bad writing:(

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sbl274
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bad writing:(

Postby sbl274 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:29 pm

So, officially, after two exams, i am pretty sure i'm a terrible writer, at least on law school exams. i read over my exam and in several instances just left random words out of sentences, and just had a choppy and awkward style throughout. any 2L/3L care to weigh in on the relative importance of writing style and flat-out omissions? thanks!

MinEMorris
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby MinEMorris » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:42 pm

Given the extraordinary time pressure involved in law school exams, I've never heard of a professor giving any actual weight to style, spelling, or grammar. Of course, poor style, spelling, and grammar can obfuscate your points and make it less likely that your professor will understand what you're trying to say, which may in turn lead to you being awarded less points than you deserve, but so long as what you're trying to say is relatively clear, I wouldn't worry about it at all. Really, most people's law school exams are full of missing words, new sentences starting in the middle of old sentences, gross spelling errors, etc. This is extremely natural and not anything to worry about.

Of course, if you're submitting some sort of take-home paper, that's another matter.

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northwood
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby northwood » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:43 pm

sbl274 wrote:So, officially, after two exams, i am pretty sure i'm a terrible writer, at least on law school exams. i read over my exam and in several instances just left random words out of sentences, and just had a choppy and awkward style throughout. any 2L/3L care to weigh in on the relative importance of writing style and flat-out omissions? thanks!



in a time exam, with strict limits- professors know and understand that there will be choppy sentences, spelling errors and so on. The writing that you need to shine on, is the writing pieces you turn in for LRW. Those may become your writing samples, not your response to a detailed fact pattern in 3 hours. If you are really worried about this, you can always see a trusted professor, or yourlaw school's writing assistant ( or exam taking consultant, whatever their title is). But right now, do not think too much about exams that you allready took. Just forget about them, and if you have more, focus on those. You cant change what you did, or whatnot, and you will only drive yourself crazy by overanalyzing your performance.

sbl274
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby sbl274 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:25 pm

Thanks. I think what psyched me out the most was that I've been reading the model answers that professors post online and I guess I tended to assume that I needed to match their quality to get an A, which obviously isn't the case. There are going to be, well, there has to be 10 A's, and I have absolutely no idea as to what the range of quality is between the model answer and that of the "worst" A exam. I'm aware of the importance of gauging one's performance relative to those of the rest of the section, but that's tough to do since average answers are generally unavailable. Any ideas on the range of quality within the A's, B+'s, and within the the average large section as a whole? Thanks everyone :)

swimmer11
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby swimmer11 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:27 pm

If spelling is an issue, I am screwed for my torts exam because I misspelled an insane amount of words.

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northwood
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby northwood » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:03 am

the difference between an A and A- or an A and a B+ comes down to spotting an issue, faling for a red herring or not ( albeit a small one), organization of the answer, using one more case or not in your analysis, or coming up with an idea that the professor loves. IT could also be something of grammer, or spelling or precision. The margin is very slim

MinEMorris
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby MinEMorris » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:06 am

Thanks. I think what psyched me out the most was that I've been reading the model answers that professors post online and I guess I tended to assume that I needed to match their quality to get an A, which obviously isn't the case. There are going to be, well, there has to be 10 A's, and I have absolutely no idea as to what the range of quality is between the model answer and that of the "worst" A exam. I'm aware of the importance of gauging one's performance relative to those of the rest of the section, but that's tough to do since average answers are generally unavailable. Any ideas on the range of quality within the A's, B+'s, and within the the average large section as a whole? Thanks everyone


Like most questions people want answers to about law school exams, the only correct answer is that nobody knows. It's going to depend on your section, how your professor grades, etc. Several professors I've had have remarked on generally how many issues an A answer spots compares to a B+ answer, and the lowest figure was 50% of the issues the teachers thinks are present get spotted by the B+ answer as opposed to 60% get spotted by the A answer. This may seems like a small difference, but it means (assuming im not pulling a law-student-attempting-math-embarrassing-moment here) that an A answer spots 20% more issues than a B+ answer. And this was the lowest estimation a professor gave in regard to his general experience. The other two estimated more like 50% v 75%, which gets you 50% more issues.

