Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas? **Update**

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gnuwheels
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Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas? **Update**

Postby gnuwheels » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:39 pm

So just finished my first semester. C+, B- and a B. Pretty bad. I'm trying to stay optimistic and think I can do better this semester but honestly I don't even know what I could do differently.

I always went to class. I always paid attention in class. I always did the reading. I made my own outlines, using outlines from older students for reference and to fill in the gaps. I talked to people who had my professors about tips and exam info. I went to office hours. I participated in class. I read GTM. I did every single practice exam I could for each class. I went over them with classmates and felt good about them. I thought i understood the material and felt good about the exams when I was done with them.

I already met with one prof and he really wasn't helpful. He said that on one question I just missed a lot of issues, but that my other answers were good. his answer was literally "just don't do that again."

I'm also a little surprised because I got in here riding on an LSAT that is over the 75% percentile. I know that doesn't mean everything but I assumed it would mean at least that I wouldn't be in the bottom of my class if I worked hard. Also, it makes me really frustrated when I see classmates not coming to class, just browsing facebook/shopping when they're in class and then doing much better than me on the exam.

I want to do anything I can to do better my second semester but, given the above, I really don't know what I could/should do differently. Any advice?
Last edited by gnuwheels on Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: Bad semester. Not know why. Ideas?

Postby rad lulz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:41 pm

Everyone in your class got a similar LSAT to you. So no, it doesn't guarantee anything. I might drop out dude.

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stillwater
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby stillwater » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:42 pm

What's median?

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not know why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:43 pm

rad lulz wrote:Everyone in your class got a similar LSAT to you. So no, it doesn't guarantee anything. I might drop out dude.


I meant LSAT over the 75th percentile for my school.

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:44 pm

And I should probably add I have a scholarship. Most likely 0 debt upon graduation.

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stillwater
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby stillwater » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:45 pm

We don't know what your grades mean unless you state what the median is at your school...

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:48 pm

stillwater wrote:We don't know what your grades mean unless you state what the median is at your school...


I'm think its like a 3.2? I'm really not sure. somewhere between a B and a B+.

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stillwater
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby stillwater » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:49 pm

gnuwheels wrote:
stillwater wrote:We don't know what your grades mean unless you state what the median is at your school...


I'm think its like a 3.2? I'm really not sure. somewhere between a B and a B+.


what are your post- law school plans?

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:00 am

stillwater wrote:
gnuwheels wrote:
stillwater wrote:We don't know what your grades mean unless you state what the median is at your school...


I'm think its like a 3.2? I'm really not sure. somewhere between a B and a B+.


what are your post- law school plans?


No idea right now. I just finished my first semester. Really at this point i'm more concerned with doing better next semester and then starting to think about what my options are.

09042014
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Re: Bad semester. Not know why. Ideas?

Postby 09042014 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:16 am

gnuwheels wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Everyone in your class got a similar LSAT to you. So no, it doesn't guarantee anything. I might drop out dude.


I meant LSAT over the 75th percentile for my school.


Just because you have a 162 and everyone else has a 159, it doesn't mean shit. Those scores are the same.

delusional
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby delusional » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:20 am

gnuwheels wrote:So just finished my first semester. C+, B- and a B. Pretty bad. I'm trying to stay optimistic and think I can do better this semester but honestly I don't even know what I could do differently.

I always went to class. I always paid attention in class. I always did the reading. I made my own outlines, using outlines from older students for reference and to fill in the gaps. I talked to people who had my professors about tips and exam info. I went to office hours. I participated in class. I read GTM. I did every single practice exam I could for each class. I went over them with classmates and felt good about them. I thought i understood the material and felt good about the exams when I was done with them.

I already met with one prof and he really wasn't helpful. He said that on one question I just missed a lot of issues, but that my other answers were good. his answer was literally "just don't do that again."

I'm also a little surprised because I got in here riding on an LSAT that is over the 75% percentile. I know that doesn't mean everything but I assumed it would mean at least that I wouldn't be in the bottom of my class if I worked hard. Also, it makes me really frustrated when I see classmates not coming to class, just browsing facebook/shopping when they're in class and then doing much better than me on the exam.

I want to do anything I can to do better my second semester but, given the above, I really don't know what I could/should do differently. Any advice?
There's not really much to do, except more and better. If your professor won't help you, ask him to at least give you a copy of an A+ and figure out what that guy did that you didn't. Go to the other professors and ask what they think. Throughout the process, assume that you are in fact missing something and that it is work, not your LSAT score that will fill it in.

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:22 am

delusional wrote:
gnuwheels wrote:So just finished my first semester. C+, B- and a B. Pretty bad. I'm trying to stay optimistic and think I can do better this semester but honestly I don't even know what I could do differently.

I always went to class. I always paid attention in class. I always did the reading. I made my own outlines, using outlines from older students for reference and to fill in the gaps. I talked to people who had my professors about tips and exam info. I went to office hours. I participated in class. I read GTM. I did every single practice exam I could for each class. I went over them with classmates and felt good about them. I thought i understood the material and felt good about the exams when I was done with them.

