How do I get good 1L grades?

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muchoconfused
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How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby muchoconfused » Fri May 16, 2008 9:37 pm

Please elaborate on the mystery.

For those of you who have finished 1L and done well or not well, please explain why.

I know some basics-
1) Don't get behind on the readings
2) Pay attention to what the prof says. Not nutshells or student presenters- the prof.
3) Outline cases.

And I read that I can't prepare over summer and that what matters most is the last four weeks before exams.

So tell us please. How can one excel at the exams? How can one prepare to study most effectively during the weeks before exams?

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Ipsa Dixit
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Ipsa Dixit » Fri May 16, 2008 9:43 pm

Practice exams taken under exam conditions (time limit, closed book, etc.)

bigshoulders
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby bigshoulders » Fri May 16, 2008 10:33 pm

My question here is -- how do you know? Given that law classes are pretty much zero feedback (at least on your written performance) until after the first semester, how do you figure out how likely you are to do well on the exams? Mastery of the material (obviously entirely within a student's control) doesn't automatically equate to guaranteed skill at shaping an argument.

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Corsair
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Corsair » Fri May 16, 2008 10:34 pm

..

Alexandria
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Alexandria » Sat May 17, 2008 2:52 am

I think people do it different ways, honestly. Different things work for different people. I f*ing love supplements. E&E or Gilbert's or whatever. I mean, you can't forget what the prof says in addition to those, but I find them to be extremely helpful for organizing and reviewing the material or for use when I need a better explanation than I'm getting from the textbook or the prof. Definitely do tons of practice tests, especially first semester when law exams are brand new to you. I agree about not paying much attention to cases in studying, other than Con Law. I mean, it's nice to throw a few in, but the concepts are a million times more important.

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GodSpeed
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby GodSpeed » Sat May 17, 2008 5:45 am

get ahead (this means outline as you finish each "unit" or if you're like me- read through a commercial outline several times). Finals study days and week before should only be doing as many practice questions as humanly possible (old practice exams profs have, plenty of Q&A books available, etc).

If people in my family would stop getting terminally ill and dying before finals, I might actually be able to stick to this plan. :oops:

PS: cases are fucking worthless. I haven't had a single person EVER tell me "Man, I'm glad I've read those cases." Actually, all anyone has ever said was that they wouldn't even read cases if it wasn't for the fear of getting called on in class.

Law school is hard. A prof isn't going to assign you a case about something and then give you a test on that. Hypos will be completely different. There isn't going to be a case about a restaurants owner dropping ice in the walkway that a customer slips on and then a test with a restaurant owner spilling marbles or water or oil on the floor a customer slips on. Tests will be completely different because your cases in practice will be completely different. Well, the ones you go to law school for will be. It doesn't take a genius to say "in 1997 a restaurant customer slipped on ice and the owner was found to be negligent. Now, my client, a bar customer, slipped on ice."

Constitutional is a bit different, since the law you learn comes from cases. Well, I supposed that if you were smart enough to realize almost all agencies are technically executive functions, therefore congress appointing a person to a position in that agency amounts to a separation of powers issue because congress exercising control over the executive branch, you might not need to read the cases. Good luck with that though. Civ Pro is quasi-case based.

Dania
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Dania » Sat May 17, 2008 11:33 am

It is really different for each person. I was in the top 7% after the first semester of law school. I have only received one grade from spring semester (the one I just finished) and it was the highest possible grade. I arrived to school at 9 AM and worked until 9PM every night. I worked 8-12 hour days on the weekends. Sometimes I worked more if there was a paper due or during the reading period before exams. I also took breaks from school as needed. I usually slacked of for two weeks each semester. I read almost every case. Sometimes I would create my own outline and sometimes I would edit outlines I received from high performing 2Ls and 3Ls. I met with professors regularly. I only used supplements here and there for difficult concepts. I used my reading period to take past exams from professors. I don't find it useful to take the exams under the exact exam conditions. I spot every issue on the practice exams and make sure I can complete a thorough analysis. If professors agreed to go over practice exams with me, then I would start the exams during the last month of the semester. I did not work in a study group during the semester. During reading period I was with one partner for about 12 hours a day. We reviewed concepts, memorized things together, and took practice exams together. We did not have the same professors, but we were studying the same subjects. I think this was good because we weren't in direct competition in classes. I am not suggesting that this is the best way for you to succeed, but it worked very well for me and I really enjoyed my first year of law school.

