Columbia 1Ls taking questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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Sogui
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Sogui » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:06 am

Unemployed wrote:
swc65 wrote:Does anybody have any ideas what the curve is here at Columbia? I just found out last week that they do not even assign GPAs which is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I mean I know law students are not typically great at math, but I am sure we can all do weighted averages.

Anyway, I just do not even know what a bad/good grade or GPA is.


3.9 = top 1%

3.85 = top 2%

3.8 = top 3% (Kent)

3.75 = top 4%

3.7 = top 6%

3.65 = top 8%

3.6 = top 11%

3.55 = top 15%

3.5 = top 20%

3.45 = top 25%

3.41 = top 30% (Stone)

3.35 = top 37%

3.3 = top 45%

3.26 = Median

3.2 = top 58%

3.15 = top 66%

3.1 = top 72%

3.05 = top 77%

3.0 = top 82%

Apparently based on the # of kent scholars, # of stone scholars, and assuming normal distribution.


That is only a very rough estimate, this is the REAL curve (posted on page #2 of this thread as well):

https://wwws-db.law.columbia.edu/lawnet ... dation.pdf

Professors have total discretion to operate within this curve, hence why the # of Stone and Kent scholars can vary from year to year and how Stone especially might vary from the top 29% to the top 35%+, it's not like CLS steps in and tells a professor that we have too many Stone scholars and that they should award minimal A's/A-'s to compensate. Kent scholars aren't even entirely based on GPA (a 3.69 can still get a Kent award).

There are just too many variables to get a reliable curve out of the scholar #'s, it's an interesting estimate but not very useful since our curve is essentially the curving preferences of 7 different professors + our own grade consistency = which is why CLS doesn't officially rank or set a 'hard' curve for the overall class. The scholar #'s are interesting to see how a 5-10% 'A' curve breaks down to only 2-3% of the class staying "consistent" enough to meet the Kent qualifications.

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Unemployed » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:25 am

Sogui wrote:
Unemployed wrote:
swc65 wrote:Does anybody have any ideas what the curve is here at Columbia? I just found out last week that they do not even assign GPAs which is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I mean I know law students are not typically great at math, but I am sure we can all do weighted averages.

Anyway, I just do not even know what a bad/good grade or GPA is.


3.9 = top 1%

3.85 = top 2%

3.8 = top 3% (Kent)

3.75 = top 4%

3.7 = top 6%

3.65 = top 8%

3.6 = top 11%

3.55 = top 15%

3.5 = top 20%

3.45 = top 25%

3.41 = top 30% (Stone)

3.35 = top 37%

3.3 = top 45%

3.26 = Median

3.2 = top 58%

3.15 = top 66%

3.1 = top 72%

3.05 = top 77%

3.0 = top 82%

Apparently based on the # of kent scholars, # of stone scholars, and assuming normal distribution.


That is only a very rough estimate, this is the REAL curve (posted on page #2 of this thread as well):

https://wwws-db.law.columbia.edu/lawnet ... dation.pdf

Professors have total discretion to operate within this curve, hence why the # of Stone and Kent scholars can vary from year to year and how Stone especially might vary from the top 29% to the top 35%+, it's not like CLS steps in and tells a professor that we have too many Stone scholars and that they should award minimal A's/A-'s to compensate. Kent scholars aren't even entirely based on GPA (a 3.69 can still get a Kent award).

There are just too many variables to get a reliable curve out of the scholar #'s, it's an interesting estimate but not very useful since our curve is essentially the curving preferences of 7 different professors + our own grade consistency = which is why CLS doesn't officially rank or set a 'hard' curve for the overall class. The scholar #'s are interesting to see how a 5-10% 'A' curve breaks down to only 2-3% of the class staying "consistent" enough to meet the Kent qualifications.


I'm not the one who compiled the percentile scores, but I do have access to 1L Stone/Kent data for three years and they are fairly consistent.

Since we have serious crowding around B/B+, my guess is that the distribution above is useful for figuring out the top of the curve (i.e. how 3.4-4.0 GPA's stack up against each other), but not so much for the rest.

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swc65
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby swc65 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:36 pm

Sogui wrote:
Unemployed wrote:
swc65 wrote:Does anybody have any ideas what the curve is here at Columbia? I just found out last week that they do not even assign GPAs which is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I mean I know law students are not typically great at math, but I am sure we can all do weighted averages.

