1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

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nyulawguy
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby nyulawguy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:38 am

If I were giving some advice for your second semester, I would say to remember that law school does not define you. You were a talented and bright individual long before you ever went to law school, and regardless of how great (or terrible) your grades are, you are still the same talented and bright individual. People seem to forget this heading into their second semester. There are so many people say that they should have done this or that, but remember that school is a learning opportunity. It is great to learn from your experiences and forward trying new things, but don't beat yourself up over what you should have done.

Also, this is the time of the year where people often write "care less what people think about me" in threads like this, but I would like to point out that it is more about what you think about yourself. If you are confident that you are putting forth your best efforts, that is really all you can do in law school. Worrying about what other people say, think, or do is just a waste of time. Also, the grade inflation that will occur around this time will astound you. No matter what curve you are on at your respective school, people will have fantastic grades. If they don't, they will lie and say that they do. Just take care of you, and stop worrying about everyone else. Being a nice person in law school will take you further than compulsively comparing yourself to others.

That said, I would also recommend talking to a 2L or 3L who had your same professor. It never ceases to amaze me the number of 1L's who don't reach out to upperclassmen who have already had their professors and taken their exams. Reach out people! Everyone remembers the stress of first year, and people will be willing to help. It doesn't make you look less intelligent or unconfident, but rather it makes you look smart because you are using the most valuable tool you have available - someone who has been there.

Best of luck.

mlipsco
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby mlipsco » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:46 am

This doesn't apply to 2nd semester specifically, but I will NEVER take another Property/Land Use course.

howardsbest
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby howardsbest » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:03 pm

BriaTharen wrote:Not changing anything preparation wise until I see my grades.

Though will be changing:
1. How often I got stuck being DD for bar reviews
2. Drinking less coffee
3. Eat more raw food and cook at home more often
4. Get back on P90X


+1

Eco
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby Eco » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:11 pm

Gonna wait for grades before making any changes.

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JordynAsh
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby JordynAsh » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:28 pm

Sogui wrote:
beach_terror wrote:I'm not changing jack shit until I see my grades.


This is the credited response. Well that and "start outlining sooner".

In terms of strategy however, spending time on one thing always means not spending time on another. My strategy this semester was:

"screw hornbooks, screw obsessive reading with a paragraph of notes in the margins of every page and rainbow highlighting, screw commercial outlines, screw briefing, screw all that. The professor told us everything he/she wants us to know in class and those notes and the practice exams are all anyone ever really needs to ace any exam".

In hindsight I kind of liked it. I don't think anyone's 5-highlighter approach meant anything at the end of the semester, nor did anyone dumb enough to brief every case for every class, nor did writing notes about that class... before class. Every understanding I've been tested on was something discussed in class and those notes applied to new facts gave me more than enough ammunition for 2 exams thus far. My only regret was not spending more time practicing with it on old exams.


Oh god, the batshit insane amounts of multicolor highlighting I saw in some people's casebooks. HOW IS THIS HELPFUL?

Edit: no offense ofc to those who use this method. I'm mostly put off the concept after having to look at one classmate's egregious overuse of it - on one page of the casebook, she had highlighted literally all but THREE sentences.
Last edited by JordynAsh on Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JordynAsh
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby JordynAsh » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:43 pm

random5483 wrote:My grades were much better than I expected, but I did not network or make the contacts I should have. My plans:

What I Plan to Do:

1. Network more
2. Attend more school lunch events
3. Socialize more with fellow students
4. Join more student organizations
5. Meet professors during office hours

What I will Not Do:

1. Type a brief for every case (I stopped this for most classes around October)
2. Read cases more than 2-3 days before the day of class
3. Stress out about exams and law school grades (this will be hard to pull off!)


