The difference between an A and a B

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uzpakalis
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby uzpakalis » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:54 am

All of the above is solid advice. However, how do you attack Con Law exams that are open book take homes with restrictive word counts?

nymario
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby nymario » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:21 am

random5483 wrote:I am only a 1L, but after taking Fall exams, I feel qualified to comment.


1. Organize your paper. Use solid headings and make it easy to read. Professor's grade many paper's and the easier time they have understanding what you say, the better.



another protip is to learn when not to use apostrophes.

random5483
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby random5483 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:00 pm

nymario wrote:
random5483 wrote:I am only a 1L, but after taking Fall exams, I feel qualified to comment.


1. Organize your paper. Use solid headings and make it easy to read. Professor's grade many paper's and the easier time they have understanding what you say, the better.



another protip is to learn when not to use apostrophes.



I have to disagree with you. Professors do not care about misplaced apostrophes. Well most of them don't unless your exam is filled with grammatical errors. Anyways, finding fault with my grammar is kind of silly, especially when I am posting around finals (ie. I am extremely tired). Basically, the last thing I am worried about or looking at is the grammar/spelling of my posts. This is not an email I am sending to an employer.

Anyways, perhaps I should pay closer attention to what I write; however, your advice is incorrect because the vast majority of professors do not deduct points for occasional grammatical errors in final exams.

nymario
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby nymario » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:03 pm

random5483 wrote:
nymario wrote:
random5483 wrote:I am only a 1L, but after taking Fall exams, I feel qualified to comment.


1. Organize your paper. Use solid headings and make it easy to read. Professor's grade many paper's and the easier time they have understanding what you say, the better.



another protip is to learn when not to use apostrophes.



I have to disagree with you. Professors do not care about misplaced apostrophes. Well most of them don't unless your exam is filled with grammatical errors. Anyways, finding fault with my grammar is kind of silly, especially when I am posting around finals (ie. I am extremely tired). Basically, the last thing I am worried about or looking at is the grammar/spelling of my posts. This is not an email I am sending to an employer.

Anyways, perhaps I should pay closer attention to what I write; however, your advice is incorrect because the vast majority of professors do not deduct points for occasional grammatical errors in final exams.


Obviously all professors are different, but I know several who are downright anal about it. You don't lose much by being a little careful, unless you're downright slammed for time. I agree that if you have little time, spend more effort on content. However, if you can afford it, by all means proofread.

czelede
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby czelede » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:23 pm

Tagging this for future reference :)

random5483
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby random5483 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:04 pm

nymario wrote:
random5483 wrote:
nymario wrote:
random5483 wrote:I am only a 1L, but after taking Fall exams, I feel qualified to comment.


1. Organize your paper. Use solid headings and make it easy to read. Professor's grade many paper's and the easier time they have understanding what you say, the better.



another protip is to learn when not to use apostrophes.



I have to disagree with you. Professors do not care about misplaced apostrophes. Well most of them don't unless your exam is filled with grammatical errors. Anyways, finding fault with my grammar is kind of silly, especially when I am posting around finals (ie. I am extremely tired). Basically, the last thing I am worried about or looking at is the grammar/spelling of my posts. This is not an email I am sending to an employer.

Anyways, perhaps I should pay closer attention to what I write; however, your advice is incorrect because the vast majority of professors do not deduct points for occasional grammatical errors in final exams.


Obviously all professors are different, but I know several who are downright anal about it. You don't lose much by being a little careful, unless you're downright slammed for time. I agree that if you have little time, spend more effort on content. However, if you can afford it, by all means proofread.





Proof-reading is always nice. However, I am not writing an exam here, and proof-reading is the last thing on my mind. Moreover, most professors do not grade you down for minor grammatical issues. Granted, I am sure some do, but part of our job as law students is to figure out how professors grade. Find out ahead of time if they "slam" you for grammatical errors. For me personally, the only professor who has looked at grammar so far is my legal writing professor (which is to be expected).

nymario
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby nymario » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:15 pm

here is a sample of part of the instructions my crim professor gives:

In grading, both substantive analysis and writing style, particularly organization, will be considered.


