Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

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A Bomb in a Bowl
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Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby A Bomb in a Bowl » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:32 pm

I've taken a couple of exams so far and at this rate suspect I'll end up at the bottom of the class, so I don't know what to do. I studied my ass off for these things. Ran out of time on the first exam and quickly jotted down something for the last question, which was worth a quarter of the exam's grade. On the second exam I didn't run out of time, but took entirely the wrong track on one question (worth ~50% of the exam).

I don't understand why this is happening. Clearly I need to do more practice exams next semester (more than zero), but I think the real question is whether I should even bother having a "next semester." Let's say that I end up near the bottom of the class this semester. Next semester, I'd have to be at the top of the class to bring myself up to median, which is apparently what it takes to land a job, even coming from a "top" school. I don't even know how I'd get to the top of the class - the competition is insane here - and if next semester I do just as poorly, or even perform around the median, then I'll have tons of debt and no job. Maybe I'm just stupid or something, who knows.

I'm taking this down in a few days because the level of detail provided about my exams could identify me, but I badly need advice on this, I'm starting to have panic attacks/flashes of getting on a plane to Iceland. Thanks.
Last edited by A Bomb in a Bowl on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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omninode
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby omninode » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:35 pm

I hear Iceland is lovely in Winter.

09042014
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby 09042014 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:38 pm

You might not be doing as bad as you think.

BlueDiamond
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby BlueDiamond » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:46 pm

sack up

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Nicholasnickynic
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:50 pm

More than 0 practice exams next semester? Doesn't sounds like its an intelligence thing. Sound's like its a not properly preparing yourself thing. Do better next semester. The exams, as you obviously know from the tone of this post, are all that matter. So, ahh, do practice ones?

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BruceWayne
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby BruceWayne » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:51 pm

Brother I'm in the same boat. But unless your stuck on working at Williams and Connolly or something just stick it out. We may not have done as poorly as we think we have, and even if we have, we're just going to have to be realistic about what our first job will be.

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starrydreamz3
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby starrydreamz3 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:51 pm

Drown your sorrows in the Irish Pub in downtown Reykjavik. They have a wheel you can spin to get free drinks. Amazing!

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180orbust
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby 180orbust » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:52 pm

You're overreacting. Just because you messed up a couple of questions doesn't mean you're going to be bottom of your class. If you did well on the other questions, and didn't mess up as much as you think you did, then you could still surprise yourself with some pretty good grades. Remember that this is on a curve, so its likely that you're not the only person who screwed up some questions. Sounds to me like you did about average for someone taking their first exam. You still have 4 more exams to take, and if you do well on those, that can counteract some subpar grades this semester and bring you up to the top 1/3. Just stay calm. The economy should pick up next year, anyway. There's plenty of great jobs for T6 students in the bottom half of the class. Stay in there, and nail your last final.

j nyc
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby j nyc » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:58 pm

-

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clintonius
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby clintonius » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:02 pm

I've been crapping myself about a crim final that's about to own my face, but it's actually been encouraging talking with other people in my class and realizing that I'm not the only one who's freaking out. I don't recommend you discuss any specifics of exams with people -- finding out that one or two people didn't make the exact same slip-ups you did might be hard to take, even if they're not representative of the whole class. But it's good to remember that lots and lots of people are freaking out right now. You're not the only person worried about your performance, and you might not have done as poorly as you think.

spondee
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby spondee » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:29 pm

If you've otherwise enjoyed law school and still want to be a lawyer, don't drop out yet.

1. You may not have done as poorly as you think. As a 1L, I completely misread a question worth 20% and only realized my mistake w/ 5 mins left. On another exam, I completely skipped outlining one week's worth of reading; then, the policy question was based on that week's reading. I was the fool flipping through the casebook and reading a case in the middle of the exam. Got A-minuses in both classes.

2. Firm hiring is not as purely numbers based as law school admissions--if 70% is getting biglaw, that doesn't mean the top 70% is getting biglaw. If you can bring something else, like work experience, interviewing skills, or an improved second semester, there are a lot of firms that will overlook a poor first semester.

