Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
AReasonableMan
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:25 pm

hdunlop wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:There's a scene in Zero Dark 30 where the CIA Director seeks the opinion of one of his agents, Jeremy on whether the Jessica Chastain character is right about bin Laden's location:

CIA Director: What do you think of the girl?
Jeremy: I think she's fucking smart.
CIA Director: We're all smart, Jeremy.


It's worth noting that she was also the only one who figured it out so maybe Jeremy was on to something.

That said lol at everyone arguing you can tell how you'll do on law exams before taking them

IDK I'm sure professors are able to somewhat tell based on the questions people choose to ask. Actual students is more like the blind leading the blind.

User avatar
fats provolone
Posts: 7125
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:44 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby fats provolone » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:25 pm

fats provolone wrote:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variance

User avatar
Ron Don Volante
Posts: 899
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:26 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:26 pm

rehbands wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:If only I would have THOUGHT about the material.


I mean, there's a reason some people get straight As/all Hs.

I spent a few years in management consulting before law school. My firm hired only top grads from top schools- all "smart" people who worked extremely hard. But some people were just better than others- and from what I could tell, it was because they were more thoughtful and got to the "next level shit" that impresses clients. Call it being smarter, or more thoughtful, or more creative, or a better ability to conceptualize problems if you will, but there's something that separates the cream - I don't think that's random at all.

Nobody is denying this happens. At least in my section, there are absolutely a few kids who are head-and-shoulders above everyone else. Their grades reflect it. I'm sure it's the same at the other end, too.

But every 0L thinks they'll be jesus's gift to lawyering, and it's going to be relatively random for the middle 90% of kids at any given school. Are you saying we should be telling 0Ls who think they're special snowflakes to go in planning to be honors-level students?

User avatar
DCfilterDC
Posts: 2665
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:55 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby DCfilterDC » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:26 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
rehbands wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:If only I would have THOUGHT about the material.


I mean, there's a reason some people get straight As/all Hs.

I spent a few years in management consulting before law school. My firm hired only top grads from top schools- all "smart" people who worked extremely hard. But some people were just better than others- and from what I could tell, it was because they were more thoughtful and got to the "next level shit" that impresses clients. Call it being smarter, or more thoughtful, or more creative, or a better ability to conceptualize problems if you will, but there's something that separates the cream - I don't think that's random at all.

What does performance in management consulting have to do with someone's ability to take a law school exam? Of course some people are smarter than others, or do a better job at "next level shit" than others, but no one has demonstrated that this correlates to all As on law school exams. What happens when your entire law school class is made up of the cream and they're graded on a curve?

Edited to add: your crim law example is fine, but what about a professor who doesn't care at all about policy and only wants strict application of law to facts? Who cares who "thinks" more deeply in that context?


So I totally understand how for the vast majority of law school students (including myself) much of grading will just be a random, but I have to imagine that people like Rehnquist and O'Connor etc. who are actually at the top of the class are there because they truly are exceptionally intelligent, not because they lucked out on the curve. And I'm 100% saying I'm not one of them, I accept the randomness of it, but that doesn't mean I can't acknowledge there are parties that are beyond this.

Mal Reynolds
Posts: 12630
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:16 am

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:28 pm

DCfilterDC wrote:So I totally understand how for the vast majority of law school students (including myself) much of grading will just be a random, but I have to imagine that people like Rehnquist and O'Connor etc. who are actually at the top of the class are there because they truly are exceptionally intelligent, not because they lucked out on the curve. And I'm 100% saying I'm not one of them, I accept the randomness of it, but that doesn't mean I can't acknowledge there are parties that are beyond this.


There are people as intelligent in the bottom of the class that don't take exams as well.

rehbands
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:52 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby rehbands » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:29 pm

.
Last edited by rehbands on Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mal Reynolds
Posts: 12630
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:16 am

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:31 pm

If this thread has proven anything it's that law students are hilariously bad at self evaluation.

AReasonableMan
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:31 pm

DCfilterDC wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
rehbands wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:If only I would have THOUGHT about the material.


I mean, there's a reason some people get straight As/all Hs.

I spent a few years in management consulting before law school. My firm hired only top grads from top schools- all "smart" people who worked extremely hard. But some people were just better than others- and from what I could tell, it was because they were more thoughtful and got to the "next level shit" that impresses clients. Call it being smarter, or more thoughtful, or more creative, or a better ability to conceptualize problems if you will, but there's something that separates the cream - I don't think that's random at all.

