Thinking about law school but don’t know if you’ve got what it takes? Our guest contributor Paulina discusses five habits she believes will help prepare prospective law students. Paulina emphasizes that good grades are only one component towards getting into law school, and that it’s important to also focus other aspects such as extra curricular activities and developing smart study habits.  

1) Learn How to Effectively Organize

One important skill needed in law school is the ability to organize information efficiently. Since exams are open book, doing well is not necessarily attributed to simply memorizing information, but more importantly on how you organize and apply it. While you won’t need to memorize the law for exams, you will need to create an efficient system to apply the law for a given scenario, in a short period of time. Therefore it’s important to practice effectively organizing information and ideas in your head, on paper, and verbally.

2) Don’t Cram

Study steadily throughout the semester. Research has shown that the most effective approach to studying is by pacing yourself and setting a schedule. This means establishing good study habits early by completing regular homework, consistently reviewing your notes, and studying well before your upcoming test!

3) Make Friends

Although it might seem like the secret to success is locking yourself in your room and studying through the night, many people underestimate the value of making friends. Not only will socializing be good for your mental health and expose you to different experiences and areas of knowledge, but friends will be there for you most when you need it. You’ll come to better understand the term “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.”

4) Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Clarification From Your Tutor, Teacher, or Professor

It’s better to ask for help or clarification than to be confused, unknowledgeable or ill-informed. Teachers and professors aren’t as scary or as intimidating as they seem to be. Teachers and tutors want you to succeed, and if an eager student wants to learn more they will be more than happy to help.

5) Take Breaks

Law school can take a huge mental toll on you. It is a hyper competitive environment which means you’ll need to take time to step away from school and maybe even your classmates, to get a breather. Find a hobby, volunteer, and spend time with family or other friends. Sleep, eat well, and exercise. Taking short periods of time to invest in your physical and mental well-being will yield greater results for long term career and personal aspirations.

Paulina is currently a law student at the University of Western Ontario. Prior to her graduate studies she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science at the University of Toronto.

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