Why is it so important to go to class in law school (and pay attention!)?
In college, you may have skipped some of your classes and not suffered much because of it. In law school, it is important to go to class and pay attention!
Why is it so important to go to class? The answer is simple:
what you learn from class = what you need to know for the final exam.
You have so many resources in law school, including your casebook, commercial outlines, class notes, etc. But, what will ultimately be tested on your final exam is what your professor discusses in class. That is not to say that you should ignore all other supplements. On the contrary, supplements can be great resources.
But, when you make your outlines and study, your primary focus should be your class notes. Indeed, supplements are called supplements for a reason—they should not be your primary resource when you study!
Not only is it important to go to class, but it is also important to:
- Prepare for class
- Take good class notes when you are in class
- Have a system for condensing these class notes into an outline you can learn
Preparing, taking good notes, and having a good system for reviewing and condensing class notes into an outline will ensure that you are maximizing your study time. After all, if you focus on what your professor focuses on, you will be zeroing in on what is most likely to appear on your final exam!
You may notice in law school that sometimes your professor will completely skip covering a case, or your professor will move through some cases pretty quickly. These should indicate that these cases are less important. If you put these cases in your outlines at all, there should be no more than a sentence devoted to them! However, if your professor spends a long time talking about a case, or seems to really focus on, say, the difference between the Second Restatement and Third Restatement, then you should make sure ample space is devoted to this in your outline.
Your final exam will test what was discussed in class.
So, it is important to go to class (and prepare well and take good notes!) because your class notes will be your best resource in preparing for your final exam!