What does performance in management consulting have to do with someone's ability to take a law school exam? Of course some people are smarter than others, or do a better job at "next level shit" than others, but no one has demonstrated that this correlates to all As on law school exams. What happens when your entire law school class is made up of the cream and they're graded on a curve?

Edited to add: your crim law example is fine, but what about a professor who doesn't care at all about policy and only wants strict application of law to facts? Who cares who "thinks" more deeply in that context?


So I totally understand how for the vast majority of law school students (including myself) much of grading will just be a random, but I have to imagine that people like Rehnquist and O'Connor etc. who are actually at the top of the class are there because they truly are exceptionally intelligent, not because they lucked out on the curve. And I'm 100% saying I'm not one of them, I accept the randomness of it, but that doesn't mean I can't acknowledge there are parties that are beyond this.

It's not random in that people who do well one semester tend to do well the next semester. It is random in that people assume the really preppy kids with glasses do well, and there are some stereotypes. My observations were that people presume that working class people and pretty women will do poorly when these stereotypes have absolutely no predictive value whatsoever. I actually think law school grades in the fairest way possible. In undergrad, at least in my experience, subjective stereotypes were as accurate a predictor as merit. Blind grading kills the link b/w physical appearance and grades.
Last edited by AReasonableMan on Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22859
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:33 pm

DCfilterDC wrote:So I totally understand how for the vast majority of law school students (including myself) much of grading will just be a random, but I have to imagine that people like Rehnquist and O'Connor etc. who are actually at the top of the class are there because they truly are exceptionally intelligent, not because they lucked out on the curve. And I'm 100% saying I'm not one of them, I accept the randomness of it, but that doesn't mean I can't acknowledge there are parties that are beyond this.

Sure. There are going to be some law savants who go in and are brilliant and their 4.0/all Hs/whatever is a genuine measure of their ability. It's still hard to predict who will fall into that (small) group before going to law school, and there isn't necessarily a method they all follow that others can follow to succeed in the same way. Unless you have some really clear reason to think that you are one of those in the top 1% of all people in law school everywhere, you can't plan for that.

On the extremes I think law school grades probably do correlate to general brilliance/ability/whatever you'd like to call it - people getting all HPs (or whatever) at HYS are doubtless fucking brilliant. And people flunking out of Cooley doubtless have academic issues. But most people fall in the big mushy middle.

User avatar
PeanutsNJam
Posts: 3699
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:57 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:37 pm

I feel like the people pissed at me are reading other people's posts and think I authored them.

Seriously, once and for all, let me outline my train of though for you. Please, please tell me where I've been an ass.

- "Gee, I'd like to do well in law school. Let's see what TLS has to say about that"

- read TLS articles on success in law school

- recall snippets where posters have said grading is arbitrary and 1L grades are luck based

- be concerned at the discrepancy

- seek clarification via a post

- answer: "forced normal distribution + idiosyncratic population = random grades"

- question how idiosyncratic the population really is

- answer: "yes" or "stfu 0L dipshit"

- be unsatisfied, ask more questions of other people who responded to the thread

- concede that there's not much control I can have over my 1L grades

Just bold the arrogant thought, please.

AReasonableMan
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:38 pm

The inability to predict doesn't make it random. If this was the case then a law student who gets 4.0 1st semester would have an equal shot of getting a 3.0 second semester as would a student who got a 3.0 1st semester. However, this isn't the case. When I read exams that got a better grade than mine it was pretty evident a page in that it was a superior product. Maybe there's some randomness on what an A- vs. a B+ is, but over 8 exams this is likely to even itself out.

User avatar
DCNTUA
Posts: 252
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:19 am

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby DCNTUA » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:39 pm

utahraptor wrote:No this is my way of saying that you're doomed because you're a weirdo.


this was egregiously underappreciated.

AReasonableMan
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:42 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:I feel like the people pissed at me are reading other people's posts and think I authored them.

Seriously, once and for all, let me outline my train of though for you. Please, please tell me where I've been an ass.

- "Gee, I'd like to do well in law school. Let's see what TLS has to say about that"

- read TLS articles on success in law school

- recall snippets where posters have said grading is arbitrary and 1L grades are luck based

- be concerned at the discrepancy

- seek clarification via a post

- answer: "forced normal distribution + idiosyncratic population = random grades"

- question how idiosyncratic the population really is

- answer: "yes" or "stfu 0L dipshit"

- be unsatisfied, ask more questions of other people who responded to the thread

- concede that there's not much control I can have over my 1L grades

Just bold the arrogant thought, please.

