Needle in haysack

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splittermcsplit88
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Needle in haysack

Postby splittermcsplit88 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:29 am

Some of these success guides on TLS rely on open book exams. I understand, having a transparent knowledge of your outline will be advantageous. But, what about closed book exams? I mean, everyone is memorizing, understanding, issue spotting isn't that hard, and will likely practice. How do you set yourself apart from the crowd?

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dingbat
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby dingbat » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:03 pm

by being better than the crowd

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:12 pm

Me love haysacks

swimmer11
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby swimmer11 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:14 pm

splittermcsplit88 wrote:Some of these success guides on TLS rely on open book exams. I understand, having a transparent knowledge of your outline will be advantageous. But, what about closed book exams? I mean, everyone is memorizing, understanding, issue spotting isn't that hard, and will likely practice. How do you set yourself apart from the crowd?


I think the best way is by memorizing everything as early as possible, then proceed to take as many practice exams as possible. Yes, everyone is memorizing, but how many people are practicing applying what they memorize to fact patterns, hypotheticals, etc? That is what will help separate you. At the end of the term when everyone is memorizing, you have already done that, and you are now applying what you know.

I am a 1L, so take this for what it is worth, but this is generally what I have gathered from reading tons of success in law school threads, books, and from talking to successful 2Ls and 3Ls.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:13 pm

swimmer11 wrote:I think the best way is by memorizing everything as early as possible, then proceed to take as many practice exams as possible. Yes, everyone is memorizing, but how many people are practicing applying what they memorize to fact patterns, hypotheticals, etc? That is what will help separate you. At the end of the term when everyone is memorizing, you have already done that, and you are now applying what you know.

I would very much agree with this. "Memorizing" is one thing; actually writing down what you memorized and recalling it correctly under time pressure is another. It's something where practice makes a huge difference; even a couple practice exams in a given subject can really help you cement what you've learned. If you're that gung-ho about doing well and want to stand out, then this is how.

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quiver
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby quiver » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:30 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
swimmer11 wrote:I think the best way is by memorizing everything as early as possible, then proceed to take as many practice exams as possible. Yes, everyone is memorizing, but how many people are practicing applying what they memorize to fact patterns, hypotheticals, etc? That is what will help separate you. At the end of the term when everyone is memorizing, you have already done that, and you are now applying what you know.

I would very much agree with this. "Memorizing" is one thing; actually writing down what you memorized and recalling it correctly under time pressure is another. It's something where practice makes a huge difference; even a couple practice exams in a given subject can really help you cement what you've learned. If you're that gung-ho about doing well and want to stand out, then this is how.
Completely agree with this as well. During 1L I set aside one day per week (usually Sunday) to just memorize all my outlines.

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AllDangle
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby AllDangle » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:44 pm

Tag

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941law
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby 941law » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:49 pm

Consistency will win out. Working moderately hard all semester and putting in some good cramming in the end will suffice imo.

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JoeFish
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby JoeFish » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:10 pm

splittermcsplit88 wrote:Some of these success guides on TLS rely on open book exams. I understand, having a transparent knowledge of your outline will be advantageous. But, what about closed book exams? I mean, everyone is memorizing, understanding, issue spotting isn't that hard, and will likely practice. How do you set yourself apart from the crowd?


One way: by being a good writer. Say the same things as everyone else, but say them more elegantly, efficiently, and intelligently.

LSATNightmares
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby LSATNightmares » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:23 pm

I had two closed-book exams. You need an ability to make connections off the top of your head to cases you read, or you need to have your checklist memorized.

beggingocean1
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby beggingocean1 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:25 am

How does one get practice exams?

LSATNightmares
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby LSATNightmares » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:23 am

Um, your professor should have some on file. If not, I'd ask him if he could recommend any other professor or source that is good to practice with.

KidStuddi
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby KidStuddi » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:48 am

splittermcsplit88 wrote:But, what about closed book exams? I mean, everyone is memorizing, understanding, issue spotting isn't that hard, and will likely practice. How do you set yourself apart from the crowd?

dingbat wrote:by being better than the crowd


Quoted for the flippant truth.

swimmer11 wrote:I think the best way is by memorizing everything as early as possible, then proceed to take as many practice exams as possible. Yes, everyone is memorizing, but how many people are practicing applying what they memorize to fact patterns, hypotheticals, etc? That is what will help separate you. At the end of the term when everyone is memorizing, you have already done that, and you are now applying what you know.