3. Elena Kagan B-minused her first semester.

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Nicholasnickynic
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:31 pm

180orbust wrote:You're overreacting. Just because you messed up a couple of questions doesn't mean you're going to be bottom of your class. If you did well on the other questions, and didn't mess up as much as you think you did, then you could still surprise yourself with some pretty good grades. Remember that this is on a curve, so its likely that you're not the only person who screwed up some questions. Sounds to me like you did about average for someone taking their first exam. You still have 4 more exams to take, and if you do well on those, that can counteract some subpar grades this semester and bring you up to the top 1/3. Just stay calm. The economy should pick up next year, anyway. There's plenty of great jobs for T6 students in the bottom half of the class. Stay in there, and nail your last final.


WTF is this? Wrong forum buddy!
This is TLS! DOOM! GLOOM!

j nyc
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby j nyc » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:50 pm

--
Last edited by j nyc on Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Geat27
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby Geat27 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:50 am

This is no time for wavering. If you have not yet finished taking your exams, make sure you walk into each with an outline or checklist and a methodological plan for how you will answer the questions.

Now, you should not assume that you will do poorly on the exams you have taken thus far. Your impression of your own performance is not a reliable guide to the grade you will get. Among other things, the other students are unpredictable, and so is the professor (he is the ultimate arbitrary decision-maker).

Now, whatever your first semester grades, even if atrocious, and no matter how low -- you will still be capable of beginning a rewarding legal career. Out of sensitivity to the poor state of the legal profession, I would be less likely to say this so confidently if you had not already managed to get past the admissions committee at a "top six" law school. But if you believe that, going forward, you will be able to summon motivation as well as genuine passion and interest, I would not advise that you drop out. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "the world is always ready to receive talent with open arms."

A Bomb in a Bowl
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby A Bomb in a Bowl » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:31 am

Thanks for the vote of confidence guys. My head's still spinning, but I know that I have to stay focused and actually do practice exams/develop a straight-forward checklist before my next final. Guess there's no point dwelling on the situation too much until finals are done. It might be hard to resist asking others how they're doing, though, because it would be reassuring to find out that there's at least one other person in the same boat.

random5483
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby random5483 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:45 am

There are many people in the same boat as you. You might not know who they are, but rest assured you are not alone.

Anyways, don't worry about grades before your finals are over. The hardest part is moving on and doing your best on every final. As other posters have said, many people think they did a lot worse than they actually end up doing while others do a lot worse than they think they did. Try to relax and finish your finals and enjoy the break.

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TobiasFunke
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby TobiasFunke » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:56 am

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Last edited by TobiasFunke on Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sogui
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby Sogui » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:37 am

T6 here as well


Just do more practice exams, under "test conditions". Sit there and type out the answers for 4 hours, stop right at 4 hours.

Hell don't have practice exams? Use another professors.

The timing issue is what I think kills so many well-prepared students. You've got all the answers but you don't have any practice in utilizing them in 4 hours or less. You sketch out "outline answers" to save time in practicing and you really don't put in the blood & sweat of the real deal.

Just my 2 cents, It's the one thing I would "do over" for the last two exams. I barely finished both of em, even the 8 hour take home.

sethc
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby sethc » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:40 pm

1L in the middle of first-term exams FWIW.

Just relax - I've been doing the same thing. I'm not sure where you go/how big your classes are.. but try to look around and say "come on, is it realistic to think I did the absolute WORST out of all these people?" I know it sounds presumptuous, but you have to have done better than some people. That said, you may have done way better than you think. I'm not going to try to build your hopes up and try to convince you that you did or anything, but just breathe and realize (a) it's over and done, you can't do anything about it now other than appeal which is weeks down the road; (b) you have other finals that need 100% of your focus

Also, go back and think about your professor. Is it reasonable to be expected to have gotten everything down that was supposed to be?