In all honesty, the fact you have the personality to solicit outside help on doing well in law school and care that much this far in advance suggests you are likelier to be above median than the random student. It also means you're probably not great to be around.

rehbands
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:52 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby rehbands » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:46 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:The inability to predict doesn't make it random. If this was the case then a law student who gets 4.0 1st semester would have an equal shot of getting a 3.0 second semester as would a student who got a 3.0 1st semester. However, this isn't the case. When I read exams that got a better grade than mine it was pretty evident a page in that it was a superior product. Maybe there's some randomness on what an A- vs. a B+ is, but over 8 exams this is likely to even itself out.


This.

There's some critical skills or set of skills that people who score A/H exams have - and I'm trying to explain what I think those skills might be. I think there's a critical difference b/t what's advocated on this thread (just do the work, read all EEs etc.) and what those actual skills are. You can certainly do all the work/follow all the guides and end up with all Ps/Bs - I'm not denying that.

But writing these skills off as "brilliance" or "some people are just smart" instead of developable skills is not very useful in my opinion and is not a good attitude to have. You can easily keep an open mind to both sides of an issue. You can easily try and articulate/justify court reasoning in your head outside of the canned arguments given in the book/class.

User avatar
utahraptor
Posts: 3440
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:05 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby utahraptor » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:51 pm

how many exams has SLS gone through at this point, and are you familiar with regression to the mean?

AReasonableMan
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:53 pm

rehbands wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:The inability to predict doesn't make it random. If this was the case then a law student who gets 4.0 1st semester would have an equal shot of getting a 3.0 second semester as would a student who got a 3.0 1st semester. However, this isn't the case. When I read exams that got a better grade than mine it was pretty evident a page in that it was a superior product. Maybe there's some randomness on what an A- vs. a B+ is, but over 8 exams this is likely to even itself out.


This.

There's some critical skills or set of skills that people who score A/H exams have - and I'm trying to explain what I think those skills might be. I think there's a critical difference b/t what's advocated on this thread (just do the work, read all EEs etc.) and what those actual skills are. You can certainly do all the work/follow all the guides and end up with all Ps/Bs - I'm not denying that.

But writing these skills off as "brilliance" or "some people are just smart" instead of developable skills is not very useful in my opinion and is not a good attitude to have. You can easily keep an open mind to both sides of an issue. You can easily try and articulate/justify court reasoning in your head outside of the canned arguments given in the book/class.

Yeah, I think the idea it's all random is promulgated by individuals who didn't do as well as they hoped, and therefore have to blame something else. It's not like basketball where a shot either goes in or out. In some ways the allegation LS grades are random is just delayed onset special snowflake syndrome. Standardized tests can't measure my ability, because I'm a unique individual, and law school exams also can't measure it, because the professor was out to get me because I'm a unique individual.
Last edited by AReasonableMan on Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ron Don Volante
Posts: 899
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:26 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:54 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:In all honesty, the fact you have the personality to solicit outside help on doing well in law school and care that much this far in advance suggests you are likelier to be above median than the random student.

yeah I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with you there

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22859
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:59 pm

rehbands wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:The inability to predict doesn't make it random. If this was the case then a law student who gets 4.0 1st semester would have an equal shot of getting a 3.0 second semester as would a student who got a 3.0 1st semester. However, this isn't the case. When I read exams that got a better grade than mine it was pretty evident a page in that it was a superior product. Maybe there's some randomness on what an A- vs. a B+ is, but over 8 exams this is likely to even itself out.


This.

There's some critical skills or set of skills that people who score A/H exams have - and I'm trying to explain what I think those skills might be. I think there's a critical difference b/t what's advocated on this thread (just do the work, read all EEs etc.) and what those actual skills are. You can certainly do all the work/follow all the guides and end up with all Ps/Bs - I'm not denying that.

But writing these skills off as "brilliance" or "some people are just smart" instead of developable skills is not very useful in my opinion and is not a good attitude to have. You can easily keep an open mind to both sides of an issue. You can easily try and articulate/justify court reasoning in your head outside of the canned arguments given in the book/class.

I agree that A exams usually have something better going for them than B exams. And I agree that people can learn to write better exams, because exam-taking is a skill. Critical thinking and looking at both sides is probably helpful (as Getting to Maybe has been suggesting for a long time).

