When you have about a week left before your exams start, how can you ensure that you have enough time to cover everything you need? (As if you ever have enough time for anything in law school…) I found the answer in Granularity for students by Lifehack.org. It describes the application of the notion of “granularity” to studying. The “granularity” method presupposes breaking down a daunting task into smaller manageable parts. You can then prioritize and schedule those smaller projects accordingly.
Inspired by the idea, I put together a few tables in Excel with my husband’s help to assist students in breaking down and scheduling their study time. Download exam_schedule_tables.xls [Excel, 32.5KB] Here’s how you approach it:
- First, you determine how much time you have to study each day. You fill in the time in minutes.
- Second, you decide what percentage of that time you allocate to each subject based on your exam schedule and your preparedness. For example, you may decide to spend 100% of day 1 on Torts and split day 2 50%-50% between Property and Con. Law.
- Third, you break down each subject into smaller activities, such as outlining, practice, review, etc. Then you decide what percentage of time you want to spend on each activity for that subject. I filled out the tables with random numbers to give you an example. You can substitute your own activities, subjects and percentages.
- Now you are done! The summary table automatically calculates how many minutes you will spend on each activity of each subject for every day of study. That’s the second sheet in my Excel file, titled Weekly Summary Sheet.
It is pretty granular, but I found that sticking to a schedule helped especially when I had to study multiple subjects for the bar -- for two states, in fact, Illinois and later New York (yes, I was crazy enough to repreat the experience when we moved to New York a few years later). Let me know if you find this approach useful.