What's so hard about law school?

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bball999
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What's so hard about law school?

Postby bball999 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:18 am

I don't get it. You make an outline of BLL and major concepts from class, you make a checklist of issues, show up to your test, go through your checklist for each hypo, analyze it well from each side, and you're done. Why do people do badly on law school tests? How can they screw that up?

Before you all yell FLAME, I know this is an unbelievably naive question. That's why I'm asking it. I'm a 1L and I already feel like I'm totally missing something, so please point out my obvious error so I don't end up doing something stupid later. I don't mean this q in a derogatory sense, I just want to know what really goes on in the trenches of an exam.

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Helmholtz
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby Helmholtz » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:21 am

the curve is what scares me

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im_blue
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby im_blue » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:18 am

Helmholtz wrote:the curve is what scares me

+1. Regardless of the difficulty of the exams, the grade distribution for the class is set to within a few percentage points, so someone has to screw up at the bottom of the curve.

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gymboree
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby gymboree » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:22 am

Helmholtz wrote:the curve is what scares me


+1
I mostly agree with the OP, but I've met my classmates. Now what.

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KMaine
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby KMaine » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:44 am

On the exams where I didn't do as well, I just started down the wrong path and it snowballed. You leave the exam just thinking about how many facts you misinterpreted, spend all night thinking of issues you should have brought up, etc. Also, many exams have impossible MC questions where you ask youself if you ever studied the referenced statute/case. Keep in mind, for most schools, if you want to be competitive for the kind of job you need to pay off your student loans, you need to be in the upper part of the class. Also, everybody else has been preparing like mad for the exam. When you talk to them, they will stress you out about the things they have been focusing on (that you have not even thought were really that important). Then you get to wait over a month for your grades. In that time, you get to second guess your answers. It is good times. It turned out fine for me, but would not want to do 1L exams again.

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reasonable_man
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:23 am

bball999 wrote:I don't get it. You make an outline of BLL and major concepts from class, you make a checklist of issues, show up to your test, go through your checklist for each hypo, analyze it well from each side, and you're done. Why do people do badly on law school tests? How can they screw that up?

Before you all yell FLAME, I know this is an unbelievably naive question. That's why I'm asking it. I'm a 1L and I already feel like I'm totally missing something, so please point out my obvious error so I don't end up doing something stupid later. I don't mean this q in a derogatory sense, I just want to know what really goes on in the trenches of an exam.



Devil is in the details Brah..

Any moron can do what you stated above. What is hard is doing it better than all the other morons around you. What makes it so difficult is finding the added points that will get you above the curve. Most people will see the same issues and the same analysis will flow. Only a very small number of people in the room will find that added level of analysis that will move them from an C+ or a B up to an A. What makes law school hard is the curve and the fact that most people can and will get a grade in low 80's. Essentially, everyone will see the negligence question for what it is, but not everyone will catch the fact that strict liability may apply for an inherently dangerous activity and the ramifications of that application on the end result...

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Unemployed
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby Unemployed » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:27 am

bball999 wrote:I don't get it. You make an outline of BLL and major concepts from class, you make a checklist of issues, show up to your test, go through your checklist for each hypo, analyze it well from each side, and you're done. Why do people do badly on law school tests? How can they screw that up?


Time/word limit and the curve.

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uwb09
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby uwb09 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:52 am

bball999 wrote:I don't get it. You make an outline of BLL and major concepts from class, you make a checklist of issues, show up to your test, go through your checklist for each hypo, analyze it well from each side, and you're done. Why do people do badly on law school tests? How can they screw that up?

Before you all yell FLAME, I know this is an unbelievably naive question. That's why I'm asking it. I'm a 1L and I already feel like I'm totally missing something, so please point out my obvious error so I don't end up doing something stupid later. I don't mean this q in a derogatory sense, I just want to know what really goes on in the trenches of an exam.

it's already been said, but the curve scares me the most

you get an 87, guy next to you gets an 89

you get a B-, he gets an A.... f&ck

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rdcws000
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby rdcws000 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:12 pm

I for one have been amazed at what a smart group of people I am surrounded by. I am confident in my abilities to spot issues and offer strong analysis, but what makes law school HARD for me, is thinking about how arrogant I would have to be to think I am going to do better than 90% of this very bright class.

Brawndo86
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby Brawndo86 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:17 pm

2L here:

The reason people fail law school exams is you're not graded only on how well you do, but how well your classmates do as well. I've been able to see some of my raw scores from 1L year: I've had as high of an 88 dumped to as low as a 76 because of the curve - at my school there must be an average of 79-81, with 10% As and 10% Ds in every class.

