Bottom of the class?

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lawschoolftw
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Bottom of the class?

Postby lawschoolftw » Thu May 06, 2010 5:26 pm

Ok, just another irrational 0L here whose just trying to figure out what life in law schools is like but I was just wondering...

There's so much advice on this board about how grades don't necessarily correlate with how hard someone worked. It seems its a study smart rather than study the hardest approach to doing well. It also seems that the convetional TLS wisdom is that if you study just like everyone else, you're probably going to end up at the median like everyone else. However, who ends up at the bottom of the class? Is it people who just aren't smart enough to cut it? Is it people who don't take school seriously enough and just underprepared? I guess my question really is, if you put in a "strong" (I know that's kind of ambiguous) effort are you likely to alteast finish at the median? Or are grades really indicative of overall intelligence??

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KMaine
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby KMaine » Thu May 06, 2010 5:34 pm

No and No to your final two questions. I know some people who work very hard and are below median. I would consider them to be intelligent. I put in about an average amount of work and am above median. I think I just had a knack for doing ok with the kinds of questions my professors asked, being well organized and a farily logical and clear writer.

I think that I have a slightly better game plan for the second semester, but just got out of my first exam and don't feel like I did any better than last semester.

People in law school are smart. I think "working hard" and "working smart" are very important, but you cannot be sure of anything with the curve. Those people who just didn't give a shit in college, they are not in law school. And even the people who don't work that hard may be good at law school tests and can cram well enough to beat the curve.

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thuggishruggishbone
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby thuggishruggishbone » Thu May 06, 2010 5:38 pm

lawschoolftw wrote:Ok, just another irrational 0L here whose just trying to figure out what life in law schools is like but I was just wondering...

There's so much advice on this board about how grades don't necessarily correlate with how hard someone worked. It seems its a study smart rather than study the hardest approach to doing well. It also seems that the convetional TLS wisdom is that if you study just like everyone else, you're probably going to end up at the median like everyone else. However, who ends up at the bottom of the class? Is it people who just aren't smart enough to cut it? Is it people who don't take school seriously enough and just underprepared? I guess my question really is, if you put in a "strong" (I know that's kind of ambiguous) effort are you likely to alteast finish at the median? Or are grades really indicative of overall intelligence??


You are working with the same material that your classmates are. To be at the top, you need to be able to creatively analyze the material better than your classmates. Being able to do that comes from both innate intelligence and hard work. Exams are timed, so you need to know the law cold (that comes from the hard work). Then to separate yourself from the crowd, you need to be able to critically analyze new fact patterns and make a creative argument based on the law you have learned (that comes from your innate intelligence).

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KMaine
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby KMaine » Thu May 06, 2010 5:41 pm

KMaine wrote:Then to separate yourself from the crowd, you need to be able to critically analyze new fact patterns and make a creative argument based on the law you have learned (that comes from your innate intelligence).


And it also involves an element of practice and learning and being able to exploit the grey areas that usually appear in a particular area of law.

ohnowtf
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby ohnowtf » Thu May 06, 2010 5:43 pm

There are a few kids in my section who have reputations for not doing any work, and they will likely be leaving school after spring grades come out (a couple left last semester because they did not put in the work). However, most people do all the readings, take notes, outline, etc. I would say that most of the people near the bottom (let's say bottom 25%) spent little to no time going over old exams and practicing applying what they have learned. Time pressure is brutal, and if haven't practiced how you want to phrase rules and organize responses, then you will inevitably state the rules incorrectly, miss issues, and make half-assed efforts applying facts. Moreover, as other users noted, some people are just better writers than others.

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A'nold
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby A'nold » Thu May 06, 2010 5:46 pm

I would say that, yes, the very bottom of the class just don't "have it." But I guess as you get into the top 20 or so schools, it becomes a little different. At my school, even though they are often very liked, you would have likely been able to pick out the bottom 10 or so students in each section w/in the first month or so. It's actually really sad b/c there are those in my section that are at risk of failing out. However, this may be a good thing for them though, b/c I don't see how they are going to be able to pass the bar.

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truthypants
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby truthypants » Thu May 06, 2010 5:52 pm

You've got to come prepared if you want to do well. But intelligence is a big factor as well. I know one student in my section that worked hard during the semester, but could not even complete the exam at the end. You've got to be smart enough to know when to move on from an issue and start working on other questions so that you can at least complete an exam.

lawschoollll
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby lawschoollll » Thu May 06, 2010 6:02 pm

To be frank, success in law school hinges on a small set of complex concepts which you have to learn, master, and be able to apply in a short period of time. More specifically, you must be able to ascertain the color of each of the five dinosaurs that is "In," whilst being careful to remember that you must have two mauve dinosaurs; no more, no less. This is also useful information to have in your back pocket when interviewing at OCI with a partner: if you don't have an answer to his question about the number of red stegosaurs that are "Out," he's just going to find someone who does.

eldizknee
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby eldizknee » Thu May 06, 2010 6:04 pm

.
Last edited by eldizknee on Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Metfan
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby Metfan » Thu May 06, 2010 6:10 pm

eldizknee wrote:
lawschoollll wrote:To be frank, success in law school hinges on a small set of complex concepts which you have to learn, master, and be able to apply in a short period of time. More specifically, you must be able to ascertain the color of each of the five dinosaurs that is "In," whilst being careful to remember that you must have two mauve dinosaurs; no more, no less. This is also useful information to have in your back pocket when interviewing at OCI with a partner: if you don't have an answer to his question about the number of red stegosaurs that are "Out," he's just going to find someone who does.


