Staying in the top

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Codebrew12
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:52 am

Staying in the top

Postby Codebrew12 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:41 am

So I did quite well in semester 1. I got in the top 10% and am happy. Now in semester 2 I'm working harder than ever but for some reason all of the fears from the first weeks of law school are back! I feel like everyone is understanding the material more than I am etc. I just feel like I've lost my edge from the end of last semester. My question is: Do those that are in the top for their first semester generally stay in the top so long as they continue with the good study habits?

MinEMorris
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:26 am

Re: Staying in the top

Postby MinEMorris » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:00 am

Congrats on your current rank.

The answer to your question is, of course, it depends. Some people do better, some people do worse. You can gather plenty of anecdotes supporting one side or the other, but because there's no one out there taking real data on this stuff, you'll never get a definitive answer.

I will say that you have one thing going for you, which is that you have not become cocky or burned out after your first semester performance. Many students ranked slightly below you, such as within the top 25%, will be learning from their mistakes from last semester. Some of them will perform much better this time around. If you did well during first semester, perhaps the first thing you should do is not let your guard down. Don't get cocky, and don't burn out.

I think the second most important thing you can do is also do better yourself. If you landed in the top 10%, then obviously you are doing most things right. That doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement. I would suggest examining your test-taking experience and using that as a proxy for determining what was and wasn't helpful for you. For example, maybe you briefed every case throughout the semester, yet you used almost none of the knowledge obtained from those briefs during the actual exam. If that's the case, maybe you could brief less and spend more time on practice tests. Where you can make adjustments to maximize your performance on exams is a personal issue and one you will have to sort out for yourself.

I personally went from top 10% first semester to top 5% by the end of the year. I spent less time reading cases and more times studying old exams from the professors (i.e. trying to see what they look for in an ideal answer), outlining, and taking practice exams. The same advice may not be applicable to you, though.

Good luck in your second semester.

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LazinessPerSe
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:18 am

Re: Staying in the top

Postby LazinessPerSe » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:44 am

Codebrew12 wrote:So I did quite well in semester 1. I got in the top 10% and am happy. Now in semester 2 I'm working harder than ever but for some reason all of the fears from the first weeks of law school are back! I feel like everyone is understanding the material more than I am etc. I just feel like I've lost my edge from the end of last semester. My question is: Do those that are in the top for their first semester generally stay in the top so long as they continue with the good study habits?


Hi Codebrew12,

I was almost in your exactly position last year, around this time. Was top 8% and gunning for transfer, but completely burned by overworking fall 1L exams. I took the successful things I liked about my fall study (outlining / practice exams) and seriously thought about the amount of time needed to be successful with those endeavors. I came to the uneasy conclusion (at the time) that I was spending a lot of time "checking the box" that I spent long hours in the library / buried in a hornbook that were not necessary to maintaining/improving my rank.

To clear my mind, I took about a 1 month hiatus from doing substantive work for outlines/etc. I read the assignments, but only well enough to have a basic understanding. I met a girl and we started dating (still are). I went outside and exercised more. After about 1 month of school, I started the process again by outlining the previous material and starting some rough practice problems (on completed units only). I'd spend maybe 2-3 hours per day on this type of work outside of class, and always took Saturday completely off. The month before exams I maintained the time schedule, but started reviewing/practicing in blocs, such that I'd do Ks for 4 days, then Torts for 4 days, etc. That helped me see things a bit better. I figured 2-3 hours per day outside of readings for class / class itself brought me to roughly 5-8 hours a day on law school work. That was less than a full time job, but gave me the breathing room I needed to not go insane and get lost in worry / stress. It worked for me - I finished in the top 5% of my class and transferred into a respectable T1.

My advice is to actually take the time to sit down and ask yourself what you liked / didn't like about last semester's studying habits. What did you find helped you do well on your exams? What did you feel was rather pointless? If you hone in on a studying regime that maximizes the use of your time, you should be just fine grade-wise. Once you "get it", you don't stop "getting it" - unless you get lazy on an exam. If you spend your time worrying about everyone else, you're just wasting time that could be spent de-stressing or studying. You don't catch the ball by watching the cornerback.

Good luck!
LPS

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shepdawg
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Staying in the top

Postby shepdawg » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:52 pm

I recommend trying to vary your strategy this semester, so you can figure out what actually helped. By doing this I was able to improve even more by putting in 1/6 the effort of my first semester. In my first semester of 3L, I was able to raise my GPA by .27 and I only studied about 60 hours outside of class the entire semester.

Pokemon
Posts: 1861
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:58 pm

Re: Staying in the top

Postby Pokemon » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:24 pm

Is it lonely up there?

Codebrew12
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:52 am

Re: Staying in the top

Postby Codebrew12 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:56 am

Lol, lonely it is not. There is a lot of pressure to stay at the top though. I appreciate the replies from everyone. I know people are going to work harder this semester, so I know I've got to stay on top of it.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1394
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Staying in the top

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:08 am

I was number one in my class after first semester 1L year. After my elation, I realized it was unlikely I would, at the end of 6 rounds, end up where I began.

The problem is that you did well, so it is difficult to identify where you are weak. As you progress, pay attention to what you hate doing, and get better at that.




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