Are first semester exams that important?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
Connor Benz
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Are first semester exams that important?

Postby Connor Benz » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:08 pm

I felt like I did horrible on ALL of my exams. It is my first semester and I did not come straight from undergrad. People keep bragging like "oh i wrote 29 pages, or I wrote 5,000 words" and I think to myself that I did not write that much. I try not to talk about it, but my roommates are law students (1Ls like me) and they keep talking about it. I really felt like I did bad and I will be devastated and probably unmotivated if I actually did bad.

Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career? How can firms and employers really think somebody is an excellent lawyer just by first semester grades? I hear stories about people who don't do well first semester, but great next and make a tremendous jump in the class rankings. So what about these students who do a lot better second semester, they won't get offered good jobs?

User avatar
sap
Posts: 269
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:16 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby sap » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:11 pm

Connor Benz wrote:I felt like I did horrible on ALL of my exams. It is my first semester and I did not come straight from undergrad. People keep bragging like "oh i wrote 29 pages, or I wrote 5,000 words" and I think to myself that I did not write that much. I try not to talk about it, but my roommates are law students (1Ls like me) and they keep talking about it. I really felt like I did bad and I will be devastated and probably unmotivated if I actually did bad.

Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career? How can firms and employers really think somebody is an excellent lawyer just by first semester grades? I hear stories about people who don't do well first semester, but great next and make a tremendous jump in the class rankings. So what about these students who do a lot better second semester, they won't get offered good jobs?


Legal employers look at your entire first year transcript, so first semester grades don't matter especially more than second semester grades (though, for your job this summer, yes, they are, in fact, that important).

However, if you get straight Bs first semester and then bump it up later, you are still doing worse than the person who got As first semester and also second semester. First semester exams are very important. They are 50% of your job prospects.

That said, writing 29 pages or 5,000 words does not mean your classmates did well (except probably on torts). There are some questions that can and should be answered succinctly.

User avatar
justonemoregame
Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:51 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby justonemoregame » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:13 pm

Anyone who writes more than 15 pages can go straight to hell, just straight to hell.

Connor Benz
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby Connor Benz » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:21 pm

sap wrote:
Connor Benz wrote:I felt like I did horrible on ALL of my exams. It is my first semester and I did not come straight from undergrad. People keep bragging like "oh i wrote 29 pages, or I wrote 5,000 words" and I think to myself that I did not write that much. I try not to talk about it, but my roommates are law students (1Ls like me) and they keep talking about it. I really felt like I did bad and I will be devastated and probably unmotivated if I actually did bad.

Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career? How can firms and employers really think somebody is an excellent lawyer just by first semester grades? I hear stories about people who don't do well first semester, but great next and make a tremendous jump in the class rankings. So what about these students who do a lot better second semester, they won't get offered good jobs?


Legal employers look at your entire first year transcript, so first semester grades don't matter especially more than second semester grades (though, for your job this summer, yes, they are, in fact, that important).

However, if you get straight Bs first semester and then bump it up later, you are still doing worse than the person who got As first semester and also second semester. First semester exams are very important. They are 50% of your job prospects.

That said, writing 29 pages or 5,000 words does not mean your classmates did well (except probably on torts). There are some questions that can and should be answered succinctly.


Torts - :shock:

User avatar
brotherdarkness
Posts: 3254
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby brotherdarkness » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:21 pm

.
Last edited by brotherdarkness on Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
gdane
Posts: 12424
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby gdane » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:43 pm

OCI doesn't set the tone for anything if you don't care about firms and want to go into government work or public interest.

First semester grades are as important as second semester grades but don't worry about any of that just work hard,work smart, and do your best on your exams

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8448
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby thesealocust » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:32 pm

Connor Benz wrote:Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career?


No, just half of it. Second semester 1L grades are the other half.

Merry Christmas!

User avatar
shifty_eyed
Posts: 1934
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:09 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby shifty_eyed » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:47 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Connor Benz wrote:Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career?


No, just half of it. Second semester 1L grades are the other half.

Merry Christmas!


But we should wait for grades before dropping out, yes?

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8448
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby thesealocust » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:54 pm

shifty_eyed wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Connor Benz wrote:Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career?


No, just half of it. Second semester 1L grades are the other half.

Merry Christmas!


But we should wait for grades before dropping out, yes?


I mean it's better to get good grades than bad ones, but better than both to not have to be a lawyer. THINK THESE THINGS THROUGH.