+1 to all of this except the grades (no grades back yet)

kopper
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby kopper » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:56 pm

dailygrind wrote:gonna do a little more outlining as i go. having to pull it all together at the end was extraordinarily painful. the problem i had this semester was i wasn't always sure how/why to use each case until the end. this may have been because i didn't know my ass from my face, legally, at the beginning of the semester, or it may be because it's difficult to get an overview of the class until you're near the end. if it's only because of the former, i'll outline more as i go. if it's the latter, i guess i'll have to do the same mad rush at the end.


I found the same for me and regardless am committed to getting on the outline much earlier and although it may be difficult start to build a framework sooner than I did in my first semester. Hoping I did well but know that I can improve my approach next semester either way. Good luck this semester and learning from our past missteps.

theantiscalia
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby theantiscalia » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:54 am

I've got all of my grades back but one, and here's what I'm changing.

1. I'm not going to even start out briefing cases. I stopped a month in, and that didn't hurt me.
2. I'm not going to read any treatise (like LaFave). I'll stick with the E&Es and hornbooks meant for students (like Dressler). I feel the later helped me much more. Also, commercial outlines (even Crunchtime) and multiple-choice question books (like Seigels) didn't help that much. Surprisingly, the best book I found for practice questinos was the BarBri 1L review... which costs ten bucks used. And even it wasn't that helpful. The best practice questions were the ones my study group came up with.
3. I am, however, going to spend more time with the restatements, where applicable. I didn't realize how helpful they were (including the comments) until later in the semester.
4. I'm going to talk more in class and go to office hours more often. I had awesome grades, but other than my legal writing instructor, I don't know that I'd feel comfortable getting a letter or recommendation from any of my professors. I went to their office hours 2-3 times each, but I don't feel I have a particularly strong relationship with any of them.
5. I'm going to do all reading over the weekends. I tried to last semester, but sometimes I got behind. The weeks where I pulled it off were much less stressful.

plum
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby plum » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:07 am

i am always surprised by these generalized study strategies or pre-selection of supplements. it seems to me like every class is very professor-specific, and the approach you take in that class depends on how the professor is teaching/testing that subject.

theantiscalia
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby theantiscalia » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:16 am

plum wrote:i am always surprised by these generalized study strategies or pre-selection of supplements. it seems to me like every class is very professor-specific, and the approach you take in that class depends on how the professor is teaching/testing that subject.


Truer words haven't been spoken. I attribute my success last semester mostly to the fact that I tailored exams to professors, rather than based on any particular supplement I read or any particular outlining methodology. A professor gives points mostly for spotting issues? Come up with some crazy ones. A professor loves in-depth analysis? Be prepared to write a treatise.

Some supplements just suck no matter which professor you have, unless the professor wrote the supplement of course. I hated the Siegels books. And the full-length treatises were simply too much for a 1L class.

I guess I have three rules for supplements now:
1. I love the E&Es and will use them for every class.
2. If a professor recommends a particular hornbook (last semester, Dressler for Criminal Law and Chirelstein for Contracts), use it. My criminal law professor pretty much lectured out of Dressler, and he recommended it on the first day of class. Same for Contracts.
3. Above all else, make sure it lines up well with what you're learning in class. I had a hard time finding a good Torts supplement (other than the E&E) because our casebook took a unique approach to torts (very law and economics). Even the E&E - which was awesome - was often of limited use.

plum
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby plum » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:21 am

theantiscalia wrote: I love the E&Es and will use them for every class.

yeah E&Es are generally good because of the feedback you can get from the questions...and i found they were my only way of having answers, because all the old exams the profs had posted didn't contain an answer key, and of course hornbooks aren't about questions/answers...so it was actually kind of challenging to find sources for hypotheticals with answers I could check to compare my answer to.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:31 am

Geist13 wrote:I will be finishing all my reading for the semester a few weeks ahead of time. 3/4 of my professors piled on a ton of reading the last two weeks because they had fallen behind (apparently they don't consider that their fault). For one class we did 1/4 of the entire semester's reading in the last week. Almost all of that material came up on the exam. There's more than enough time during the middle of the semester to finish it all. Having to read the last couple of weeks while outlining was a huge pain.