Anyway, I just do not even know what a bad/good grade or GPA is.


3.9 = top 1%

3.85 = top 2%

3.8 = top 3% (Kent)

3.75 = top 4%

3.7 = top 6%

3.65 = top 8%

3.6 = top 11%

3.55 = top 15%

3.5 = top 20%

3.45 = top 25%

3.41 = top 30% (Stone)

3.35 = top 37%

3.3 = top 45%

3.26 = Median

3.2 = top 58%

3.15 = top 66%

3.1 = top 72%

3.05 = top 77%

3.0 = top 82%

Apparently based on the # of kent scholars, # of stone scholars, and assuming normal distribution.


That is only a very rough estimate, this is the REAL curve (posted on page #2 of this thread as well):

https://wwws-db.law.columbia.edu/lawnet ... dation.pdf

Professors have total discretion to operate within this curve, hence why the # of Stone and Kent scholars can vary from year to year and how Stone especially might vary from the top 29% to the top 35%+, it's not like CLS steps in and tells a professor that we have too many Stone scholars and that they should award minimal A's/A-'s to compensate. Kent scholars aren't even entirely based on GPA (a 3.69 can still get a Kent award).

There are just too many variables to get a reliable curve out of the scholar #'s, it's an interesting estimate but not very useful since our curve is essentially the curving preferences of 7 different professors + our own grade consistency = which is why CLS doesn't officially rank or set a 'hard' curve for the overall class. The scholar #'s are interesting to see how a 5-10% 'A' curve breaks down to only 2-3% of the class staying "consistent" enough to meet the Kent qualifications.



The bolded is why that sheet isn't that great of a guide. The curve guidelines are broad and they do not necessarily translate into what the curve for the entire 1L class is.

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby viking138 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:37 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
huckabees wrote:
swc65 wrote:Also I like how this thread has more 1Ls asking each other questions than 0Ls asking us questions.


Haha...

On that note, can someone at CLS explain to me blind grading and how profs taken into account participation? Do profs grade blindly and then change the grade at their discretion?

Also, for profs who don't explicitly say that they will adjust grades up and down for class participation, do they do so anyway? For the profs who explicitly allocate a percentage (e.g., 25%) to class participation, have people felt this actually changed their letter grade from their exam grade (as opposed to participation generally being a wash bc everyone participates to some degree)?

Thanks


The way it works is the professor submits exam numbers (blindly) with corresponding grades. The professor then independently submits the names of people whose grades he wants adjusted up or down a notch. The registrar matches the exam number with the student's name, then applies the adjustment.



I'm pretty sure profs know what grades you get though. I emailed my prof to go over my exam and he responded saying that he thought I had done quite well so he must have seen grades at the end, right?

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby dakatz » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:40 pm

Are there people who commute to school from outside of NYC? I have a friend who lives in NJ, not too far from me who got into Columbia and was thinking about taking the 45 min train each day to avoid paying NYC rent. Would this be something manageable?

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:49 pm

swc65 wrote:
The bolded is why that sheet isn't that great of a guide. The curve guidelines are broad and they do not necessarily translate into what the curve for the entire 1L class is.



Two thoughts:

-The curve guidelines are actually pretty restrictive

-There's a statistical phenomenon where if you have many people exercising discretion within certain set guidelines, the average will converge to the same point every time (assuming professors don't all decide to go one way or another in concert in different years). Basically, the idea is, yes, professors have discretion, but one professor will go high while another will go low, offsetting each other.

I, too, have seen stone and median data for past years (I don't believe they release it anymore). It is shockingly consistent. Median is always 3.27 +/- .02, and Stone is Top 30% +/- 2% every year (despite what they say on the website).

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:51 pm

viking138 wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:
The way it works is the professor submits exam numbers (blindly) with corresponding grades. The professor then independently submits the names of people whose grades he wants adjusted up or down a notch. The registrar matches the exam number with the student's name, then applies the adjustment.



I'm pretty sure profs know what grades you get though. I emailed my prof to go over my exam and he responded saying that he thought I had done quite well so he must have seen grades at the end, right?


