What's a good/bad curve?

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ec2xs
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What's a good/bad curve?

Postby ec2xs » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:45 pm

I'll be heading to law school this fall and I'm trying to get a grasp on what I should be anticipating in terms of the curve. What qualifies as a "good" curve, and what's a "bad" one? Are certain schools notorious for awful curves? Does a certain curve equate to more competitive students?

Thanks in advance for any help.

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rw2264
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby rw2264 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:48 pm

google it, there's a wikipedia article listing various schools' curves. not all of them though. the consensus is you generally need above a 3.0-3.3 for top schools to be in the top 50%.

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ec2xs
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby ec2xs » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:53 pm

Thanks. Saw the wiki page. I was just wondering what general consensus of a good curve would be. Or an average one, for that matter.

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sanpiero
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby sanpiero » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:54 pm

No matter whether you have a C, B-, B, or B+ curve, you are simply graded relative to your classmates. A "C" curve might be deemed "harsh," but it is disadvantageous only because your GPA will be lower than it would have been with a more generous curve. The harshness of the curve has no impact on how you perform relative to your peers. If you want to do well, do better than most of your peers. If you do so, you will be rewarded with a strong class rank regardless of the curve. If you fail to do so, a "generous" can't save your rank.

You shouldn't be worrying about curves at this point. Even if a school has a particularly harsh curve, it should have little or no impact on your decision to attend or not to attend.

You can't change curves. You have no control over them. What you can control is how well you perform relative to your classmates. Concentrate your mental efforts on that.

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sanpiero
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby sanpiero » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:56 pm

BTW a ~3.3 or B+ curve would be considered generous and a ~2.7 or B- curve would be considered harsh

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chadwick218
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby chadwick218 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:05 pm


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Borhas
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby Borhas » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:07 pm

don't some schools boot you out if you are in the bottom 10%? I'd say thats harsh

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Trifles
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby Trifles » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:29 pm

sanpiero wrote:You shouldn't be worrying about curves at this point. Even if a school has a particularly harsh curve, it should have little or no impact on your decision to attend or not to attend.


It matters a lot if your scholarship depends on maintaining a certain GPA instead of a certain class rank.

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traehekat
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby traehekat » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:36 pm

Don't worry too much about the curve, your class rank is what is important from what I gather. The poster above me offered perhaps the only reason I would worry about the curve, and this is only in a situation where you are choosing between two or more schools that have the same minimum GPA requirement to keep a scholarship but use different curves. Even in this case, I imagine the school with the more difficult curve will have a lower minimum GPA requirement.

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kalvano
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby kalvano » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:09 am

I hate curves, they are so meaningless and stupid.

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sanpiero
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby sanpiero » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:55 am

Trifles wrote:
sanpiero wrote:You shouldn't be worrying about curves at this point. Even if a school has a particularly harsh curve, it should have little or no impact on your decision to attend or not to attend.


It matters a lot if your scholarship depends on maintaining a certain GPA instead of a certain class rank.


Very true, however if the OP was concerned about this he would have said so. He was merely interested in knowing more about curves in general and the difference between generous and harsh curves.

savetheturtles
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby savetheturtles » Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:39 am

sanpiero wrote:If you want to do well, do better than most of your peers. If you do so, you will be rewarded with a strong class rank regardless of the curve. If you fail to do so, a "generous" can't save your rank.

You shouldn't be worrying about curves at this point. Even if a school has a particularly harsh curve, it should have little or no impact on your decision to attend or not to attend.

You can't change curves. You have no control over them. What you can control is how well you perform relative to your classmates. Concentrate your mental efforts on that.

+1.

At my school, there is a set median, but the actual curve can vary from professor to professor. Thus, the curve can be tight, with very few As and a large clump of B-/B/B+ grades, or more loose, with more A/A- grades (and more C grades). Early in the semester, I got an idea of which professors were known to be the harsh ones (i.e., ones who give out very few As) and which ones were the more lenient ones (i.e., more As, possibly even a higher median than the mandated one). When grades came in, I found that I did extremely well in the class with the harshest curve and my worst grade was in the class with the supposedly easiest curve. I happened to spend far more time in the classes that with the harsher curves (although this was mostly due to the fact that I enjoyed these classes far more).

I know this is all anecdotal, but it supports the idea that the curve shouldn't factor into your decision. You just have to work hard on doing better than your classmates. I pulled this off in most of my classes, but the curve did not save me at all in the one class where I slacked off a bit.

As for your other question, I don't think the "harshness" of the curve necessarily equates to more competitive students. I think this is probably more due to the type of students the school itself attracts (anecdotally, NYU vs. CLS), the grading system (Yale/Boalt's HP/P/LP vs other schools), and perhaps most importantly, the job prospects from the school.

Jockin Jay-Z
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby Jockin Jay-Z » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:24 am

Let's say CLS has a curve of 3.0 as median and NYU has a curve of 3.3. Two people graduate in the 50th percentile of their respective class, one at CLS, one at NYU. I'd be surprised to learn that the NYU kid, ceteris paribus, doesn't have an advantage over the CLS kid just because he has a 3.3 and the CLS has a 3.0.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:32 am

ec2xs wrote:I'll be heading to law school this fall and I'm trying to get a grasp on what I should be anticipating in terms of the curve. What qualifies as a "good" curve, and what's a "bad" one? Are certain schools notorious for awful curves? Does a certain curve equate to more competitive students?

Thanks in advance for any help.


The trend over the recent years has been for the curve median to go slightly up. There's really no rhyme or reason to it apart from the fact that employers like to see higher numbers, though it doesn't really mean anything. It can also help students feel better about themselves :lol:

I do think at most of the more competitive law schools, it is in the B to B+ range, except for the ones that do percentages (in which case, the translation is roughly the same).

tapout
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby tapout » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:24 pm

Not sure if this belongs in this topic, and sorry for the newbie question, but do the law schools weight the college? In other words, does a 4.0 from harvard beat a 4.0 from stateu, does a 4.0 from stateu beat a 3.x from harvard, etc (pick your own school, no disrespect to any). Just trying to see a)if there is weighting, and b) if there is how to find it. thanks

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: What's a good/bad curve?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:04 pm

tapout wrote:Not sure if this belongs in this topic, and sorry for the newbie question, but do the law schools weight the college? In other words, does a 4.0 from harvard beat a 4.0 from stateu, does a 4.0 from stateu beat a 3.x from harvard, etc (pick your own school, no disrespect to any). Just trying to see a)if there is weighting, and b) if there is how to find it. thanks


That is an entirely different question, of course. We were discussing the curve in law school grading. I think you are asking about the GPA curve from undergrad institutions in law school admissions.

But to answer your question, I believe they do, to at least some extent. But it depends on the law school and the extent to which they account for undergrad difficulty also varies.




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