For example, I'll share my experience this past Tuesday. It was for Torts and my professor is pretty "old school" and does NOTHING to prepare students. He provides no handouts, no teaching-assistants, and didn't even remotely give us anything that clued us in onto what to expect on the final. He was entertaining in class (goofy) and did an OK job at making you think about things.. but as far as the so called "black-letter-law" and the foundational concepts go -- I had to basically teach myself the entire course and did so in the course of a few days.. and even then I was nervous as fuck. I realize it's law school and I'm not expecting to be spoon-fed... but at the same time, come on - there's vague areas that professors can and should establish some kind of rigidity as to what to expect on the exam. Anyways, we had 2hr45min for: 50 M/C & 2 essays. The multiple choice went pretty good, only took me about an hour. Essay #1 was more of a short answer b/c he instructed us to answer in < 8 sentences. I handled that. Then... Essay #2 made me SHIT myself. It was a 3pg fact pattern with about 5 different parties & asking what claims 3 of them had.. and nothing was "segmented", so to speak, and everything flowed together so every pgph/issue related back to many other pgphs. IRAC *totally* went out the fucking window and I got crunched for time so I just wound up shotgunning most of it and just typing down every single relevant issue I could think of with 1-2 sentences of reasoning.

After talking with others & looking back, I've relaxed a little bit because there's just NO way anyone could knock out every single issue within ~1-1.5hr and be 100% accurate.. I busted my ass studying and gave it hell - I really don't think I could have done any better except maybe time-wise. All the other profs at LEAST told us the format/layout of the exam - but not this quack.


But, alas, I still am in the same boat as you.. so if you wanna PM me so we can have someone to lean on lol then feel free! As shit stands, half the time I feel like bombing/shit grades on everything wouldn't surprise me, really. I also am very uncertain about what I would do if I were to fail/have to retake 1 or more classes. It's like, at that point.. "Do I really wanna keep this debt/stress/effort up for potentially nothing?" and I really don't have a good answer.. the ONLY thing I/you/we can do is wait until we know what our grades are, what options have/don't have, and then go from there. I hope this helps :|

nickwar
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby nickwar » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:44 pm

Image

"Well the world needs ditch diggers!"

Connelly
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby Connelly » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:15 pm

Ah, 1L fear. Soon to be replaced with 2L rejection and 3L apathy.

Seriously, the other responses are spot on - unless you drew pictures of stick figures defecating on your teachers for all of your answers, you really have no idea how you did. If you did screw up in a few places yet still want to be a lawyer, then you'll figure out your mistakes, correct them, and be fine - if not outstanding.

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Jarndyce
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Clarity

Postby Jarndyce » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:19 pm

I am a 2L. I can tell you that things may not be as bad as you think for two reasons:

1) You underestimate yourself, and
2) You overestimate your classmates.

When I was a 1L, I walked out of a Civil Procedure class, called my wife, and said "I just failed an entire class." I got an A. The same semester, I thought that I missed the point on an entire Criminal question. I CALIed the class. You are a 1L, and, with all respect intended, you have no idea how you did until you get your grades. Chill out and enjoy your winter break.

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themillsman22
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby themillsman22 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:33 pm

Your biggest failure was taking zero (!!) practice exams. Try again next semester before giving up completely, because this is something you can fix.

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thecilent
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby thecilent » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:34 pm

I hope the OP did better than he thought, but I don't get the responses saying "you have to have done better than other people" and whatnot.

Someone has to be at the bottom. And this is a T6, so it's filled with mostly bright kids. It sucks, but not everyone gets to be in the top 2/3s.

With that being said, OP, rock your remaining finals, assess whether you like the law and are willing to get a not-so-great job if it comes down to it, and make some decisions.

Good luck.

sethc
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Re: Bombing my exams (t6), don't know what to do...

Postby sethc » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:10 pm

Ah.. didn't see the T6 part so my bad on that. It's certainly different to say that somewhere like Harvard vs. somewhere like Florida Coastal, for instance. I don't mean any offense to FC at all, just pointing out that it's much, much harder to succeed in some places than others.




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