Oh yeah, for sure. I just think they show the prof the grades matched with student names after grades are released. The point isn't to hide the grades from the profs, but to avoid situations where a prof blind grades a student as a B, then thinks "oh, he should have done better, I'll bump him up on participation to compensate."

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Lem37 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:28 am

Hey all! Still available to take questions for all you new admits. Popular questions include:

Why did you choose CLS over NYU?

Isn't Morningside Heights supposed to be SUPER boring?

What are the professors like?

Do you have a social life?

Isn't everyone at CLS a corporate tool who hates public interest?

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vertex
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby vertex » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:44 pm

Lem37 wrote:Hey all! Still available to take questions for all you new admits. Popular questions include:

Why did you choose CLS over NYU?

Isn't Morningside Heights supposed to be SUPER boring?

What are the professors like?

Do you have a social life?

Isn't everyone at CLS a corporate tool who hates public interest?


All right, I'll bite. Can you answer these?

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby viking138 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:58 pm

CLS over NYU
No question for me. Sure, location is better at NYU, but Columbia's name means something across the country in a way that NYU's doesn't and I received 50k from Columbia in need-based financial aid.

Morningside Heights is boring
It's not the Village, sure, but subways are cheap and fast. Not really an issue at all. That said, I live off campus with my BF (far north of campus) and we're moving into the city this year, but not to Morningside Heights. For me, though, that's more an issue of not wanting to be on campus because I prefer to be a bit removed and we'd like to be closer to where my BF works.

Professors
They vary in quality, but they're all very open to students and questions. Although their teaching style might not be the best, they're all at the top of their field, and no one is so bad that you can't learn something from them.

Social Life
It depends on how you work. It's different for everyone. This was a typical week for me up until the end of November:
Sunday - read for the week, take notes
Monday-Thus - attend class, read supplements in between class or review with a friend, type up my notes from the day (I recommend handwriting), cook a nice dinner for my BF and myself, watch some TV
Fri - do some reading/supplement work, run errands
Sat - head into the city to meet up with friends or do something fun with the BF (we're both new to NYC)

Wash, rinse, repeat. In November I also added outlining to the mix but I never felt like I had no life. I'm still waiting on a grade, but so far I'm at A and A- so it's not like my schedule screwed me over in any way. So yeah, you can def have a social life.

Corporate Tools
I know quite a few people with no interest in corporate work, but even those who do want corporate work are generally not toolish at all. Or maybe I just don't notice since I want to be a corporate litigator. This is just one to judge at an admitted students event.

alicen
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby alicen » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:09 pm

viking138 wrote:Social Life
It depends on how you work. It's different for everyone. This was a typical week for me up until the end of November:
Sunday - read for the week, take notes
Monday-Thus - attend class, read supplements in between class or review with a friend, type up my notes from the day (I recommend handwriting), cook a nice dinner for my BF and myself, watch some TV
Fri - do some reading/supplement work, run errands
Sat - head into the city to meet up with friends or do something fun with the BF (we're both new to NYC)

Wash, rinse, repeat. In November I also added outlining to the mix but I never felt like I had no life. I'm still waiting on a grade, but so far I'm at A and A- so it's not like my schedule screwed me over in any way. So yeah, you can def have a social life.


does this sound scary to anyone else but me? i guess you found it to be fairly balanced between work and play, but i'm not sure one day a week downtown would cut it.... do you think this kind of work schedule is typical for columbia students?

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Lem37
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Lem37 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:11 pm

I'll copy the format:

CLS over NYU
This was also no question for me. CLS has a huge network of alumni at all the major firms and public interest organizations in the City, and I'd run across a number of them during my decision process. I greatly prefer the Columbia campus and law school building to NYU, which doesn't have a campus and whose law school building I find kind of drab. Jerome Greene is designed with that huge atrium in the center, and I find it to be warm and inviting and always filled with a few friends. Columbia also gave me money and actively solicited me, whereas NYU did neither.

Morningside Heights is boring?
I lived in Brooklyn for 2 years prior to law school, and used to party in the Village all the time. I still do - the Village is really fun! That being said, you're no longer in undergrad, and you're going to be working around 4 hours a day in addition to class. I appreciate the (relative) quiet of Morningside to the loudness of downtown. Plus, Broadway and Amsterdam are ALWAYS teeming with activity - farmers' markets, street fairs, drunk people wandering around. We have tons of bars, coffee shops, and restaurants, plus a 5-minute train ride to the Upper West Side, which is full of the same.