But I think we're in agreement that you need to know what your professor wants, and then produce it. My Torts professor told us that he takes off for incorrect statements of the law and frivolous arguments in light of the facts, where others simply give points out for hitting something on the checklist.

Anyone's mileage will vary, but if you can help it -- I certainly would argue for trying to ensure a well proofread exam. Even if a professor says they don't take form into account, it will subconsciously enter into their evaluative process.

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loblaw
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby loblaw » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:19 pm

tag

pereira6
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby pereira6 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:26 pm

You're It.

ogurty
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby ogurty » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:16 pm

nymario wrote:here is a sample of part of the instructions my crim professor gives:

In grading, both substantive analysis and writing style, particularly organization, will be considered.


But I think we're in agreement that you need to know what your professor wants, and then produce it. My Torts professor told us that he takes off for incorrect statements of the law and frivolous arguments in light of the facts, where others simply give points out for hitting something on the checklist.

Anyone's mileage will vary, but if you can help it -- I certainly would argue for trying to ensure a well proofread exam. Even if a professor says they don't take form into account, it will subconsciously enter into their evaluative process.


Find my any example of any professor's who would take any point's off for student's improper use of apostrophe's in their exam's, and I'll eat my hat. I'll eat all my hat's. You were just being a nitpicky grammar policeman.

Everyone knows that professors will tend to grade lower if the exam is difficult to read. That's a far cry, though, from missing a couple apostrophes - or any other technical grammar error that has no bearing whatsoever on style.

forty-two
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby forty-two » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:22 pm

There is some excellent advice in this thread. I'd just like to add a few more things and emphasize some points.

1. Get to know your professor's style. Does he want case analogies? Does he want lots of issues and cursory analysis, fewer issues and in depth analysis with lots of counterarguments and policy points, or something in between? Does he want written out rule statements? What about conclusions? Will you get extra points if you play with the facts and come up with some off the wall issues or will your professor just be annoyed if you do that? Professors are all looking for different things, so you shouldn't be writing all of your exams the same way.
2. Make every fact matter. Your prof included it for a reason, you just need to figure out what the heck that reason is. I'd even say to explain away a red herring if you ever get one by explaining what issue many might think the fact brought up and why it actually doesn't/why it isn't relevant.
3. Manage your time well. I schedule every freaking minute of my exams, so if I'm running out of time on a question I write out as much as I can and then move on, and if I have time at the end I'll go back to it. So many people I know spend way too much time on the first essay or two and run out of time at the end.
4. Someone already said this, but it's so important to organize your answers. Just taking a few minutes to outline an answer before writing can make a world of difference. I've talked to a few of my professors about exams, and they have all said that it's just easier to give points to a well organized essay because they don't have to hunt for the relevant issues or arguments.
5. Lastly, like someone already said, just keep going with your analysis even if you think something won't work. This seemed weird to me at first, but it should get you a ton of points, and it kind of makes sense if you think about it. You never know for sure what a judge or jury will do, so you should always be prepared for all contingencies.

forty-two
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby forty-two » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:26 pm

ogurty wrote:Find my any example of any professor's who would take any point's off for student's improper use of apostrophe's in their exam's, and I'll eat my hat. I'll eat all my hat's. You were just being a nitpicky grammar policeman.

Everyone knows that professors will tend to grade lower if the exam is difficult to read. That's a far cry, though, from missing a couple apostrophes - or any other technical grammar error that has no bearing whatsoever on style.

+1 I try to write out well thought out, organized essays, but I can't spell, I always have a ton of typos, and I tend to use run on sentences when I'm rushing. Obviously it's best to avoid these things, but if your arguments are clear and easy to understand and your grammar/spelling issues aren't too egregious, it shouldn't really be a problem.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:43 pm

DaydreamBeliever wrote:The difference between an A and a B


How far your professor can throw your exam. HTH.

