0L With A Question

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Eco
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Eco » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:31 am

Nobody here can say with a straight face that 3 As and 1 B will preclude you from a big law job or is in anyway bad. It gets bad if you have no As, or all Bs, or even lower.

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Lawquacious
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:39 am

..
Last edited by Lawquacious on Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Lawquacious
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:42 am

Eco wrote:Nobody here can say with a straight face that 3 As and 1 B will preclude you from a big law job or is in anyway bad. It gets bad if you have no As, or all Bs, or even lower.


Yes +1. Some on here exaggerate things, and others might be using sarcasm if you see comments telling someone with that type of grades to drop-out. Someone who is at or below median may have some real worries in terms of employment, but even then I disagree that TCR is usually 'drop-out' unless they really were only going into law for the money in the first place.

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blerg
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby blerg » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:16 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.


This is what happened for me, too. I killed property because it made sense for me all semester long. I got a B+ in torts and the difference between an A and a B+ was 2 multiple choice questions.

keg411
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby keg411 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:45 am

There is no way to "make" yourself do well. If you have your outlines mostly done by the time reading period starts and use that time to take PT's (and go over the first one with your professor), use supplements to reinforce things you are having trouble with and do both of the above with a small number of your classmates (teaching other people the material is the best way to learn it), you have done pretty much what you can do.

I do think there is some luck involved, but that's mostly in the form of "how your classmates did".

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traehekat
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby traehekat » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:53 am

I did pretty well and I guarantee there were people who worked much harder than me. I had plenty of time to go out, play video games, watch TV, play sports, etc. I probably had more time than I used since I spent a bit of it doing things I now feel I really didn't need to do (briefing for half the semester, for instance).

The kicker is I'm not really smart. There are plenty of people who not only worked harder than me, but are much smarter than me, too. So how do you get good grades if just working hard and being smart doesn't cut it (usually)? Well, start with reading all the great threads on here about doing well in law school. Then understand basically all of them tell you to "work smart." What this means is a little different for everyone, but generally it always includes a few things.

1. Practice Exams: If you aren't taking practice exams, I don't know what to say. You are cheating yourself out of the success by forgoing the most important thing you can do. It's just like the LSAT, or anything else in life for that matter - you need to practice the real thing. There are no substitutes.

2. Understand Professors: Every professor is different, and you should be paying attention to certain things they emphasize. This doesn't just mean paying attention in class, though. It means from day ONE knowing (roughly) what they have typically tested on by looking at old exams, and tailoring how you approach the class to that. Later in the semester see if your professor will discuss an old exam with you so you can get a feel for how they grade. This can be very insightful.

Hmm... I was going to list more, but honestly those are the biggest things, IMO. Stay on top of your reading, don't waste time briefing, outline early (if you are going to outline at all, there are some who don't and do fine, but I think most people find it a useful tool), use supplements (again, it's your prerogative but I found them to be essential to understanding the material, just keep in mind what I said about me not being smart, though), go to class, take good notes in class, and have some resource to turn to when you are struggling (whether it be friends, the professor, TLS, whatever - at some point you are going to be lost).

All in all, doing all these things does NOT eat up your whole day.

TheTallOne0602
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby TheTallOne0602 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:05 pm

random5483 wrote:
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.


Having not yet been there, this seems entirely reasonable to me, because this is exactly what undergrad is. In undergrad, the difference is that it is usually pretty obvious. But it is still a matter of figuring out what the professor wants.

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98234872348
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby 98234872348 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:13 pm

Bigsby wrote: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?

God no.

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prezidentv8
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:58 pm

TheTallOne0602 wrote:
random5483 wrote:
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.


Having not yet been there, this seems entirely reasonable to me, because this is exactly what undergrad is. In undergrad, the difference is that it is usually pretty obvious. But it is still a matter of figuring out what the professor wants.


That's getting closer. The "luck" aspect, I think, has a lot more to do with writing style and the fact that really, you have a very feeble idea of how these tests will be graded while you're taking them. Then, when you consider word-limited tests with too many issues to discuss, you have to factor in being selective about your level of detail and what issues you include.