Professors
I never knew how true the phrase "he wrote the book on that" could be until I came to Columbia. Our professors are incredible, legendary, and many of them literally wrote the standard textbooks in their subject. Chirelstein is a Contracts and Tax god, and his hornbooks are used at every law school. Goldschmid is an amazing Corporations/Antitrust professor and former SEC Commissioner. Bobbitt has incredible stories about his times at the White House. Tim Wu is the Copyright/IP king. Suzanne Goldberg is huge in the field of LGBT rights. Jack Greenberg argued Brown v. Board of Education alongside Thurgood Marshall. When I say legends, I mean legends.

Social Life
This is indeed different for everyone. I typically stay "in" (and by "in" I mean stick around Morningside Heights) Sunday through Wednesday. Thursday night always involves law school partying. People often go downtown or out to bars on Friday and Saturday nights. People are always up for Happy Hours on weekdays, regardless.

Corporate Tools
One thing to keep mind is that NYU and Columbia essentially go into the same job markets. Don't get me started on the "Columbia is for firm work and NYU is for public interest" bullshit that the NYU admins try to pull. I forget the statistic, but something around 75% of NYU students go into firm work, 80% of CLS students. The difference is marginal. What's important to recognize is that the Columbia name is going to help you out at firms, government, AND public interest jobs. Furthermore, most people work in public interest during their 1L summer, since CLS provides a stipend (and it's incredibly hard to get paying legal jobs as a 1L). I worked in human rights last summer, and continued on as a research assistant this year - but I'm also going into firm litigation. It's possible to do both, particularly at a firm that has a lot of resources. On top of that, I know a ton of people at CLS pursuing purely public-interest-related work.

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Lem37
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Lem37 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:13 pm

alicen wrote:
viking138 wrote:Social Life
It depends on how you work. It's different for everyone. This was a typical week for me up until the end of November:
Sunday - read for the week, take notes
Monday-Thus - attend class, read supplements in between class or review with a friend, type up my notes from the day (I recommend handwriting), cook a nice dinner for my BF and myself, watch some TV
Fri - do some reading/supplement work, run errands
Sat - head into the city to meet up with friends or do something fun with the BF (we're both new to NYC)

Wash, rinse, repeat. In November I also added outlining to the mix but I never felt like I had no life. I'm still waiting on a grade, but so far I'm at A and A- so it's not like my schedule screwed me over in any way. So yeah, you can def have a social life.


does this sound scary to anyone else but me? i guess you found it to be fairly balanced between work and play, but i'm not sure one day a week downtown would cut it.... do you think this kind of work schedule is typical for columbia students?


Law students work. A lot. I'll admit that as an undergrad (particular as a senior), I worked, like...an hour a day. Law school - not just Columbia, but every top school - is a LOT of work. There's a steep 1L curve and grades are everything in this market. I work probably an average of 5 or so hours a day, in addition to 4-5 hours of class spread out from morning to afternoon.

4102011
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby 4102011 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:16 pm

This is a kind of dumb question, but what are the law buildings like at Columbia compared to other places you visited? Lem37, you said it was better than NYU's? All I've seen of the inside are from here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=120572&p=3933983#p3933983 and I wasn't sure how representative that was of the school in general.

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Lem37
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Lem37 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:20 pm

dulcatis wrote:This is a kind of dumb question, but what are the law buildings like at Columbia compared to other places you visited? Lem37, you said it was better than NYU's? All I've seen of the inside are from here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=120572&p=3933983#p3933983 and I wasn't sure how representative that was of the school in general.