LOL I'm fucked


+1 I was hoping to never see a reference to that game ever, ever again.

But besides that, thanks for all the useful responses everyone.

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KMaine
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby KMaine » Thu May 06, 2010 6:17 pm

Based on my experience, I would say I didn't kill myself working hard and still stayed above median (at least for the first semenster and l thought I would sail into the top 20%). But based on the experience of others, that I would not really say are any less intelligent than I and worked harder than I did, it may not get any particular person in the top half. And I did read all of the cases (almost), did outlines, studied for exams, worked about 3-5 hours a day out of class (though I usually took 1 weekend day off).

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Thu May 06, 2010 6:30 pm

lawschoolftw wrote:Ok, just another irrational 0L here whose just trying to figure out what life in law schools is like but I was just wondering...

There's so much advice on this board about how grades don't necessarily correlate with how hard someone worked. It seems its a study smart rather than study the hardest approach to doing well. It also seems that the convetional TLS wisdom is that if you study just like everyone else, you're probably going to end up at the median like everyone else. However, who ends up at the bottom of the class? Is it people who just aren't smart enough to cut it? Is it people who don't take school seriously enough and just underprepared? I guess my question really is, if you put in a "strong" (I know that's kind of ambiguous) effort are you likely to alteast finish at the median? Or are grades really indicative of overall intelligence??

Slackers represent!

270910
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby 270910 » Thu May 06, 2010 6:35 pm

Bottom 10%, maybe even bottom 20%, have serious issues with respect to legal intuition, hours put in, or major mistakes on approaching law school.

But I'd say, at least at my law school, from student #1 all the way down to the cusp of bottom third grades hinge more on approaching law school intelligently and learning what is expected of you than it does hours put in or raw horse power.

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apper123
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby apper123 » Thu May 06, 2010 6:37 pm

tbh i think ranking in law school has a ton more to do with base ability to reason logically, analyze issues and present your thoughts in an articulate manner on paper than it does study time. im pretty much of the opinion that study time past a certain threshold decreases in gains exponentially to almost nothing at some points

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ellebee
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby ellebee » Thu May 06, 2010 6:40 pm

lawschoollll wrote:To be frank, success in law school hinges on a small set of complex concepts which you have to learn, master, and be able to apply in a short period of time. More specifically, you must be able to ascertain the color of each of the five dinosaurs that is "In," whilst being careful to remember that you must have two mauve dinosaurs; no more, no less. This is also useful information to have in your back pocket when interviewing at OCI with a partner: if you don't have an answer to his question about the number of red stegosaurs that are "Out," he's just going to find someone who does.


OMFG.... that one killed me

270910
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby 270910 » Thu May 06, 2010 6:44 pm

A big factor people on TLS, especially those with enormous GPAs, tend to miss is that extremely smart people often write exams the wrong way. Without understanding exactly what you're supposed to be doing (because, you know, they don't tell you or provide meaningful feedback 99% of the time) a lot of talent just writes essays about the law or something. You'd be surprised at how intelligent people can just fail to approach an exam with the right mindset. It's too easy for the top of the class to call the bottom dumb or for the bottom of the class to call the top lucky / endowed with an old outline / read the right hornbook. (The intro to GTM covers this).
Last edited by 270910 on Thu May 06, 2010 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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apper123
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby apper123 » Thu May 06, 2010 6:47 pm

When you are writing a law exam, you should feel like you are having an argument with yourself. You should feel conflicted and be constantly answering your every point with a counter-point. Hell sometimes I get frustrated with myself. I think I've come to a conclusion on an issue, then I think of a hypothetical situation/point/assumption that could change everything and start writing again while muttering, "you son of a bitch!"

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rayiner
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby rayiner » Thu May 06, 2010 6:48 pm

disco_barred wrote:A big factor people on TLS, especially those with enormous GPAs, tend to miss is that extremely smart people often write exams the wrong way. Without understanding exactly what you're supposed to be doing (because, you know, they don't tell you or provide meaningful feedback 99% of the time) a lot of talent just writes essays about the law or something. You'd be surprised at how intelligent people can just fail to approach an exam with the right mindset. It's too easy for the top of the class to call the bottom dumb or for the bottom of the class to call the top lucky / endowed with an old outline / read the right outline. (The intro to GTM covers this).