I think that, overall, as much as there are standards involved, these vary (seemingly quite a bit) from professor to professor, and knowledge of the material itself can only get you so far (as the material is not usually very complicated, and most people can figure it out). To me, this is why practice tests/paying attention to professorial quirks seem to matter, and why the whole process feels so arbitrary and disconnected from anything I actually have learned. Of course, the experience varies from person to person, so fwiw, this is only my outlook on it. Is it luck? Probably not strictly. Is it arbitrary? Well, there are some standards, so probably not. Does it really feel like either luck or arbitrary distinctions that determine your grade? Oh yeah.

Here's my example, from discussing my 1L fall exams with two profs (not direct quotes, but paraphrased):

Prof 1: "Well, I think you spotted mostly all of the issues, but you go into too much detail. Get in, and get out on these things."
Prof 2: "Well, I think you spotted mostly all of the issues, but I needed you to go into more detail. Look here at point X - great observation, but then you didn't talk about it any more."

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kswiss
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby kswiss » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:56 pm

This bears repeating about luck:

The top of the class continually does well despite all of the "arbitrariness" of the grading. They will all tell you that it is not luck that put them there. The problem is that a bunch of kids around median get one high grade, so they think the others a fluke. In reality, the high grade is a fluke. These students are "lucky" to get a high grade, not unlucky that they aren't at the top of the class. The people at the top of the class systematically take apart the tests and are among the highest scorers despite any inherent arbitrariness in the system. You can't read a guide to figure out how to do that.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby BarbellDreams » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:12 pm

1. Define "making big money". Midlaw pays from 60-90K and they have better working hours unless you are in a midlaw firm that wants to become biglaw. I have a friend who works in midlaw firm that is fairly well known and has multiple offices around the country. They are trying to become biglaw so they work their attorneys to the bone. My friend says her "average" week is 80-90 hours with many weeks in the hundreds. All 0Ls think "Whatever, I am gonna have a huge paycheck I'll work I dont care", but you should realize 90 hours a week is roughly 13 hours a day if you work SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. SO assuming you have a 1 day break you are looking at a Mon-Sat schedule of getting to work at 7 a.m. and leaving at 10 p.m.. Sound good? Probably not. My friend hates it.
You can make money and be happy at other jobs (assuing you can get them with t14,grades,connections,etc.) and not work so much and have a life. I take a 60-70 hour work week for 75K over a 90 hour work week for 100K anyday.

2. In regards to grades, its simple. People that are below median will say its all luck and they got screwed. People above median will say its all talent and prep. I think its somewhere in between. Its hard to say some luck isn't involved. If your prof has a very bad day and grades your test on that day he might be pissed off and give you a lower grade, but if his daughter gave birth that day he is happy and grades everyone up. Thats life. With that said, its not all luck. We have people who sit around texting under the table on their phone while the prof is talking about what she wants on the final exam (Seriously, I can't make this type of stuff up, its really that bad). When you do that, you cant blame luck, you're just an idiot. Also, everyone has their own way of studying. I read Arrow's guide when I was a 0L, it helped, but I honestly didnt follow half of it because it didnt work for me. I hate going home, I need to stay in the library as long as possible to concentrate. I need to read supplements. I need to brief for 1 class and think brief is a waste for the other 3. I go to the gym all the time. This is just stuff that works for me, it may not work for you. Figure out what works for you and do it without listening in and getting nervous because others are doing stuff differently. That last sentence is the single best advice anyone here can give you.

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swc65
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby swc65 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:17 pm

Bronte wrote: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.



OMG this is why I bought heavy paper for my take home exam. I also stapled it several times to add weight to one corner in order to avoid blowback.

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Veyron
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Veyron » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:33 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:1. Define "making big money". Midlaw pays from 60-90K and they have better working hours unless you are in a midlaw firm that wants to become biglaw. I have a friend who works in midlaw firm that is fairly well known and has multiple offices around the country. They are trying to become biglaw so they work their attorneys to the bone. My friend says her "average" week is 80-90 hours with many weeks in the hundreds. All 0Ls think "Whatever, I am gonna have a huge paycheck I'll work I dont care", but you should realize 90 hours a week is roughly 13 hours a day if you work SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. SO assuming you have a 1 day break you are looking at a Mon-Sat schedule of getting to work at 7 a.m. and leaving at 10 p.m.. Sound good? Probably not. My friend hates it.
You can make money and be happy at other jobs (assuing you can get them with t14,grades,connections,etc.) and not work so much and have a life. I take a 60-70 hour work week for 75K over a 90 hour work week for 100K anyday.

