The Arc… A Great Resource!
By: Professor Heather Dunbar
The Academic Resource Center (ARC) is exactly what the name says. We provide a broad range of resources to students, all of them focused on helping the students to learn the skills needed to excel in law school and in law practice. We are not a tutorial service and do not meet with students to teach substantive topics, as this is the domain of the substantive experts (i.e., your professors). Instead, the ARC’s focus is to help students build skills to complement their substantive knowledge so that the student can excel on exams and in practice.
The most underutilized resource of the ARC is one-on-one appointments with personnel to receive assistance in building skills. The ARC office has full-time professionals available at each campus (in the form of a professor/faculty specialist or coordinator) as well as upper-term students who have demonstrated an ability to help their peers build necessary skills. Any student – at any stage in law school and through the bar exam – can make appointments with the ARC staff to work on skills such as critical reading, briefing, outlining, time management, memory, essay writing, or multiple-choice analysis.
For students who wish to improve on exams, the ARC reviews bluebooks to assess where the problems arose and create a game plan for improvement. Typically there are patterns to where students are losing points on exams and the types of skills that are lacking. Identifying these patterns and working on the specific problem areas yields improvement; but it all begins with a thorough assessment of exam-taking abilities.
To accompany the personalized meetings, the ARC has many physical resources that students can use to develop skills, such as books, CDs, and flashcards. Most resources are focused on the required classes, although there are occasional books addressing elective material. Additionally, the ARC often has bar-exam preparation materials that provide multiple-choice and/or essay practice. Physical resources can typically be checked out by students for three-hour blocks anytime the ARC is open.
The vital thing to remember about the ARC is that we can only help you if we know you need and want the help. No good comes from reinforcing study and exam-taking habits that are ineffective and/or inefficient. The ARC itself is the best resource to help make positive changes to study and exam skills.