Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

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Restatement90
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Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby Restatement90 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:00 pm

So I did very well first semester and am hoping to keep it up. However, I've heard a lot about people dropping off. I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share their first to second semester swing in grades (it went up/down/stayed the same?) and what they think the end result was due to.

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BaberhamLincoln
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby BaberhamLincoln » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:08 pm

Restatement90 wrote:So I did very well first semester and am hoping to keep it up. However, I've heard a lot about people dropping off. I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share their first to second semester swing in grades (it went up/down/stayed the same?) and what they think the end result was due to.


My boss and I were just talking about this on Thursday.
(I'm a 1L so I don't have personal experience just yet with that)

He went to UVA and he claims he was a slacker but he went straight into biglaw for like 9 years, made partner, and started his own firm. Seems successful to me...

He said that he noticed something interesting happen when grades/rankings came out after fall semester. He said that those at the bottom were full of despair and thought, fuck it I don't even care and sunk to the bottom even lower. Those at the top were like I can do better and worked harder and did even better. Those in the middle mostly went down because those at the top were doing so much better, but some "rose to the occasion."

Anyway. Sounds really mental to me. If you did well, don't get lazy and confident now. If you did shitty, all hope isn't lost.

Hoping we 1Ls can follow this advice

Restatement90
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby Restatement90 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:22 pm

leigh912198972 wrote:
My boss and I were just talking about this on Thursday.
(I'm a 1L so I don't have personal experience just yet with that)

He went to UVA and he claims he was a slacker but he went straight into biglaw for like 9 years, made partner, and started his own firm. Seems successful to me...

He said that he noticed something interesting happen when grades/rankings came out after fall semester. He said that those at the bottom were full of despair and thought, fuck it I don't even care and sunk to the bottom even lower. Those at the top were like I can do better and worked harder and did even better. Those in the middle mostly went down because those at the top were doing so much better, but some "rose to the occasion."

Anyway. Sounds really mental to me. If you did well, don't get lazy and confident now. If you did shitty, all hope isn't lost.
Hoping we 1Ls can follow this advice


Thanks! Yeah Im just going to try and go harder and tweak methods only for the better/more efficient.
I reallyreallyreally believe (what some agree with and some disagree with) that the exams themselves are about 30% knowing the law and 70% exam taking strategy. I know some people who likely knew the info more or just as much but did no research into what professors wanna see or take into account who they were writing the exam for.

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Kratos
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby Kratos » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:41 pm

did fine 1st semester. went up 2nd with like half the work input by studying smarter and realizing how to take exams better. you should start realizing all the useless things you put time into last semester by now and cut those out to either a) not be as busy or stressed out and enjoy your life all the more for it; or b) use that time to study important stuff/work on LRW or whatever, i preferred (a). plus I got lucky and the teachers asked the right questions.

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RCinDNA
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby RCinDNA » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:40 pm

I was slightly above the average in 1st semester. Really nailed it 2nd semester, and my grades significantly improved.

I think it's because I started taking better advice (esp. from the 1L Tips posted here) - used supplements, concentrated on test taking strategies, and just made sure I understood the material. Some people did seem to fall apart and lose motivation in the 2nd semester, but I can't really speak to their prep.

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BVest
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby BVest » Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:27 pm

Restatement90 wrote:So I did very well first semester and am hoping to keep it up. However, I've heard a lot about people dropping off. I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share their first to second semester swing in grades (it went up/down/stayed the same?) and what they think the end result was due to.


I went up, but I'm not sure how much I can attribute it to anything transferrable, but here's what I do attribute it to, in no particular order:

1) Adding high achiever to study group: We had a small core study group in the fall of three people and we worked really well together. For a couple of classes we tried adding a fourth person (we tried two different people, one each for two different classes) but neither of them quite worked. For the spring we identified a classmate without a study group who was hard-working, high-achieving, and who was interested in joining a group and invited him to join us and it worked out. And by worked together well, I mean we could fill the gaps the others had, work seriously without distraction, and seemed to have about the same endurance before needing to take breaks.

2) Doing what worked for the group in the Fall starting at the beginning of Spring: During the fall in our study group, we'd tried a few different things before we found our groove of when to work (scheduled times once a week for a while, going to twice a week later in semester) and how to work (joint outlining on google docs; later, outlining PT answers independently and then discussing the various answers and how we attacked the questions; going as a group to see a prof during office hours when questions came up in outlining). In the spring, we just picked up where we'd left off in the fall and didn't have to experiment. Three of us went up in the spring and the other maintained.