User avatar
brotherdarkness
Posts: 3254
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby brotherdarkness » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:13 am

.
Last edited by brotherdarkness on Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Cellar-door
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:33 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby Cellar-door » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:28 am

The people you live with are bad people and everyone else hates them.
Anyone talking about how much they wrote on their exams more than 15 minutes after the exam ends should be punched in the groin.
Go enjoy your holidays and don't worry about it until you actually see the grades.

User avatar
Bildungsroman
Posts: 5548
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:42 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby Bildungsroman » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:32 am

Connor Benz wrote:I felt like I did horrible on ALL of my exams. It is my first semester and I did not come straight from undergrad. People keep bragging like "oh i wrote 29 pages, or I wrote 5,000 words" and I think to myself that I did not write that much. I try not to talk about it, but my roommates are law students (1Ls like me) and they keep talking about it. I really felt like I did bad and I will be devastated and probably unmotivated if I actually did bad.

Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career? How can firms and employers really think somebody is an excellent lawyer just by first semester grades? I hear stories about people who don't do well first semester, but great next and make a tremendous jump in the class rankings. So what about these students who do a lot better second semester, they won't get offered good jobs?

People who brag about how much they wrote are morons. And I know it seems intimidating because people are talking really nonchalantly about how they wrote 29 pages like it's not a big deal like maybe everyone wrote that much, but those people are actually as frightened as you and are desperately seeking validation and assurances from other people that their inadequacies will be masked by the law school exam equivalent of a red sports car.

User avatar
fundamentallybroken
Posts: 663
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:52 am

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby fundamentallybroken » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:35 am

Cellar-door wrote:The people you live with are bad people and everyone else hates them.
Anyone talking about how much they wrote on their exams more than 15 minutes after the exam ends should be punched in the groin.
Go enjoy your holidays and don't worry about it until you actually see the grades.


This.

Yes, first semester grades are important. However, anyone that brags about how much they wrote, or how well they did (which is certain to happen once your roommates get their grades, if they did well):

Cock. Punch.

UnderrateOverachieve
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:34 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:37 am

Bildungsroman wrote:
Connor Benz wrote:I felt like I did horrible on ALL of my exams. It is my first semester and I did not come straight from undergrad. People keep bragging like "oh i wrote 29 pages, or I wrote 5,000 words" and I think to myself that I did not write that much. I try not to talk about it, but my roommates are law students (1Ls like me) and they keep talking about it. I really felt like I did bad and I will be devastated and probably unmotivated if I actually did bad.

Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career? How can firms and employers really think somebody is an excellent lawyer just by first semester grades? I hear stories about people who don't do well first semester, but great next and make a tremendous jump in the class rankings. So what about these students who do a lot better second semester, they won't get offered good jobs?

People who brag about how much they wrote are morons. And I know it seems intimidating because people are talking really nonchalantly about how they wrote 29 pages like it's not a big deal like maybe everyone wrote that much, but those people are actually as frightened as you and are desperately seeking validation and assurances from other people that their inadequacies will be masked by the law school exam equivalent of a red sports car.


Definitely agree with this. Read a student's answer that was close to 30 pages for a Con Law I exam. They basically typed out their outline, spelled every other word wrong (wish I was joking), and clearly had no clear idea what they were saying. I actually would have given him a B. He spotted all the issues correctly and jammed out the corresponding pages of his outline, but I would not give him a point higher. Writing more than 20 pages on a tort exam is out of control. (writing more than 15 pages on any exam is out of control.)

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8448
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:18 am

UnderrateOverachieve wrote:Definitely agree with this. Read a student's answer that was close to 30 pages for a Con Law I exam. They basically typed out their outline, spelled every other word wrong (wish I was joking), and clearly had no clear idea what they were saying. I actually would have given him a B. He spotted all the issues correctly and jammed out the corresponding pages of his outline, but I would not give him a point higher. Writing more than 20 pages on a tort exam is out of control. (writing more than 15 pages on any exam is out of control.)


That's taking it too far. I'll say it until I'm blue in the face that you don't need to write a long exam, but long exams can be quite good if they're long because they're filled with exhaustive analysis.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:32 am

Yes. They are everything. I'm not being glib. First semester 1L grades are most important because when you apply for 1L summer internships, all you will have to show for yourself is your first semester grades. And when you apply for interviews during OCI, you may very well not have your entire transcript in. And when you're writing onto law review immediately following the end of second semester, you won't know how well you did second semester (and won't know your margin for error to grade onto law review). And when you start behind the eight ball, it's more difficult to get in front. And when you land a 2L summer associateship and obtain your offer following 2L summer, they won't ask for your 2L grades, because they don't care. There is no single more important semester in law school than first semester 1L. Ace that, ace law school.

