Advice About Taking Practice Exams

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sweetfrenchtoast
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Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby sweetfrenchtoast » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:37 pm

I'm having a difficult time "grading" my practice exams. When I go over sample answers, it seems like we hit on all the same points. Sometimes they go more in depth into certain things but at the same time, I go into depth more on other things.

I know that I could definitely improve, but what exactly should I be looking for? We're hitting the same notes, citing as many (or as few) cases, Restatements, etc. So what's up??

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ph14
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby ph14 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:00 pm

sweetfrenchtoast wrote:I'm having a difficult time "grading" my practice exams. When I go over sample answers, it seems like we hit on all the same points. Sometimes they go more in depth into certain things but at the same time, I go into depth more on other things.

I know that I could definitely improve, but what exactly should I be looking for? We're hitting the same notes, citing as many (or as few) cases, Restatements, etc. So what's up??


It's difficult to grade precisely, but you should generally feel confident if you have similar answers to the model answer. But it's important to remember that isn't necessarily the only way to book the class. I've compared model answers that are quite different, maybe more than you would expect. But anyways, if you're hitting all the major issues and a lot of the minor issues then you're on the right track. There's nothing more else you can do really. Sometimes your answers will be better on a certain point; sometimes their answer will be. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

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Presidentjlh
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby Presidentjlh » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:06 pm

Here's what I figure:

If you gave a good effort towards prep for exams, your answers are close to model answers, and you don't completely forget everything during the exam, you've done the best you can do, and that's all you can ask from yourself.

Looking back, although at first I thought I bombed the Torts exam yesterday, I actually am now pretty pleased with myself in retrospect. I honestly gave it my best effort. If I still get a bad grade, well, then, shit, guess it wasn't in the cards, but at least I'll be able to live with myself knowing that it wasn't because I just blew everything off.

Also, with model answers, they aren't perfect answers. There's no such thing as a perfect answer. Since it's all curve-based, while everyone knows that someone has to be the poor bastard in last place, what people forget is there also has to be a fortunate bastard in first place. That person isn't in first because they got every single possible issue and had perfect analysis, they just did better than everyone else.

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ph14
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby ph14 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:10 pm

Presidentjlh wrote:Here's what I figure:

If you gave a good effort towards prep for exams, your answers are close to model answers, and you don't completely forget everything during the exam, you've done the best you can do, and that's all you can ask from yourself.

Looking back, although at first I thought I bombed the Torts exam yesterday, I actually am now pretty pleased with myself in retrospect. I honestly gave it my best effort. If I still get a bad grade, well, then, shit, guess it wasn't in the cards, but at least I'll be able to live with myself knowing that it wasn't because I just blew everything off.

Also, with model answers, they aren't perfect answers. There's no such thing as a perfect answer. Since it's all curve-based, while everyone knows that someone has to be the poor bastard in last place, what people forget is there also has to be a fortunate bastard in first place. That person isn't in first because they got every single possible issue and had perfect analysis, they just did better than everyone else.


That's a great attitude. I'm sure you will do great if you are consistently close to the model answers, honestly. You'd be surprised with the difficulty some people have with issue spotters. Not everyone takes advantage of resources like TLS, or even old model answers.

dj_roomba
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby dj_roomba » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:00 am

I made a similar thread like this.

The model answers we're given is "good" but not great.
Does that mean our class is insanely competitive? Maybe. I'm not looking forward to the curve.

Seriously. In my honest opinion, the model answer was pretty bad (and my classmates think so). I "scored" it and my answer scored higher AND I found mistakes in the model answer (I'm 100% sure; and confirmed by professor). There's gotta be SOMETHING that explains this because everybody else is reaching the similar conclusion (although, I do think that those who speak out are the ones who did well and though it was easy).
Still. Model answer was highest grade in the class years ago. How is it possible that we all agree it sucks? Evolution of the law school curve? That's my theory. Or maybe we're all wrong and we're going to be horribly surprised by our grades.