Here's a complete explanation from a law school professor:

It’s that time of year again. Students have taken their finals, and now it is time to grade them. It is something professors have been looking forward to all semester. Exactness in grading is a well-honed skill, taking considerable expertise and years of practice to master. The purpose of this post is to serve as a guide to young professors about how to perfect their grading skills and as a way for students to learn the mysterious science of how their grades are determined.

Grading begins with the stack of exams, shown in Figure 1 below.

Image

The next step is to use the most precise grading method possible. There never is 100% accuracy in grading essay exams, as subjective elements can never be eradicated from the process. Numerous methods have been proposed throughout history, but there is one method that has clearly been proven superior to the others. See Figure 2 below.

Image

The key to this method is a good toss. Without a good toss, it is difficult to get a good spread for the grading curve. It is also important to get the toss correct on the first try. Exams can get crumpled if tossed too much. They begin to look as though the professor actually read them, and this is definitely to be avoided. Additional tosses are also inefficient and expend needless time and energy. Note the toss in Figure 3 below. This is an example of a toss of considerable skill — obviously the result of years of practice.

Image

Note in Figure 3 above that the exams are evenly spread out, enabling application of the curve. Here, however, is where the experts diverge. Some contend that the curve ought to be applied as in Figure 4 below, with the exams at the bottom of the staircase to receive a lower grade than the ones higher up on the staircase.

Image

According to this theory, quality is understood as a function of being toward the top, and thus the best exams clearly are to be found in this position. Others, however, propose an alternative theory (Figure 5 below).

Image

They contend that that the exams at the bottom deserve higher grades than the ones at the top. While many professors still practice the top-higher-grade approach, the leading authorities subscribe to the bottom-higher-grade theory, despite its counterintuitive appearance. The rationale for this view is that the exams that fall lower on the staircase have more heft and have traveled farther. The greater distance traveled indicates greater knowledge of the subject matter. The bottom higher-grade approach is clearly the most logical and best-justified approach.
Even with the grade curve lines established, grading is far from completed. Several exams teeter between levels. The key is to measure the extent of what is referred to as “exam protrusion.” Exams that have small portions extending below the grade line should receive a minus; exams with protrusions above the grade lines receive a plus.
But what about exams that are right in the middle of a line. In Figure 6 below, this exam teeters between the A and B line. Should it receive and A- or a B+?

Image
This is a difficult question, but I believe it is clearly an A-. The exam is already bending toward the next stair, and in the bottom-higher-grade approach, it is leaning toward the A-. Therefore, this student deserves the A- since momentum is clearly in that direction.
Finally, there are some finer points about grading that only true masters have understood. Consider the exam in Figure 7 below. Although it appears on the C stair and seems to be protruding onto the B stair, at first glance, one would think it should receive a grade of C+. But not so. A careful examination reveals that the exam is crumpled. Clearly this is an indication of a sloppy exam performance, and the grade must reflect this fact. The appropriate grade is C-.

Image

One final example, consider in Figure 8 below the circled exam that is is very far away from the others at the bottom of the staircase. Is this an A+?

Image

Novices would think so, as the exam has separated itself a considerable distance from the rest of the pack. However, the correct grade for this exam is a B. The exam has traveled too far away from the pack, and will lead to extra effort on the part of the grader to retrieve the exam. Therefore, the exam must be penalized for this obvious flaw.
As you can see, grading takes considerable time and effort. But students can be assured that modern grading techniques will produce the most precise and accurate grading possible, assuming professors have achieved mastery of the necessary grading skills.


See: http://www.concurringopinions.com/archi ... _grad.html

DaydreamBeliever
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Re: The difference between an A and a B

Postby DaydreamBeliever » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:00 pm

I feel that I was adequately prepared for today's crim test and I appreciate everyone's help.

Next step. Con Law.




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