Grades suddenly dropped to the bottom of the class, not sure why- am I still smart enough to pass the bar?

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whatsgoingon

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Grades suddenly dropped to the bottom of the class, not sure why- am I still smart enough to pass the bar?

Postby whatsgoingon » Sun May 19, 2019 2:01 pm

Hi all,

I just graduated (yesterday) from a Top-25 law school. By way of background, I was admitted with roughly median GPA and LSAT. My 1L year, I worked really hard and was right at median. I was happy with that, based on the requirements for the job I wanted, feeling like my classmates were brilliant, and also managing to stay fit, go out, and have fun. My 2L year, I took much easier classes and grades dropped a little but not much. 3L year, however, I took some bar classes and my grades absolutely tanked: bottom of the class in pretty much every one. 3L fall semester I didn't' work very hard- I didn't read or take notes and didn't start studying at all until 2 weeks before finals, so I chalked the low grades up to 3L laziness and overconfidence. But 3L spring, I read and outlined- not quite as seriously as I did 1L year, but I put in what I thought was enough work to learn the material and pull decent grades (apparently, it wasn't.) I have my dream job lined up and they don't care about these grades at all, plus my cumulative GPA is still halfway decent. But I'm not sure what happened that caused me to forget how to do law school after doing fine 1L (did I get a concussion I'm not aware of or something??) I'm really concerned about my ability to pass the bar with such sudden poor performance, especially because, at least spring semester, I expected my grades to come back solid. I'm taking the bar in a UBE state, where my school had an 89% pass rate last year, and I'm using Barbri. I'm not typically a nervous test taker and I tend to over-perform in high pressure situations, but this is the first time I've ever felt like I did really poorly in school and wasn't able to have some control over my grades so I'm a little freaked out. Has anyone else ever heard of/experienced something like this? I really appreciate any advice, anecdotal or otherwise. Thank you all in advance.

QContinuum

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Re: Grades suddenly dropped to the bottom of the class, not sure why- am I still smart enough to pass the bar?

Postby QContinuum » Sun May 19, 2019 6:28 pm

Did you get "off-curve" bad grades, or simply straight Bs/B-s/whatever your school's bottom on-curve grade is? If you've been getting straight "off-curve" grades in the bar subjects, and your impression is that your teachers were actually, y'know, teaching to the bar and testing to the bar (as opposed to, say, turning T&E into "T&E policy and philosophy" or something along those lines, which isn't exactly uncommon), then you might have cause to worry. But run-of-the-mill being at the bottom of the pack at a T25 wouldn't be too worrisome, IMO. Law school doesn't prep you to take the bar anyway; that's what Barbri's (or Themis/Kaplan/etc.) there to do. It's the folks at the T3/T4s who have reason to worry about bar passage.

Congrats on your job and do your best to put your law school grades out of your mind. Only thing you can do at this point anyway is the exact same thing as your classmates - study seriously for the bar, don't wait until July to start cramming. Best wishes, I'm sure you'll do great (remember, all you need is to pass! no such thing as getting an "A" on the bar).

cavalier1138

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Re: Grades suddenly dropped to the bottom of the class, not sure why- am I still smart enough to pass the bar?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun May 19, 2019 7:03 pm

In addition to what Q said, nothing about your story is surprising. You stated that you had to work "really hard" during 1L to get median grades. And your approach to your second semester of 3L was to do less work than you did during 1L. So it's not surprising that you'd end up performing worse.

And as mentioned, the bar isn't on a curve and has nothing to do with your ability to take a law school exam. Just stop being lazy.

whatsgoingon

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Re: Grades suddenly dropped to the bottom of the class, not sure why- am I still smart enough to pass the bar?

Postby whatsgoingon » Sun May 19, 2019 7:08 pm

They've been bottom on-curve (B-s, which the bottom 5-15% of students get in any given class). I don't think my professors have been turning the classes into straight policy or anything like that, but they're definitely not gearing them toward bar passage either. Thank you for the help, that makes me feel way better.

Tenzen

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Re: Grades suddenly dropped to the bottom of the class, not sure why- am I still smart enough to pass the bar?

Postby Tenzen » Sat May 25, 2019 10:52 pm

Chalk it up to 3LOL and keep moving forward.

Of course you can pass the bar, if you put in the work.

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hookem7

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Re: Grades suddenly dropped to the bottom of the class, not sure why- am I still smart enough to pass the bar?

Postby hookem7 » Wed May 29, 2019 6:03 pm

If you follow the BarBri schedule you'll be fine. It's a lot of work to keep up, but I'd hope you won't be lacking in motivation - this is the only obstacle standing between you and the job you spent 3 years and untold thousands of dollars to get.

In my experience as a below average T16 student, the Bar wasn't really like most law school exams. It is a lot more straightforward rule application and recall vs. law school legal pontification.



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