I already met with one prof and he really wasn't helpful. He said that on one question I just missed a lot of issues, but that my other answers were good. his answer was literally "just don't do that again."

I'm also a little surprised because I got in here riding on an LSAT that is over the 75% percentile. I know that doesn't mean everything but I assumed it would mean at least that I wouldn't be in the bottom of my class if I worked hard. Also, it makes me really frustrated when I see classmates not coming to class, just browsing facebook/shopping when they're in class and then doing much better than me on the exam.

I want to do anything I can to do better my second semester but, given the above, I really don't know what I could/should do differently. Any advice?
There's not really much to do, except more and better. If your professor won't help you, ask him to at least give you a copy of an A+ and figure out what that guy did that you didn't. Go to the other professors and ask what they think. Throughout the process, assume that you are in fact missing something and that it is work, not your LSAT score that will fill it in.


Yea I regret saying the LSAT thing, and people should not focus on it. All I meant to imply was that clearly the school clearly thought I had some potential in giving me a lot of $ to come here, and I thought I had potential too. And then I put in all the necessary work and flopped. It was only meant to add to what I consider the peculiarity of this situation.
Last edited by gnuwheels on Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

005618502
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby 005618502 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:25 am

What range are you in? The only thing I can suggest is talk to your other professors, and if at all possible, as a friend who you know did well to see their exam. If it was just an issue spotting thing, learn to type quicker.

You wont have any debt, that is amazing. Sorry to hear all that hard work did pay off.

LSATNightmares
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby LSATNightmares » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:59 am

Here's what I tell my 1L mentees. The difference between walking out of a B exam and an A exam is that in the former, you say, "I think I did okay." In the latter, you say, "Wow, that professor had a few tricky issues that were very hard to spot. I doubt many other people saw that." You probably really need to improve your spotting skills. Analyzing issues isn't very hard.

There are various ways to do this. You have to get into the head of your professor or review exams with him. You have to do E&E's or other practice problems where there are answers for you to review. You have to review exams or talk about issues with smart classmates. You have to be working with class material a lot (reviewing notes, outlining, reading notes). You should be able to walk out of the exam knowing that you were able to spot those difficult issues.

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shepdawg
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby shepdawg » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:28 am

If your current GPA is sufficient to keep your scholarship, just stay in it for your free JD. If your GPA is too low, drop out now so you can start earning money.

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:52 pm

LSATNightmares wrote:Here's what I tell my 1L mentees. The difference between walking out of a B exam and an A exam is that in the former, you say, "I think I did okay." In the latter, you say, "Wow, that professor had a few tricky issues that were very hard to spot. I doubt many other people saw that." You probably really need to improve your spotting skills. Analyzing issues isn't very hard.

There are various ways to do this. You have to get into the head of your professor or review exams with him. You have to do E&E's or other practice problems where there are answers for you to review. You have to review exams or talk about issues with smart classmates. You have to be working with class material a lot (reviewing notes, outlining, reading notes). You should be able to walk out of the exam knowing that you were able to spot those difficult issues.


Yea, I can't say that my feelings coming out of the exams have any correlation to my performance. I'll try to work on the issue spotter stuff, but another wrinkle is that only one of my exams this semester was a traditional issue spotter. One was all multiple choice and one was a weird series of essay prompts. Obviously I know those have issues to spot in them but they weren't the traditional like "spot as many issues as you can in 3 hours" exams. But I did badly on all of them.

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:53 pm

shepdawg wrote:If your current GPA is sufficient to keep your scholarship, just stay in it for your free JD. If your GPA is too low, drop out now so you can start earning money.


No my GPA is above my scholarship stipulation, so I won't be losing it. Honestly this isn't about "should I drop out or not," its about ideas on how to possibly improve.

KidStuddi
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby KidStuddi » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:13 am

gnuwheels wrote:Yea, I can't say that my feelings coming out of the exams have any correlation to my performance. I'll try to work on the issue spotter stuff, but another wrinkle is that only one of my exams this semester was a traditional issue spotter. One was all multiple choice and one was a weird series of essay prompts. Obviously I know those have issues to spot in them but they weren't the traditional like "spot as many issues as you can in 3 hours" exams. But I did badly on all of them.


From my experience, multiple choice is even more about issue spotting than even issue spotters are. You don't get all of the freebee points for being able to regurgitate the black letter law or argue both sides effectively in MC. You either spot the issue in the question and get the answer right, or you miss it and get baited into a trap answer. There's really nothing else that can make up for poor issue spotting on a MC exam unless there was some kind of weird ass BLL MC that straight asked you how many days you have to file a response or something. It seems like LSATNightmares has the right diagnosis. If you walked out that test thinking you did well, it means you took the sucker answer way too often and were missing all the factual nuances.

