Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

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Mr. Dink
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 12:13 am

Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

Postby Mr. Dink » Fri May 25, 2012 2:19 pm

I'm interested in taking a certain class that offers 2 sections:

1). Traditional live final. Class is more demanding and more time consuming.

2. Generally considered an easier class. All teacher's notes are on powerpoint. Final consists of a take home test with a strict word limit. If I'm not mistaken the word limit is pretty low.

My only criteria for choosing is which class I have a better chance of getting an A in. I'm a brute force studier and have had success with that. My main concern is that a take home test with a word limit will eliminate my advantage. Thoughts?

waxecstatic
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

Postby waxecstatic » Fri May 25, 2012 3:00 pm

I'd pick the first option. The reason being is that you'll find take-homes can be very open-ended and you may despite your knowledge of the subject go way off track and not hit the points the professor really wants you to hit. If you do hit the points, then you're still probably going to have to do a superior job for an A, though a B is pretty much guaranteed.

For exams, more objective, and you can do well while putting in less effort than you might on a take-home.

For me, I just find grading on legal writing to be pretty random and sometimes the criteria is so simple that in your own ambition you end up hurting yourself.

LSATNightmares
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Re: Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

Postby LSATNightmares » Sat May 26, 2012 8:29 am

One of my professors will give take homes, because timed in-class exams favor male thinking, according to a number of studies. Females perform better on take-home exams. So my professor gives them to level the playing field more for females.

lawyerwannabe
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Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:39 pm

Re: Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

Postby lawyerwannabe » Sat May 26, 2012 10:59 am

24 hour take home or 8 hour take home? I like the 8 hours because then it doesn't just feel like a typing competition (which is what most in class tests feel like) and the little extra time also allows you to think a little more before answering (something I like if a single test is going to determine my entire grade).On the other hand, 24 hour take homes are brutal (and I feel they make grading very arbitrary because of the insane amount of time given). So, pretty much it should hinge on the length of the take home exam.

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Jordan77
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Re: Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

Postby Jordan77 » Sun May 27, 2012 2:34 pm

It is much harder to differentiate yourself on a take-home test IMO that has a word limit. For instance, if you are limited to 1000 words, then everyone will probably have a very similar answer and it will be hard to show extra knowledge.

In that same right, with a take-home it is less likely that you get a bad grade as opposed to a mediocre grade at least.

Another fun point with take-homes... READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. In my criminal law class about 5 years back it denoted 1 inch margins were allowed and I think Microsoft Word automatically sets them at 1.25 inches. So I changed my default margins to meet the instructions which allowed me to add a whole extra page above what other people did.

lawyerwannabe
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Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:39 pm

Re: Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

Postby lawyerwannabe » Sun May 27, 2012 4:35 pm

Jordan77 wrote:It is much harder to differentiate yourself on a take-home test IMO that has a word limit. For instance, if you are limited to 1000 words, then everyone will probably have a very similar answer and it will be hard to show extra knowledge.

In that same right, with a take-home it is less likely that you get a bad grade as opposed to a mediocre grade at least.

Another fun point with take-homes... READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. In my criminal law class about 5 years back it denoted 1 inch margins were allowed and I think Microsoft Word automatically sets them at 1.25 inches. So I changed my default margins to meet the instructions which allowed me to add a whole extra page above what other people did.


If people in your class didn't intuitively want to decrease the margins of the page so they could fit more before even consulting the instructions to see if it was permitted, I don't even know what to say . . .

shock259
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

Postby shock259 » Sun May 27, 2012 10:24 pm

If you have done well so far, take the first option. I also do well on traditional classes. Based on legal writing and my one take-home final class, they do level the playing field and I end up at median.

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niederbomb
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Re: Do take home tests even the playing field too much?

Postby niederbomb » Thu May 31, 2012 4:11 pm

LSATNightmares wrote:One of my professors will give take homes, because timed in-class exams favor male thinking, according to a number of studies. Females perform better on take-home exams. So my professor gives them to level the playing field more for females.


Or maybe the supposed gender gap is due to the characteristics of males and females who self-select into law school, or into certain law schools. Is there a gender gap on the timed LSAT? I doubt there's much of one since most top schools are close to 50-50. I am skeptical of all such studies for a variety of reasons.




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