2. In regards to grades, its simple. People that are below median will say its all luck and they got screwed. People above median will say its all talent and prep. I think its somewhere in between. Its hard to say some luck isn't involved. If your prof has a very bad day and grades your test on that day he might be pissed off and give you a lower grade, but if his daughter gave birth that day he is happy and grades everyone up. Thats life. With that said, its not all luck. We have people who sit around texting under the table on their phone while the prof is talking about what she wants on the final exam (Seriously, I can't make this type of stuff up, its really that bad). When you do that, you cant blame luck, you're just an idiot. Also, everyone has their own way of studying. I read Arrow's guide when I was a 0L, it helped, but I honestly didnt follow half of it because it didnt work for me. I hate going home, I need to stay in the library as long as possible to concentrate. I need to read supplements. I need to brief for 1 class and think brief is a waste for the other 3. I go to the gym all the time. This is just stuff that works for me, it may not work for you. Figure out what works for you and do it without listening in and getting nervous because others are doing stuff differently. That last sentence is the single best advice anyone here can give you.


7-10 sounds like crap but I wouldn't mind 11-2.

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JCougar
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby JCougar » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:16 am

kswiss wrote:This bears repeating about luck:

The top of the class continually does well despite all of the "arbitrariness" of the grading. They will all tell you that it is not luck that put them there. The problem is that a bunch of kids around median get one high grade, so they think the others a fluke. In reality, the high grade is a fluke. These students are "lucky" to get a high grade, not unlucky that they aren't at the top of the class. The people at the top of the class systematically take apart the tests and are among the highest scorers despite any inherent arbitrariness in the system. You can't read a guide to figure out how to do that.


What about people who get all good grades, but get totally screwed in one class?

Believe me, sometimes it does come down to luck. It might happen to you one day. You might get a bullshit test from a professor that's leaving that has nothing to do with what you've studied all semester, and asks purely subjective questions.

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JCougar
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby JCougar » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:22 am

blerg wrote:This is what happened for me, too. I killed property because it made sense for me all semester long. I got a B+ in torts and the difference between an A and a B+ was 2 multiple choice questions.


Property made sense to me all semester long, too. I memorized my entire outline, read two supplements in the class, did great on my practice tests, explained the concepts to others...

Then I got a test that had little to do with the course material and scored well below median. Sometimes law exams are just a roll of the dice.

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kswiss
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby kswiss » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:56 am

JCougar wrote:
blerg wrote:This is what happened for me, too. I killed property because it made sense for me all semester long. I got a B+ in torts and the difference between an A and a B+ was 2 multiple choice questions.


Property made sense to me all semester long, too. I memorized my entire outline, read two supplements in the class, did great on my practice tests, explained the concepts to others...

Then I got a test that had little to do with the course material and scored well below median. Sometimes law exams are just a roll of the dice.


I see how people would think its a roll of the dice, because for you, it was. You felt prepared and it didn't work out. But there are a couple of people in your section/class that the "roll of the dice" theory didn't apply to. The people well into the single digits in % rank might never see anything below an A- through all of LS.

Your property test is a great example. If you scored well below median, that means that most of the class knew how to answer an off the wall question better than you. It seems possible that you missed some key piece of info/line of thought somewhere in the semester that would have allowed you to score better. All I'm saying is that some people don't miss those things.

BUT: I think you're experience is extremely typical even of very talented exam takers. I think that this really gets to the potential problem with the OP and most 0Ls (including me 6 mos ago.) You can't plan on doing well. 1 fluke class and your big plans are out the window. And there really isn't a way to tell how you'll do against the curve until you get your grades. So...don't plan on going to law school and killing grades. Plan on going to law school and getting median, and you better be happy with those results at the school you choose. Otherwise its a potentially destructive life choice.

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Lawquacious
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:20 am

kswiss wrote:
JCougar wrote:
blerg wrote:This is what happened for me, too. I killed property because it made sense for me all semester long. I got a B+ in torts and the difference between an A and a B+ was 2 multiple choice questions.


Property made sense to me all semester long, too. I memorized my entire outline, read two supplements in the class, did great on my practice tests, explained the concepts to others...

Then I got a test that had little to do with the course material and scored well below median. Sometimes law exams are just a roll of the dice.


I see how people would think its a roll of the dice, because for you, it was. You felt prepared and it didn't work out. But there are a couple of people in your section/class that the "roll of the dice" theory didn't apply to. The people well into the single digits in % rank might never see anything below an A- through all of LS.

