How to improve 1L Second Semester?

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adonai
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How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby adonai » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:50 pm

Wondering if there are any upperclassmen who can add their insight as to how they improved from a soso 1st semester and did a lot better/killed it second semester. I'd imagine it would be harder to improve now that everyone knows what they did wrong and will give it one final shot before deciding to drop out. Thing is, I don't know what I did wrong as I pretty much did all the things the guides on here told me + advice from successful upperclassmen at my school. I outlined (made almost three different outlines for each class), frontloaded my work, did all readings and briefed every case, spent lot of time on LRW, went to office hours frequently, reviewed practice tests, read supplements etc.
Last edited by adonai on Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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beach_terror
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Re: 1L Second Semester Improvement Thread

Postby beach_terror » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:54 pm

Went from ~top 33% to top 15%. The biggest factor in changing things around is accepting you've done something wrong and meticulously working at it to fix it. My issue was too much writing without putting a fine enough point on my analysis. I basically had to restrain myself as I wrote my exam answer and visualize it more fully before I started writing. I also had a few stylistic issues with my attack outlines that I rectified. FWIW, I should have 4.0'd second semester but got a B in my 5 credit property (3 other doctrinal classes were all As) for reasons I won't get into, and I'm generally an idiot, so anyone can turn it around.

Get in there and review the exam and be sure to take their critique to heart. I got the above advice from my crim teacher, who many considered a ridiculous/arbitrary grader, and it made all the difference.

WSJ_Law
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby WSJ_Law » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:46 pm

LOL at 5-credit property

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YourCaptain
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby YourCaptain » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:05 pm

adonai wrote:Wondering if there are any upperclassmen who can add their insight as to how they improved from a soso 1st semester and did a lot better/killed it second semester. I'd imagine it would be harder to improve now that everyone knows what they did wrong and will give it one final shot before deciding to drop out. Thing is, I don't know what I did wrong as I pretty much did all the things the guides on here told me + advice from successful upperclassmen at my school. I outlined (made almost three different outlines for each class), frontloaded my work, did all readings and briefed every case, spent lot of time on LRW, went to office hours frequently, reviewed practice tests, read supplements etc.


this just sounds like too much work. ive seen you advocate for outlining from day 1; start your outlines mid way, or 2/3 there, so that you can see the forest for the trees, etc. you also dont need 3 outlines; make 1 for each class.

did doing all of that help you know the material? if so, then stick with it, but talk to profs and figure out what you did wrong on the exams.

to be honest, if i did everything you did id be completely burnt out.

Geist13
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby Geist13 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:18 pm

I had median grades first semester. Top 5% grades second semester. Here are the things that I attribute to my success. 1)75% of my second semester classes had 8 hr. take home exams with strict word limits while I had 0 take homes during first semester. The take home with strict word limit suits me much better since I'm not as quick on my feet and don't memorize things very well. I can write well and concisely but generally need time to think things through. 2) I didn't do nearly as much work second semester. I didn't use any supplements which I used in every class first semester. I just did the readings and quickly briefed them in couple sentences. I studied and prepared well for exams, but wasn't stressed and had a general "I just don't give a fuck" attitude.

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kalvano
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby kalvano » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:23 pm

I started visiting more with professors to learn their individual styles, and going over model exam answers with them to learn what they like and don't like.

Also, I found this book extraordinarily helpful -

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/031418 ... QDHVHXK22B

bujd
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby bujd » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:05 pm

I've got the same question as the OP. I outlined early, avoided briefing, used the recommended supplements, read ahead, read GTM, did LEEWS, read the above book, and did practice exams for weeks before finals. However, I ended up at around 30%.

I'm worried that given I was ahead of the game in these departments compared to my classmates, that this coming semester I'm going to fall behind. Any recommendations on how to improve besides just talking with the teachers? I know that is the recommended course of action. However, I had some well known oddballs for professors, and although I'm sure the advice they could give me would help for their class, I don't know it will help in the future. I'll go anyways, but just looking for anything else besides that boilerplate advice.

Sandro
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby Sandro » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:09 pm

1.5L, I'm gearing my studies toward the exam from day 1 now that I know what the F is going on....
Last edited by Sandro on Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FeelTheHeat
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby FeelTheHeat » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:12 pm

Sandro wrote:.5L, I'm gearing my studies toward the exam from day 1 now that I know what the F is going on....


