Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

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

Postby TFALAWL » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:08 am

Once you've gone through your first rodeo it becomes very easy to predict how you'll do -- the problem is that you'll have no idea until you get there, by which point it's too late to go back.

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

Postby ticklemesilly » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:25 am

fats provolone wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Outside of T6, (and even in CCN), are the students really shoulder-to-shoulder? Both in intelligence and work ethic?

why does that matter



Why differentiate the T6 in this respect? Are the students in the T6 more varied or something?

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

Postby beepboopbeep » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:35 am

Clearly wrote:
fats provolone wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Outside of T6, (and even in CCN), are the students really shoulder-to-shoulder? Both in intelligence and work ethic?

why does that matter

and yes.


As someone who is lazy as fuck I don't really agree, lots of people don't work hard

But do agree with literally every other law student / alum in here saying grading is random as fuck

All of us have experiences of working hard in some class and doing worse than expected, or doing no work and doing better than expected. We're drawing from experience. Like, it sounds right as a 0L that there could be some magic right way to do things, but there just isn't.

OP I feel like you are looking for justifications to work hard, or assurances that a personality trait that you have (neuroticism + working hard) is going to mean you have a higher-than-average chance of doing well in LS

But

That's stupid. Law school's its own thing. Person in my study group worked her ass off and landed dead median end of 1L. I played video games in class and booked it. Coming into the year I think a lot of people would've pegged Person as one of the smartest people in class. And I think they would've been right. Law school is just its own weird / shitty thing, and you'll get it when you're here.

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:13 am

It's not that I think there's any trait that I have (trust me I'm a lazy fuck) that would allow me to excel in law school.

I want to know what trait I should adopt, or start developing now, to help me do well in law school.

But it doesn't sound like anybody has anything substantial to say on the matter besides "welp there's a 50% chance you're gonna be above median lol".

Since you're a lazy fuck, do you think you would have done better in a class if you worked harder? Or would it have not even mattered.

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

Postby forty-two » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:35 am

People say it's hard to predict 1L performance because no one knows how good they are at law school and taking law school exams until they get there. They are unlike any exams I had in undergrad, and they are curved, so not everyone can do well even if they all know the material. I am naturally good at taking law school exams, but I didn't learn this until after I got my first semester grades back. I don't think I actually did all of the reading for any of my classes in law school (that's not to say I didn't study, I just didn't do everything the TLS guides said I should), and I got better grades than a number of people who are smarter than me and studied more than I did. They just happen to be bad at taking law school exams.

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:44 am

Is law-school-exam-taking a learnable skill, and if so, how do I go about learning it?

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pancakes3
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby pancakes3 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:47 am

I think the worst part about this thread is the stress you're imposing on yourself as a 0L - in JANUARY! Just take up pascal's wager - assume that busting your butt is TCR, and stop worrying about it. The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to realize that there's nothing you can do until you get there.

Edit: No, law-school-exam-taking is not a learnable skill because it requires the application of law to fact and you don't know any law yet.

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Hopefully2012
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Hopefully2012 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:56 am

Another reason why 1L performance is unpredictable:

Echoing one of the previous posters, the guides you read on TLS are mostly posted by neurotic perfectionists with extreme self-discipline. There's a contingency of people with very good grades at my T14 who don't read casebooks (and have only vaguely heard of hornbooks) because they can't retain anything by reading 60-100 cases throughout the semester, but instead focus on supplements, old outlines, and practice tests much earlier than other people (while screwing around during the first two months of the semester).

When you get a couple of these people in your class, they sometimes grab the top of the curve even if you've followed the traditional approach to law school that's extensively covered on TLS. This may contribute to the unpredictability of grades.

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:14 am

Hopefully2012 wrote:Another reason why 1L performance is unpredictable:

Echoing one of the previous posters, the guides you read on TLS are mostly posted by neurotic perfectionists with extreme self-discipline. There's a contingency of people with very good grades at my T14 who don't read casebooks (and have only vaguely heard of hornbooks) because they can't retain anything by reading 60-100 cases throughout the semester, but instead focus on supplements, old outlines, and practice tests much earlier than other people (while screwing around during the first two months of the semester).

When you get a couple of these people in your class, they sometimes grab the top of the curve even if you've followed the traditional approach to law school that's extensively covered on TLS. This may contribute to the unpredictability of grades.


For those of you who haven't read the guides, they're telling you to do exactly the bolded

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Hopefully2012
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Hopefully2012 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:47 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:
Hopefully2012 wrote:Another reason why 1L performance is unpredictable:

Echoing one of the previous posters, the guides you read on TLS are mostly posted by neurotic perfectionists with extreme self-discipline. There's a contingency of people with very good grades at my T14 who don't read casebooks (and have only vaguely heard of hornbooks) because they can't retain anything by reading 60-100 cases throughout the semester, but instead focus on supplements, old outlines, and practice tests much earlier than other people (while screwing around during the first two months of the semester).

When you get a couple of these people in your class, they sometimes grab the top of the curve even if you've followed the traditional approach to law school that's extensively covered on TLS. This may contribute to the unpredictability of grades.