Your property test is a great example. If you scored well below median, that means that most of the class knew how to answer an off the wall question better than you. It seems possible that you missed some key piece of info/line of thought somewhere in the semester that would have allowed you to score better. All I'm saying is that some people don't miss those things.

BUT: I think you're experience is extremely typical even of very talented exam takers. I think that this really gets to the potential problem with the OP and most 0Ls (including me 6 mos ago.) You can't plan on doing well. 1 fluke class and your big plans are out the window. And there really isn't a way to tell how you'll do against the curve until you get your grades. So...don't plan on going to law school and killing grades. Plan on going to law school and getting median, and you better be happy with those results at the school you choose. Otherwise its a potentially destructive life choice.


:| I think I agree somewhat with where you're coming from insofar as there may be certain students at each school who are far enough ahead of the pack where even on somewhat of an off day they will overall still perform toward the top of the class. I think you exaggerate this effect though and seem to take it for granted that there is always a very clear dividing line between the best and everyone else. If you compare people at the top of a class to those at the bottom then of course you will see big differences, but I think you are assuming that those differences are more immutable categorically than they necessarily are by focusing on the extremes by implication- the exceptions at the top or bottom. Most people, by definition, fall somewhere in the middle.

It's also possible that some of the most brilliant aren't the most stable people; someone who may be way ahead of the pack in general comprehension and ability may not score according to his or her ability on a REALLY off day. You acknowledged this above to some extent, but it seems to me like you aren't fully acknowledging that there is a margin of error even for some the the graders who tend to be way toward the top. I think your post history on this page implies that you feel like you could never make the type of mistakes that could cause you to score significantly less than your ability, and that you could never have a teacher who gives material or has a grading style that you can't compensate fully for through ability. I suppose if you're a full scholarship student at a school where you went in objectively way above performance medians or otherwise you are consistently #1 in your class or top 1% that attitude may be justified, but other than that I think there are few students who this logic of being heads and tails above others really applies to as categorically as you seem to think. Some yes, but again those are the ones coming in with the full scholly in the first place (and even then they are far from guaranteed to getting all As). But while I think your assessment is exaggerated, it is intersting and I do tend to agree with the gist of it.

Apart from my perhaps somewhat harsh critique, I definitely don't think grading is by any means mostly arbitrary.

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solotee
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby solotee » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:38 am

kswiss wrote:This bears repeating about luck:

The top of the class continually does well despite all of the "arbitrariness" of the grading. They will all tell you that it is not luck that put them there. The problem is that a bunch of kids around median get one high grade, so they think the others a fluke. In reality, the high grade is a fluke. These students are "lucky" to get a high grade, not unlucky that they aren't at the top of the class. The people at the top of the class systematically take apart the tests and are among the highest scorers despite any inherent arbitrariness in the system. You can't read a guide to figure out how to do that.


I respectively disagree. I too scored into the top 2% this semester at a T30, and I heavily relied on TLS and its guides to keep me on track during the semester in terms of preparation. Without them, I guarantee I'd be in the lower half of class (I am not a good test-taker, but learned how to be one).

And luck plays a bigger role when the curve is very tight. For example, my lowest grade on a property exam was an A- (89/100). My friend got a B (85/100), which is below median. The prof. graded it subjectively by looking at the essays, and assigning a number to them based on how he felt.

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kswiss
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby kswiss » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:50 am

I reread my posts in this thread and I sound like a cocky jackass which is far from my intention. I live in total fear this semester that I will screw up what I have going. By no means do I believe that I am necessarily one of the people I describe. I just know of those people in the upper classes at my school. So rather than think that they're lucky, I think that it's possible that they might have something that the rest of the talented people don't.

Also, ill stand by my contention that you can't really learn how to be an elite grader. If a school made gtm and leews and all of the tls guides required reading, I think the curve would tighten a little and be muddier in the middle, but I think the same people would be at the top.

I don't mean to be a cock though. I just want 0Ls that read this to realize that grades are largely out of your control.

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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby hjag » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:06 pm

kswiss wrote:I reread my posts in this thread and I sound like a cocky jackass which is far from my intention. I live in total fear this semester that I will screw up what I have going. By no means do I believe that I am necessarily one of the people I describe. I just know of those people in the upper classes at my school. So rather than think that they're lucky, I think that it's possible that they might have something that the rest of the talented people don't.

