How I did well at a T6

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wons
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How I did well at a T6

Postby wons » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:10 pm

My 1L fall, I was roughly median.

I ended up around top 5%

I changed a lot b/w 1L fall and the rest of law school. Here's what I learned. Take it for what it's worth. It all worked for me. Most of it, I think, would work for everyone. Some of it may only work for certain types of learners. Anyways, in no particular order.
------------------------------------------------
(1) In-class notes are the single most important thing in LS, and comprise 95% of the material on LS exams.

The single most important thing to remember: the exam you are taking is "professor X's class on X". What does this mean? It means, with very few exceptions (see below) that to do well on a law school exam you must know what is taught in class, and ONLY THAT.

How I used this: I never briefed, and by 3L year, didn't even highlight or make any reading notes at all. However, I took COPIOUS in-class notes and turned them, at the end of the term, into an outline which was quasi-memorized. (By this I mean: I didn't know every detail, but I knew what was in there, so if I saw a prompt on an exam I knew that I had that info and could go find it quickly.)

I can't emphasize this enough. I had friends who busted ass doing reading, then screwed around on gchat in class. THIS IS WRONG. The time AWAY from class is basically irrelevant, until you get within the window where the details you learn will stick in your head on exam day. MAKING GOOD, COMPREHENSIVE NOTES IS ESSENTIAL. 95%+ of exam questions will come from that material. THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM THAT PROFESSORS TALK ABOUT B.S. IN CLASS AND THEN SURPRISE YOU WITH BLACKLETTER LAW ON THE EXAM IS WRONG. WHAT YOU SEE (in class) IS WHAT YOU GET (on the exam).

(2) Make your own outline, alone, even if it's objectively worse than the outline others are using.

Learning the amount of material you need to know for a law exam is very much facilitated by making your outline on your own. When you make your own outline, the info is stuck in your head, you know where it is, and it's written the way you think. Even if you have access to someone else's uber-outline, use this outline to make your own outline. Your B+ outline is better than someone else's A outline, unless you have the time to do enough practice tests with the A outline so that you "make it yours".

(3) Hornbooks are of very limited value.

Hornbooks are good for one thing, and one thing only: clearing up a point that you are unclear on in your notes. Because your exams is not on, "contracts", but is on, "the material relating to contracts that Professor X taught you", hornbooks contain a ton of information you don't need to know and, frankly, the professor doesn't give points for on the exam.

Law school sucks. Regurgitation of what you were told in class, wins. Synthesis, or a deep understanding of the topic, adds nothing.

Come to terms with this. Don't mess around with hornbooks or other tools for "better understanding".

(4) Do the reading and talk in class.

Best advice I received in LS came from a dean who told me the following: "Do you know how class participation works? Every professor sits down before they grade exams and takes the class of, say, 100 people, and thinks 'these are the 10 people I'm bumping; these are the 10 people I'm dinging- everyone else, the exam grade is the final grade.' There is no excuse for not being in the 10 people who are bumped."

If you (1) do the reading (not every single f---ing page every night; but you generally keep up), (2) show up to every class and (3) RAISE YOUR HAND JUDICIOUSLY (not gunning, just more than your most of your friends) then there is no reason why you cannot get the "bump".

The "NO GUNNERZ" culture is fine as far as it goes, but LS isn't a popularity contest.

(5) Always have friends in your class with whom you can exchange exam scuttlebutt.

Information always leaks out. Someone goes in for office hours and the prof lets something slip. Someone knows a 3L who took the class last year and remembers details from the unpublished exam. There's always gossip flying around, and you need to know it. This is the primary purpose of "study groups", which are otherwise useless. Make sure you have good info flow, even you're an introvert or prefer to study alone.

NB: Gossip is also how you will find out if the prof tends to test something outside the material you went over in class- this happened to me once in 3 years of LS, but it did happen, and you need to be aware of it.

(6) Do every publicly available practice exam.

This is cliched advice, of course, but you must do every question on every old exam the professor makes available.

On the other hand, doing exams from other classes taught by different profs, or from E&E's/hornbooks, is actually detrimental. Do not do these. Never forget the golden rule: you are not learning Contracts, you are learning Contracts as taught by Professor X.

(8) Read firm memos about recent cases in the field. These cases are the sources for many exam questions.

Professors use major recent cases in the field to inspire exam questions. Firms publish "memos" whenever major cases come down summarizing the cases and implications. They are available (and searchable) at martindale or lexology.

When preparing for an exam, take a few minutes, find a firm memo summarizing the recent trends in [topic X], and brush up. There's no better feeling on an exam than seeing a hypothetical that you recognize from "real life". It happens more often than you'd think, if you prepare.

(9) During most of the term, you don't need to work that hard. During the 3 weeks or so before exams, you turn into an fierce, gunner beast.