I would strongly advise against accepting the notion that you can ever "memorize everything." Type any concept you studied this semester into westlaw and look at how many cases and how much scholarship there is written about it. Have you seen how thick hornbooks are? Do you realize that hornbooks are just surveys? It baffles me how anyone could think it's as simple as just "memorizing it." This isn't high school where your tests are going to be finite in scope and you can expect an A+ if you memorize all of the vocab in the word bank.

Presuming that you, or anyone in your class, will actually know the correct answer to everything you could be tested on is sheer folly. The name of the game on any law school exam, but especially closed book exams, is mastering as much of the material as you can. While it may be tempting to look around at all the smart people and assume everyone will know the material and your grade will be decided by little intangibles like formatting and diction, the reality is that on knowledge based exams no one actually succeeds at knowing everything.

My anecdotal experience with closed book exams:
Evidence. Out of 80 multiple choice questions the highest score was 65.
Civ Pro. The test was half 35 MC questions and half an issue spotter; the highest score on the MC was 31.

I set the curve on both of those exams in classes of ~120 students. I promise you that I did not walk into either of those exams thinking that I had "memorized everything" there was to know about civil procedure or evidence. If you want to set yourself apart, avoid complacency and make a serious attempt to understand the issues you've been asked to study. Any intellectually honest assessment of what you really "know" about the topics discussed in the doctrinal first-year courses will send you running back to the books over and over.

swimmer11
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby swimmer11 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:41 am

KidStuddi wrote:
splittermcsplit88 wrote:But, what about closed book exams? I mean, everyone is memorizing, understanding, issue spotting isn't that hard, and will likely practice. How do you set yourself apart from the crowd?

dingbat wrote:by being better than the crowd


Quoted for the flippant truth.

swimmer11 wrote:I think the best way is by memorizing everything as early as possible, then proceed to take as many practice exams as possible. Yes, everyone is memorizing, but how many people are practicing applying what they memorize to fact patterns, hypotheticals, etc? That is what will help separate you. At the end of the term when everyone is memorizing, you have already done that, and you are now applying what you know.


I would strongly advise against accepting the notion that you can ever "memorize everything." Type any concept you studied this semester into westlaw and look at how many cases and how much scholarship there is written about it. Have you seen how thick hornbooks are? Do you realize that hornbooks are just surveys? It baffles me how anyone could think it's as simple as just "memorizing it." This isn't high school where your tests are going to be finite in scope and you can expect an A+ if you memorize all of the vocab in the word bank.

Presuming that you, or anyone in your class, will actually know the correct answer to everything you could be tested on is sheer folly. The name of the game on any law school exam, but especially closed book exams, is mastering as much of the material as you can. While it may be tempting to look around at all the smart people and assume everyone will know the material and your grade will be decided by little intangibles like formatting and diction, the reality is that on knowledge based exams no one actually succeeds at knowing everything.

My anecdotal experience with closed book exams:
Evidence. Out of 80 multiple choice questions the highest score was 65.
Civ Pro. The test was half 35 MC questions and half an issue spotter; the highest score on the MC was 31.

I set the curve on both of those exams in classes of ~120 students. I promise you that I did not walk into either of those exams thinking that I had "memorized everything" there was to know about civil procedure or evidence. If you want to set yourself apart, avoid complacency and make a serious attempt to understand the issues you've been asked to study. Any intellectually honest assessment of what you really "know" about the topics discussed in the doctrinal first-year courses will send you running back to the books over and over.



Your point is well taken. I definitely exaggerated when I said everything. But, seeing as how you did extremely well your first year and I congratulate you on that, how would you go about studying and/or approaching final exams? Also, for your closed book exams, did you make flashcards or an outline or did you do a combination of the both? Thanks!!

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dingbat
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby dingbat » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:45 am

KidStuddi wrote:I set the curve on both of those exams in classes of ~120 students.

A) how did you "set the curve"?
B) what TTT has classes of 120 students?