Almost anyone who bothered to study has knowledge of the black letter laws, so grades come down to who can identify the right issues in the fact pattern, and analyze them according to the demands of specific professors. Half of the class must get a C or lower. If law school was a Vegas game, your odds would be VERY LOW and I would never play

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Kohinoor
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:20 pm

bball999 wrote:I don't get it. You make an outline of BLL and major concepts from class, you make a checklist of issues, show up to your test, go through your checklist for each hypo, analyze it well from each side, and you're done. Why do people do badly on law school tests? How can they screw that up?

Before you all yell FLAME, I know this is an unbelievably naive question. That's why I'm asking it. I'm a 1L and I already feel like I'm totally missing something, so please point out my obvious error so I don't end up doing something stupid later. I don't mean this q in a derogatory sense, I just want to know what really goes on in the trenches of an exam.

Your classmates are smarter than you are. Also, you would be shocked at how the bottom grade in most classes is someone who missed a page. As in, they went from page 2 to 4 in the booklet and thus skipped an essay. I have heard this story multiple times.

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Kohinoor
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:24 pm

Helmholtz wrote:the curve is what scares me

The real bitch of the curve is this. Walk out of your best exam; the one that is locked in at an A and will make up for any Bs. Ask your friends how they think they did. 9 times out of ten, they think it was their best exam.

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stonepeep
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby stonepeep » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:00 pm

Kohinoor wrote:The real bitch of the curve is this. Walk out of your best exam; the one that is locked in at an A and will make up for any Bs. Ask your friends how they think they did. 9 times out of ten, they think it was their best exam.


Exactly. You can study your balls off, think you know everything, and then read the exam and think "what the fuck is this?" Other exams, you read them and think "I know exactly how to answer this question!" but if that's the case then most of the other people in that exam room and thinking the exact same thing. There's one class in particular at my school that is known for easy exams, and the rumor is that some years, people have had to get in the high 90s (%) to get an A. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's a good illustration of what can happen.

rando
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby rando » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:08 pm

The fact that this question even has to be asked when people know that LS is graded on a curve . . .

Makes me realize who is at the bottom of the curve.

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BruceWayne
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby BruceWayne » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:32 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
bball999 wrote:I don't get it. You make an outline of BLL and major concepts from class, you make a checklist of issues, show up to your test, go through your checklist for each hypo, analyze it well from each side, and you're done. Why do people do badly on law school tests? How can they screw that up?

Before you all yell FLAME, I know this is an unbelievably naive question. That's why I'm asking it. I'm a 1L and I already feel like I'm totally missing something, so please point out my obvious error so I don't end up doing something stupid later. I don't mean this q in a derogatory sense, I just want to know what really goes on in the trenches of an exam.

Your classmates are smarter than you are. Also, you would be shocked at how the bottom grade in most classes is someone who missed a page. As in, they went from page 2 to 4 in the booklet and thus skipped an essay. I have heard this story multiple times.


I was about to say that this is contradictory, but I think you're just saying that it's hard to get an A, but it's also hard to get a C. It seems most people end up in the mushy middle.

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Doritos
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby Doritos » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:17 am

BruceWayne wrote: It seems most people end up in the mushy middle.


Yeah, this is what I thought as well. Like 80% of the class gets the mean grade, and there is some variation in the top and bottom 10% but by and large most get a grade in the middle. I am envisioning a very pointy bell curve

bball999
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby bball999 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:39 pm

Thanks guys, this is all great stuff. Best of luck with your semesters.

xyzbca
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby xyzbca » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:05 am

bball999 wrote:I don't get it. You make an outline of BLL and major concepts from class, you make a checklist of issues, show up to your test, go through your checklist for each hypo, analyze it well from each side, and you're done. Why do people do badly on law school tests? How can they screw that up?


It is not that you can't screw it up. The relevant question is whether you can do these things better than 90% of the people sitting in the exam room with you.

Before you all yell FLAME, I know this is an unbelievably naive question. That's why I'm asking it. I'm a 1L and I already feel like I'm totally missing something, so please point out my obvious error so I don't end up doing something stupid later. I don't mean this q in a derogatory sense, I just want to know what really goes on in the trenches of an exam


In the trenches: Speaking from experience, it seems that if you think an exam is easy, you missed something. If you think an exam whipped your ass you probably did well b/c you were working for every last point you could score. If you have essay exams you'll be amazed at just how fast 3 or 4 hours can go by. Your hands will hurt and depending on how you handle stress you'll feel completely drained at the end of the exam. You'll hear at least a certain percentage of people note that they didn't finish the exam. My advice: Just go home without talking to anybody after an exam. Once you are finished there is nothing you can do about the exam and no sense stressing yourself out over what you might have answered differently. Additionally, avoid the head games. At least 10% of the class will boast about how they crushed a particular exam. There is no way to know. Just try focus on the next exam.

