Libraries Part II: Study Aids and Other 1L Essentials

You’ve probably heard that study aids are essential to success during 1L. My take: you should not sacrifice sleeping, eating, exercise, or friendships to add more to an already heavy reading list. However, study aids can actually save time by helping you grasp difficult content more quickly. 

Study aids take many forms: treatises summarizing an area of law; topic-specific books of multiple choice or short answer questions; flash cards; and more. The best thing? Students have free access to study aids through the library course reserves and website.

Books are expensive. Having access to free study aids is a tremendous gift. I will note that there are ways to save money on textbooks (including scanning library course reserves for personal use for free!), but most students do spend more than they’d rather on textbooks. (For reference: I spent about $300 this semester.) Free study aids are a lifesaver.

Students can check out physical copies of study aids for three hours at a time. But BU also has online access to more study aids than you could ever read in a semester, and you never have to wait for another student to return the book.

How I use study aids:

  • Treatises: toward the end of the semester, I read about topics I didn’t understand the first time around.
    • Advice: be more diligent than I am. Pull out the study aid while you’re confused instead of waiting until finals to learn the content.
  • Questions and Answers (“Q&A”) and Examples and Explanations (“E&E”) books: as we finish a topic area in class, I answer questions on that topic so I know what I can set aside and what I need to study more intensively.
    • Word of caution: some study aids cover different content than your professor. Guard your time and only review the content you need to know.
  • Audio lectures: I assuage guilt for not hitting the books by listening to simple audio lectures while cooking dinner, sweeping the floor, riding the T.
    • Even better: DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NOT STUDYING. You deserve a break.

Ask 2Ls and 3Ls, your professor, or the librarians for their recommendations. Students often have particularly useful professor-specific recommendations. Good luck studying!


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