I will also outline as I go along. I'm really slow at outlining and really didn't take that much out of it, until I started applying all the rules on practice problems.

Combined, these two strategies will hopefully make it so all i have to do the last two weeks of the semester is practice, practice, practice. That way I wont completely f up my exams like I have the first two of this semester.

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MBZags
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby MBZags » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:40 am

Basically, I need to relax during the exams. Shaky hands were not good during my first exam and became worse when my computer crashed one minute into the exam.

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iceskater1620
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby iceskater1620 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:45 am

MBZags wrote:Basically, I need to relax during the exams. Shaky hands were not good during my first exam and became worse when my computer crashed one minute into the exam.


+1 I drank way too much coffee and it made me so jittery I couldn't type.

Lucidity
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby Lucidity » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:33 pm

Couple of things I've learned that might be helpful to the class of 2014:

*Be wary of study groups: Although i think study groups can be an amazing asset, you MUST be selective. Don't form the groups too early in the semester. Get to know people and seek out those who can contribute and avoid those that would be dead weight. Also, you should keep the study group small. I would suggest no more than 3 or 4 people. Big study groups tend to get sidetracked and are much harder to organize. Breaks and small talk is fine, but stay focused. Law school is like high school, so if you spend an hour talking in your study group about who slept with whom, then this could be a problem.

*Do not use supplements as a crutch: Supplements are great, but do not let the fact that you have a supplement lure you into a false sense of security. This past semester, i relied on them way more than i am comfortable with. I took the advice of some articles on this site that suggested heavy reliance on supplements and wish that i hadn't. I still did well on exams, but i think this was because i lucked out a bit, as the issues tested were the ones that i understood best. For the purpose of doing well on law school exams, the law is what your prof thinks it is, regardless of what the supplement says. For the spring, i intend on using supplements as intended - to supplement my understanding of the law.

*Know your professor, do practice tests: My school grades on a 2.7 curve. A's are ridiculously hard to get. I got my only A in contracts. It just so happens that my contracts prof has been at the school since the 70s and has a long paper trail of old exams in the school database. He also provided us with model answers from previous classes so i knew EXACTLY what he was expecting on the exams going in. Without a doubt, there would have been no chance of me pulling off the A had i not thoroughly analyzed all his prior exams and compared them with the model answers.

*Do not procrastinate on writing assignments: Get this shit done and out of the way FAST. I hated grinding memos. My legal writing class took up more time than any of the doctrinal classes. Waiting till the deadline to do them will be disastrous. The assignments will always take up more time than you imagine.

*Be extremely careful of what you say/do the first few weeks of class: Gossip flows freely in law School. Cliques form quickly. My class is rather small, so everyone knows about everyone else's business. If you come off as a gunner/doucebag, you will instantly become the laughingstock/verbal punching bag.

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Borhas
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby Borhas » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:22 pm

I was very happy w/ my results, but there are still some minor tweeks to be made

goals:
spend less time reading, more time being up to date on outlines by the end of the second month, take practice tests regularly and stay up to date the month before exams, and memorize outlines the days before the exam.

Pass moot court, do not try to excel at the cost of other classes

less focus on study groups, relegate them to practice test time

stop giving a shit about supplements

things to keep the same:
keep taking notes by hand
go to class every day
read all the assignments carefully

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ntugwater
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby ntugwater » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:08 pm

I wont feel so guilty when I skip class

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goosey
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby goosey » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:51 pm

I am studying at home this semester--most of my studying was done in the library last semester, at the cost of working out. This semester I am done by 1225 every day except Tuesdays--will commute home, work out for two hours (getting married in June, gained 50 pounds the past 2 yrs and need to get rid of it) and then study till 1030.

I will probably go into school on the weekends though, to use supplements I didnt buy if I need them.

goal for june: fit into my old jeans again and be at the top of my class. can so do this.