Those pictures do not do JG justice. The lobby is huge, an essentially an atrium open to the floor above it (which is a giant study space surrounding the atrium and bounded by huge windows). It's very pretty. I visited NYU two years ago (during my application cycle), so maybe it's changed, but I was really unimpressed by the study spaces and classrooms. Our law library is pretty ugly, but nobody spends much time there anyway. :)

EDIT: plus, it's great to study out on the quad during the spring and summer! Washington Square Park is always crowded and filled with tourists, IMO.

viking138
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby viking138 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:35 pm

alicen wrote:
viking138 wrote:Social Life
It depends on how you work. It's different for everyone. This was a typical week for me up until the end of November:
Sunday - read for the week, take notes
Monday-Thus - attend class, read supplements in between class or review with a friend, type up my notes from the day (I recommend handwriting), cook a nice dinner for my BF and myself, watch some TV
Fri - do some reading/supplement work, run errands
Sat - head into the city to meet up with friends or do something fun with the BF (we're both new to NYC)

Wash, rinse, repeat. In November I also added outlining to the mix but I never felt like I had no life. I'm still waiting on a grade, but so far I'm at A and A- so it's not like my schedule screwed me over in any way. So yeah, you can def have a social life.


does this sound scary to anyone else but me? i guess you found it to be fairly balanced between work and play, but i'm not sure one day a week downtown would cut it.... do you think this kind of work schedule is typical for columbia students?


Wait, really? I thought my schedule was super light. Seriously, my schedule was totally doable to anyone, I swear.

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JG Hall
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby JG Hall » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:56 pm

viking138 wrote:
alicen wrote:
viking138 wrote:Social Life
It depends on how you work. It's different for everyone. This was a typical week for me up until the end of November:
Sunday - read for the week, take notes
Monday-Thus - attend class, read supplements in between class or review with a friend, type up my notes from the day (I recommend handwriting), cook a nice dinner for my BF and myself, watch some TV
Fri - do some reading/supplement work, run errands
Sat - head into the city to meet up with friends or do something fun with the BF (we're both new to NYC)

Wash, rinse, repeat. In November I also added outlining to the mix but I never felt like I had no life. I'm still waiting on a grade, but so far I'm at A and A- so it's not like my schedule screwed me over in any way. So yeah, you can def have a social life.


does this sound scary to anyone else but me? i guess you found it to be fairly balanced between work and play, but i'm not sure one day a week downtown would cut it.... do you think this kind of work schedule is typical for columbia students?


Wait, really? I thought my schedule was super light. Seriously, my schedule was totally doable to anyone, I swear.

This sounds a bit drab to me. I guess a hybrid schedule for my roommates and I would be something like:
Class, reading, tv/xbox Mon-Wed.
Class, drinking Thursday
being hungover, working on note/journal shit, drinking friday (Journals take up so much time 2L year. I would never have signed up for this if I could do it over again.)
brunch, errands, nap, drinking Saturday
spend most of the day in bed hungover, watch football, then finally get around to Monday's reading sometime Sunday night with a few beers/bowls to make the time go by

In all, going out Thurs-Saturday, and sometimes Wednesday. I'll admit I went out much more 1L year, but living with people I like (vs. strangers) has seemingly decreased my need to go out to be social. It's been my experience that you can still be Stone and go out 3 nights a week. Quality>Quantity.

PS - Just a note re: Morningside. Yes, there is less to do in MH than there is to do in e.Ville. However, "boring" for Manhattan is still better than 96% of the rest of the country. Just keep that in mind. Plus, cabs split 3/4 ways are a pretty good deal, even if you're trekking to LES or something. So I wouldn't let Morningside's rep influence anything other than the CLS/NYU decision.

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Sogui
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Sogui » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:47 pm

Well I just got my final 1L grade, I like where I am but it was a little disappointing to start off really strong and then watch your GPA tick down with the 2nd and 3rd grade lower than the last.

Currently I'm around the top ~25% and I never touched a supplement, never highlighted, never briefed, never took notes outside of class. My reading was sporadic, missed about 12 collective classes, didn't start outlining until December when I started outlining like a madman.

Before December my M-Wed. schedule was ~4 hours of class and ~1-2 hours of skimming reading per day, sleeping/eating/showering for another ~8 hours combined. Leaving ~10 hours a day on my 3 "busy" days to do whatever I wanted. Thursday-Sunday were "weekend" days with only 1 class and LPW on Thursday, I never read or studied on these days before December, ~15-16+ hours of free-time per day, lots of internet and video games.