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ConMan345
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby ConMan345 » Thu May 06, 2010 6:51 pm

disco, apper, rayiner, how did you respectively teach yourselves the right approach to the exam? Practice exams and model answers? GTM? etc

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A'nold
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby A'nold » Thu May 06, 2010 6:53 pm

Arrow was right on the money with his "Success at a T2" thread. Some people have an innate ability to reason, show their work, and juggle massive amounts of different hypos AND put themselves in the mindset of writing what that specific professor wants. I think that 80% + of ls students still do the memorize and regurgitate approach while "seeking the right answer." Then, they fight amongst themselves and whoever can regurgitate while being less conslusory than another becomes above median and the others below. I still think there is about 25% of the class at least that just doesn't get it though.

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apper123
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby apper123 » Thu May 06, 2010 6:56 pm

ConMan345 wrote:disco, apper, rayiner, how did you respectively teach yourselves the right approach to the exam? Practice exams and model answers? GTM? etc


Dunno tbh. Just learned the BLL like anyone else and the rest came naturally. I write really well and comprehensively (one of my majors was English). To be completely honest, and I'm dead serious when I say this, I'm a very serious poker player and have been playing successfully for 6 years now. And truthfully a lot of those skills are immensely helpful on a law exam.

I also regularly drop 2x the amount of words on any exam than anyone else does, but I dunno how helpful that is or if it means anything.

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Llewellyn
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby Llewellyn » Thu May 06, 2010 6:58 pm

General tips from a professor at my school re: exam taking.

1. Make sure you read the facts correctly, and have interpreted the question correctly.
2. Apply the law to the facts of the question, not the law to the facts of arbitrary questions not asked.
3. Focus on the ambiguities in the question.
4. Recognize and explain both sides, before resolving the issues.
5. If you resolve one issue one way, continue your analysis as if the issue was resolved in the other direction.
6. Do not restate the facts.
7. Do not restate the law unless it applies to your analysis of the issue.
8. Write literately, concisely, and in an organized fashion: make a point and then refute that point in the next sentence, do not make a point and refute that point two paragraphs down.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby rbgrocio » Thu May 06, 2010 6:59 pm

lawschoolftw wrote:Ok, just another irrational 0L here whose just trying to figure out what life in law schools is like but I was just wondering...

There's so much advice on this board about how grades don't necessarily correlate with how hard someone worked. It seems its a study smart rather than study the hardest approach to doing well. It also seems that the convetional TLS wisdom is that if you study just like everyone else, you're probably going to end up at the median like everyone else. However, who ends up at the bottom of the class? Is it people who just aren't smart enough to cut it? Is it people who don't take school seriously enough and just underprepared? I guess my question really is, if you put in a "strong" (I know that's kind of ambiguous) effort are you likely to alteast finish at the median? Or are grades really indicative of overall intelligence??



I have found that in my class the people who are at the bottom are the ones who as too many questions just because they like the sound of their voice, the ones who don't do the readings, or the ones who think they are too cool for school and that they don't need to prep because they have a talent or some bs like that. Others come confident from UG thinking that because they had all As there, they are going to have all As in law school. I do think effort has a lot to do with how well you perform. I know that if I didn't put effort I would not do nearly as well... but I also think that prepping for finals from day 1 is the only way to succeed. Looking good when you get called on feels good, but is not nearly as important as getting that A on the final.

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rayiner
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby rayiner » Thu May 06, 2010 7:01 pm

ConMan345 wrote:disco, apper, rayiner, how did you respectively teach yourselves the right approach to the exam? Practice exams and model answers? GTM? etc


GTM is great. Looking at previous outlines, not for content, but to see what kind of information they focus on. And of course listening to the professor. Practice exams are great too, but don't half-ass them. I take only one, maybe two per class, but I write out the answers several times, and refine my outline in the process. I'll do a short outline and a checklist after I look at the practice exam, so I can structure it in a way that helps spot the issues. Really most issue spotters in a given subject are conceptually similar. Eg: in torts you'll go through the elements of negligence in the same way on every exam, the only thing that'll be different is the facts. Take advantage of how highly stylized 1L exams are, because lots of people don't.

solidsnake
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Re: Bottom of the class?

Postby solidsnake » Thu May 06, 2010 7:06 pm

Llewellyn wrote:General tips from a professor at my school re: exam taking.

1. Make sure you read the facts correctly, and have interpreted the question correctly.
2. Apply the law to the facts of the question, not the law to the facts of arbitrary questions not asked.
3. Focus on the ambiguities in the question.
4. Recognize and explain both sides, before resolving the issues.
5. If you resolve one issue one way, continue your analysis as if the issue was resolved in the other direction.
6. Do not restate the facts.
7. Do not restate the law unless it applies to your analysis of the issue.
8. Write literately, concisely, and in an organized fashion: make a point and then refute that point in the next sentence, do not make a point and refute that point two paragraphs down.


TITCR




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