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iceskater1620
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby iceskater1620 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:20 pm

goosey wrote:I am studying at home this semester--most of my studying was done in the library last semester, at the cost of working out. This semester I am done by 1225 every day except Tuesdays--will commute home, work out for two hours (getting married in June, gained 50 pounds the past 2 yrs and need to get rid of it) and then study till 1030.

I will probably go into school on the weekends though, to use supplements I didnt buy if I need them.

goal for june: fit into my old jeans again and be at the top of my class. can so do this.


+1 on the library comment. I am going to do most of my studying at home this semester. Studying in the law school made me more stressed -- Seeing how hard everyone else was working made me anxious! Anyone else feel this way?

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:59 pm

Don't study as hard for classes where the professor is an insufferable douchecanoe and is going to make the most convoluted bullshit he can call an exam to fuck with everyone.

FUCK YOU CIV PRO. Seriously.

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goosey
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby goosey » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:31 am

chicagolaw2013 wrote:Don't study as hard for classes where the professor is an insufferable douchecanoe and is going to make the most convoluted bullshit he can call an exam to fuck with everyone.

FUCK YOU CIV PRO. Seriously.

:shock: :shock: :shock:

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uwb09
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby uwb09 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:35 am

now that grades are back

- start doing hypos/practice exams earlier, and doing CALI lessons during the semester as study supplement to classes/readings, and not counting on them to be last minute cram material

- i guess try to figure out what the hell my LRAW professor wants from me. She said my last ungraded memo was pretty damn good, so I followed that template on my final graded memo, and got reemed, awesome :x

- do full workout routine and eat healthy from day one, found this helped out tremendously about half way through fall semester

- try to get more involved in the clubs i'm a member of, and try to find some kind of volunteer opportunity during the semester

- try to read at least one non-law book to keep my brain fresh without burning out on dense BLL materials

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:37 am

goosey wrote:
chicagolaw2013 wrote:Don't study as hard for classes where the professor is an insufferable douchecanoe and is going to make the most convoluted bullshit he can call an exam to fuck with everyone.

FUCK YOU CIV PRO. Seriously.

:shock: :shock: :shock:


Seriously, dude, if you saw this exam...

The fact that it also happened to be the first exam of my law school career made me quite jaded about life in general. This guy LIVES to see people squirm. UGH.

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jay115
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby jay115 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:24 am

What I will change:

1. Cockiness: The exam I thought I would kill killed me because I didn't study much, if at all, for that class and I stopped typing during the exam 1/2 through. In contrast, I spent a good amount of time studying for (and freaking out about) an exam for a class I thought I would fail - but I DESTROYED that exam. Lesson: study for all classes.

2. Outlining and practice examining. Start earlier.

3. EXERCISE. Law school is no excuse for a mucky exterior.

What I won't change:

1. Study groups: Study groups are useless. However, I'm a social person, and I like my friends. I'm most likely going to change my approach to study groups (study independently in a group and bullshit around every 15 minutes or so, rather than pointless group discussions).

2. Book Briefing: The only reasons for substantial book briefing is to (a) look good when cold-called, or (b) have a fact-intensive brief in your outline. My school blind-grades, so I could really care less whether my teachers think I know the underlying normative justification for some obtuse property rule, and all my exams are closed book, so I don't need a fact-intensive brief. I think I'll stick to cases with rule-results.

3. Going out at the beginning of the semester: I wasn't burned out during finals week, and I definately am going to head to Vegas for a couple of days over spring break.

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Bustang
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Re: 1st semester reflections, what are we changing for 2nd sem?

Postby Bustang » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:47 pm

Study the stuff that my brain/everyone else DOESN'T think is going to be on the exam. I B+'d in two classes instead of getting an A-/A because of this exact fucking reason. My K exam was a crap shoot (studying nothing could have been more beneficial), but 2 minor topics in torts absolutely raped my multiple choice section, which led to the B+.




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