Commercial Outlines, Follow-Up

As an addendum to my previous post, it may also be noted that outlines are surprisingly cheap for law school supplements (usually around $30).

An important caveat however: I would hesitate to recommend the outlines to someone who does not already have a pretty firm grasp of the subject matter. They tend toward the reductive side of things and a student who relies too heavily upon them may come away with some dubious impressions. The really effective use of an outline is as a means of organizing material you already have a decent sense of — comparing the outline with your casebook’s table of contents is often instructive.

And a minor issue to go with that one: commercial outlines uniformly adopt the oversized form factor, but none of them use it to any effect. I don’t see the point in having larger pages if you’re just going to use larger font and put the same amount of information on each page. (Actually, I assume the theory is that students will take notes in the margins, but this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as notes are always more flexibly taken on the computer and a substantial number of professors will not allow commercial outlines in exams.) It would be much more useful to pack more information into each page so that a high level view of the material could be obtained without sacrificing too much detail. As it is, many more or less atomic concepts are spread out over five or ten pages, which is not ideal.

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