You won't remember s--- you learned in September anyways. Get your drinking out of the way, then when exam time comes, turn into an anti-social, exam-killing machine.

(10) There are no points for writing artistically on exams. Be clear and straightforward.

I wrote this post like I write my exams. Short paragraphs. Short sentences. I'm not a good writer, but that doesn't matter for exams. You don't get points for polished phrases.

Short paragraphs will also help you check-over your exam if you have a few extra minutes at the end. They will also help you ensure that you don't forget to include a necessary point.
Last edited by wons on Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

minuit
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby minuit » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:28 pm

This is awesome, thanks so much. Your first four points basically describe how I studied in undergrad, and it worked for me wonderfully. Now just need to add the other parts to it... hopefully this bodes well.
Last edited by minuit on Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helmholtz
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby Helmholtz » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:31 pm

You guys can just bookmark if you want. No reason to take up real estate with multiple "zoMG, tagged!1!!"s.

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re-applicant
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby re-applicant » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:32 pm

good post

wons
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby wons » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:34 pm

One other note that should be obvious from the above:

GO TO EVERY CLASS. DO NOT SKIP. EVER.*


*obviously, shit will happen and you will need to miss class. The point is you will have to miss class for "real" reasons, like deaths in the family or interviews, so don't add to it by missing class b/c OMG I WAS GOING TO GO HOME AT 12 BUT THE VIBE WAS AWESOME AND JOHN KEPT BUYING SHOTS AND F--- I'M HUNGOVER.

You're a big boy now, so get home in time to wake up for your 9AM torts section.
Last edited by wons on Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby bk1 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:37 pm

wons wrote:One other note that should be obvious from the above:

GO TO EVERY CLASS. DO NOT SKIP. EVER.


Callbacks?

09042014
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby 09042014 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:38 pm

Helmholtz wrote:You guys can just bookmark if you want. No reason to take up real estate with multiple "zoMG, tagged!1!!"s.


Tagged for Helmholtz sighting.

rv11
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby rv11 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:38 pm

thanks

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esq
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby esq » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:41 pm

good post.

wons
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby wons » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:41 pm

bk1 wrote:
wons wrote:One other note that should be obvious from the above:

GO TO EVERY CLASS. DO NOT SKIP. EVER.


Callbacks?



edited above.

FWIW, another random piece of good advice. I'm class of '10, so I interviewed in fall 08. A family friend in the business advised me that the economy was pretty rough, so I should get my job as fast as I could. So I stacked my callbacks as early as possible and got my offers and was done with it, AFIAK, first of all my friends. Missed a ton of class for interviews.

Then Sept. 15, Lehman failed. After that, literally, on Sept 16, the offers dried up.

And my friends who delayed interviewing to avoid missing class were screwed.

My point: LS is about knowing your priorities.

Studying 14 hrs a day in September instead of going out and having fun is having messed up priorities.
But OTOH, skipping class to go to a ski trip or something is also screwing up priorities.
And jobs come first over everything else.
Last edited by wons on Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helmholtz
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby Helmholtz » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:44 pm

KeepitKind wrote:zoMG, tagged!1!!


banned

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General Tso
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby General Tso » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:45 pm

I disagree with the first point. I have very often been tested on material that was either briefly mentioned in class or not mentioned at all. Example, my first year CivPro lectures were very heavily focused on the cases, but the exam tested heavily on the FRCP.

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bk1
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby bk1 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:46 pm

wons wrote:
bk1 wrote:
wons wrote:One other note that should be obvious from the above:

GO TO EVERY CLASS. DO NOT SKIP. EVER.


Callbacks?



edited above.


Fair enough, but the financial meltdown is an extreme example whereas the ski trip is more reasonable.

wons
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby wons » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:56 pm

General Tso wrote:I disagree with the first point. I have very often been tested on material that was either briefly mentioned in class or not mentioned at all. Example, my first year CivPro lectures were very heavily focused on the cases, but the exam tested heavily on the FRCP.


Sure, that happens. But when it does, you will have the following in your notes:

"PROF SAYS THAT FRCP WILL BE TESTED HEAVILY".

And if you're careful, you'll notice that even when the weighting of the exam differs from the weighting of the topics in class, the prof still won't test material they didn't go over in class. What will happen is, eg:

Class : 90% cases, 10% statute
Exam: 50% cases, 50% statute

And 100% of the statutory material that was covered in class is tested, but maybe 50% of the caselaw material is tested.

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20121109
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby 20121109 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:23 pm

wons wrote:(4) Do the reading and talk in class.

Best advice I received in LS came from a dean who told me the following: "Do you know how class participation works? Every professor sits down before they grade exams and takes the class of, say, 100 people, and thinks 'these are the 10 people I'm bumping; these are the 10 people I'm dinging- everyone else, the exam grade is the final grade.' There is no excuse for not being in the 10 people who are bumped."

