A student who did it explains
how she aced Com. 407

Introductory note:  Over the years thousands of students have completed Com. 407 and many hundreds have earned an "A" grade.  Quite a few have gone on to law school and become successful attorneys.  Several Com. 407 alumni have won high academic honors in law school.  But only one student has ever gotten a perfect score on all three exams in Com. 407--for a course total of 150 out of 150 possible points.  That student is Jessica Peralta, who made it all the way through Com. 407 in spring, 1999 without ever missing even one test question.  Here she explains how she studied for Com. 407.

By Jessica Peralta

Coming into Wayne Overbeck's class for the first time and looking at the syllabus can be a little intimidating. All those cases you have to remember. All those dates. But it actually looks harder than it is. The method I used to study for Dr. Overbeck's Comm 407 class isn't complicated. Maybe it will help some of you in preparing for the tests. Here it is: 

1. I would always get the lecture notes from the class web site ahead of time. I read through them and tried to make sense of them. I then taped them into my spiral notebook in which I would take notes.

2. I read the assigned chapters before the lecture in which they would be discussed.

3. During the lecture, I took massive amounts of notes. I mean massive.

4. After class I would ask Dr. Overbeck questions about the material that I didn't understand in the lecture or the book. He was very helpful.

5. When it came to test time, I began preparing about a week ahead of time.

6. I reviewed all of my notes and the printed lecture notes, highlighting important points. I used the syllabus outline of important themes and cases as a guide to know which material to focus on. 

7. Once I had a general idea of what we had covered, with a highlighter in hand, I reread the sections in the book that were outlined as important in the syllabus. I was especially careful in understanding and memorizing the cases. I used both my notes and the book to write index cards for the cases. I wrote the case name, the date, a summary of what happened, and the outcome and what it meant for communications law. As I wrote the cards, I tried to memorize the cases. I found that if I understood the case and its outcome, it was easier to remember the name. So understanding the cases and what they mean is important.

8. After I finished writing the note cards, I reread my notes again, focusing on the highlighted parts. 

9. Then I went through all the note cards. Just read them through, trying to memorize their contents.

10. I went through the highlighted sections of my book.

11. Lastly, I tested my knowledge of the cases using the note cards.

This was the method that best worked for me. Maybe some version of it will help you. I would say the most important thing to do is keep up with the reading, attend the lecture, and take plenty of notes. For the test, make sure you study what Dr. Overbeck outlines in his syllabus. In a large class like Comm 407, I know it's easy to skip class and rely on the web site notes. But honestly, I wasn't really able to understand the meaning of those notes and commit them to memory until Dr. Overbeck explained them in lecture. 

Good Luck 

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