Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

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rivermaker
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Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby rivermaker » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:43 pm

Hi everyone. I got slightly below median (.03 off of a 3.25 median) for my first semester grades (B, B, B+, A-) at a t20 with almost a fully scholly. I was wondering how discouraged I should be. First, how different is median and being slightly below median? How much more important are first semester grades than second? Am I gonna get crushed at OCI? I have a lot of legal job experience (don't know how relevant this is) and don't really care about big law. Thanks.

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Lwoods
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby Lwoods » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:55 pm

You're not screwed, but you should be proactive and buckle down. Look at your exams, talk to your professors, and see what you can improve on. Work harder and smarter this semester. Don't become complacent.

I've personally found that I do better when I pay attention during lectures and don't use supplements. That way I know better what my particular prof wants to read on the exam. Other people find success using different means, though, which is why I think hind sighting your errors from the fall can provide the best guidance.

Your previous work experience will probably help you outperform your numbers come OCI, particularly if your resume makes you seem like an interesting person. But ITE, you'll still want the strongest numbers you can get.

Good luck!

ran12
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby ran12 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:56 pm

rivermaker wrote:Hi everyone. I got slightly below median (.03 off of a 3.25 median) for my first semester grades (B, B, B+, A-) at a t20 with almost a fully scholly. I was wondering how discouraged I should be. First, how different is median and being slightly below median? How much more important are first semester grades than second? Am I gonna get crushed at OCI? I have a lot of legal job experience (don't know how relevant this is) and don't really care about big law. Thanks.


Depends on what exactly your legal work experience is. It should help a little at a minimum but could help more if you were a patent examiner for ex before law school. 1L Fall grades matter a lot for 1L summer employment b/c that's all employers have to go off of from school. Grades will trump experience in a lot of cases. For OCI, if you crush spring semester you'll prob be fine. For what it's worth I have a finance background and had 1L Fall gpa around 3.0 and still got a SA my 1L summer but this is not the norm. Legal employment is largely based on luck in my opinion.

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Nova
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby Nova » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:59 pm

because of your scholly and indifference to biglaw, youre not really screwed.

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rivermaker
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby rivermaker » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:02 pm

Thanks for your responses. I def. plan on buckling down next semester and fixing my studying based on what I did wrong. My past experience was multiple years at a couple of law firms. Just pretty life tilted right now.

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rivermaker
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby rivermaker » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:05 pm

dont really want to say what exactly my job experience was cuz it would out me to some people.

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2014
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby 2014 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:40 pm

Nova wrote:because of your scholly and indifference to biglaw, youre not really screwed.

Agreed


If you want big law to be even an option though you need to do way better next semester, it is what it is. I see no reason why slightly below median is any different than median or slightly above though to answer your direct question.

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mi-chan17
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby mi-chan17 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:37 am

If you're asking if you'll be crushed at 2L OCI, the summer between 1L/2L, then not necessarily. I was about median after my first semester. Second semester, I figured out what I was doing, and my GPA went way up; it jumped from median to ~ top 10%. You have so few grades so far, that second semester can make a huge difference. So, like the others have said, meet with your first semester professors, go over your exams, and reevaluate how you studied first semester.

If you're talking about spring OCI for this upcoming summer, then you've got the GPA you've got. Luckily, since you aren't gunning for 1L biglaw, your GPA won't matter all that much.

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thesealocust
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:05 pm

It's fair to say you're not objectively screwed, but you are going to get crushed at OCI. It's fine to be indifferent to biglaw, but that's now basically impossible. Do you have a realistic plan B?

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samcro_op
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby samcro_op » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:24 pm

mi-chan17 wrote:If you're asking if you'll be crushed at 2L OCI, the summer between 1L/2L, then not necessarily. I was about median after my first semester. Second semester, I figured out what I was doing, and my GPA went way up; it jumped from median to ~ top 10%. You have so few grades so far, that second semester can make a huge difference. So, like the others have said, meet with your first semester professors, go over your exams, and reevaluate how you studied first semester.

If you're talking about spring OCI for this upcoming summer, then you've got the GPA you've got. Luckily, since you aren't gunning for 1L biglaw, your GPA won't matter all that much.


What do you think helped you make such a drastic change?

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mi-chan17
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby mi-chan17 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:22 pm

samcro_op wrote:What do you think helped you make such a drastic change?


I went over my first semester exams with my professors. I think that was the biggest factor. Everyone in law school can learn the law. Most of your class knows the law well enough to do well on the exam. The difference between doing well and doing poorly is knowing how to communicate the law on the exam.

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samcro_op
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby samcro_op » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:56 am

mi-chan17 wrote:
samcro_op wrote:What do you think helped you make such a drastic change?