LOL

Complete opposite...I'm fucking chilling this semester...burnt out in late November...law school isn't hard...if you know how to take a test you can learn the material in three days...I'm mostly focusing on legal reasoning and test taking the next few months

adonai
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby adonai » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:21 pm

Geist13 wrote: I didn't do nearly as much work second semester. I didn't use any supplements which I used in every class first semester. I just did the readings and quickly briefed them in couple sentences. I studied and prepared well for exams, but wasn't stressed and had a general "I just don't give a fuck" attitude.

My profs don't give take home exams, they are all traditional issue spotters. I think I am going to take your approach, and am definitely leaning towards it because that's how I generally feel right now. I didn't even do any of the readings so far (something unheard of first semester) and I feel so badass 8) . The whole "go see your prof." approach doesn't seem like it will work. Why should I review with a prof. that I won't even have anymore? Every prof. is different and has their own preference and I definitely focused on that first semester. I didn't do super bad, or super good, but considering the amount I studied and invested it was a great let down. Will end up anywhere from top third to top 10 percent (must CALI both classes to get it) depending on last two grades I'm waiting for.

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kalvano
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby kalvano » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:29 pm

adonai wrote:The whole "go see your prof." approach doesn't seem like it will work.



To be clear, I am referring to before the exam. Finding an old exam, writing a model answer to it, and going over it with the professor before taking their exam.

wjs
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby wjs » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:48 pm

First semester I had top 15% grades, second semester I had top 5% grades.

First semester I did all my outlining and reviewing a month before finals. I relied heavily on other outlines, class notes, CALI, and old BarBri books (First Year Review and Multistate Practice Questions). I did much if not most of my reading though no briefing beyond the first month or so.

Second semester I did no reading unless I knew I was going to recite. I outlined and reviewed throughout the semester. Then a month or so before finals, I finished up my outline based on my notes, compared it to other outlines in the student database, and then continually refined it until I had it down to about four pages (all of my classes except one were closed note and closed book). I took many, many practice tests. I did some CALI stuff but did not find it very helpful. I also did not use the BarBri stuff.

No supplements, study groups, or meeting with profs either semester.

Most important/helpful things for me -
1) Practice tests, especially ones from your prof if possible - they are invaluable especially if you can get model answers
2) Take good notes and pay attention in class
3) Review early and throughout the semester - whether this means outlining or not depends on the individual, but at the very least don't wait till the end to review everything

Geist13
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby Geist13 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:00 pm

wjs wrote:2) Take good notes and pay attention in class


Oh I forgot to add this. In the class I got an A+ in (CALI) I had prepared answers for two of the questions. Basically there were two spots in my notes where I had written "its weird that he's focusing so much on this, think a lot about it before exam" and proceeded to take verbatim notes on what he said. Both issues ended up on the exam, and not only did I have verbatim notes on what he said in class, but I had literally prepared an answer for the exact scenario based on what he said in class which I dropped right into my outline. I would have gotten a good grade in that class had I not done it (the two questions were only worth maybe 20% of the exam combined), but it was definitely the reason I got an A+ and the best grade in the class.

nStiver
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby nStiver » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:44 am

FeelTheHeat wrote:
Sandro wrote:if you know how to take a test you can learn the material in three days


Good luck with that :D Seriously though, I could learn the material in a month if I really hit it hard, its the test taking skills that one needs to improve. I don't have my grades back yet, but I know I did so-so. Really going to hit those practice exams this semester.

nStiver
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby nStiver » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:46 am

wjs wrote:First semester I had top 15% grades, second semester I had top 5% grades.

First semester I did all my outlining and reviewing a month before finals. I relied heavily on other outlines, class notes, CALI, and old BarBri books (First Year Review and Multistate Practice Questions). I did much if not most of my reading though no briefing beyond the first month or so.

Second semester I did no reading unless I knew I was going to recite. I outlined and reviewed throughout the semester. Then a month or so before finals, I finished up my outline based on my notes, compared it to other outlines in the student database, and then continually refined it until I had it down to about four pages (all of my classes except one were closed note and closed book). I took many, many practice tests. I did some CALI stuff but did not find it very helpful. I also did not use the BarBri stuff.

No supplements, study groups, or meeting with profs either semester.

