I was looking for smart ways to study when SeRiouS came into my sights. I had read (more than) a few “how to prepare for 1L” books, articles and blogs, and I knew I needed to be efficient with my time in order to keep up with: (1) being prepared for class every day, and (2) actually learning the material throughout the semester so that I did not have to spend the few days before finals cramming.
So what is SeRiouS? Essentially, it’s an electronic flashcard app with a sophisticated computer algorithm built in that determines exactly when you need to review information so that you learn more efficiently than if you just crammed. The app was created by Legal Writing Professor Gabriel Teninbaum, who also runs the law school’s Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation and Law Practice Technology Concentration.
A convenient tool that would tell me what and when I need to study based on my current understanding? That would make me learn much more, to boot? Sign me up. 451 custom created flashcards later, #SeRiouS played a huge role for me in successfully completing my 1L year. Beyond that, professors created more than 600 cards for law students to pick and choose that correspond to the most-tested 1L subjects and the most tested bar topics, too.
The app allowed me to spend less time learning black letter law and more time analyzing the law. Knowing elements, UCC sections and holdings of key cases is a prerequisite to success as a law student. However, being able to apply that knowledge is what we really are after. By using SeRiouS, I outsourced rote work to an app, and focused my attention on really learning and “thinking like a lawyer.”
There are some other valuable things that I learned using SeRiouS that you should know. First, the convenience: If I have 30 minutes to study, I can create a few cards for each of my classes without having to worry about carrying note cards around with me. If I only have 5 minutes, I can run through a few flashcards. The end of the semester is when it’s time to #GetSeRiouS. I made sure that I had a card for each topic or important case for each class. Creating the cards alone was a great way to study, and studying the cards #SeRiouS-ly cemented the material.
Collaborating through the app
Second, I like the collaborative nature of #SeRiouS. I created my own stacks of cards for each class, but made the stacks public so that anyone could use the cards. My (very smart) friend and study buddy did the same thing. That way I could study her cards and she mine, and between the two of us, we covered pretty much everything!
Finally, it’s reassuring to use. Remember, #SeRiouS is not just electronic flashcards – it’s electronic, smart flashcards. Each time you study a flashcard, you score how well you know the answer. #SeRiouS does all the figuring behind the scenes and you simply continue on to the next card in your deck. Easy! #SeRiouS focuses your attention on the material you don’t know as well, without any heavy lifting from you.
SeRiouS is free for Suffolk Law students (sign up using your school email address under “subscribed schools”). Use the existing cards (including mine!), create your own, collaborate with your classmates and succeed. Good luck!
—Madelyn McCormick JD’17