Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:50 pm

ksllaw wrote:
cinephile wrote:I'm not going to agree or disagree with this, but just wanted to make a couple of comments. Your IQ is irrelevant because most of your class will be composed of people similar to you in terms of intelligence.

Hi cinephile,

I'm not sure how true this highlighted portion above is. It would be interesting to know (from a factual/empirical standpoint), but I don't think we'll ever have data on that. I think I just assumed that law school classes could be comprised of large percentages of students with significantly different IQs. Part of it has to do with what I see as the "learnability" of the LSAT and the "game-ability" (sadly) of GPA, which are the two main determinants of law school admissions.

I think most people would presume some kind of correlation between GPA/LSAT and IQ, even if it's not perfect, and the people in a given law school are generally going to fall within a very narrow GPA/LSAT band (with a few outliers on either end, I suppose). But I don't know that much about IQ.

(As to the creative issue: yes, there's creative and then there's creative. I think "don't get creative" is correct when you understand it as "do exactly what the prof asks you to do, no more and no less." Sometimes that will include being creative - I had a prof who expressly told us to come up with as many possible ways a plaintiff in a given set of circumstances could bring a claim under statute X, and to be as creative as possible. But deciding you're going to reinvent the wheel or blaze a completely new trail is not likely to be productive.)

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AreJay711
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:43 pm

I don't think typing speed matters much unless you are talking about booking the class or what not. I'm top 25% pretty handily despite being a slow typist.

At some level, you either have it or you don't at law school exams. Learning the material is basically a non-factor.

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smaug_
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby smaug_ » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:28 pm

ksllaw wrote:boring words

Image


The people who will do poorly are people who don't follow the prompt or don't know the law. Law school really isn't that hard unless you're a super gunner. You will not be doing anything so difficult that intelligence will help you or hurt you.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby Scotusnerd » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:16 pm

hibiki wrote:The people who will do poorly are people who don't follow the prompt or don't know the law. Law school really isn't that hard unless you're a super gunner. You will not be doing anything so difficult that intelligence will help you or hurt you.


I think you're a little glib in your dismissal. Law school is very hard. Not because the of the material, but the combination of peer competition and unknown elements makes for a stressful first year. Also, you're missing a key element in the process, and I've seen professors harp on this before: writing. No matter what you know about the law, and no matter how much you follow the prompt, if you can't clearly and effectively communicate your ideas, you're going to have trouble.

While different professors want different types of writing (some don't care as much and will accept pretty much anything you slop on the page because their exam is so strictly timed, while others basically want a legal brief) the core is still the same: they can't grade what you don't write down. If you do not write down the law, you will not get any points. If you write down the law, but do not apply it to the situation, you will not get full points. If you write down the law, apply it to the facts, but do not conclude anything nor follow the logic to the next set of issues, you will still not get full points. Law school exams require a mastery of synthesis that is rarely seen in undergraduate academia. You must not only know enough law to see the black, the white and the gray, you must understand how to present it in a way that the professor can grade and give you the most points. You must then draft an organized outline of 20-30 of these points per question, and then actually write it out, making sure to present every single issue in such a way that you will get full credit. And you must do this under timed conditions.

This is a level of mastery that few in the class will fully achieve. That is why law school is hard.

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stillwater
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby stillwater » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:18 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:
hibiki wrote:The people who will do poorly are people who don't follow the prompt or don't know the law. Law school really isn't that hard unless you're a super gunner. You will not be doing anything so difficult that intelligence will help you or hurt you.


I think you're a little glib in your dismissal. Law school is very hard. Not because the of the material, but the combination of peer competition and unknown elements makes for a stressful first year. Also, you're missing a key element in the process, and I've seen professors harp on this before: writing. No matter what you know about the law, and no matter how much you follow the prompt, if you can't clearly and effectively communicate your ideas, you're going to have trouble.

While different professors want different types of writing (some don't care as much and will accept pretty much anything you slop on the page because their exam is so strictly timed, while others basically want a legal brief) the core is still the same: they can't grade what you don't write down. If you do not write down the law, you will not get any points. If you write down the law, but do not apply it to the situation, you will not get full points. If you write down the law, apply it to the facts, but do not conclude anything nor follow the logic to the next set of issues, you will still not get full points. Law school exams require a mastery of synthesis that is rarely seen in undergraduate academia. You must not only know enough law to see the black, the white and the gray, you must understand how to present it in a way that the professor can grade and give you the most points. You must then draft an organized outline of 20-30 of these points per question, and then actually write it out, making sure to present every single issue in such a way that you will get full credit. And you must do this under timed conditions.

This is a level of mastery that few in the class will fully achieve. That is why law school is hard.


who outlines? also writing isn't difficult.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby Scotusnerd » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:21 pm

stillwater wrote:who outlines? also writing like a human isn't difficult.


I outline. It works damn well, too. And for anyone who is taking a law school exam for a first time, yeah it is difficult. There's a lot of nerves involved that get in the way of a shakey legal writing skill. I don't know about you, but I'm terrible the first time I do anything brand new. I improve with practice, but that first time tends to be a real clunker.

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smaug_
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby smaug_ » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:24 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:This is a level of mastery that few in the class will fully achieve. That is why law school is hard.