Most important/helpful things for me -
1) Practice tests, especially ones from your prof if possible - they are invaluable especially if you can get model answers
2) Take good notes and pay attention in class
3) Review early and throughout the semester - whether this means outlining or not depends on the individual, but at the very least don't wait till the end to review everything


Damn that's impressive. When you say you did no reading, do you mean that you relied entirely on class notes and outlines from the database? Well done man (or girl) I admire your skills.

wjs
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby wjs » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:38 am

nStiver wrote:
wjs wrote:First semester I had top 15% grades, second semester I had top 5% grades.

First semester I did all my outlining and reviewing a month before finals. I relied heavily on other outlines, class notes, CALI, and old BarBri books (First Year Review and Multistate Practice Questions). I did much if not most of my reading though no briefing beyond the first month or so.

Second semester I did no reading unless I knew I was going to recite. I outlined and reviewed throughout the semester. Then a month or so before finals, I finished up my outline based on my notes, compared it to other outlines in the student database, and then continually refined it until I had it down to about four pages (all of my classes except one were closed note and closed book). I took many, many practice tests. I did some CALI stuff but did not find it very helpful. I also did not use the BarBri stuff.

No supplements, study groups, or meeting with profs either semester.

Most important/helpful things for me -
1) Practice tests, especially ones from your prof if possible - they are invaluable especially if you can get model answers
2) Take good notes and pay attention in class
3) Review early and throughout the semester - whether this means outlining or not depends on the individual, but at the very least don't wait till the end to review everything


Damn that's impressive. When you say you did no reading, do you mean that you relied entirely on class notes and outlines from the database? Well done man (or girl) I admire your skills.


yes almost exclusively my notes and outlines from the database - only time I read was to prepare for recitation (which I knew ahead of time for most of my classes)

it is important to note though that 3 of my 4 exams were closed note/book, which makes knowing cases far less important

however even for open note/book exams, cases were all discussed in class, so they were in my notes anyway

obviously your mileage may vary but with graded lrw reading the casebook proved to be largely a waste of time since i showed up to class, took good notes, and paid attention

anyway knowing the material is really only half the battle - As are made or lost based on how well you can write an exam

nStiver
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby nStiver » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:26 am

wjs wrote:
nStiver wrote:
wjs wrote:First semester I had top 15% grades, second semester I had top 5% grades.

First semester I did all my outlining and reviewing a month before finals. I relied heavily on other outlines, class notes, CALI, and old BarBri books (First Year Review and Multistate Practice Questions). I did much if not most of my reading though no briefing beyond the first month or so.

Second semester I did no reading unless I knew I was going to recite. I outlined and reviewed throughout the semester. Then a month or so before finals, I finished up my outline based on my notes, compared it to other outlines in the student database, and then continually refined it until I had it down to about four pages (all of my classes except one were closed note and closed book). I took many, many practice tests. I did some CALI stuff but did not find it very helpful. I also did not use the BarBri stuff.

No supplements, study groups, or meeting with profs either semester.

Most important/helpful things for me -
1) Practice tests, especially ones from your prof if possible - they are invaluable especially if you can get model answers
2) Take good notes and pay attention in class
3) Review early and throughout the semester - whether this means outlining or not depends on the individual, but at the very least don't wait till the end to review everything


Damn that's impressive. When you say you did no reading, do you mean that you relied entirely on class notes and outlines from the database? Well done man (or girl) I admire your skills.


yes almost exclusively my notes and outlines from the database - only time I read was to prepare for recitation (which I knew ahead of time for most of my classes)

it is important to note though that 3 of my 4 exams were closed note/book, which makes knowing cases far less important

however even for open note/book exams, cases were all discussed in class, so they were in my notes anyway

obviously your mileage may vary but with graded lrw reading the casebook proved to be largely a waste of time since i showed up to class, took good notes, and paid attention

anyway knowing the material is really only half the battle - As are made or lost based on how well you can write an exam


How many practice tests did you take per class? Did you rely on any sort of exam taking system, like LEEWS or Getting to Maybe?

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robin600
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby robin600 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:26 pm

First semester I made the mistake of studying the traditional way: briefing cases in the casebook, outline, outline, outline, and etc. I found this method didn't work for me. My performance skyrocketed when I

1) calmed the f*** down while i took the test, if you're nervous when test taking this can inhibit your performance greatly!! I always docked my "practice" exams way worse than other students because I knew I was calm when taking them. If you tend to be high strung like me in stressful situations where the pressure is on, find a trick that calms you down fast and easy, mine was 3 deep breaths.