Lastly, you have no idea how well you did. That's isn't "heh, I remember being a 1L" advice, that's a plain fact. You've never taken a law school exam. Nor have your peers. You're forgetting, the A exam doesn't get everything right - it may miss a large percentage of available issues and points - but the 67% exam might be the highest grade in the class. So eat and drink and play video games for awhile until your grades come in. Then you can fret, if necessary.

And only douchers opine to their peers about how well they think they did.

Connor Benz
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby Connor Benz » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:04 am

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Yes. They are everything. I'm not being glib. First semester 1L grades are most important because when you apply for 1L summer internships, all you will have to show for yourself is your first semester grades. And when you apply for interviews during OCI, you may very well not have your entire transcript in. And when you're writing onto law review immediately following the end of second semester, you won't know how well you did second semester (and won't know your margin for error to grade onto law review). And when you start behind the eight ball, it's more difficult to get in front. And when you land a 2L summer associateship and obtain your offer following 2L summer, they won't ask for your 2L grades, because they don't care. There is no single more important semester in law school than first semester 1L. Ace that, ace law school.

Lastly, you have no idea how well you did. That's isn't "heh, I remember being a 1L" advice, that's a plain fact. You've never taken a law school exam. Nor have your peers. You're forgetting, the A exam doesn't get everything right - it may miss a large percentage of available issues and points - but the 67% exam might be the highest grade in the class. So eat and drink and play video games for awhile until your grades come in. Then you can fret, if necessary.

And only douchers opine to their peers about how well they think they did.


So your second semester grades of your first year can't get you out in front? I'm thinking, don't you have a chance to redeem yourself the during the second semester?

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8448
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:11 am

Connor Benz wrote:So your second semester grades of your first year can't get you out in front? I'm thinking, don't you have a chance to redeem yourself the during the second semester?


They are worth half of your 1L grades, but otherwise 1L GPA is what rules, not trend or anything else.

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9653
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:33 am

I think NotMyRealName said it best:

Lots of people feel like shit after their exams. They are fucking hard. This doesnt mean you did badly. The curve works both ways: if everyone feels good and you feel good, you could still be fucked. If you feel bad but everyone else felt like shit too (aka my Contracts exam), you can still get an A on the curve.

And length of exam =/= quality of exam

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:37 pm

Connor Benz wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:Yes. They are everything. I'm not being glib. First semester 1L grades are most important because when you apply for 1L summer internships, all you will have to show for yourself is your first semester grades. And when you apply for interviews during OCI, you may very well not have your entire transcript in. And when you're writing onto law review immediately following the end of second semester, you won't know how well you did second semester (and won't know your margin for error to grade onto law review). And when you start behind the eight ball, it's more difficult to get in front. And when you land a 2L summer associateship and obtain your offer following 2L summer, they won't ask for your 2L grades, because they don't care. There is no single more important semester in law school than first semester 1L. Ace that, ace law school.

Lastly, you have no idea how well you did. That's isn't "heh, I remember being a 1L" advice, that's a plain fact. You've never taken a law school exam. Nor have your peers. You're forgetting, the A exam doesn't get everything right - it may miss a large percentage of available issues and points - but the 67% exam might be the highest grade in the class. So eat and drink and play video games for awhile until your grades come in. Then you can fret, if necessary.

And only douchers opine to their peers about how well they think they did.


So your second semester grades of your first year can't get you out in front? I'm thinking, don't you have a chance to redeem yourself the during the second semester?


They could, but the thing about second semester is that now everyone has experience studying for and taking exams. The curves will tighten, and it will be harder to pull ahead. If you start on top, you likely stay there. If you start off looking up at the top, you are less likely to claw your way up because the people at the top are, again, likely to stay there.

Phrased differently, you have NO BETTER TIME to distinguish yourself from your peers grades-wise than first semester 1L year, if only because of the small sample size of grades. After that, things average out, and those on top in the beginning will probably be there in the end. That's why firms are content to offer full-time employment offers to their summer associates based solely on 1L grades and whether the SA performed well during the 2L summer. (Most firms don't ask for 2L grades before making full time offers to SAs).

