One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

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Anonymous User
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One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:07 pm

Anon because I don't want this getting traced back to my school/me. Don't bother guessing, thanks!

Had one awful professor, foreign educated, did not grasp English well... his entire class was an absolute mess, and his means of testing was unbelievably deficient: he had a very limited word count and presented us with a fact pattern that could be analyzed in several different ways, but unfortunately he only wanted one analysis, if you picked wrong, screwed. He based his exam on a real court case on appeal, meaning he would just point to the record for how the fact pattern was adjudicated on appeal, so even if there were multiple issues that could have been brought up, only one was, and if you tried a different path, that was honestly equally viable or possible, you were done. Large class, so the spread was largely determined on which students guessed the correct analysis to run.

I cannot emphasize how terrible this class was. Recent professor, didn't have old exams, told me to practice with exams that were nothing like his/hers. Said several things that I would consider straight up lies about important material if it hadn't been for the language barrier. This extended from all levels of classroom interaction to exam instructions, etc. etc. Did not understand basic material/questions when sought out or brought up in class. Mess mess mess. School knows there is a problem, sent in observers, etc.

My school is unique in that we only had one class that had a final exam after our first academic term, which happened to be this class. It was terrible, had all sorts of negative affects on me as an individual and literally made me depressed because I was someone that really wanted to, and otherwise would have enjoyed law school/learning. It literally ruined it for me. Had to deal with a terrible GPA (it was our only graded class to that point) for our 1L employment search, but did manage to get something.

I got over it (or at least, managed to keep on going, some of my fellow class mates checked out/didn't understand how terrible that class really was so they just kind of threw in the towel), but my GPA without it would be SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER (all A and A-, except this one class). This is the situation of other students, both from this year, and last year (when he began teaching a 1L class because of a sudden illness to a long-time faculty member)

No excuses for this one, because I should have written on (I failed apparently), but this class also prevented my from grading on to LR... on best sec. journal instead.

So, how do I address it during hiring? Just forget about it, because everyone complains about their grades? Say I had an 'off' day? Very strong upward grade trend (went from bottom 10% to top 10%).

EDIT: strong regional school, about to go through on-campus interviews as 2L.

de5igual
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby de5igual » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So, how do I address it during hiring? Just forget about it, because everyone complains about their grades? Say I had an 'off' day? Very strong upward grade trend (went from bottom 10% to top 10%).

EDIT: strong regional school, about to go through on-campus interviews as 2L.


1. you're still top 10%
2. more than likely, the employer won't even care since all your other grades are good (and most everyone has had a bad exam or two)
3. drawing attention to it will only make you look bad
4. blaming the professor will only make you an auto-reject

Anonymous User
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:44 pm

thanks f0bolous, it's just hard for me to take it, for certain reasons, but am planning on just forgetting about it.

Is there any value there in a quick 'off day... had to ask myself where I wanted to be at the end of the year... and didn't look back...' type narrative, or just stay away from it, period?

Doubtful I would get asked about it, but if I do?

de5igual
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby de5igual » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:thanks f0bolous, it's just hard for me to take it, for certain reasons, but am planning on just forgetting about it.

Is there any value there in a quick 'off day... had to ask myself where I wanted to be at the end of the year... and didn't look back...' type narrative, or just stay away from it, period?

Doubtful I would get asked about it, but if I do?


say something to that effect (ie, just had an off day) only if someone mentions it...but definitely don't dwell on it or create excuses.

Anonymous User
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:09 pm

Seems like you are just itching to go out of your way to discuss this grade. If I were interviewing you and you brought it up unprompted, I would wonder if, in a brief or oral argument, you'd go out of your way to expose flaws in your position as well.

Follow the advice given above: say you had an off day -- ONLY IF THEY BRING IT UP. And fer crissakes, you are top 10 pct, one bad grade is obviously an abberation, nobody will give a shit. Good grief.

lolwat
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby lolwat » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:29 pm

Agree with above.

I think interviewers that took a look at your transcript (and not just your resume) might ask just because they're wondering about it.

I also think some will ask about why you aren't on LR. I always answer pretty honestly about that question when asked (I didn't grade on and write on slots were very limited as a result of the possibility of grading on) but I don't know if there's a better way to handle that. I don't think there is because the question is always pretty direct ("why aren't you on law review?").

TheFriendlyBarber
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:35 am

Why do law students whine so damn much? You earned the grade, now you must own it.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:43 am

You may have a legitimate gripe with this class. However, my first reaction to this post was "the class was curved, right?" I think this will likely be an interviewer's impulse as well. Someone did well. It wasn't you. End of story. The rest comes off as a failure to accept responsibility. Don't do that. Especially don't blame his English abilities, which might make you sound racist in addition.

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Cupidity
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby Cupidity » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:49 am

Sounds like you just did poorly. Blame the language all you want, if a real Court reached the conclusion, you should have been able to as well.

random5483
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby random5483 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:59 am

Getting one poor grade is not unusual. Moreover, you can show that you learnt from your first semester mistakes. If they ask you, address it in a positive way (learning from your mistakes, or improving, or something else). As mentioned above, don't blame your professor.

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GeePee
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby GeePee » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:27 am

Almost everyone, even those with top grades, really messes up a test. In many circumstances, it's a failure to connect with your professor on the test (and, in my experience, it usually happens in cases such as yours when you strongly disagree with the approach and methodology of the professor). Interviewers have done well in law school and will know this; there's no need to justify a poor grade to him. Chalk it up to a bad day and a failure to see what the professor was looking for on this particular exam; your grades will speak for themselves in showing that, in general, you have a pretty good idea of what it takes to anticipate professors' analysis in your responses.

Anonymous User
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:35 am

Your attitude is exactly what you don't want to give off when an interviewer asks you about it. The whole time you're going on this spiel about it's all the professor's fault the interviewing partner is thinking, "un-coachable, makes excuses, ding."

Easy answer, "I didn't adjust my preparation for what the professor was looking for but I've made some changes to my approach and learned from the experience that not all professors are looking for the same thing." This shows you don't make excuses, own your work product, and are willing to adjust your style based on criticism (a bad grade in this case).

Anonymous User
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:25 pm

Thanks all! Will go with suggested responses.

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existenz
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby existenz » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Very strong upward grade trend (went from bottom 10% to top 10%).

How were you bottom 10% with all A's and A-'s?

Not to mention, going from bottom 10% to top 10% in one semester is impossible.

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GeePee
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby GeePee » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:36 pm

existenz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Very strong upward grade trend (went from bottom 10% to top 10%).

How were you bottom 10% with all A's and A-'s?

Not to mention, going from bottom 10% to top 10% in one semester is impossible.

OP said they only had one graded final the first semester.

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existenz
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Re: One Terrible Grade: Can't Get Over It--How to address?

Postby existenz » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:00 pm

GeePee wrote:OP said they only had one graded final the first semester.

Ah. It was TL;DR and I tuned out the middle paragraphs.




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