0L With A Question

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Bigsby
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0L With A Question

Postby Bigsby » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:15 am

Studying for the LSAT and taking a little break...I feel like this place is my second home! Just wondering, JUST how hard is it to get top grades in your 1L? Lock yourself in the room for months, only go to class, and have no life at all?

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:30 am

The thing about getting top grades is that hard work isn't sufficient. So many other random factors come into play. I got the top grade in a class that, while I absolutely loved, I probably spent the least amount of hours on during the semester because it clicked for me. I got median in another class because it was our 1L small section which I think was stacked with a significantly above average of freaky smart people and I thought the test was fairly upfront, which probably meant the difference between the top half of the class was razor thin. Hard work and smart preparation can limit the random factors, but they still exist.

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Cupidity
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Cupidity » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:32 am

Identifying what your professor wants and giving it to them.

Many people who know far more than me and studied much longer did worse because they missed the mark.

Eco
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Eco » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:34 am

Well I didn't get my grades yet. But on the midterm exam I scored top of my class. I don't study all day. I go out, enjoy life, watch TV, relax, today I barely touched my books. I'm not saying I don't study. I do the "READINGS" throughout the semester. I do what is required for research on LRW and don't beat myself up over it.

About 2 months before exams I start outlining and reading supplements. Do it a bit earlier and you can finish like one outline per week or per two weeks, which is a very relaxed pace.

Although I have a three-step process I call "1) mega outline, 2) mini outline + supplement reading, 3) practice exams" but I'll have to wait for my grades to see if it worked for me or not (worked great for the midterm).

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Bronte
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Bronte » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:35 am

I think it comes down to the thickness, weight, and aerodynamics of the paper on which you submit your exam. When the professor tosses the exams down the stairway, you want yours to go the farthest. It's more an art than I science, especially when you consider that some professors use the "reverse method" (i.e., the highest grades are those papers that go the shortest distance). These professors are in the minority, but a big factor is attempting to discern throughout the semester which method your professor uses. Good luck.

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Cupidity
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Cupidity » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:36 am

People who think exam grades are random or luck simply don't get it.

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:38 am

Do a search of law school success threads here on TLS.

To get you started:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=77628
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=118545

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Bronte
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Bronte » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:40 am

Cupidity wrote:People who think exam grades are random or luck simply don't get it.


Are you saying you don't believe professors use the stair method?

Eco
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Eco » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:41 am

It's definitely not luck.

Seriously I read over my response on my midterm (I got an A+). I went over my outline. Honestly speaking, I missed so much I could have put in there, it was incoherent at times, etc...

But I wrote exactly what the professor wanted. I literally had it outlined beforehand. He wanted "Issue + Rule + Analysis of Plaintiff's Position + Defendant's Position/Rebuttals + On Balance, Court Opinion".

With that outline it was honestly easy to finish the one-hour exam within 25 minutes.

random5483
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby random5483 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:55 am

Eco wrote:It's definitely not luck.

Seriously I read over my response on my midterm (I got an A+). I went over my outline. Honestly speaking, I missed so much I could have put in there, it was incoherent at times, etc...

But I wrote exactly what the professor wanted. I literally had it outlined beforehand. He wanted "Issue + Rule + Analysis of Plaintiff's Position + Defendant's Position/Rebuttals + On Balance, Court Opinion".

With that outline it was honestly easy to finish the one-hour exam within 25 minutes.




If you wrote a 1 hour exam in 25 minutes and got an A+, then:

1. It was extremely easy
or
2. Your classmates are idiots
or
3. You can think and type at 200 words per minute.



Anyways, OP, performance in law school is not about hours worked, but on how smartly you worked those hours. For instance, I studied less than many of my classmates, but I ranked at the top of my class. How? I took tons of practice exams and practice multiple choice questions. I briefed most of my cases (will only be book briefing this semester, I did write actual briefs part of last semester), but I did not spend a lot of time on cases.

The trick to doing well is taking a lot of exams. Comparing your practice exams to model answers. Figure out what your professor wants and write out the answer he/she wants in the exam. Yes, you have a bunch of rules/factors/exceptions to memorize, but most law school students can memorize the rules for any given class fairly easily. The hard part is being able to regurgitate them under time pressure and knowing exactly what they mean. Practice exams and multiple choice questions were huge for me.

Eco
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Eco » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:57 am

3. You can think and type at 200 words per minute.


It's GW, people here are not stupid. I type really, really fast. It's not an issue of intelligence or anything. I jot down my ideas on an outline for 15 minutes and I can type up the 1500 word essay within 10-15.

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Bronte
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Bronte » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:58 am

People who got good grades will tell you it's not about luck. People who got bad grades will tell you it's all about luck. Either way, it is about luck (just like everything else in life). It's also about inherent intelligence and an inherent possession of the particular type of intelligence that works on law exams. It's also about amount and efficiency of work. Possibly most of all, it's about performance--usually in a single four hour period or less.

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prezidentv8
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:07 am

Bigsby wrote:Studying for the LSAT and taking a little break...I feel like this place is my second home! Just wondering, JUST how hard is it to get top grades in your 1L? Lock yourself in the room for months, only go to class, and have no life at all?