If you (1) do the reading (not every single f---ing page every night; but you generally keep up), (2) show up to every class and (3) RAISE YOUR HAND JUDICIOUSLY (not gunning, just more than your most of your friends) then there is no reason why you cannot get the "bump".



This advice is based on the assumption that the professor knows whose paper he's grading. I was under the impression that final exams are graded anonymously, as in the professor has no clue who wrote the exam response and by some mechanism, returns the grade to each respective student. Is this not the case? Maybe its just at my school....

Other than that, thanks for the post :)
Last edited by 20121109 on Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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esq
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby esq » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:35 pm

betasteve wrote:In #4, the 10ppl thing is a pretty strong outlier. Most schools, from tons of anecdotal evidence, don't do this and don't do it for 10 ppl—especially getting your grade lowered. If you are going to gun, do it in office hours. But please STFU with trying to prove to a prof you know what you are talking about—he doesn't care, and neither does the class.


Really, because they actually give awards out that prove contrary:

UVa Law: Robert E. Goldsten ('40) Award Established by the man for whom it is named and given to the student who has, in the opinion of the faculty, contributed the most to classroom participation. The winner receives a certificate of recognition at graduation and a lifetime membership in the University of Virginia Alumni Association.

And your impassioned statement shows that maybe you do care, a little intimidated by your participating classmates maybe?

Lion8974
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby Lion8974 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:45 pm

Disagree with betasteve in part. A few of my professors have said flat out they would give a bump for brilliant comments. On the other hand if you start making stuff up and ask ridiculous hypos it's just wasting time. If you are going to comment stay relevant to what the professor is saying.

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bk1
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby bk1 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:48 pm

Lion8974 wrote:Disagree with betasteve in part. A few of my professors have said flat out they would give a bump for brilliant comments. On the other hand if you start making stuff up and ask ridiculous hypos it's just wasting time. If you are going to comment stay relevant to what the professor is saying.


What people say != what people do.

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NU_Jet55
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby NU_Jet55 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:48 pm

Lion8974 wrote:A few of my professors have said flat out they would give a bump for brilliant comments.


Professors say they will do things and then they don't do them.

HTH

EDIT: Damnit BK beat me to it.

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NU_Jet55
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby NU_Jet55 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:49 pm

betasteve wrote:Not once did I raise my hand in class and I turned out fine.


QF your opinion

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esq
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby esq » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:57 pm

OH GODDAMMIT... YOU ARE A 0L!!! GTFO. No wonder you are so patently stupid.


I find it hard to believe that you have received legal training, and yet you don't understand the logical fallacies involved in these statements.

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20121109
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby 20121109 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:01 pm

esq wrote:
OH GODDAMMIT... YOU ARE A 0L!!! GTFO. No wonder you are so patently stupid.


I find it hard to believe that you have received legal training, and yet you don't understand the logical fallacies involved in these statements.


All he meant was that 0Ls shouldn't comment on law school environments simply because, well, they're not there and really have no clue. Thus 0Ls, GTFO.

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NU_Jet55
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby NU_Jet55 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:01 pm

esq wrote:I find it hard to believe that you have received legal training, and yet you don't understand the logical fallacies involved in these statements.


*Fighting urge to post facepalm meme*

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hiromoto45
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby hiromoto45 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:06 pm

.

12262010
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Re: How I did well at a T6

Postby 12262010 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:16 pm

betasteve wrote:
esq wrote:
OH GODDAMMIT... YOU ARE A 0L!!! GTFO. No wonder you are so patently stupid.


I find it hard to believe that you have received legal training, and yet you don't understand the logical fallacies involved in these statements.

First, QF still in LSAT mode.

Second, there aren't any fallacies. Let me wrap everything up so your tiny little brain can figure it out. Wons said: Class participation is important, see this piece of evidence. I said: I think your evidence is an outlier. Most anecdotal evidence I've heard, and from what I've seen is that class participation does not matter at all, and even more so, schools won't bump 10 and drop 10. You said: NO WAY MAN.. LOOK AT UVA. I said: Notice how I said most and outlier. It implies that what I am saying is not universally true. In fact, I just acknowledged ITT that at least one school does it (the OP's). Then I took you to task for thinking that I was worried about my classmates. Then, I said you were a 0L because you have no fucking idea what it is like to be in a law school class, despite a campus visit you may or may not have taken. You inferred that my statements were indicative of people that may be worried about people that talk in class vis-a-vis performance and class rank. You'll see that most of the post-1Ls, like myself, have found that the people that talked the most very often didn't make LR.

Boom. You just got lawyered. Again.


You forgot to tell him to prepare his anus.




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