....Is this what they mean by "grading is arbitrary?"

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Presidentjlh
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby Presidentjlh » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:01 am

Just matters on the class and how each person does, that's all.

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sanjola
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby sanjola » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:32 am

dj_roomba wrote:I made a similar thread like this.

The model answers we're given is "good" but not great.
Does that mean our class is insanely competitive? Maybe. I'm not looking forward to the curve.

Seriously. In my honest opinion, the model answer was pretty bad (and my classmates think so). I "scored" it and my answer scored higher AND I found mistakes in the model answer (I'm 100% sure; and confirmed by professor). There's gotta be SOMETHING that explains this because everybody else is reaching the similar conclusion (although, I do think that those who speak out are the ones who did well and though it was easy).
Still. Model answer was highest grade in the class years ago. How is it possible that we all agree it sucks? Evolution of the law school curve? That's my theory. Or maybe we're all wrong and we're going to be horribly surprised by our grades.


....Is this what they mean by "grading is arbitrary?"


I think that's part of it, but you also haven't taken the real thing yet. There are a lot of other things to factor in when you're taking the actual test, under pressure and timed conditions.

dj_roomba
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby dj_roomba » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:32 am

sanjola wrote:
dj_roomba wrote:I made a similar thread like this.

The model answers we're given is "good" but not great.
Does that mean our class is insanely competitive? Maybe. I'm not looking forward to the curve.

Seriously. In my honest opinion, the model answer was pretty bad (and my classmates think so). I "scored" it and my answer scored higher AND I found mistakes in the model answer (I'm 100% sure; and confirmed by professor). There's gotta be SOMETHING that explains this because everybody else is reaching the similar conclusion (although, I do think that those who speak out are the ones who did well and though it was easy).
Still. Model answer was highest grade in the class years ago. How is it possible that we all agree it sucks? Evolution of the law school curve? That's my theory. Or maybe we're all wrong and we're going to be horribly surprised by our grades.


....Is this what they mean by "grading is arbitrary?"


I think that's part of it, but you also haven't taken the real thing yet. There are a lot of other things to factor in when you're taking the actual test, under pressure and timed conditions.


Yeah I also figured that must be part. I can't imagine the pressure on test day. Especially for a closed-book exam.

sweetfrenchtoast
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby sweetfrenchtoast » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:26 am

I know the stress of test day definitely takes its toll...

I'm just wondering how to not get median-pwd. Everyone seems smart. Some people are diving into the details of the law more (not me...trying to paint in broad strokes...wondering if I'll regret this).

I'm just wondering if grades are written for us long before we get to law school. What can one do during law school to succeed (p.s. I know everyone's going to direct me to those "how to succeed in law school" posts but honestly..."everyone" at my law school has read them and follows them to some extent).

llachans
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Re: Advice About Taking Practice Exams

Postby llachans » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:14 pm

sweetfrenchtoast wrote:I know the stress of test day definitely takes its toll...

I'm just wondering how to not get median-pwd. Everyone seems smart. Some people are diving into the details of the law more (not me...trying to paint in broad strokes...wondering if I'll regret this).

I'm just wondering if grades are written for us long before we get to law school. What can one do during law school to succeed (p.s. I know everyone's going to direct me to those "how to succeed in law school" posts but honestly..."everyone" at my law school has read them and follows them to some extent).


You're going to hate my answer but "it depends on the professor". It really does. I didn't get good at pinning down what certain professors wanted until my second semester and I dramatically improved (went from top 40% to top 20%). For example, my conlaw professor preferred well-written, broader picture exams while my torts and contract professors followed a checklist approach and gave you points for every fact you applied to the rule. Talk to upperclassmen, figure out what professors prefer, and have your approach reflect in your practice exam. Although this might seem obvious, people like me won't figure it out until 2nd semester. Really take advantage of it. Perhaps run some practice tests by your professors and see what advice they can give you as far as your approach goes.




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