law school exam - am I overthinking it?

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iliketurtles123
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law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby iliketurtles123 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:44 pm

Last semester, the more I studied for a class, the worse I did.

The class I did best in, I felt unprepared (relatively). I just looked at the model answers, figured out what the professor wanted, and just applied it my own way. In fact, I didn't even read some cases. I just looked at what the professor expected us to know from the case and I didn't try to go "beyond" what the professor was asking. For that test, I just went for the low hanging fruit, and every now and then, went for deeper issues in some questions.

In my other class, I knew the material cold. I felt like I had so much to say that I analyzed in depth every single issue. I didn't do as well, which I don't know why.

Hence.. my question: are law school exams too "easy" that we just overthink things?
Is it just knowing to apply the law to facts? Should I not go into the nuances? My understanding was that a killer analysis required going deep into the issues.... however, in reality it seems like the more I did that, the lower my grades were.

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sublime
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby sublime » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:59 pm

..

iliketurtles123
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby iliketurtles123 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:22 pm

sublime wrote:The most likely explanation was simply that the exam you thought was easier, was easier for everyone, and vice versa.

Such is the nature of the curve.


It wasn't necessarily "easy v. hard". I thought all the exams were somewhat fair and comparable to practice tests.
It was more how much did I prep and what I did to prep.

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northwood
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby northwood » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:00 pm

perhaps you overthought things.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:37 pm

Forest, trees, looking too hard, and something.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:38 pm

There's going deep into the issues, and then there's bringing up stuff that's only tangentially related to the question or not really related at all. The latter doesn't usually win points, and if you go too in-depth by raising issues that aren't that pertinent/pertinent at all, you risk not hitting all the other, simpler issues. Even if you did hit most of the simpler issues, some profs may grade down for not making clear which issues are more important or clouding the important issues with a lot of extraneous stuff. So it can be good to go in-depth, but it's possible to follow a train of thought too far, by shoehorning material into issues that don't really call for it.

And then there's the effect of the curve - I agree with sublime; the classes that you feel like you know cold are frequently the classes everyone else feels like they know cold, too, so everyone can go into as much depth as you did.

Did you go over your exams with any of your professors?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:15 pm

It sounds like on your best exams you focused more closely on what the professor was looking for. This sounds like a cheap shortcut but it's often all you need. You're also working with a pretty small sample so don't draw major conclusions from one semester.

sidhesadie
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby sidhesadie » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:39 am

You might go over one of the exams you didn't do as well as expected in with your prof to see where you went wrong.

I will say, the one semester (second semester first year) I decided to just really study my ass off, thought I knew that shit DOWN COLD man, felt like I KILLED the exams...was my worst semester in all of law school.

I had done pretty well first semester just doing the same stuff I did in undergrad only way more/harder, so I thought if I really ramped up I would KILL second semester. And it FELT like killing it. But no.

I have finally , in third year, reverted to pretty much the same half assed shit I did in undergrad. Best grades yet. I don't think that laziness is always the answer, but I DO think some people are really prone to going down rabbit-trails if they have too much information. I have learned I am one of those people. Putting a bunch of (correct) shit that is at best tangentially relevant to the question gets you no points. Pointing out potential issues that might occur that the professor did NOT want you to go into gets you no points. These things take time, and exams are time pressured. I have learned I am FULLY capable of "thinking" myself right out of good grades.

Go see a prof, figure out if it was the curve (everyone killed it so yours just wasn't that much better/different) or a bunch of crap you didn't get points for. If the latter...just do whatever has worked for you in the past. Law school just isn't that different if you took any marginally rigorous classes in undergrad. The only difference is the curve, not what YOUR brain needs for YOU to remember shit.

edited to add: I am also one of those people who is forever asking questions and having the prof give me that look and say "That's a question you'd want to ask in practice but it's outside the scope of this class" or "that's a good question but it's not really what we're getting into here" or, in the words of my fave professor I have taken 4 classes from "[sidhesadie]...no. Do not go there." lol. If this is you....heed my words.

iliketurtles123
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby iliketurtles123 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:22 pm

sidhesadie wrote:You might go over one of the exams you didn't do as well as expected in with your prof to see where you went wrong.

I will say, the one semester (second semester first year) I decided to just really study my ass off, thought I knew that shit DOWN COLD man, felt like I KILLED the exams...was my worst semester in all of law school.

I had done pretty well first semester just doing the same stuff I did in undergrad only way more/harder, so I thought if I really ramped up I would KILL second semester. And it FELT like killing it. But no.