I put in a supremely slacker effort and I can't complain about finishing with the equivalent of a Stone Scholar. My biggest regret was not timing my practice tests, timing killed me. I do not think it's coincidence that my 8-hour take home was a model answer but I got a mediocre grade in my rushed 3.5 hours Torts final. It doesn't matter if you have the most beautiful and graceful legal answer in your head, if you are running out of time you are forced to spit it out in a rambling mess that destroys the value that all your insight and studying has given you.
Last edited by Sogui on Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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UnitarySpace
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby UnitarySpace » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:17 pm

your a cool dood. btw. A,A-,B+ is prob better than 25%

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby dubunamjah » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:28 pm

Sogui wrote:Well I just got my final 1L grade, I like where I am but it was a little disappointing to start off really strong and then watch your GPA tick down with the 2nd and 3rd grade lower than the last.

Currently I'm around the top ~25% and I never touched a supplement, never highlighted, never briefed, never took notes outside of class. My reading was sporadic, missed about 12 collective classes, didn't start outlining until December when I started outlining like a madman.

Before December my M-Wed. schedule was ~4 hours of class and ~1-2 hours of skimming reading per day, sleeping/eating/showering for another ~8 hours combined. Leaving ~10 hours a day on my 3 "busy" days to do whatever I wanted. Thursday-Sunday were "weekend" days with only 1 class and LPW on Thursday, I never read or studied on these days before December, ~15-16+ hours of free-time per day, lots of internet and video games.

I put in a supremely slacker effort and I can't complain about finishing with the equivalent of a Stone Scholar. My biggest regret was not timing my practice tests, timing killed me. I do not think it's coincidence that my 8-hour take home was a model answer but I got a mediocre grade in my rushed 3.5 hours Torts final. It doesn't matter if you have the most beautiful and graceful legal answer in your head, if you are running out of time you are forced to spit it out in a rambling mess that destroys the value that all your insight and studying has given you.


ohhh crazy

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Lem37
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Lem37 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:38 pm

.
Last edited by Lem37 on Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby asealclubber » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:46 pm

.

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Sogui
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Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby Sogui » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:34 pm

UnitarySpace wrote:your a cool dood. btw. A,A-,B+ is prob better than 25%


Those aren't my grades though :?

Yea I'll second the part about working hard and not following my example. But if I to pick between two, I'd say "arms race of excessive and gratuitous exam prep" is a much greater threat to 1L's livelihood than "slacker epidemic!".

My only goal was to advance the idea that 5 hornbooks per class, a commercial outline, obsessive briefing/highlighting/note-taking before class, summer 0L prep, and ritual study groups are all neither necessary or sufficient to getting good grades.

Based on where I succeeded and where I slipped I'd say the 'smart' approach is:

1- Don't miss class
2- Take good class notes (try using/learning OneNote if you own a PC)
3- Start outlining from class notes early
4- Start taking practice exams around a month before the exam or later depending on your "supply"
5- Only resort to Hornbooks if a 2L+ who did well in the class recommends it, the professor recommends it, or if your class is an absolute disorganized mess and the course evaluations recommend it.
***
6- Take your practice tests under realistic conditions, learn to adapt to the time constraints. Remember your first LSAT and how you didn't finish a single section and it trashed your score? That's what EXACTLY what will happen during proctored exams if you don't practice. I got rushed during my Torts exam and had to answer the last 45m question in 25m, likewise on CivPro I got so rushed with my 2nd to last answer that I went down a legal "fork" based on a fact that I had misread due to "speed reading"... which forced me to delete 400+ words of useless legal reasoning. Softest even had to ask me "are you sure you want to delete this many words?" Floundering because of timing is the worst feeling because a semester's worth of work is squandered because you didn't take at least 8 hours to do a couple 'real' practice tests.
***
7- Practice making a short/rough answer outline for any exam questions asking for 45m+ of your time. For 8hr take-homes spending 2 hours on outlining answers would be advisable if there is a word limit (there usually is for take homes).
8- Is there an issue that keeps showing up on old exams? Write up an "attack" outline for the strongest & simplest ways to approach that issue. This works especially well when model answers are available (use their lines of reasoning in your own attack outline).

But that's just my opinion on getting the most "bang for your buck" and still having a pretty manageable 1L schedule. Naturally don't screw around with participation-based classes, but don't be the guy gunning for the "grade bump" either.