But since it's all on a curve where you're graded against your classmates' performance, however much you develop your skills, your grades still depend on how all the rest of your class does. I had a classmate who got 95/100 on her (multiple choice) evidence exam. Her 95 worked out to be a B, because the exam was easy enough, and enough people got above a 95, that a 95 was a B. The difference between getting a 95 and a 96, or a 97, isn't about a measurable difference in critical thinking skills, IMO. It's a random function of whether you happened to study the material in the pertinent 2-3 questions to the same degree as the next person. Forget one hearsay exception and you have a B. Sure, there's a difference between the A exam and the B exam, but it's not a worthwhile distinction between students' abilities.

kaiser
Posts: 2940
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:34 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby kaiser » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:00 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:
rehbands wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:The inability to predict doesn't make it random. If this was the case then a law student who gets 4.0 1st semester would have an equal shot of getting a 3.0 second semester as would a student who got a 3.0 1st semester. However, this isn't the case. When I read exams that got a better grade than mine it was pretty evident a page in that it was a superior product. Maybe there's some randomness on what an A- vs. a B+ is, but over 8 exams this is likely to even itself out.


This.

There's some critical skills or set of skills that people who score A/H exams have - and I'm trying to explain what I think those skills might be. I think there's a critical difference b/t what's advocated on this thread (just do the work, read all EEs etc.) and what those actual skills are. You can certainly do all the work/follow all the guides and end up with all Ps/Bs - I'm not denying that.

But writing these skills off as "brilliance" or "some people are just smart" instead of developable skills is not very useful in my opinion and is not a good attitude to have. You can easily keep an open mind to both sides of an issue. You can easily try and articulate/justify court reasoning in your head outside of the canned arguments given in the book/class.

Yeah, I think the idea it's all random is promulgated by individuals who didn't do as well as they hoped, and therefore have to blame something else. It's not like basketball where a shot either goes in or out. In some ways the allegation LS grades are random is just delayed onset special snowflake syndrome. Standardized tests can't measure my ability, because I'm a unique individual, and law school exams also can't measure it, because the professor was out to get me because I'm a unique individual.


Not at all true. Look how many times people on here say that they barely knew shit about a subject, yet somehow ended up doing well. I had a friend who was all about con law and talked about it all the freakin time to the extent that he would teach it to us. I, on the other hand, barely understood con law at all and had a hard time piecing together the concepts. I was prepared to get a B or B-, while my friend assumed he would book the class (and I would have agreed). Yet I ended up with an A- and he got a B+.

Search around this site and you will find tons of similar anecdotes. Its not just people who did crappy who say that luck plays a fairly large part.

User avatar
shifty_eyed
Posts: 1934
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:09 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby shifty_eyed » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:01 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:
hdunlop wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:There's a scene in Zero Dark 30 where the CIA Director seeks the opinion of one of his agents, Jeremy on whether the Jessica Chastain character is right about bin Laden's location:

CIA Director: What do you think of the girl?
Jeremy: I think she's fucking smart.
CIA Director: We're all smart, Jeremy.


It's worth noting that she was also the only one who figured it out so maybe Jeremy was on to something.

That said lol at everyone arguing you can tell how you'll do on law exams before taking them

IDK I'm sure professors are able to somewhat tell based on the questions people choose to ask. Actual students is more like the blind leading the blind.

Anecdata re: the two classes I did best in 1L year. <1 week before the exam, the professor replied to a question I emailed with, "I am very concerned that you would think this. Please reply."
In the other, during one of the prof's last office hours session (and only one I ever attended), he said I was asking all the questions the students who do the worst in his class tend to ask. I think blind grading helped me.

AReasonableMan
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:02 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
rehbands wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:The inability to predict doesn't make it random. If this was the case then a law student who gets 4.0 1st semester would have an equal shot of getting a 3.0 second semester as would a student who got a 3.0 1st semester. However, this isn't the case. When I read exams that got a better grade than mine it was pretty evident a page in that it was a superior product. Maybe there's some randomness on what an A- vs. a B+ is, but over 8 exams this is likely to even itself out.


This.

There's some critical skills or set of skills that people who score A/H exams have - and I'm trying to explain what I think those skills might be. I think there's a critical difference b/t what's advocated on this thread (just do the work, read all EEs etc.) and what those actual skills are. You can certainly do all the work/follow all the guides and end up with all Ps/Bs - I'm not denying that.

But writing these skills off as "brilliance" or "some people are just smart" instead of developable skills is not very useful in my opinion and is not a good attitude to have. You can easily keep an open mind to both sides of an issue. You can easily try and articulate/justify court reasoning in your head outside of the canned arguments given in the book/class.