I have finally , in third year, reverted to pretty much the same half assed shit I did in undergrad. Best grades yet. I don't think that laziness is always the answer, but I DO think some people are really prone to going down rabbit-trails if they have too much information. I have learned I am one of those people. Putting a bunch of (correct) shit that is at best tangentially relevant to the question gets you no points. Pointing out potential issues that might occur that the professor did NOT want you to go into gets you no points. These things take time, and exams are time pressured. I have learned I am FULLY capable of "thinking" myself right out of good grades.

Go see a prof, figure out if it was the curve (everyone killed it so yours just wasn't that much better/different) or a bunch of crap you didn't get points for. If the latter...just do whatever has worked for you in the past. Law school just isn't that different if you took any marginally rigorous classes in undergrad. The only difference is the curve, not what YOUR brain needs for YOU to remember shit.

edited to add: I am also one of those people who is forever asking questions and having the prof give me that look and say "That's a question you'd want to ask in practice but it's outside the scope of this class" or "that's a good question but it's not really what we're getting into here" or, in the words of my fave professor I have taken 4 classes from "[sidhesadie]...no. Do not go there." lol. If this is you....heed my words.


Man I think I can relate with you (though I'm not sure).
I'm basically doing what I did in UG but taking it up a notch. I didn't get straight As in UG but I did get As in classes I put an effort into. Hence, my reasoning was: put in more effort in law school, get A or A+

So far I talked to one professor who said basically said what you guys said. I went down the wrong rabbit hole on tangential issues


A. Nony Mouse wrote:There's going deep into the issues, and then there's bringing up stuff that's only tangentially related to the question or not really related at all. The latter doesn't usually win points, and if you go too in-depth by raising issues that aren't that pertinent/pertinent at all, you risk not hitting all the other, simpler issues. Even if you did hit most of the simpler issues, some profs may grade down for not making clear which issues are more important or clouding the important issues with a lot of extraneous stuff. So it can be good to go in-depth, but it's possible to follow a train of thought too far, by shoehorning material into issues that don't really call for it.

And then there's the effect of the curve - I agree with sublime; the classes that you feel like you know cold are frequently the classes everyone else feels like they know cold, too, so everyone can go into as much depth as you did.

Did you go over your exams with any of your professors?


I think I know what I'm doing wrong based on what you're saying. I'm trying to get that A or A+ by trying to stand out as soon as possible before hitting simpler issues.
Also my professor did say I had coherency problems.

Thanks everybody

Jchance
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby Jchance » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:08 pm

sidhesadie wrote:I will say, the one semester (second semester first year) I decided to just really study my ass off, thought I knew that shit DOWN COLD man, felt like I KILLED the exams...was my worst semester in all of law school.

I had done pretty well first semester just doing the same stuff I did in undergrad only way more/harder, so I thought if I really ramped up I would KILL second semester. And it FELT like killing it. But no.

I have finally , in third year, reverted to pretty much the same half assed shit I did in undergrad. Best grades yet. I don't think that laziness is always the answer, but I DO think some people are really prone to going down rabbit-trails if they have too much information. I have learned I am one of those people. Putting a bunch of (correct) shit that is at best tangentially relevant to the question gets you no points. Pointing out potential issues that might occur that the professor did NOT want you to go into gets you no points. These things take time, and exams are time pressured. I have learned I am FULLY capable of "thinking" myself right out of good grades.


Or maybe:
1L first semester - no one knows whats going on, so the curve is easier.
1L second semester - most people start to pick it up and the curve is tighter.
3L year - no one gives a shit about grades, easier to kill a class.

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Over the top
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Re: law school exam - am I overthinking it?

Postby Over the top » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:04 pm

Jchance wrote:
sidhesadie wrote:I will say, the one semester (second semester first year) I decided to just really study my ass off, thought I knew that shit DOWN COLD man, felt like I KILLED the exams...was my worst semester in all of law school.

I had done pretty well first semester just doing the same stuff I did in undergrad only way more/harder, so I thought if I really ramped up I would KILL second semester. And it FELT like killing it. But no.

I have finally , in third year, reverted to pretty much the same half assed shit I did in undergrad. Best grades yet. I don't think that laziness is always the answer, but I DO think some people are really prone to going down rabbit-trails if they have too much information. I have learned I am one of those people. Putting a bunch of (correct) shit that is at best tangentially relevant to the question gets you no points. Pointing out potential issues that might occur that the professor did NOT want you to go into gets you no points. These things take time, and exams are time pressured. I have learned I am FULLY capable of "thinking" myself right out of good grades.


Or maybe:
1L first semester - no one knows whats going on, so the curve is easier.
1L second semester - most people start to pick it up and the curve is tighter.
3L year - no one gives a shit about grades, easier to kill a class.


Alternatively some people give up and tune out making the curve easier.




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