I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar
Gamecubesupreme
Posts: 509
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:54 pm

I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:38 pm

I made this topic because I was reading Getting to Maybe and while I thought everything in it is gold, I can't help but think wouldn't the average person figure it out after taking a few practice exams like they are suppose to?

Black-Blue
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:46 pm

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby Black-Blue » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:45 pm

Depends on the school. For example, I've seen professors switch from all essay to all multiple choice from one year to another.

User avatar
king3780
Posts: 349
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:12 pm

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby king3780 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:55 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:I made this topic because I was reading Getting to Maybe and while I thought everything in it is gold, I can't help but think wouldn't the average person figure it out after taking a few practice exams like they are suppose to?


You're looking at this through a TLS lense. While taking practice exams are commonly regarded as necessary here, I don't think your "average" student bothers to take practice exams and certainly not under real conditions. I know plenty of students who never even looked at old exams, or if they did look just skimmed them and didn't really think their way through the questions. For example, my contracts professor has given a four question final every year for 30+ years. On every exam the first question has been a variation of a hypo he uses all throughout the semester. Was anyone "surprised" to see the question on the final? No, but that doesn't mean everyone was really ready for it, nor did well on it. In fact the prof sent the class an email after he turned in grades with comments about how the class did in general and he said he was shocked/disappointed that so many people struggled with that first question.

Anonymous Loser
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:17 am

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby Anonymous Loser » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:08 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:I made this topic because I was reading Getting to Maybe and while I thought everything in it is gold, I can't help but think wouldn't the average person figure it out after taking a few practice exams like they are suppose to?


While some professors are willing to spend time going over a practice exam or two with students, and many post model answers or best student answers, it can be very difficult to assess your performance. Imagine preparing for the LSAT if only 2 or 3 answer keys had been published for past exams. You simply don't get very much feedback in law school.

spondee
Posts: 462
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:53 pm

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby spondee » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:37 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:I made this topic because I was reading Getting to Maybe and while I thought everything in it is gold, I can't help but think wouldn't the average person figure it out after taking a few practice exams like they are suppose to?


Exams are so opaque that taking practice exams in isolation won't teach you how to take them. You need a model answer, a professor's critique, or something like GTM.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:52 pm

spondee wrote:Exams are so opaque that taking practice exams in isolation won't teach you how to take them. You need a model answer, a professor's critique, or something like GTM.

Honestly I needed all three.

toolfan
Posts: 151
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:11 pm

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby toolfan » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:46 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
spondee wrote:Exams are so opaque that taking practice exams in isolation won't teach you how to take them. You need a model answer, a professor's critique, or something like GTM.

Honestly I needed all three.


+1 x 9.9^100000000000000000000

surenough
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:51 pm

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby surenough » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:06 pm

I guess I have a question to the OP. When you go to class do you learn anything new from the case from class discussion? Because I do. Just by reading the text-book, I know what the legal test and what the Court held, but the Professor usually goes above and beyond that, highlighting specific nuances of the analysis, and what are the broad policies that are motivating the Court to come out one way or another, what are the shortcomings of the decision, how the case could have the opposite outcome, etc.

On your finals you are expected to do the same level of analysis, based on the facts you get, which can vary from the facts in the cases completely, in a very short amount of time. Professors are very good at hiding issues and asking questions that are purposely ambiguous. Moreover, by the time of the finals, everyone will know the doctrine, and the cases. So what is expected is this intricate analysis. Some Professors are open minded, but some will expect you to highlight things that they would highlight and to think like them.

So basically, sometimes you will see things like discuss some really simple issue Prof. spend 10 minutes on, suggested number of pages 5. That could be surprising. Because you immediately have to do this type of on the spot thinking, that Prof. does in class. move past doctrine, point out weaknesses. But, it will not be anything you actually discussed or were taught in class. To top it off, this has to be something your Prof. would like, something similar to how he thinks.

So bottom line, if you have been going to class, being able to predict the analysis that will be discussed, you will not be surprised. If not, you could be surprised, if the Prof. doesn't give a straightforward test.

User avatar
JollyGreenGiant
Posts: 995
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:12 pm

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby JollyGreenGiant » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:26 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:I made this topic because I was reading Getting to Maybe and while I thought everything in it is gold, I can't help but think wouldn't the average person figure it out after taking a few practice exams like they are suppose to?


I've heard stories of professors saying something explicitly wouldn't be on an exam and then putting it on there, as well as long-tenured professors completely switching styles (i.e. going from essay exam to multiple choice)

User avatar
98234872348
Posts: 1547
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:25 pm

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby 98234872348 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:27 pm

toolfan wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
spondee wrote:Exams are so opaque that taking practice exams in isolation won't teach you how to take them. You need a model answer, a professor's critique, or something like GTM.

Honestly I needed all three.


+1 x 9.9^100000000000000000000

sorry, non-math major doesn't understand all that other nonsense.

270910
Posts: 2437
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby 270910 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:05 pm

Nobody is surprised by finals. Almost everyone either takes a midterm and/or practice tests. Certainly the "competition" - that is, the subset of people aiming to do very well and putting in the time - will all but universally look at exams prior to finals.

Guess what? They're graded on a curve.

And what's more, you'll almost never get any feedback on your practice tests before you take finals. Practicing doing it wrong 1,000 times will just make you really good at doing it wrong.

That's not to say it's impossible. 10% of the class is in the top 10% at the end of every semester. But the fact that you found getting to maybe and a couple of practice tests doesn't make you santa's little curve wrecker.

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7661
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: I don't understand why people get "surprised" by final exams

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:42 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:I made this topic because I was reading Getting to Maybe and while I thought everything in it is gold, I can't help but think wouldn't the average person figure it out after taking a few practice exams like they are suppose to?


Lots of people do figure it out. That's why it's very difficult to predict that you can do well just by taking practice exams. Welcome to the curve.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: lymenheimer, perfunctory, vorely and 11 guests