I agree that A exams usually have something better going for them than B exams. And I agree that people can learn to write better exams, because exam-taking is a skill. Critical thinking and looking at both sides is probably helpful (as Getting to Maybe has been suggesting for a long time).

But since it's all on a curve where you're graded against your classmates' performance, however much you develop your skills, your grades still depend on how all the rest of your class does. I had a classmate who got 95/100 on her (multiple choice) evidence exam. Her 95 worked out to be a B, because the exam was easy enough, and enough people got above a 95, that a 95 was a B. The difference between getting a 95 and a 96, or a 97, isn't about a measurable difference in critical thinking skills, IMO. It's a random function of whether you happened to study the material in the pertinent 2-3 questions to the same degree as the next person. Forget one hearsay exception and you have a B. Sure, there's a difference between the A exam and the B exam, but it's not a worthwhile distinction between students' abilities.

I'm sure what section you're in and what professor you happen to get placed with have an immense impact. No doubt, but this isn't really different from real life or any other competitive sport. The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns teams of the 90's both went ringless.

rehbands
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:52 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby rehbands » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:07 pm

.
Last edited by rehbands on Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ron Don Volante
Posts: 899
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:26 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:07 pm

shifty_eyed wrote:Anecdata re: the two classes I did best in 1L year. <1 week before the exam, the professor replied to a question I emailed with, "I am very concerned that you would think this. Please reply."
In the other, during one of the prof's last office hours session (and only one I ever attended), he said I was asking all the questions the students who do the worst in his class tend to ask. I think blind grading helped me.

Samesies. My best class first semester, by a long shot, was the one that I hardly attended, barely read the casebook, and did no practice tests for. Did pretty average in the class I studied the most for.

Kimikho
Posts: 3971
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:01 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Kimikho » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:14 pm

rehbands wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
rehbands wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:The inability to predict doesn't make it random. If this was the case then a law student who gets 4.0 1st semester would have an equal shot of getting a 3.0 second semester as would a student who got a 3.0 1st semester. However, this isn't the case. When I read exams that got a better grade than mine it was pretty evident a page in that it was a superior product. Maybe there's some randomness on what an A- vs. a B+ is, but over 8 exams this is likely to even itself out.


This.

There's some critical skills or set of skills that people who score A/H exams have - and I'm trying to explain what I think those skills might be. I think there's a critical difference b/t what's advocated on this thread (just do the work, read all EEs etc.) and what those actual skills are. You can certainly do all the work/follow all the guides and end up with all Ps/Bs - I'm not denying that.

But writing these skills off as "brilliance" or "some people are just smart" instead of developable skills is not very useful in my opinion and is not a good attitude to have. You can easily keep an open mind to both sides of an issue. You can easily try and articulate/justify court reasoning in your head outside of the canned arguments given in the book/class.

I agree that A exams usually have something better going for them than B exams. And I agree that people can learn to write better exams, because exam-taking is a skill. Critical thinking and looking at both sides is probably helpful (as Getting to Maybe has been suggesting for a long time).

But since it's all on a curve where you're graded against your classmates' performance, however much you develop your skills, your grades still depend on how all the rest of your class does. I had a classmate who got 95/100 on her (multiple choice) evidence exam. Her 95 worked out to be a B, because the exam was easy enough, and enough people got above a 95, that a 95 was a B. The difference between getting a 95 and a 96, or a 97, isn't about a measurable difference in critical thinking skills, IMO. It's a random function of whether you happened to study the material in the pertinent 2-3 questions to the same degree as the next person. Forget one hearsay exception and you have a B. Sure, there's a difference between the A exam and the B exam, but it's not a worthwhile distinction between students' abilities.


Sure, yes it is on a curve. So theoretically, you can do everything I've suggested and still end up with mediocre grades if everyone does the same. But even at SLS, I can tell you the many people don't do this. Many people think memorization/regurgitation/simply doing all the work will get them the grades they want.

I'm not sure how much this applies on a multiple choice exam, since I haven't had one yet. But I think if you've thought more critically about the material and seriously debated its merits while you're learning it and jotted down your thoughts in your notes (and not 1 week before the exam), I think you'll likely remember it more come exam time.

And yes, we've only had one set of grades. Perhaps I will get all Ps the next two quarters and I'll change my mind.


Do you just go around asking how people did last quarter?

rehbands
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:52 pm

Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby rehbands » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:16 pm

.
Last edited by rehbands on Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: LandMermaid, tomwatts and 4 guests