boston101
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby boston101 » Sat May 17, 2008 11:59 am

Dania wrote:It is really different for each person. I was in the top 7% after the first semester of law school. I have only received one grade from spring semester (the one I just finished) and it was the highest possible grade. I arrived to school at 9 AM and worked until 9PM every night. I worked 8-12 hour days on the weekends. Sometimes I worked more if there was a paper due or during the reading period before exams. I also took breaks from school as needed. I usually slacked of for two weeks each semester. I read almost every case. Sometimes I would create my own outline and sometimes I would edit outlines I received from high performing 2Ls and 3Ls. I met with professors regularly. I only used supplements here and there for difficult concepts. I used my reading period to take past exams from professors. I don't find it useful to take the exams under the exact exam conditions. I spot every issue on the practice exams and make sure I can complete a thorough analysis. If professors agreed to go over practice exams with me, then I would start the exams during the last month of the semester. I did not work in a study group during the semester. During reading period I was with one partner for about 12 hours a day. We reviewed concepts, memorized things together, and took practice exams together. We did not have the same professors, but we were studying the same subjects. I think this was good because we weren't in direct competition in classes. I am not suggesting that this is the best way for you to succeed, but it worked very well for me and I really enjoyed my first year of law school.



random question, but Im curious. How did you know you were top 7%? I thought most schools notified their students they were in one of four groups- top 5%, top 10%, top 25% and other.
Good suggestions.

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orangeswarm
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby orangeswarm » Sat May 17, 2008 12:38 pm

random question, but Im curious. How did you know you were top 7%? I thought most schools notified their students they were in one of four groups- top 5%, top 10%, top 25% and other.
Good suggestions.


Schools do things differently. My school tells you exactly where you stand numerically (i.e. 1/180, 75/180, etc...).

boston101
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby boston101 » Sat May 17, 2008 12:41 pm

paul1454 wrote:
random question, but Im curious. How did you know you were top 7%? I thought most schools notified their students they were in one of four groups- top 5%, top 10%, top 25% and other.
Good suggestions.


Schools do things differently. My school tells you exactly where you stand numerically (i.e. 1/180, 75/180, etc...).



WOW, that sucks!!
I prefer "other" to 330/330. haha
I wonder how they decide what to do in terms of standing. The four schools I was strongly considering all said they would never release exact standing and were very adament about that being the best thing for the students.

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brokendowncar
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby brokendowncar » Sat May 17, 2008 12:45 pm

Dania wrote:I arrived to school at 9 AM and worked until 9PM every night. I worked 8-12 hour days on the weekends. ... I really enjoyed my first year of law school.

You seriously enjoyed that? 80 hours a week? Damn, that is dedication.

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Ipsa Dixit
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Ipsa Dixit » Sat May 17, 2008 12:49 pm

GodSpeed wrote:PS: cases are fucking worthless. I haven't had a single person EVER tell me "Man, I'm glad I've read those cases."


I had a prof who pretty much ripped his fact patterns for the final out cases we had read. No lie. So I gotta say... man, I'm glad I read those cases! :D

muchoconfused
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby muchoconfused » Sat May 17, 2008 2:07 pm

Sometimes I would create my own outline and sometimes I would edit outlines I received from high performing 2Ls and 3Ls.


How do I obtain such a thing?

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dssinc
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby dssinc » Sat May 17, 2008 2:45 pm

Once again I am going to ring the cases bell. It's true, what Dania said, about things being different for everyone. I loved (most of) the cases and found them very helpful. The idea is that if you truly understand the theory and history behind the black letter law (an understanding that flows from studying the cases), then you are much, much, much better prepared to do what professors want you to do when it comes exam time: Spot the issues, understand what rules apply ~and why~ and then analyze, analyze, analyze. If all you know how to do is spot the issue and regurgitate the rule, then all you will ever get is a B. If, however, you know how to intelligently dissect and discuss the issue within the context of history, theory and policy, you will get an A.

(assuming you know how to write and think really fast!)

Sammyler
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Sammyler » Sat May 17, 2008 2:52 pm

I am going to go the supplement route I think. It seems like reading all the cases really isn't worth the amount of time it is going to take. I'd rather just have that all distilled and handed over in a more digestable form.

