If I could do my first semester over again...

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BradyToMoss
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby BradyToMoss » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:53 pm

^ Reading GTM before law school helped me quite a bit, actually.

avacado111
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby avacado111 » Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:02 pm

shameless bump :)

there are a lot of thread about 1l exams, and I'm curious as what more advice is out there!

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thesealocust
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby thesealocust » Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:14 pm

avacado111 wrote:shameless bump :)

there are a lot of thread about 1l exams, and I'm curious as what more advice is out there!


We should probably do a new one of these threads, but probably not until after grades. I mean, I'm sure that 2012 already has some Pro Tips, but one would think they would be better post-grades (which few of us have yet received).

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creamedcats
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby creamedcats » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:12 am

::thread necromancy::

So, any further thoughts on this? This was a great thread to read through. I see a lot of people in favor of the E&E supplements.

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fixer
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby fixer » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:10 am

Would those of you commute using public transportation (train) or drive and battle traffic in your own car?

**edit: commute of 35 miles. 1:00 by train with another 15-20 min to get to train and from train each way. car trip can be 38-1:15 depending on traffic (time of day)
Last edited by fixer on Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Son of Cicero
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Son of Cicero » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:15 pm

Depends on how long each would take, how far I lived from the station, how far I would have to walk (either to/from a parking lot or to/from a train station), whether I would have to take a separate bus from the train station to the school (and vice versa), and the price of each option.

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Tenth Usher
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Tenth Usher » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:23 pm

fixer wrote:Would those of you commute using public transportation (train) or drive and battle traffic in your own car?

**edit: commute of 35 miles. 1:00 by train with another 15-20 min to get to train and from train each way. car trip can be 38-1:15 depending on traffic (time of day)



I have a bias for trains, I took one to work for 3 years. In your case, you get that 1 hour for reading, relaxing, etc. Plus you don't have to worry about parking, weather, traffic, etc.

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SemperLegal
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby SemperLegal » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:26 am

Time to bump this for the next generation.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby somewhatwayward » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:00 am

i am essentially about to do my first semester all over again, and, as far as i can tell, i haven't changed anything :?

huckabees
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby huckabees » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:34 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:i am essentially about to do my first semester all over again, and, as far as i can tell, i haven't changed anything :?


Yes, I'm in the same boat and due to the non-standard exams my professors gave, I'm really not sure what I should change...

I'm especially concerned about the balance between reading cases versus learning mostly through supplements/old outlines. So far, one decent grade is in a course where I never touched the casebook and relied almost only on old outlines, and one poor grade is in a course where I read each case carefully, made my own outline, and used no supplements. But these courses are also quite different in subject matter, so who knows whether it was my aptitude versus study methods (or something else) that made the difference.

The only thing I plan to NOT change is attending class, as I do think even in poorly taught classes, the balance of subjects the professors concentrate on is a good guide to what they want you to focus on.

Omerta
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Omerta » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:36 pm

huckabees wrote:
somewhatwayward wrote:The only thing I plan to NOT change is attending class, as I do think even in poorly taught classes, the balance of subjects the professors concentrate on is a good guide to what they want you to focus on.


This is the most important thing by a long shot. I know, generally one of your professors is an awful lecturer or not the greatest teacher but you still need to know their view of the subject. Go to office hours if you still can't understand him or her.

A lot of the supplement/briefing stuff is completely personal. I briefed every case last semester and used the Freer CivPro hornbook and the Blum Contracts E&E. I didn't open a supplement until Thanksgiving break and it worked fine for me.

Do lots of practice exams. Find a smart partner (someone who is NOT your friend outside of school) and grade each other's exams on thoroughness, clarity, and structure. If you have different approaches to the same problem, talk about it-- figure out why she missed it and you got it or vice versa. If you do this consistently, I have no idea how you could get below median on an exam barring a massive freeze-up during the test.

Emory has teaching fellows that are 2/3Ls that have done really well. If your school has a similar program and you don't take advantage of it, then you are a retard. Speaking with someone about a problem is great because if you can describe the problem to them, you can describe it on your exam.

There is no magic answer and I wasted a lot of time at the beginning of last semester looking for one. Don't waste your time.

huckabees
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby huckabees » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:50 pm

Omerta wrote:
huckabees wrote:
somewhatwayward wrote:The only thing I plan to NOT change is attending class, as I do think even in poorly taught classes, the balance of subjects the professors concentrate on is a good guide to what they want you to focus on.


This is the most important thing by a long shot. I know, generally one of your professors is an awful lecturer or not the greatest teacher but you still need to know their view of the subject. Go to office hours if you still can't understand him or her.

A lot of the supplement/briefing stuff is completely personal. I briefed every case last semester and used the Freer CivPro hornbook and the Blum Contracts E&E. I didn't open a supplement until Thanksgiving break and it worked fine for me.