This isn't to say that you're doomed if you don't ace 1L year. But as for landing a good gig through OCI, first semester grades truly set the table for later success. They really are that important.

User avatar
PepperJack
Posts: 646
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:23 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby PepperJack » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:58 pm

Connor Benz wrote:I felt like I did horrible on ALL of my exams. It is my first semester and I did not come straight from undergrad. People keep bragging like "oh i wrote 29 pages, or I wrote 5,000 words" and I think to myself that I did not write that much. I try not to talk about it, but my roommates are law students (1Ls like me) and they keep talking about it. I really felt like I did bad and I will be devastated and probably unmotivated if I actually did bad.

Do first semester grades really dictate your entire legal career? How can firms and employers really think somebody is an excellent lawyer just by first semester grades? I hear stories about people who don't do well first semester, but great next and make a tremendous jump in the class rankings. So what about these students who do a lot better second semester, they won't get offered good jobs?

Other factors are going to be more important than .1 or .2 in GPA.

On the word/page count thing, if someone had as much analysis per page as you and has 20% more pages they will do better. However, there is value in being succinct. Think about it from the prof's point of view. You're reading 100 exams, and one person is clear and concise with new paragraphs for each issue. The second person is wordy and disorganized. They're human, and are more likely to read the first exam closely. I'd focus more on the issues you wrote about, and how back-and-forth your arguments were.

Connor Benz
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby Connor Benz » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:12 pm

I'm just really concerned. I had to shorten my analysis for my contracts exam and get straight to the point because the exam software kept crashing on my computer so I had to write the test. The multiple choice for my civ pro was very difficult and my Torts test, I don't think I got all the issues. I'm just really stressed this holiday season. I think I am going to complain about the software system at my school because I felt like i could have said a lot more had I been typing the test. FML!!!!!

User avatar
PepperJack
Posts: 646
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:23 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby PepperJack » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:19 pm

Connor Benz wrote:I'm just really concerned. I had to shorten my analysis for my contracts exam and get straight to the point because the exam software kept crashing on my computer so I had to write the test. The multiple choice for my civ pro was very difficult and my Torts test, I don't think I got all the issues. I'm just really stressed this holiday season. I think I am going to complain about the software system at my school because I felt like i could have said a lot more had I been typing the test. FML!!!!!

That sucks - will the prof be aware you had to write it because of said computer issues? I feel like that's an unfair disadvantage because even if a prof does his/her best to be objective, a typed exam will just read smoother than a written exam if your handwriting is anything like 99% of law students.

I also don't know what your school's policy on this so check, but it can sometimes be helpful to share exams with the people you studied with to compare/contrast, and get other's feedback. Of course, this will just heighten your anxiety if everyone you studied with winds up making law review.

Cellar-door
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:33 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby Cellar-door » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:10 am

Connor Benz wrote:I'm just really concerned. I had to shorten my analysis for my contracts exam and get straight to the point because the exam software kept crashing on my computer so I had to write the test. The multiple choice for my civ pro was very difficult and my Torts test, I don't think I got all the issues. I'm just really stressed this holiday season. I think I am going to complain about the software system at my school because I felt like i could have said a lot more had I been typing the test. FML!!!!!

Unless your professor sucks at writing Hypos not a single student got all the issues. Most probably didn't give full analysis to more than 70%.

UnderrateOverachieve
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:34 pm

Re: Are first semester exams that important?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:09 am

Cellar-door wrote:
Connor Benz wrote:I'm just really concerned. I had to shorten my analysis for my contracts exam and get straight to the point because the exam software kept crashing on my computer so I had to write the test. The multiple choice for my civ pro was very difficult and my Torts test, I don't think I got all the issues. I'm just really stressed this holiday season. I think I am going to complain about the software system at my school because I felt like i could have said a lot more had I been typing the test. FML!!!!!

Unless your professor sucks at writing Hypos not a single student got all the issues. Most probably didn't give full analysis to more than 70%.


Your job is to get the major issues then start working out. As long as you feel like you hit the major issues, you will probably be at least in the B range (if not better). The peripheral issues are what separate that upper end of the curve. It is also up to you to decipher whether your teacher gives more points for hitting all the issues with light analysis (like my contracts professor) or if they prefer a deeper analysis.

MY contracts teacher literally had a check list and if you mentioned enough to make it sound like you knew the issue and how to address it, he would award you points. Figure out these things before the exam and you will feel more confident and comfortable.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: AZ123, Baidu [Spider], Hintergedanke, ramadar and 11 guests