I went over my first semester exams with my professors. I think that was the biggest factor. Everyone in law school can learn the law. Most of your class knows the law well enough to do well on the exam. The difference between doing well and doing poorly is knowing how to communicate the law on the exam.


You're telling me that small thing helped you go from median to the absolute top of your class? Somehow I feel like there is more...

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thesealocust
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:12 am

It's all the curve. There's no way for everyone to go from median to top of the class; as a consequence the only way to improve your performance from first to second semester is to not just do better, but do better than everyone else in the class. It's a stupid system.

The game was rigged from the start.

Welcome to thunderdome.

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samcro_op
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby samcro_op » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:41 am

thesealocust wrote:It's all the curve. There's no way for everyone to go from median to top of the class; as a consequence the only way to improve your performance from first to second semester is to not just do better, but do better than everyone else in the class. It's a stupid system.

The game was rigged from the start.

Welcome to thunderdome.


Yeah I guess I just went into finals being upset at myself for being a slacker this semester. I got my grades back and did significantly better than I thought. I know I can improve my study habits a ton except part of me knows that even if I do it I could easily do worse because it really is damn crapshoot.

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Amity
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby Amity » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:11 am

Having one B is daunting, two is concerning. Good news is that there is still time to knock it out of the park before OCI.

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mi-chan17
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby mi-chan17 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:35 pm

samcro_op wrote:You're telling me that small thing helped you go from median to the absolute top of your class? Somehow I feel like there is more...


Not absolute top - there are people in my class who graduated ahead of me, definitely. But yeah, I really do think that was the difference. It's true that I did slightly change how I prepared for exams - really just stuff that got done during reading week - but I didn't change anything about how much time I put in or how I studied on a day-to-day basis.

If you can hit median, you know the law. Doing well is just learning how to take exams better than your classmates.

I suspect I was helped along by people who did well first semester feeling more confident and perhaps doing less work, but that's all speculation and is something OP (or any 1L) has no control over.

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sd5289
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby sd5289 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:21 pm

rivermaker wrote:Hi everyone. I got slightly below median (.03 off of a 3.25 median) for my first semester grades (B, B, B+, A-) at a t20 with almost a fully scholly. I was wondering how discouraged I should be. First, how different is median and being slightly below median? How much more important are first semester grades than second? Am I gonna get crushed at OCI? I have a lot of legal job experience (don't know how relevant this is) and don't really care about big law. Thanks.


Buckle down second semester, pull out some A's and A-'s, and you'll be fine. This exact thing happened to me, except I think I was right at median after first semester. I really cracked down and took my first semester's profs' advice in a) paying attention to how the professor thinks, and b) how they test (you need their practice exams for this, and don't just stare at them...actually take them in testing conditions and review the answers). I nailed second semester and ended up top 15%. Assuming you're not totally miserable in law school, it's generally premature to drop out after first semester. If you're still hitting below median after second semester, then maybe reconsider your options (including dropping out and doing something else).

EDIT: forgot to add, this requires you to suck it up and go talk to your prof's about what you did wrong on their exams. For example, I learned from my Civ Pro prof that I apparently nailed Erie, PJ, SMJ, etc., but glossed over smaller stuff like joinder and the like, which resulted in my B+. She even gave me this "I have NEVER had this happen, so what happened to you during the exam?" lecture. Lesson learned, on an issue-spotter, make sure they know you've spotted even if it isn't a big deal. It worked wonders for my second semester exams.

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Deep Trench
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby Deep Trench » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:05 pm

I had exactly the same grades as the OP for my first semester (A-, B+, B, B), and I saw a big improvement in my grades for the second semester (A, A, A, A-, B+). I wish I can tell you that there is something I did differently, but I think I just got lucky in the second semester. My writing is slow, and I tend to do poorly in issue-spotting horseraces. It just happened that the exams for the second semester were formatted in such way that time was not much of a factor. The best advice I can give you is to choose your electives wisely.

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samcro_op
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby samcro_op » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:51 am

What do you guys do when you have zero old professor exams for your classes?

BigZuck
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:58 am

samcro_op wrote:What do you guys do when you have zero old professor exams for your classes?


I had this issue with a professor, luckily she was nice enough to make up a practice exam and direct us toward another professor at our school that writes similar exams (he had a bunch of old exams available to us). A lot of professors might not do the former but it doesn't hurt to ask about the latter. Hell, I'd ask about the former as well.

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Nova
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Re: Slightly below median from first semester 1L grades

Postby Nova » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:01 am

samcro_op wrote:What do you guys do when you have zero old professor exams for your classes?

figure out as much as you can about the exam and find similar ones in other exam banks




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