Also, ill stand by my contention that you can't really learn how to be an elite grader. If a school made gtm and leews and all of the tls guides required reading, I think the curve would tighten a little and be muddier in the middle, but I think the same people would be at the top.

I don't mean to be a cock though. I just want 0Ls that read this to realize that grades are largely out of your control.


FWIW, my brother (who is a 1L now) tells me that all the time. He's at a t20 and did pretty well in his ugrad courses, too.

keg411
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby keg411 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:15 pm

I kind of agree with kswiss. I mean, I would recommend reading GTM and the guides to give you somewhat of an idea of what to expect, but I don't think one needs to follow them to a T (especially since there are differences). Also, I never picked up LEEWS in my life or did any real 0L prep. I think there are a few generally important principles (take PT's, try and tailor your exams to what your profs want, apply the law to the facts, etc.)... but I don't think there is a single way to get there.

BTW, I'm also somewhere in the top 5% range after first semester (at a TT). I'm also terrified on whether or not I can "repeat" next semester. Even if you do it once, you realize how difficult it really is to get A's in law school.

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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby xyzbca » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:27 pm

kswiss and Keg, I understand the feeling of being terrified about repeating performance. I now have 3 rounds of exams under my belt, am significantly above the top 10% cutoff at my T50 school and am just now to the point where I feel confident in my ability to perform well on an exam. With that said, some anxiety will always be there. I know that I won't get any sympathy for the following comment but it is true: going into an exam with a B curve knowing that an A- will lower your overall GPA sucks.

As far as what it takes to do well, I second everybody that says getting to know your professor is important. I know that I'm not any smarter than my classmates nor do I work any harder than them. However, by about the third week of class I'm usually to the point where I can finish a professor's sentences and know exactly where the lectures are heading.

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JCougar
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Re: 0L With A Question

Postby JCougar » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:52 pm

kswiss wrote:
JCougar wrote:
blerg wrote:This is what happened for me, too. I killed property because it made sense for me all semester long. I got a B+ in torts and the difference between an A and a B+ was 2 multiple choice questions.


Property made sense to me all semester long, too. I memorized my entire outline, read two supplements in the class, did great on my practice tests, explained the concepts to others...

Then I got a test that had little to do with the course material and scored well below median. Sometimes law exams are just a roll of the dice.


I see how people would think its a roll of the dice, because for you, it was. You felt prepared and it didn't work out. But there are a couple of people in your section/class that the "roll of the dice" theory didn't apply to. The people well into the single digits in % rank might never see anything below an A- through all of LS.

Your property test is a great example. If you scored well below median, that means that most of the class knew how to answer an off the wall question better than you. It seems possible that you missed some key piece of info/line of thought somewhere in the semester that would have allowed you to score better. All I'm saying is that some people don't miss those things.

BUT: I think you're experience is extremely typical even of very talented exam takers. I think that this really gets to the potential problem with the OP and most 0Ls (including me 6 mos ago.) You can't plan on doing well. 1 fluke class and your big plans are out the window. And there really isn't a way to tell how you'll do against the curve until you get your grades. So...don't plan on going to law school and killing grades. Plan on going to law school and getting median, and you better be happy with those results at the school you choose. Otherwise its a potentially destructive life choice.


But there's also examples of posters on here that have pretty much gotten all As or A-s except for one class where the professor gave a totally weird exam without warning. So whatever talent they had to get them mostly As or A-s simply didn't apply to one class. There's random variation in all tests, especially ones as open-ended and subjective as law school exams. Even multiple choice tests have a certain amount of random variation, and in those tests, the professor's ego is far less a factor in the grading process. Imagine when you take away the objectivity of the grading process...that random variation only expands.

Even if you are extremely talented, there's always room for flukes. So the lesson there is if you want biglaw, go to a school where you can afford a fluke grade and still manage to accomplish your goal. I can still overcome my property grade, but it's going to take me bumping it up a notch and meeting with my old professors to see how I can improve, and taking more practice tests this coming semester. And praying that I don't have another fluke like property. I don't think I will, because my property professor was very young and inexperienced, and was only a visiting lecturer, and not a tenure track professor. I've got some heavily credentialed professors this year...so if I can't make it up in their classes, than I probably deserve what I get.




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