KidStuddi
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby KidStuddi » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:52 pm

dingbat wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:I set the curve on both of those exams in classes of ~120 students.

A) how did you "set the curve"?
B) what TTT has classes of 120 students?


A) That's what we call "booking the class" where I come from. By having the highest scores on both exams I "set the curve" by defining what raw numerical score would become an A+ on that exam, indirectly giving meaning to every other raw numerical score as well.
B) Happily attend GWU where I haven't paid a cent of tuition.

Take my advice or don't, I don't really care. But FWIW, since you appear preoccupied with prestige, my TTT grades got me into H and Y as a transfer but I opted to remain debt free.

swimmer11 wrote:Your point is well taken. I definitely exaggerated when I said everything. But, seeing as how you did extremely well your first year and I congratulate you on that, how would you go about studying and/or approaching final exams? Also, for your closed book exams, did you make flashcards or an outline or did you do a combination of the both? Thanks!!


It's cliche, but I'd say do whatever works best for you. For me that happened to be commercial flashcards and commercial outlines. I've never found typing things would help me remember anything better, but that seems to work for some people. Practice exams are a must. My approach was to do them early and often. I think I deviate from the conventional wisdom here in that I never subscribed to the notion of "saving" them for the reading period. I did every practice exam i could get my hands on probably 4 or 5 times over the course of the semester. Other than that, I did pretty much what the "how to succeed" articles say to do. In the end, I think it just comes down to working your ass off and hoping for good fortune to minimize the effects of arbitrary grading.
Last edited by KidStuddi on Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Rowinguy2009
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:57 pm

Burn the haystack

aca0260
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby aca0260 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:11 pm

The few times I had a closed-book exam I was much happier about it. If you're doing your work you have an edge over everybody. Just look at it as another opportunity to distinguish yourself from your peers. Especially at the top schools (but really any school), you have certain people who are naturally talented. If you give them a great outline they can dominate an open book exam with seemingly little effort throughout the semester. They are quick thinkers, but above all, they are very talented writers. A closed book exam just puts another barrier up restricting this from happening. This is not to say that these people won't torch the exam any way, but it is my opinion that a closed book exam creates an opportunity that you can take advantage of.

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dingbat
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby dingbat » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:21 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
dingbat wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:I set the curve on both of those exams in classes of ~120 students.

A) how did you "set the curve"?
B) what TTT has classes of 120 students?


A) That's what we call "booking the class" where I come from. By having the highest scores on both exams I "set the curve" by defining what raw numerical score would become an A+ on that exam, indirectly giving meaning to every other raw numerical score as well.
B) Happily attend GWU where I haven't paid a cent of tuition.

Take my advice or don't, I don't really care. But FWIW, since you appear preoccupied with prestige, my TTT grades got me into H and Y as a transfer but I opted to remain debt free.

I call flame:

1) last year, GW's 1L largest class sizes were around 95 students
2) that's not how law school grading curves work

(and, by the way, I don't give a rats ass about prestige)

imchuckbass58
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby imchuckbass58 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:30 pm

This is a cliche but it bears repeating given the question: The people who do the best on exams are not the people who know the most about the law, but the ones who apply a solid-but-not-perfect grasp of basic concepts adeptly to facts.

That is, memorizing every little nook and cranny of your outline will not help you remotely as much as nailing down the main concepts, then moving quickly to doing craploads of practice exams where you practice really delving into facts, spotting issues, and having a nuanced discussion of how a basic concept will play out in the particular case in front of you.

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thesealocust
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby thesealocust » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:34 am

dingbat wrote:2) that's not how law school grading curves work


Sure it is. It might not be the perfect description of it, but people use the phrase "set the curve" to imply the highest grade on an exam. And it's exactly like that in law school curved courses; the only thing "A" means is that you performed better than whatever percentage of your peers the 'A' grade got. Technically it's the mean/median grade that really "sets the curve" but people use the phrase to mean the exam that got the highest score, from which all other scores are, in a sense, a relative portion.

Now, that was extremely pedantic of me to argue, but I don't like you. So I decided to give in to every law student and lawyer's biggest desire: correcting people even when there isn't a good reason to.

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dingbat
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Re: Needle in haysack

Postby dingbat » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:55 am

thesealocust wrote:I don't like you.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:




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