I've hit every single "bin" on our curve. I have no idea what I'm doing right or wrong.

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Encyclopedia Brown
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Encyclopedia Brown » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:12 am

Bronte wrote:People who got good grades will tell you it's not about luck. People who got bad grades will tell you it's all about luck. Either way, it is about luck (just like everything else in life).

Reminds me of the different ways kids describe their report cards:

"I got an A in Math!" vs. "Mrs. So-and-so gave me a C in History."

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NoleinNY
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby NoleinNY » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:18 am

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:The thing about getting top grades is that hard work isn't sufficient. So many other random factors come into play. I got the top grade in a class that, while I absolutely loved, I probably spent the least amount of hours on during the semester because it clicked for me. I got median in another class because it was our 1L small section which I think was stacked with a significantly above average of freaky smart people and I thought the test was fairly upfront, which probably meant the difference between the top half of the class was razor thin. Hard work and smart preparation can limit the random factors, but they still exist.


+1.

I got my personal best grade in the class I studied least for, and worst in the one I studied most for. Law school is weird like that.

pleasepickme
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby pleasepickme » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:32 am

You can absolutely have a life. I didn't start prepping until Thanksgiving, and I only did a few full, written practice exams (although I did read through and outline the answers to almost all the exams available), but I ended up with great grades. Do your homework along the way so that you're not trying to learn everything at the very end. Write your exams the way that your professor talks through things in class. You'll be fine!

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kswiss
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby kswiss » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:50 am

It's not arbitrary.

My main key: lots of sex.

I didn't study that much, but I pretty much called my own shot coming out of the test room. (top 2% after 1st semester.). But you have to realize that its not something you can control by inputting more or less. More studying doesn't mean better grades. I bet if we put everyone that has read Arrow's guide on here about how to have success, they would fall right on the bell curve. People don't have secret knowledge...all anyone has to do is google "how to take a law exam" and there is an immediate flattened playing field. I honestly think that a lot of LS grades are predetermined before the first class.

In other words, assess your strengths and weaknesses. In the past, have you outperformed others on tests (ex. ACT, especially LSAT)? That is probably the biggest predictor. I think a lot of people think, "I got great grades in UG, I'll just study my ass off in LS and my trend will continue." But it doesn't. Its not a switch you can flip and all of the sudden move to the top of a curve. I know a lot of my classmates that probably had 4.0s in UG because they never missed a class and had everything in on time and followed the requirements exactly. They never had the wrong margins and always did the extra credit. Those things don't help in LS. You have to be good at taking tests.

I had shit town grades in UG, but I always set the curve on tests. LS just plays to my personal strengths, because I hate busy work, but I love prepping and taking tests/big papers. I'm probably in the minority here, but I don't think that there are a ton of things you can do to make yourself more likely to get high grades. Basically because it is the nexus of preparation (which you have a ton of control over) and performance (which you can practice for, but it is more about your inherent strengths). By preparing and practicing correctly, you can get above median probably, but I'm not sure you can practice your way into the top percentiles if you aren't a good test taker.

People that deviate from the above are statistical outliers.

edited for clarity
Last edited by kswiss on Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Eco
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Eco » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:05 am

^ I'm with you.

I don't understand people who live in the library. The workload so far in law school has been not ANYTHING I expected (i.e. I thought it was way worse). I think we were all just spoiled in college, where we wrote our 12 page assignment 2 hours before class. Overall law school just needs daily work. But really come on, I can get most of my readings done within 3-4 hours a day. It's only the month before exams where the studying gets more intense.

TheTallOne0602
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby TheTallOne0602 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:11 am

Bronte wrote:People who got good grades will tell you it's not about luck. People who got bad grades will tell you it's all about luck. Either way, it is about luck.


So you got bad grades, then? :lol:

random5483
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby random5483 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:19 am

TheTallOne0602 wrote:
Bronte wrote:People who got good grades will tell you it's not about luck. People who got bad grades will tell you it's all about luck. Either way, it is about luck.


So you got bad grades, then? :lol:


Law school exams test law school test taking skills. Sure, luck and intelligence play their respective roles, but at the end of the day the exams test how well you can answer a question under time pressure to the subjective satisfaction of the professor. Basically, law exams test your ability to figure out what your professor wants and answer it under time pressure.


That is my take anyways.

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Veyron
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Veyron » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:25 am

Bigsby wrote:Studying for the LSAT and taking a little break...I feel like this place is my second home! Just wondering, JUST how hard is it to get top grades in your 1L? Lock yourself in the room for months, only go to class, and have no life at all?


Hint, a good portion of the class does this.

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Veyron
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Veyron » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:26 am

Eco wrote:
3. You can think and type at 200 words per minute.


It's GW, people here are not stupid. I type really, really fast. It's not an issue of intelligence or anything. I jot down my ideas on an outline for 15 minutes and I can type up the 1500 word essay within 10-15.


Lol.

