ari20dal7 wrote:5) If you spend a lot of time, spend it on your memos. These are the thing where more time really does improve results. If your legal writing class is pass/fail, then who cares?
I have to admit this is pretty much TCOP. I especially agree with this point, and I would say put a lot of work into Legal Writing even if it is pass/fail. The skills you build writing a winning memo that even a working attorney would respect will help to make you fast and accurate and able to hit the sweet spot on exams, as long as you think about what you're doing and generalize your methods.
The only thing I would add is that, regardless of the level of school, just keep in mind OP that it's likely you are also quite smart and came into law school with skills well adapted to the particular performance tests used here. The funny thing about law school though is that you do not have to be a big brain or naturally well adapted to it in order to perform well. I suspect this is not so much the case for certain other disciplines, though it might be. It is generally true for many things in life.
For some people, a gigantic amount of hard work can get them every bit as far as you got by being smart and doing exactly what mattered -- and not one bit more. Those who want to get the grades and the jobs and who don't find it naturally easy can still learn a lot from paying attention to the winning slackers. Efficiency and a sound strategy are even more important when you find the basic work challenging, and watching what the slackers do will point you to the most productive approach that will ensure all of your work pays off.
You absolutely have to figure out for yourself what matters and what doesn't. That right there is the one thing that screws more people up than anything else -- not knowing the difference between what matters and what doesn't. In law school, as in real life, you have to figure out what it takes to succeed and how to do what it takes, before you can even start doing it. If you don't get that straight from the start or figure it out very quick, then you are in for a boatload of misery.
The smart lawyer's first question is, "What is the rule?" Her second question is, "What's the worst that can happen if I break it?" The lesson: If it doesn't matter, DON'T DO IT.
Those who are whip smart AND willing to do unreal amounts of work -- you are the future SCOTUS clerks of the world. See, e.g.