Sorry if you found/find law school RIGOROUS and REWARDING, but law school isn't hard. The only thing that makes it "hard" is that it is academic bloodsport with people who have incentive to try and who generally aren't fools. I'm not saying "yeah bro, you can snooze your way into the top half" but rather that law school isn't difficult and doesn't take a high level of intelligence to deal with. People at top schools are bringing using nuclear weapons to drive nails. They might be smart/capable but law school doesn't require them to use those talents.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby Scotusnerd » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:32 pm

hibiki wrote:
Scotusnerd wrote:This is a level of mastery that few in the class will fully achieve. That is why law school is hard.


Sorry if you found/find law school RIGOROUS and REWARDING, but law school isn't hard. The only thing that makes it "hard" is that it is academic bloodsport with people who have incentive to try and who generally aren't fools. I'm not saying "yeah bro, you can snooze your way into the top half" but rather that law school isn't difficult and doesn't take a high level of intelligence to deal with. People at top schools are bringing using nuclear weapons to drive nails. They might be smart/capable but law school doesn't require them to use those talents.


Rigorous and rewarding? Pfft. I hate it, to be honest. I'll take real world law any day. But I know how to take a test.

I actually agree with what you're saying. I don't think law school is about intellect. Law school test-taking is a skill. That's what I mean by mastery; it's about careful preparation and practice. I'm definitely not the person with the most "intellectual horsepower" in my class, but I do just fine. I'm not saying it's intellect that wins the day. It's planning and preparation. Writing an exam is no different. I disagree about the difficulty, though, since you are facing off against a couple hundred other people, most of whom are just as motivated. The trick isn't to be the smartest, but to be the most prepared to answer the questions well. Also, I think the difficulty really depends on the motivation of your classmates rather than any intellectual basis.

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stillwater
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby stillwater » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:37 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:
hibiki wrote:
Scotusnerd wrote:This is a level of mastery that few in the class will fully achieve. That is why law school is hard.


Sorry if you found/find law school RIGOROUS and REWARDING, but law school isn't hard. The only thing that makes it "hard" is that it is academic bloodsport with people who have incentive to try and who generally aren't fools. I'm not saying "yeah bro, you can snooze your way into the top half" but rather that law school isn't difficult and doesn't take a high level of intelligence to deal with. People at top schools are bringing using nuclear weapons to drive nails. They might be smart/capable but law school doesn't require them to use those talents.


Rigorous and rewarding? Pfft. I hate it, to be honest. I'll take real world law any day. But I know how to take a test.

I actually agree with what you're saying. I don't think law school is about intellect. Law school test-taking is a skill. That's what I mean by mastery; it's about careful preparation and practice. I'm definitely not the person with the most "intellectual horsepower" in my class, but I do just fine. I'm not saying it's intellect that wins the day. It's planning and preparation. Writing an exam is no different. I disagree about the difficulty, though, since you are facing off against a couple hundred other people, most of whom are just as motivated. The trick isn't to be the smartest, but to be the most prepared to answer the questions well. Also, I think the difficulty really depends on the motivation of your classmates rather than any intellectual basis.


exams are about having a game plan, attacking and doing it quickly and efficiently. im shocked at how many kids dont budget their time accordingly and obsess and linger over questions. exams are a skill but its because so many students get caught up in the pedantics of law and can't understand its all a game and you need to play to win.

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anacharsis
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby anacharsis » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:43 pm

Where do you go, Stillwater?

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stillwater
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby stillwater » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:46 pm

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Last edited by stillwater on Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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anacharsis
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby anacharsis » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:43 pm

stillwater wrote:
anacharsis wrote:Where do you go, Stillwater?


School of Hard Knocks


grats

BFrankBYangC
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby BFrankBYangC » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:25 pm

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Last edited by BFrankBYangC on Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sundance95
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby sundance95 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:08 pm

learning the BLL is necessary, but far from sufficient, from doing well on exams. this is because it is not all that difficult.

in my experience, those who do well spend much more time learning their professors than their peers do. this also is not difficult, but many law students fail to grasp its importance and thus never do it.

finally, imho this board discounts the value of simply being a good writer. imagine you are a professor grading 60-90 exams, most of which make largely the same points. good writing is naturally going to help you end up at the high side of the curve. unfortunately, learning to write well takes much longer than the skill sets mentioned above.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law School Exam Question re: Learnability/Masterability?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:43 pm

sundance95 wrote:learning the BLL is necessary, but far from sufficient, from doing well on exams. this is because it is not all that difficult.

in my experience, those who do well spend much more time learning their professors than their peers do. this also is not difficult, but many law students fail to grasp its importance and thus never do it.

finally, imho this board discounts the value of simply being a good writer. imagine you are a professor grading 60-90 exams, most of which make largely the same points. good writing is naturally going to help you end up at the high side of the curve. unfortunately, learning to write well takes much longer than the skill sets mentioned above.

I think that this goes back to learning the professor. I had one professor say expressly that they grade for good writing on the exam (and another who gave 8-hour take homes in the hope that it would result in better writing). I also had a professor thank me for writing well on the exam, because it made grading easier, but explain that the good writing doesn't make up for issues not spotted. And I also had at least one professor who really didn't care if you spat out lists of bullet points, he really was just checking off the points you raised on a list, and as long as he could understand what point you were getting at, he didn't care about good writing.

I think being a good writer is really important in law generally, and I think there is something of a subconscious effect where good writing makes a good impression. But I think writing well (as opposed to simply competently) affects exam grades only with certain professors.




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