Do lots of practice exams. Find a smart partner (someone who is NOT your friend outside of school) and grade each other's exams on thoroughness, clarity, and structure. If you have different approaches to the same problem, talk about it-- figure out why she missed it and you got it or vice versa. If you do this consistently, I have no idea how you could get below median on an exam barring a massive freeze-up during the test.

Emory has teaching fellows that are 2/3Ls that have done really well. If your school has a similar program and you don't take advantage of it, then you are a retard. Speaking with someone about a problem is great because if you can describe the problem to them, you can describe it on your exam.

There is no magic answer and I wasted a lot of time at the beginning of last semester looking for one. Don't waste your time.


Thanks. On top of my frustration with how much to rely on casebook vs old outlines/supplements, I am also frustrated by the fact that the more I studied, the more confused I seemed to get. I felt I was spotting issues properly by just reading case briefs, but then after reading the cases themselves, I started thinking things were issues when they were not. This tendency may explain why I did better in the course where I relied solely on outlines and did literally no readings.

If anyone else had a similar experience and could enlighten me as to what's going on/how to optimize studying, it would be much appreciated.

Omerta
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Omerta » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:17 pm

huckabees wrote:Thanks. On top of my frustration with how much to rely on casebook vs old outlines/supplements, I am also frustrated by the fact that the more I studied, the more confused I seemed to get. I felt I was spotting issues properly by just reading case briefs, but then after reading the cases themselves, I started thinking things were issues when they were not. This tendency may explain why I did better in the course where I relied solely on outlines and did literally no readings.

If anyone else had a similar experience and could enlighten me as to what's going on/how to optimize studying, it would be much appreciated.


Maybe your initial "feeling" was wrong because the only information presented in the case brief is the issue. When that issue is enmeshed with competing issues and concerns you got caught up in which ones to prioritize. It seems like you knew what to look for, but not why you were looking for it to begin with.

Definitely go over your exams with every one of your profs, regardless of whether you did good or bad. How may practice exams did you do? E&Es can spoonfeed you by making 1 issue very obvious, but what happens when you get to the exam with 382234 things that could be addressed? Go here: --LinkRemoved-- and check out a Radin Contracts exam. She posts the best exam and a below median one. How are they different?

Change your mindset. You are learning how to take an exam in a particular course, not learning a body of law. Read Getting to Maybe. If you read it, read it again. Full disclosure: I spent more time thinking about "exam theory" than I did studying for my classes. You should listen to your professors and older kids at your school over me. Please feel free to PM me if you want to discuss a particular example or something.
Last edited by Omerta on Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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birD
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby birD » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:19 pm

tag

Scurredsitless1
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Scurredsitless1 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:31 pm

Things I'm glad I did
*Read Getting to Maybe before school started. There is a narrow gap between students knowlege of the law, but a huge gap in test taking know-how. This was the key.
*I also read a lot from the E&E and thought it was helpful, not huge, but helpful.
*I had a great study group. It formed by accident. I ran with some guys from school and ended up going over practice tests with them. It was huge. We didn't get together to bullshit, we got together to strategize about the exams and go over practice tests that we had prepared before our meetings. All 4 people in my group did well, 2 did awesome. We spent a lot of time discussing what each professor expected, and geared our prep accordingly.
*Exercised nearly every-damn-day. Strong body = Strong mind
*Maximum time studying isn't the same as optimal time studying. I did my best work early in the morning (although I'm sure it is different for everyone, I think it's important to identify what time of day you are at your best). I would stay at school until I noticed it started to take me longer to get through the material. When I would slow down, my retention and note taking ability declined. No sense in slugging through material when you're not at your best.
*I read ahead. I tried to do most of my reading for the week on the previous weekend. This can result in a little embarressment in class because sometimes I would forget some of the material, but who cares? Reading a little ahead gave me a little bit of a look on the "big picture". Also, I retained information differently than my peers, as I would learn the information when I read it, then I would forget it a little, then when going into class I would re-learn it. I think that changed how how I retained information.
*I actually learned a lot from the cases. People on here talk about the importance of Black Letter law, and that's what you should memorize. But cases put the rules into action. You're tested on the rules in action. It's worth while to learn the rules in the context of the cases.
*Remember that your peers may be very well connected. Network with them, and don't shit on anyone's face (unless they're from out of town).

Things I wish I had done
*I wish I would have been more detail oriented in my legal writing class. I spent a ton of time and energy researching. When I got my memo back, all the comments were on my writing skills, not my legal insight. In retrospect, this makes total sense, the expectation for legal insight is low, but my writing could have been so much better. I simply focused my time in the wrong area.
*I should have gotten an adderall prescription.
*I should have brought my lunch to school. This was my new year's resolution. It's more about nutrition than it is about money.
*I didn't stress about outlines like many of my peers. I made outlines, but they weren't the ultimate goal of my semester. I wish I had even spent even less time on my outlines.
*I should have sat next to hotter girls in the early going. You really get to know the people you sit with in class.