User avatar
deneuve39
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:23 pm

Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby deneuve39 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:49 pm

huckabees wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:The way it works is the professor submits exam numbers (blindly) with corresponding grades. The professor then independently submits the names of people whose grades he wants adjusted up or down a notch. The registrar matches the exam number with the student's name, then applies the adjustment.


Thanks. Do you know how often this actually occurs? I know it will depend on the prof, but I've heard different things on this front. Also, how would this work in light of the mandated curve? (I.e., it seems they would have to potentially rank the students in some order of grade adjustment if they wanted to be sure that they stay within the mandated curve ranges. If they already have the max number of people within a certain family of grades, and their adjustments yield more people at that grade range, they would end up giving grades outside the confines of the curve.)

Also, do you know if this is done on a letter grade level, or a point level? E.g., Submits letter grades for all exams and says bump down 1/3 of a grade, vs "change student X's grade by Y%." I can imagine some unfairness if this were done on a letter grade level if the student had already missed a certain grade by a narrow margin, and then gets bumped down yet another fraction of a letter grade after that.

(Sorry to get all technical here...)


I think this is totally based on which professor you have. Some are quite formal about it, making a note on the seating chart every time someone volunteers--one prof famously makes 3 marks for particularly insightful comments and only one for answers to easy questions about a case, and then adds up all the points at the end of the semester, adding those points on a weighted basis to your exam score. Most, I think, generally have the "volunteer a lot and your grade will get bumped up" system. So for the most part it's done on a grade level and not a point level. I think this bump is definitely given to some, but you really have to to volunteer almost every day and ask interesting questions and generally be committed to it. And if you volunteer that much, you're also on the hook if the professor ever wants to call on someone.

As far as the curve point, I don't think it factors in because it affects so few people. And frankly if the prof was a couple percentage points out of the span the registrar likely would not make the prof change it.

User avatar
UnitarySpace
Posts: 197
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:18 am

Re: Columbia 1Ls taking questions

Postby UnitarySpace » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:12 am

Sogui wrote:
UnitarySpace wrote:your a cool dood. btw. A,A-,B+ is prob better than 25%


Those aren't my grades though :?

Yea I'll second the part about working hard and not following my example. But if I to pick between two, I'd say "arms race of excessive and gratuitous exam prep" is a much greater threat to 1L's livelihood than "slacker epidemic!".

My only goal was to advance the idea that 5 hornbooks per class, a commercial outline, obsessive briefing/highlighting/note-taking before class, summer 0L prep, and ritual study groups are all neither necessary or sufficient to getting good grades.

Based on where I succeeded and where I slipped I'd say the 'smart' approach is:

1- Don't miss class
2- Take good class notes (try using/learning OneNote if you own a PC)
3- Start outlining from class notes early
4- Start taking practice exams around a month before the exam or later depending on your "supply"
5- Only resort to Hornbooks if a 2L+ who did well in the class recommends it, the professor recommends it, or if your class is an absolute disorganized mess and the course evaluations recommend it.
***
6- Take your practice tests under realistic conditions, learn to adapt to the time constraints. Remember your first LSAT and how you didn't finish a single section and it trashed your score? That's what EXACTLY what will happen during proctored exams if you don't practice. I got rushed during my Torts exam and had to answer the last 45m question in 25m, likewise on CivPro I got so rushed with my 2nd to last answer that I went down a legal "fork" based on a fact that I had misread due to "speed reading"... which forced me to delete 400+ words of useless legal reasoning. Softest even had to ask me "are you sure you want to delete this many words?" Floundering because of timing is the worst feeling because a semester's worth of work is squandered because you didn't take at least 8 hours to do a couple 'real' practice tests.
***
7- Practice making a short/rough answer outline for any exam questions asking for 45m+ of your time. For 8hr take-homes spending 2 hours on outlining answers would be advisable if there is a word limit (there usually is for take homes).
8- Is there an issue that keeps showing up on old exams? Write up an "attack" outline for the strongest & simplest ways to approach that issue. This works especially well when model answers are available (use their lines of reasoning in your own attack outline).

But that's just my opinion on getting the most "bang for your buck" and still having a pretty manageable 1L schedule. Naturally don't screw around with participation-based classes, but don't be the guy gunning for the "grade bump" either.


I endorse your method, particularly the exam prep stuff. On a related matter, I see you posting on TLS.




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