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JCougar
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby JCougar » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:35 am

Bigsby wrote:Studying for the LSAT and taking a little break...I feel like this place is my second home! Just wondering, JUST how hard is it to get top grades in your 1L? Lock yourself in the room for months, only go to class, and have no life at all?


It's multiple factors. Luck is part of it. Knowing exactly what your professor wants is part of it. Talent is part of it. Preparation is part of it.

Luck

Sometimes you just get hosed by a professor that just doesn't care or is really selfish in that the final exam becomes about satisfying his/her own ego. Sometimes professors will tell you they want things one way, and then grade you based on a different standard. There's plenty of stories on here about people getting all As except for one B-/C+ in one class. That big of a difference can't be based on solely talent, as the skills used to take exams are basically the same for almost all law school classes. If it were only skills, people would be getting pretty much the same grades in every class.

Knowing your professor

Even though law school essay exams are graded on a checklist in an attempt to make things more objective, each professor still has some amount of discretion to award you more points for intangibles, etc. This was probably my biggest mistake this semester. I took my professors' past practice exams and did fairly well according to their model answers/checklists, but I didn't visit them during office hours to go over those answers to see specifically what they thought of mine. Model answers can only get you so far, because even model answers are not perfect.

Talent

Everyone at your law school is at virtually the same general talent level. But law school exam writing isn't exactly the same as the LSAT. The material you learn in class is not really all that complex in the way that vector physics is complex. Learning the law doesn't really require you to understand complex concepts...it requires you to learn simple to moderate concepts and apply them to a new situation quickly...and it requires attention to detail. What happens when you put 100 very talented people in a room and test them on concepts that are not very complex? It's the very small details and the speed at which you can remember them that separate the As from the Bs.

Preparation

My view on this is that there's a minimum threshold you have to meet, and once you meet it, you get diminishing returns for preparing any more than this (with the exception of practice tests). But virtually everyone you go to school with at a T1 is motivated enough to meet this minimum threshold. Preparation level may separate the Cs from the Bs, but it's not going to separate the Bs from the As very much. Moving that extra step requires more than knowing the material. Probably 90% of your class is going to know the material. Moving that extra step requires the above three factors all working in your favor.

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Lawquacious
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:46 am

Since law school grading is on a curve generally set so that a certain percentage of each class will end up with an A range grade, another percentage with a B range grade etc, how you do will be directly relative to the other students you are competing with. Regardless of how well or poorly you perform the curve will be in play and could potentially work for you or against you depending on your peers and your performance relative to them.

That being said, if you work extremely hard and aren't going to a school where you're below both medians upon entering (LSAT and UGPA), I'd say you have a fairly good chance of doing well. How well IDK, but I would say if you enter a school where you are well above both median (LSAT/GPA) and work really hard there is a very good chance you will get very good grades. If you enter with median stats probably you can expect you are not going to be one of the very top students, but hard work may help make up for the fact there may be quite a few other students who are have more natural ability in certain regards, or perhaps just have better developed analytical skills going in to law school. Obviously there will be major exceptions to this type of speculation, but I think there is probably some truth to it in terms of reasonably expected outcomes.

It is also true, however, that there are tons of 'random' factors (as mentioned above) that can affect your grades which have nothing to do with your ability relative to peers or even your relative knowledge of a subject. Hopefully these types of factors play a minor role in the grades of most people (such as having a really bad test day), but unfortunately I think it may not be uncommon for grades to not accurately reflect relative ability and comprehension in some cases.

I wouldn't count on getting top grades if that is what you are thinking of- especially for the purpose of transferring. The general wisdom- and I think it is good- is to not go to a school you wouldn't truly be happy graduating from.

Bigsby
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Bigsby » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:09 am

I absolutely agree with the post before me. I'm not thinking of transferring. I'm just scared, as by just browsing these forums, I see people go "I got 3 A's but one B...am I FUCKED?" and then 3 people quickly responding "Yeah...basically...enjoy not having a job." I have the luxury of being able to afford the schools I go to because my family is wealthy. But this doesn't change the fact that I could be in a very bad situation if I don't do great, especially if it's not within my own control.

I was also wondering...is BigLaw the only way of making big money? For example, something about being lost within a sea of people at big law firms turns me off. I like more closely knit, intimate settings (smaller law firms) but are those just not an option anymore for people who like to make good money? There seems to be a lot of people here shooting for BigLaw (A LOT) and the grueling work hours, the dog eat dog world, and stuff like that makes me think that even with the big bucks, when do you have time to enjoy it? You also don't have a stable job, even if you do land one of these jobs. I know I'm just echoing the worries of everyone before me and after me but for me, I really want to do music entertainment law, and will try damn hard at it...but if I work my ass off to get into a top school, and then have whatever life plans I have thwarted because one of my grades dips..and then if I even get a job, having the risk of losing it quickly or being unable to break into a market (music) as hard as mine....I'm just scared...I don't mean to come off as complaining , it's just that I want to be a lawyer but it's so unforgiving and I feel like despite my strong work ethic, my life aspirations just are...laughable really...especially with Music as I discussed in a previous thread of mine.

Thank you for all your help though everyone, I don't mean to be a pain. I'm just another typical 0L worried about the future of his life hahaha




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