Just in general
*Confidence is hard to come by in the first semester. I thought I was struggling to keep from being in the bottom of the class. When grades were about to come out, I was praying for median. Now I realize the time I put in was worth it. If you put in the time, you'll be competing for the top. I knew I was making sacrifices my peers were unwilling to make. Take the advice you get on TLS seriously, realize failure means doom, and preparation pays off.
*Everyone in law school is smart and motivated. It's a competition with no "easy wins".

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rupert.pupkin
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby rupert.pupkin » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:15 am

Omerta wrote:
Definitely go over your exams with every one of your profs, regardless of whether you did good or bad. How may practice exams did you do? E&Es can spoonfeed you by making 1 issue very obvious, but what happens when you get to the exam with 382234 things that could be addressed? Go here: --LinkRemoved-- and check out a Radin Contracts exam. She posts the best exam and a below median one. How are they different?

I'm somewhat shocked by the below median one. So much for the 'grading is arbitrary' meme.

Omerta
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Omerta » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:26 am

rupert.pupkin wrote:
Omerta wrote:
Definitely go over your exams with every one of your profs, regardless of whether you did good or bad. How may practice exams did you do? E&Es can spoonfeed you by making 1 issue very obvious, but what happens when you get to the exam with 382234 things that could be addressed? Go here: --LinkRemoved-- and check out a Radin Contracts exam. She posts the best exam and a below median one. How are they different?

I'm somewhat shocked by the below median one. So much for the 'grading is arbitrary' meme.


Well that's a psychological coping mechanism for you, "There is no way I am median based on my abilities, it is due to inherent arbitrariness in the law school grading system." Not saying that a good B+ and a lower A- are going to be night and day, but there's light years of difference between a median exam and an A. I'm also not saying there has never been an arbitrary grade in law school, but they happen a lot less than people think.

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NoleinNY
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby NoleinNY » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:35 pm

Omerta wrote:
rupert.pupkin wrote:
Omerta wrote:
Definitely go over your exams with every one of your profs, regardless of whether you did good or bad. How may practice exams did you do? E&Es can spoonfeed you by making 1 issue very obvious, but what happens when you get to the exam with 382234 things that could be addressed? Go here: --LinkRemoved-- and check out a Radin Contracts exam. She posts the best exam and a below median one. How are they different?

I'm somewhat shocked by the below median one. So much for the 'grading is arbitrary' meme.


Well that's a psychological coping mechanism for you, "There is no way I am median based on my abilities, it is due to inherent arbitrariness in the law school grading system." Not saying that a good B+ and a lower A- are going to be night and day, but there's light years of difference between a median exam and an A. I'm also not saying there has never been an arbitrary grade in law school, but they happen a lot less than people think.


First off, holy crap. Even the page count difference is ridiculously night and day. The A was twice as long...

Re: Thread

Things I'm glad I did:
-Study group for exam taking
-Diversified study aid library (E&E, Glannon, CALI, etc.)
-Getting proper amounts of sleep
-Reading GTM, TLS, etc. to learn about proper test taking strategy.

Things I wish I had done or will change (much longer list :( ):
-I should have tried to up my typing speed
-Should have gone to more office hours (especially after midterms)
-Should not have stopped reading hornbook (especially for K) to reinforce certain things
-Practiced writing out important rules multiple times even without practice exams (my best grade happened to be in the one class I did this for)
-Outline sooner in the year
-Rotate study spots (I get bored and distracted if I'm in the same place too many times in a row, apparently)

marija
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby marija » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:21 pm

Things I wish I had done:
1. Consumed more alcohol
2. Way less work pre-December
Last edited by marija on Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

johndhi
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Re:

Postby johndhi » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:55 am

Katkins wrote:
I'd read the E&E's before the semester, just as an overview.


Absolutely, unequivocally TCR. I was told to do this before law school, I didn't do it, and that was stupid. 0Ls reading this: THIS IS NOT A JOKE. It is the best thing you can do for yourself, in my opinion.

Just so you know I practice what I preach, I got Crim, Con and Property E&Es for Christmas and plan to read them over break. Gunnerish? Probably. Will this keep me from waking up in April and realizing I know no black letter law about the subjects I've supposedly been learning for three months? Let's hope so.


Please don't say things like this. 0Ls, relax and do the things that will make you best able to work you butt off DURING the semester. Personally this was travel and meditation. I kicked the shit out of the first semester of law school and indulged only in a healthy dose of reading TLS (which makes me nervous as hell) and pleasure reading before school started. Once school started I kept my eyes and ears open and tried a bit of everything, and made sure I understood things as they came up. It's important you have a good sense of when you understand something and when you don't; make an effort to understand. The most important final step, though, for me was developing test-taking skills and strategy: making sure a four hour test didn't exhaust me (just like we did with the LSAT), and filling up a bag of tricks from professors' prior exams to use on the test (oh, he likes to see people use this case in this way? I'll make sure to fit it in, etc.).