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Lwoods
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby Lwoods » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:48 am

If you're not spotting issues, you're probably not picking up all of the nuances of the substantive content of the courses. If you can access a "model A" exam for any of your exams, that could help give you an idea how to improve.

You have a fresh start this semester. Utilize techniques that worked for you in the past (pre-law school). Personally, I've done better when I create flashcards, do CALI lessons, and refrain from even looking at print supplements. Everyone has different methods that work for them, though. I honestly think taking classes I liked (my 2 favorite 1L classes--property and ks--were both in the spring) helped, too.

I think one big key thing you should keep in mind is that if you really do want this career, don't psych yourself out or put yourself in some "below median" box as though that's your fate now. Some of your classmates will. Others will get cocky. This can be to your advantage. Make sure you understand what you're learning as you go along, using whatever methods seem logical to you and remain determined to do well. Good luck!

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:49 pm

Thanks for the responses. Any other thoughts? I'm wondering if I should at all be changing my studying methods or if its all just a test-taking problem. Also, say I do better this semester, are my first semester grades going to haunt me in terms of getting a job?

bartleby
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby bartleby » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:58 pm

I did really, really bad first semester. Had a grade that killed me. Stopped caring and did significantly better second semester and this past semester. I don't think my "improved grades" got me anywhere. You'll just have to 1.) give up the big law dream if that was even a dream, 2.) not be picky with what you can get - hopefully paid but if not, it's okay too-- maybe, 3.) work like you're on Boston Legal and the murder trial is tomorrow even though you get paid $18 an hour and all you do is write legal information blogs

this could just be a phase but i'm not optimistic, just trying to make do with a shitty situation. and bad.killer grades 1st semester is without a doubt a shitty situation. the faster you get over it the better

-----

this is not the best advice but just don't get stuck in the trees. sometimes you know one aspect of the issue so well that you're trying to be all detailed about it and in that time you might miss 3 other issues in the next 3 sentences that don't look like much. i literally will not start studying until a month or so before finals and just cram like a bitch, getting an overview of the course and if i happen to remember any nuances, i'll throw them in...

but everyone says the law is so nuanced-- on an exam all you're trying to do is hit the issues and it's like sledgehammer work, not paint brush strokes

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tfer2222
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby tfer2222 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:04 pm

How much are you relying on your outlines during exams (assuming they are open-book)?

If you are quite a bit, don't. For 1L I pretty much memorized everything on every outline so I could spot more issues and type more instead of having to go back and forth to my outline. I usually only had it there as security if I forgot a little detail, and even then I knew exactly where it was in my (very short) outline.

Understanding the material well is never enough. You have to have it memorized backwards and forwards and be able to apply it quickly to as many issues as possible.

Are you a slow typer?

Did you dwell on regurgitating law instead of applying it and moving on / spotting more little nuances / exploiting every tiny detail of every sentence of the hypo? Did you always argue both sides of everything?

knowing how to take a law school exam well >>>>>>>>>> going to class, reading the casebook, knowing the information well, like everyone else does. This is where your more slacker-like friends probably got you.
Last edited by tfer2222 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cinephile
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby cinephile » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:24 pm

Here's the thing: no one else's advice will work for you. We're all different and process things differently and synthesize things differently, etc.

Like, I've gotten As on exams where I had to go look through my outline for each answer. Where I've been succinct, contrary to TLS advice. Where I didn't outline myself, never read for the class, skipped all the time, and got the outline I relied on from a 2L I knew. There is no one answer. You know you. So only you know what didn't work for you and what's worked for you in the past.

But I guess if I had some substantive advice, it'd be to tailor your essay for the professor. Don't write in the same style for each, every prof wants to see they answer he or she would have written in the manner he or she would have written it.

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:50 pm

bartleby wrote: I don't think my "improved grades" got me anywhere. You'll just have to 1.) give up the big law dream if that was even a dream, 2.) not be picky with what you can get - hopefully paid but if not, it's okay too


So even if I do much better this semester i'm pretty screwed in terms of getting a job? Are employers going to ignore good grades this semester and just focus on the bad ones?

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby somewhatwayward » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:55 pm

gnuwheels wrote:
bartleby wrote: I don't think my "improved grades" got me anywhere. You'll just have to 1.) give up the big law dream if that was even a dream, 2.) not be picky with what you can get - hopefully paid but if not, it's okay too


So even if I do much better this semester i'm pretty screwed in terms of getting a job? Are employers going to ignore good grades this semester and just focus on the bad ones?


What type of job are you aiming for? Bartleby is right that big law is probably out of the question even with a 4.0 this semester. If that is what you really wanted, then of course you should apply but you realistically need a backup. During 2L and 3L (if you decide not to drop out), you should work various jobs during the school year to make connections and get experience.

It is not that employers look only at the bad grades and not the (hypothetical) good ones; it is that in this market employers are inundated with resumes from people who did well both semesters of 1L, so why should they hire the person who only had one good semester? This is only applicable to grade-conscious employers, though (grade-conscious = big law, federal government, clerkship, prestigious PI).




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