Thinking on Your Feet

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sweetfrenchtoast
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Thinking on Your Feet

Postby sweetfrenchtoast » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:25 am

I'm having a pretty difficult time with "thinking on my feet." I know most everyone has a difficult time with this but I feel like I'm lagging behind my classmates a bit and since I'll be graded on a curve with them, I want to know how I can improve.

I know that most people say that your ability in class doesn't matter all that much but I've found the socratic method to be very difficult (both when I'm under the spotlight and when I'm just trying to think of what I'd say when waiting for someone else for someone else's question). Additionally, I've always been a fairly slow writer...mostly because it takes me some time think through my arguments and articulate them clearly.

I think this "thinking on my feet" thing will be particularly important when it comes to exams. So now that I have a semester to work on it, I'm looking for ideas on how to improve. Any exercises to improve?

This all sounds fairly gunnerish but I'm really not that person. I've just identified a weakness that I think may hurt me down the line if I don't fix it.

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guano
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Re: Thinking on Your Feet

Postby guano » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:29 am

sweetfrenchtoast wrote:I think this "thinking on my feet" thing will be particularly important when it comes to exams

What on earth gives you that idea?

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Druid
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Re: Thinking on Your Feet

Postby Druid » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:02 am

You need to make sure to take a lot of practice exams under timed conditions later in the semester. That's the only way you're going to be comfortable enough to think and type quickly. Other than that you just need to grind. This isn't liberal arts 501 where you have weeks to write a 10-page masterpiece. You need to bang out everything you can think of as quickly as you can, and forget about flair and style.

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brotherdarkness
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Re: Thinking on Your Feet

Postby brotherdarkness » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:34 am

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Last edited by brotherdarkness on Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thegrayman
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Re: Thinking on Your Feet

Postby thegrayman » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:46 am

2 things might help you

1) Since the final exam is all that matters, figure out your professor's "test style." If model answers to their exams are available, are they 15 page treatises or world-limited? This helps you plan an approach. A shorter model answer or word limit suggests they want some concise, well thought out answers. Longer model answers suggest a more "word dump" approach where you should just make every argument that comes to mind, obviously starting with the strongest.

2) Learn to type fast. http://www.typeracer.com. Seriously, being able to type fast only helps, even on a word limited exam, because it frees up more time to plan out and think. Any additional time you can devote to planning/thinking instead of typing is really helpful. I can leave small amounts of time to type and not freak out because I am confident that I can type like a beast when I really need to. Also, this is something that you can improve in a short time, especially if you are starting from a low wpm.

The socratic method sucks, period. Your classmates will get in your head because they seem to have all the answers and you freak out because you didn't think of what they said. It happens, but seriously for your own mental health you need to focus more on things you can control (i.e. not what other people are doing).

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thesealocust
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Re: Thinking on Your Feet

Postby thesealocust » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:34 pm

guano wrote:
sweetfrenchtoast wrote:I think this "thinking on my feet" thing will be particularly important when it comes to exams

What on earth gives you that idea?


+1. The skills needed on an exam really don't line up at all with the "skills" "needed" for a cold call. This makes 2nd semester especially funny when a bunch of gabby people first semester shut their annoying faces after getting median-pwned.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: Thinking on Your Feet

Postby shifty_eyed » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:32 am

I freeze up when I get cold called, but as long as I don't have an oral final exam in front of the whole class, I don't think this will be a problem come exam time.

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KD35
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Re: Thinking on Your Feet

Postby KD35 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:37 am

thesealocust wrote:
guano wrote:
sweetfrenchtoast wrote:I think this "thinking on my feet" thing will be particularly important when it comes to exams

What on earth gives you that idea?


+1. The skills needed on an exam really don't line up at all with the "skills" "needed" for a cold call. This makes 2nd semester especially funny when a bunch of gabby people first semester shut their annoying faces after getting median-pwned.

+1 to median-pwned. Here's to hoping to not be one of them.

But I'd imagine that the best way to see how you'd feel about finals and such is to take practice exams. And take a look at some old finals, just to see if you can at least spot where some potential issues are. And it is also still super early, even though the final is all that matters for your grade, you have time to still learn how to take law school tests.




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