2) stopped giving a shit about being called on in class. This way I knew the importance of the case, and not how much D's cow was worth in the original contract. If you can't summarize the case in one sentence (or two if it's a crazy con law multi-amendment issue case etc...) you don't know the significance of the case when it comes to exam time. When you write your exam answer your rule (I do IRAC style) should be one sentence (2 max). Why do you need to know more than that if it's not going to be on the exam?

3) Stopped giving a shit about what everyone else was doing. If you get it, stop reading or worrying about the issue. If my classmates spent 10 hours on one issue and I only spent 2, I'd freak out and think I missed something and ruined my original (but right) interpretation of the issue. Whatever you do, DON'T ask your classmates for clarification, always go to the professor first, or an upperclassmen who took the class. Your classmates are likely just grasping the material too and their interpretation of the issue may sound different from your, but likely come exam time everyone's gonna understand. Skip this very unnecessary step.

4) Took notes by hand for everything. Cases you read - notes (not briefs, notes on what you read), class, outlines. For some reason I learn way better by writing it out by hand. My brain makes the connection from processing what exactly I'm writing directly to what it means (why am I writing this here?). I felt notes on the computer took less time to think and my brain didn't make this connection. Plus when you write everything by hand there's no copying and pasting and you get 3 times to know this rule applies to this case, etc.. I'm a very auditory learner (reading falls under that category, not visual) though.

5) Read the cases in a different order. I started with the holding first, then the rationale(s), then went to the facts. I was able to see how those specific facts fit into the rationale and holding a lot better that way. It also was easier for me to apply a different fact pattern to the case and think about how it would come out. This helped me get away from focusing too much on the facts of the case and not enough on the holding/rationale.

6) Stopped making 50 page outlines. I condensed my notes into about a 4 page handwritten outline (prob. 2 pages typed). I memorized this like no tomorrow. I flowcharted it together (each piece was connected to the one before and after it somehow). I was able to recite it blindfolded in about 4-5 mins. By connecting my outline this way and making it small, simple, but yet effective, if I got to a tricky spot on an exam I'd recite my outline in my head. There I knew I'd hit something that was connected to what I was looking for. This technique is also great for going through and adding extra (but relevant) info that can snag you some last minute points as well.

Hope that helps! If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

adonai
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby adonai » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:05 am

Thanks for the tips everyone. Seems like consensus is "less is more," though I don't understand what the science behind this is. I'm pretty sure I will not be studying half as much as I did first semester simply because I just don't have the motivation anymore and looking back it seems it just seems pretty foolish to have busted my ass knowing it will not get me to where I want to be. I mean I know how to write exams but I just need an edge to push me a bit higher, something that studying hard has proven not to have done. We'll see how it works out.

shock259
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby shock259 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:53 am

I would say meeting with your professors might do you some good. Going through the test with you will probably help you realize what you missed. It sounds like you must have known the law if you studied that much, so you must have goofed your application/analysis of it.

adonai
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby adonai » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:00 am

shock259 wrote:I would say meeting with your professors might do you some good. Going through the test with you will probably help you realize what you missed. It sounds like you must have known the law if you studied that much, so you must have goofed your application/analysis of it.

I didn't do horribly, but I could have done better and I thought I did. For example, my Civ Pro class had a ridiculously harsh curve. Points in the lower single digits differentiated an A and B, so nothing much I could have done there. LRW is similar just cause its LRW. Things like that are hard to help...

getiton
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Re: How to improve 1L Second Semester?

Postby getiton » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:42 am

To me, the key is getting inside the professors' heads, assuming that you really are working as hard as you can to learn the material and to lawyerly apply the law to the facts. So, how would you respond to the following questions:

How effectively do you think you read your professor's proclivities? Do you gauge how lazy the professor is (best for determining how to structure your exam answers)? Do you carefully analyze whether the professor will likely more greatly value depth of analysis or range of coverage? Do you accurately determine which topics the professor is most likely to emphasize on the exam (this can often be counter-intuitive--sometimes issues covered in great depth can be those least likely to be heavily covered by the exam, while those covered less and therefore left more open-ended may be more likely to be heavily tested)? Are you spending all of your in-class time getting inside your professors' heads? Or are you an overly diligent note taker who isn't taking the time to really figure out what'll be tested?




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