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Kohinoor
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby Kohinoor » Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:16 am

Doritos wrote:
BruceWayne wrote: It seems most people end up in the mushy middle.


Yeah, this is what I thought as well. Like 80% of the class gets the mean grade, and there is some variation in the top and bottom 10% but by and large most get a grade in the middle. I am envisioning a very pointy bell curve

If you go to the school I think you do, the myth of the cushy middle is just that. The distribution is closer to 30-40-30. Be afraid.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:42 pm

bball999 wrote:What's so hard about law school?


3L here. Let me know when you figure out the answer to this question because I'm still trying to figure that one out. Maybe it's just the fact that most law students come from bullshit UG majors where they got As just by simply showing up to class and not doing anything at all? That's the best thing I could come up with.

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dresden doll
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby dresden doll » Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:57 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
bball999 wrote:What's so hard about law school?


3L here. Let me know when you figure out the answer to this question because I'm still trying to figure that one out. Maybe it's just the fact that most law students come from bullshit UG majors where they got As just by simply showing up to class and not doing anything at all? That's the best thing I could come up with.


Or maybe it's just the fact that your classmates are pretty unintelligent.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:30 pm

dresden doll wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
bball999 wrote:What's so hard about law school?


3L here. Let me know when you figure out the answer to this question because I'm still trying to figure that one out. Maybe it's just the fact that most law students come from bullshit UG majors where they got As just by simply showing up to class and not doing anything at all? That's the best thing I could come up with.


Or maybe it's just the fact that your classmates are pretty unintelligent.


I don't know. Most of them come up with some pretty bright shit to talk about in class when they get called on. When I transferred here I was pretty sure I was going to get ass raped in terms of grades, but it hasn't happened yet.

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dresden doll
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby dresden doll » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:35 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
I don't know. Most of them come up with some pretty bright shit to talk about in class when they get called on. When I transferred here I was pretty sure I was going to get ass raped in terms of grades, but it hasn't happened yet.


People tend to be notably more intense in their 1L year. Are your classes still curved? Also, I am not sure why you doing well is somehow an indicator that the rest of the class is incompetent and/or lazy unless you have good reasons for giving yourself little credit.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:57 pm

dresden doll wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
I don't know. Most of them come up with some pretty bright shit to talk about in class when they get called on. When I transferred here I was pretty sure I was going to get ass raped in terms of grades, but it hasn't happened yet.


People tend to be notably more intense in their 1L year.


Yeah, you aren't kidding either. I took a couple 1L courses at my transfer school that weren't required at my old school and they were a world of difference from my upper level courses. 1Ls are fucking intense (at least as far as class prep is concerned).

dresden doll wrote:Are your classes still curved?


Yes, classes are still curved, except smaller classes (but with our registration system it's literally impossible to get into more than 1 seminar per term, and our transfer class got to register after everyone else already did our 1st semester here, so picking a seminar just wasn't possible the 1st semester since they were all full).

dresden doll wrote:Also, I am not sure why you doing well is somehow an indicator that the rest of the class is incompetent and/or lazy unless you have good reasons for giving yourself little credit.


I never said the rest of the class is incompetent. I think most people here are probably a lot brighter than I am. I’m actually really lazy myself, so… I really have no idea why most people don’t do better than I do. I don’t know, I just don’t see why people think law school is hard. It really isn’t. Compare it to some of the stuff that hard sciences majors have to learn in UG, and it’s really a joke (I started out as a hard science major and dropped that pretty quickly).

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dresden doll
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Re: What's so hard about law school?

Postby dresden doll » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:00 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:I never said the rest of the class is incompetent. I think most people here are probably a lot brighter than I am. I’m actually really lazy myself, so… I really have no idea why most people don’t do better than I do. I don’t know, I just don’t see why people think law school is hard. It really isn’t. Compare it to some of the stuff that hard sciences majors have to learn in UG, and it’s really a joke (I started out as a hard science major and dropped that pretty quickly).


The curve simply prevents everyone from doing well. It's how it works. Also, it sounds like you probably have a knack for legal reasoning which is pretty invaluable as far as LS classes are concerned

As for hard science comparison, can't disagree. Of course physics/engineering is tougher than law.




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