3) To some extent, simply maintaining my fall performance guaranteed me better performance in the spring just as a result of scheduling. In addition to LRW, My school had 4 classes that were basically year-long 5-hour classes split into parts 1 and 2. Two of them were 3 hours in the fall and the others were 3 hours in the spring. Plus we had one more 3 hour class in the fall and 2 hour class in the spring. My grades looked like this:

My better FALL grades:
Civ Pro I (3 Hrs)
Property I (2 Hrs)
Contracts I (2 Hrs)

My lesser FALL grades:
Crim Law (3 Hrs)
LRW (3 Hrs)
Torts II (3 Hrs)

My better SPRING grades:
Civ Pro II (2 Hrs)
Property II (3 Hrs)
Contracts II (3 Hrs)

My lesser SPRING grades:
Con Law I (2 Hrs)
LRW (3 Hrs)
Torts II (2 Hrs)

So in the fall, I had 7 hours of good grades and 9 hours of not-so-good grades. In the Spring, I had 8 hours of good grades and only 7 hours of not so good grades. In addition, I did 1/3 of a point better in Con Law than I had in Crim, and 1/3 of a point better in torts than the previous semester. Con Law was just a better subject for me than Crim, and my improvement in Torts was due to better understanding how the prof graded exams (she wanted you to explore every possible issue related to the question, even if the call of the question did not ask for it -- e.g. for "What causes of action does A have against B?" she would give you points for cross-claims that B has against A or even claims that C had against A or B).

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KD35
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby KD35 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:50 am

I did very well both semesters but dropped a good amount because I didn't work as hard from day one in spring as I did in fall. I also didn't make many adjustments to the parts of exams I struggle in (MC, my school requires MC for all 1L exams) and thus my essays didn't carry me as much because everyone got better at essays.

So I went down due to effort and not making adjustments.

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pancakes3
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby pancakes3 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:58 pm

wtf @ 6 credit-hrs of LRW. I would probably /self.

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MarkfromWI
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby MarkfromWI » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:51 pm

My grades went up quite a bit from 1st semester to 2nd (3.48 --> 3.86) and I think it was just primarily a factor of studying smarter and using the extra time I gained to review and internalize the material better. I still read and briefed the cases, but I got much, much better at cutting through the crap in the opinions and picking out what was important. My "briefs" looked a lot more like the two or three lines I would have on my outline come finals time than the page-long briefs of first semester.

Other than that, I do think a bit of it was mental too. After first semester I was determined to transfer and I think a few people above me got a bit arrogant and eased up a bit.

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KD35
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby KD35 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:57 pm

MarkfromWI wrote:Other than that, I do think a bit of it was mental too. After first semester I was determined to transfer and I think a few people above me got a bit arrogant and eased up a bit.


100% agree with this. I know I got cocky and suffered (albeit slightly) from it. Best advice: Whatever you did last semester clearly worked for you, so just do it again. Now that you know what works, you'll be able to be more efficient with your time this semester.

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Ron Don Volante
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:03 pm

thanks for all the input ITT

BK88
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby BK88 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:40 am

I did ok first semester ( I'd guess top 1/3rd of the class). But I really powered through and did MUCH better second semester (17th %). If I had to guess it was that the bottom 10% gave up, the bottom 40% sort of slacked and said whatever, the top 5-10% were already gunning strong but that left a lot of leeway to rise and beat people who were high midlevel. Plus at my school we had two 5 credit classes, so A's in both of those could boost your GPA a lot.

NonTradHealthLaw
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby NonTradHealthLaw » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:59 am

I think it's important for anyone who did well to keep their foot on the accelerator. There are tons of people like me who just didn't "get it" the first semester but then bypassed those who slacked.

Semester progression
3.39 --> 3.50 --> 3.69 --> 3.74 --> 4.00 --> 4.14

Cumulative progression
3.39 --> 3.45 -->3.53 --> 3.56 --> 3.66 --> 3.73

Do yourself a big favor and stay focused the entirety of 1L. You will save yourself many months of hand-wringing.

shock259
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Re: Beating the Second Semester "Slump"

Postby shock259 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:11 pm

Was top ~7% first semester, top ~12% second semester, top ~7% overall (due to other top people's grades falling more than mine did second semester).

I did nothing differently second semester in terms of study habits. Luck of the draw, I suppose. One exam second semester was open book and had a very short (and strictly enforced) word limit. I got a median grade in that class. My strength was definitely in long issue spotters where I'd constantly write for 3 hours, not nuanced policy questions with word limits.




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