There are lots of ways to succeed in law school. Although I think that acquiring practical experience can be just as important as getting good grades, there is no doubt that grades are very important.

If you are trying to boost your GPA and need a new way to study and prepare for finals, try working on your outlines throughout the semester, instead of at the end.

Why you should make them

By now, hopefully you realize that the process of creating finals outlines is more helpful than the end product. Creating the outline forces you to re-examine concepts and try and distill them into easier to remember (and apply) concepts.

One problem with outline creation, however, is that many students do not work on their outlines until the eve of an exam. At that point, you do not have much time to review your outline and beat the information into your brain.

If you can work on outlines for each class as the semester progresses, you can force yourself to distill information during the semester, instead of at the end of it. That should be beneficial by itself. On top of that, however, by creating an online document you can review your outline from anywhere. Whether you are on the bus to school, or flying to Mexico for spring break, those snippets of learning will add up in the long run.

What to use

Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word Online (Microsoft Live) are free and easy to use. If you want to use Microsoft Office on your desktop, you can also install Google Cloud Connect to make your documents cloud accessible.

Using Cloud Connect might be the best option, because it means you have copies on your hard drive and in the cloud. If you only use Google Docs, there is always the danger the cloud fails and you lose everything. If you do use Cloud Connect, make sure you properly set your security settings for each document to make them private and not viewable to the public (unless you want them to be).

Law school is a lot of work. But spending some extra time each week (or even every other week) to start working on outlines can make a big difference. Spending an extra hour of studying a week can be the difference between an A and a B.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bendeming/5098256313)