Honestly, too, having been in a couple of classes where the professor provides 2-3 model student answers for each previous year, I think the top student usually far outperforms the rest of the As. Again, a very limited sample, but pretty much each year I looked at for both classes, the answer that booked the class totally kicked the crap out of the exam, whereas the other A papers were just really solid.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:18 am

About exam writing style: I've had professors expressly compliment me on how well written my exams were, and at the same time explain that (basically) that means fuck-all for the exam grade - if you don't have the content as well, it doesn't matter how well written your exam is. They made pretty clear that you can ace an exam writing like a caveman talks if you have all the material (as long as the prof can actually tell what you mean).

I had one exception - one of my 3L profs specifically told us she grades for writing style because she believes that clarity of writing reflects clarity of thought. (I loved that woman - got one of my highest grades in law school ever!) But she was so clear and specific about telling us that, because she so obviously understood that it was out of the ordinary, I have to think that no one else ever does.

I mean, ideally an exam will hit everything and be well-written - but if you can only achieve one of those things, stick with hitting everything.

Domiii
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby Domiii » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:50 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:About exam writing style: I've had professors expressly compliment me on how well written my exams were, and at the same time explain that (basically) that means fuck-all for the exam grade - if you don't have the content as well, it doesn't matter how well written your exam is. They made pretty clear that you can ace an exam writing like a caveman talks if you have all the material (as long as the prof can actually tell what you mean).

I had one exception - one of my 3L profs specifically told us she grades for writing style because she believes that clarity of writing reflects clarity of thought. (I loved that woman - got one of my highest grades in law school ever!) But she was so clear and specific about telling us that, because she so obviously understood that it was out of the ordinary, I have to think that no one else ever does.

I mean, ideally an exam will hit everything and be well-written - but if you can only achieve one of those things, stick with hitting everything.


My torts professor has a very similar policy regarding clarity of writing. On our final, clarity is worth approx 6-7% of the grade, with the way the points system breaks down. Substance is the only other factor considered for the remaining 93-94%.

arizonairish
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby arizonairish » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:58 pm

Bumping this old thread. I searched through some older threads and could not find anything that useful.

I feel as though I really struggle making my point clear. I understand the law and grammatical rules well, I just never seem to be able to present it in a clear and concise manner. Does anyone have any tips on this prior to an SA?

09042014
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby 09042014 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:01 pm

In so far as you can generalize about what professors grade on, writing quality isn't a factor.

arizonairish
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby arizonairish » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:12 pm

Desert Fox wrote:In so far as you can generalize about what professors grade on, writing quality isn't a factor.


Thanks, but I am actually more concerned about my writing product for my SA than professors.

09042014
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby 09042014 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:16 pm

arizonairish wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:In so far as you can generalize about what professors grade on, writing quality isn't a factor.


Thanks, but I am actually more concerned about my writing product for my SA than professors.


That's a whole other ballgame.

arizonairish
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby arizonairish » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:18 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
arizonairish wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:In so far as you can generalize about what professors grade on, writing quality isn't a factor.


Thanks, but I am actually more concerned about my writing product for my SA than professors.


That's a whole other ballgame.


Any tips on this ballgame?

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rinkrat19
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:22 pm

arizonairish wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
arizonairish wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:In so far as you can generalize about what professors grade on, writing quality isn't a factor.


Thanks, but I am actually more concerned about my writing product for my SA than professors.


That's a whole other ballgame.


Any tips on this ballgame?

Don't try to pound out 20 pages in 3 hours like on an exam. Proofread.

How's your work in your legal writing class? That's got to be closer to SA conditions than a doctrinal issue-spotter exam.

09042014
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Re: bad writing:(

Postby 09042014 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:50 pm

arizonairish wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
arizonairish wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:In so far as you can generalize about what professors grade on, writing quality isn't a factor.


Thanks, but I am actually more concerned about my writing product for my SA than professors.


That's a whole other ballgame.


Any tips on this ballgame?


That would be the blind leading the blind.




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