply the law get A’s. If you want to be at the top of your class in law school, you don’t need to just know the law, you need to master applying it.
Application is a skill just like any other – you will get better with practice. The more practice exams you take, the easier this skill becomes. By the time you get to the final exam, you may even be surprised at how confident you feel walking out of it. (But, then again maybe not, law students are notoriously hard on themselves!)
Most students put off outlining and put off memorizing the law and then don’t have time to practice exams. So they get B’s and C’s. Make sure you use the right strategy from the beginning (the next point) so you have ample time to complete practice exams before the real deal.
5. Use the right strategy from the beginning
Don’t go to law school without a plan. If you want to be at the top of your class in law school, you need a refined strategy. And you need to start using it right away. The good news is, you do not have to start from scratch.
Use a time-tested strategy that has helped thousands of students excel in law school. The basic strategy is to focus on a few things throughout the semester:
(2) learning your outlines
(3) practicing exams
We have a lot of information in this free guide on how to excel in law school where we talk about these strategies in depth. Please read it and put it into practice. These are the same strategies that helped me graduate #1 in my class.