I really wouldn't have done anything differently, except maybe I shouldn't have hooked up with that one girl...

johndhi
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby johndhi » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:05 am

I'll also comment on LRW, which I (to my own EXTREME surprise) got the highest grade in my class - I found it INCREDIBLY helpful to talk to a professor OTHER THAN my LRW professor, about LRW. This other guy happened to also be an LRW professor in addition to what he taught me, but his outside and simple perspective was very helpful for me. The thrust of what he said was that legal writing, especially legal memorandums, are very simple documents (although they take a lot of tinkering to produce) - there are really only a few different things you can say in them; only a few different types of sentence. You've got a topic sentence explaining what's about to happen (this isn't even always necessary). Then you've got a statement of the rule you're discussing (coming up with what this will be, and making sure it matches the next few sentences, is the difficult/tinkering part). Then you've got a case comparison where you show how your facts are similar to a case where the court ruled in your favor and employing the court's reasoning in that case to your case and (if you've got time), a case distinction showing how your facts are different and why the reasoning doesn't apply. Conclude and let them know what the deal is.

I realize this sort of sounds like a lengthy restatement of IRAC, but sitting in LRW class I sort of got lost with all the jabbering my professor did. It's nice to just actually talk about how you're supposed to write these things without all the bullshit necessary to fill a 1-2 hour class on writing.

I also realize that this might be the wrong thread to preach how to do well in school, but I think a lot of why we read this site is trying to find ways to improve our performance in school so I hope it isn't too off-topic.

marija
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Re: Re:

Postby marija » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:54 am

johndhi wrote:
Katkins wrote:
I'd read the E&E's before the semester, just as an overview.


Absolutely, unequivocally TCR. I was told to do this before law school, I didn't do it, and that was stupid. 0Ls reading this: THIS IS NOT A JOKE. It is the best thing you can do for yourself, in my opinion.

Just so you know I practice what I preach, I got Crim, Con and Property E&Es for Christmas and plan to read them over break. Gunnerish? Probably. Will this keep me from waking up in April and realizing I know no black letter law about the subjects I've supposedly been learning for three months? Let's hope so.


Please don't say things like this. 0Ls, relax and do the things that will make you best able to work you butt off DURING the semester. Personally this was travel and meditation. I kicked the shit out of the first semester of law school and indulged only in a healthy dose of reading TLS (which makes me nervous as hell) and pleasure reading before school started. Once school started I kept my eyes and ears open and tried a bit of everything, and made sure I understood things as they came up. It's important you have a good sense of when you understand something and when you don't; make an effort to understand. The most important final step, though, for me was developing test-taking skills and strategy: making sure a four hour test didn't exhaust me (just like we did with the LSAT), and filling up a bag of tricks from professors' prior exams to use on the test (oh, he likes to see people use this case in this way? I'll make sure to fit it in, etc.).

I really wouldn't have done anything differently, except maybe I shouldn't have hooked up with that one girl...


Like this guy, I didn't read any supplements pre-LS, and, also like this guy, I "kicked the shit out of the first semester." Learning, as always, is an individual thing. Don't feel like you have to do everything that everyone says on here just because they did well. By the same token, don't feel like you have to be as laid back and lazy as other people just because they did well. Find what works for you.

/useless, generic advice.

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holeinone600
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby holeinone600 » Mon May 02, 2011 9:46 pm

Useful stuff...anyone want to comment on how to balance the workload required to stay on top of graded courses vs. still getting as much as possible out of LRW? Vague question, but trying to avoid getting bogged down with a P/F course but at the same time still learn something, since legal research and writing are two skills that do sound fairly important for future attorneys.

Also, I'm in the market for a copy of 'Getting to Maybe'...if anyone wants to sell, PM me.

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northwood
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby northwood » Mon May 02, 2011 10:03 pm

did anyone do LEEWS? would you recommend it, or should i save the money, or should i do it during the semester?

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traehekat
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby traehekat » Mon May 02, 2011 11:27 pm

northwood wrote:did anyone do LEEWS? would you recommend it, or should i save the money, or should i do it during the semester?


i recommend it. it is repetitive and overpriced, but certainly helpful. if you can get a used copy, i'd definitely go for it. do it during the summer (it doesn't require any knowledge of the law). you'll have time during the semester, but not a TON of it and personally i like that time to do something actually fun. some people think that it can be summed up in a couple sentences (which it probably can be), but there is something to be said for actually going through it methodically and doing the exercises.




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