disco_barred wrote:It's more than just 'taking' practice exams. By and large, the people I know who did well took a lot of practice exams. I do, however, know people that took a lot and did poorly as well as people who only took a few and did great. The key isn't volume - the key is understanding what's going on. It will happen 'organically' to some extent, but you really need to engage with the material - go over answers with other students, compare with model answers, and make sure you figure out how to actually score points with your legal knowledge. Far too many people accumulate huge amounts of legal know-how but never refine the skill of applying that knowledge.
This is really really true. I only took three full practice exams total, including one mandatory midterm. However, I put a lot of time into reading exam questions and practicing just the issue-spotting, and in reading lots of material on how to write a solid exam answer. I experimented during my finals with different strategies for writing the answers; the one test where I did the most core-dumping of accrued knowledge earned me my only below-median grade. The professor bluntly told me I had an excellent grasp of the course material and it was the manner in which I applied it (or more specifically failed to adequately apply it) that cost me on the exam.
All four exams demonstrated I had great knowledge of the BLL but how I chose to use that knowledge was the difference between an A and a B. This is the #1 reason why 0Ls should not waste time studying subject matter; you have enough time to learn all the law you need to know during the fall. What you need to get ahead is to know how to USE that knowledge on an exam. You need to know how to "think like a lawyer" and to apply the law to the facts.
Read things like "A Civil Action", or Schauer's "Thinking Like A Lawyer". These are productive uses of your time because they educate you about the legal process. You might read GTM, though it'll make a lot more sense if you read it after you've started the semester and studied some cases. Don't read E&E's. They teach you what the law is, not how to apply it on an exam. They don't teach you how to think like a lawyer. As a 0L they aren't giving you the edge you think they are.