So what supplements do you guys recommend. I've heard E&E's are good, I have also heard that Chemerinsky wrote a good Con Law treatise. Here are my first semester courses, what supplements do you guys recommend.

Civil Procedure
Constitutional Law
Torts
Contracts

cornell1L
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby cornell1L » Sat May 17, 2008 3:16 pm

here's an idea: read the cases AND hornbooks.

Many hornbooks cover topics you won't go over in class and also may not inlcude all of the speific detail that you do review in class. My professor even wrote the hornbook for one of my classes and it still didn't inlcude everything I needed to know.

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bocifious
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby bocifious » Sat May 17, 2008 3:28 pm

Honestly, there is nothing anyone can say that will get you good grades. It really depends on the person, how hard they work, and whether their thinking style is geared towards law exams. All we can say is do everything that has already been talked about over and over on the forums (hornbooks, outline, practice tests, etc.) and then gear your studying methods towards the ones that you think work well for you. It's scary, but if you work hard enough you should be ok.

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sbjohnsn
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby sbjohnsn » Sat May 17, 2008 5:33 pm

1. Go to class
2. Read all the material and don't get behind
3. Outline
4. Brief cases (I know some people think this doesn't help and is a waste of time, but it's not. It's helpful to have a good brief for outlining and reviewing the material. Take reading notes on the Notes and Questions after the cases too!)
5. Go to the professor's office hours
6. Take timed pratice exams and then discuss them with a study group or the professor

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sbjohnsn
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby sbjohnsn » Sat May 17, 2008 5:35 pm

Cases are not worthless! When ever you don't understand a concept, go to the cases, not the supplements. The concepts are in the cases. If you force yourself to struggle through the cases and learn the concepts from the cases rather than from a supplement, you will understand the material better.

Darth Topher
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Darth Topher » Sat May 17, 2008 6:25 pm

Cool thread

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GodSpeed
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby GodSpeed » Sun May 18, 2008 12:15 am

sbjohnsn wrote:Cases are not worthless! When ever you don't understand a concept, go to the cases, not the supplements. The concepts are in the cases. If you force yourself to struggle through the cases and learn the concepts from the cases rather than from a supplement, you will understand the material better.


If you can't understand a law after a commercial outline, a case isn't going to help you. Again, this excludes civ pro and con-law.

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NewHere
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby NewHere » Sun May 18, 2008 12:46 am

Another vote in favor of reading cases. I'm not arguing it's impossible to get good grades without reading cases, but if you do read them during the semester, it will help enormously come exam time. In your outline, you can summarize them in one or two sentences, and since you've read them, those sentences will conjure up the entire story in your mind. Having read cases means that once the exam is there, you'll read the hypo and automatically think "Oh, this aspect is like THIS case!" and "That element is exactly like THAT case!" etc. and you'll be able to incorporate the cases in your analysis.

There are other ways of writing a good analysis, and if you can do it by reading hornbooks, then more power to you. But reading cases does give you background and depth.

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sbjohnsn
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby sbjohnsn » Sun May 18, 2008 11:16 am

If you can't understand a law after a commercial outline, a case isn't going to help you. Again, this excludes civ pro and con-law.



Couldn't disagree more. The material ain supplements is very boiled down. A supplement might glaze over a nuance a case focuses on. You're not going to be able to understand that by going to a supplement. I feel like estates and future interests in Property is a good example of this.

Dania
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Dania » Sun May 18, 2008 12:58 pm

random question, but Im curious. How did you know you were top 7%? I thought most schools notified their students they were in one of four groups- top 5%, top 10%, top 25% and other.


I got the information from one of the Deans at my school.

Dania
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Re: How do I get good 1L grades?

Postby Dania » Sun May 18, 2008 1:09 pm

brokendowncar wrote:You seriously enjoyed that? 80 hours a week? Damn, that is dedication.


Haha!


Well, just because I was at school from 9 to 9, doesn't mean I was studying the entire time. I took breaks here and there, especially between classes. Usually from 3-5, I would get distracted and tired, but then I would really go hard from 5-9. I would try to finish all my reading for the week on the weekends. During the week, I would finish the reading that I couldn't finish on the weekend and then mostly review and meet professors or work on my writing assignments. The weekdays were pretty relaxed. I don't think I ever went to bed after 11:30 pm.




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