For those of you who haven't read the guides, they're telling you to do exactly the bolded

:oops: I see. You caught me. I've only skimmed through parts of the TLS advice threads and thought that they said to read/brief/write your own outlines/calendar every day/other tasks that require tons of self-discipline.

The point is that there are two centers of gravity when it comes to studying and doing well in LS (plenty of people absolutely need to follow the traditional approach of reading cases extensively to do well) and it takes some experience in law school to figure out what, if any, work for you--hence unpredictability.

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

Postby Clemenceau » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:12 am

Twenty bucks says OP is going into 1L with the idea of transferring

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

Postby lacrossebrother » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:15 am

I got median grades after first semester when I didn't work hard at all. All my friends who worked harder than me finished top 10%. I thought at the time, prior to grades coming out, that they were dumb for working hard since you can't predict 1l, but TLS is wrong and fucked me over.

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

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:28 am

lacrossebrother wrote:TLS is wrong and fucked me over.


Whatever DaRascal

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:38 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:Is law-school-exam-taking a learnable skill, and if so, how do I go about learning it?

It is learnable, but it's hard to learn/practice until you have some knowledge of the actual law, since most of it is applying law to the professor's chosen facts. (And you also have to know what your given professor wants, which may vary by class.) So it's hard to learn it before you're in school already.

Not reading cases and using supplements is one way to go, but you can also do well the old-fashioned way - read the assignments, go to class, take notes, study your notes. I almost never used supplements and I did worst in courses where I didn't read/go to class.

(As for lax, I don't think any of the guides here say don't work hard. Just think about where to put your efforts.)

kcdc1
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby kcdc1 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:52 am

My 2 cents:

Law school grades are mostly dependent on how effectively you can game law school exams. Everyone who works at it (95% of your class) is going to learn the law. Come exam time, everyone will be able to explain every major black-letter rule that you learned in class, and they will be able to apply those rules to the fact patterns.

But not everyone will manipulate law exams at the same level. The top exams will spot the same issues that the median exams will, but they will drag those issues through more twists and turns. They will concisely and quickly grind through every minor rule that you covered over the semester complete with case citations, and they will shoehorn the fact pattern into every possible iteration of analysis that the professor mentioned in class. And they will hit 7,000+ words (easily over 20 pages) in a 3 hour exam.

The trick is recognizing that good law exam-taking is not the same as good analysis or good writing. You bring up bad arguments just to dismiss them. You shove square pegs into round holes just to show that you knew the round hole was out there and that this square peg doesn't fit. Then you mention that maybe it does fit if 'x'. And you type fast. You need to know how you'll grind through every minor logical fork before you even read the fact pattern. The facts don't really matter. The professor chose them because they can be analyzed with the rules she gave you, and you'll make them fit that framework.

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lawhopeful10
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby lawhopeful10 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:07 pm

kcdc1 wrote:My 2 cents:

Law school grades are mostly dependent on how effectively you can game law school exams. Everyone who works at it (95% of your class) is going to learn the law. Come exam time, everyone will be able to explain every major black-letter rule that you learned in class, and they will be able to apply those rules to the fact patterns.

But not everyone will manipulate law exams at the same level. The top exams will spot the same issues that the median exams will, but they will drag those issues through more twists and turns. They will concisely and quickly grind through every minor rule that you covered over the semester complete with case citations, and they will shoehorn the fact pattern into every possible iteration of analysis that the professor mentioned in class. And they will hit 7,000+ words (easily over 20 pages) in a 3 hour exam.

The trick is recognizing that good law exam-taking is not the same as good analysis or good writing. You bring up bad arguments just to dismiss them. You shove square pegs into round holes just to show that you knew the round hole was out there and that this square peg doesn't fit. Then you mention that maybe it does fit if 'x'. And you type fast. You need to know how you'll grind through every minor logical fork before you even read the fact pattern. The facts don't really matter. The professor chose them because they can be analyzed with the rules she gave you, and you'll make them fit that framework.

This. Practicing exams is by far the most important thing. Knowing all the issues and basically how you are going to dissect them beforehand will save you time. 1L year I put in a lot of hours and did supplements and practiced all the time and finished near the top of my class. 2L fall I didn't open up some of my textbooks until a month before the exam and still had really good grades. The takeaway is that mastering how to game exams is the most important skill in law school.

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

Postby First Offense » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:15 pm

kcdc1 wrote:But not everyone will manipulate law exams at the same level. The top exams will spot the same issues that the median exams will, but they will drag those issues through more twists and turns. They will concisely and quickly grind through every minor rule that you covered over the semester complete with case citations, and they will shoehorn the fact pattern into every possible iteration of analysis that the professor mentioned in class. And they will hit 7,000+ words (easily over 20 pages) in a 3 hour exam.

The trick is recognizing that good law exam-taking is not the same as good analysis or good writing. You bring up bad arguments just to dismiss them. You shove square pegs into round holes just to show that you knew the round hole was out there and that this square peg doesn't fit. Then you mention that maybe it does fit if 'x'. And you type fast. You need to know how you'll grind through every minor logical fork before you even read the fact pattern. The facts don't really matter. The professor chose them because they can be analyzed with the rules she gave you, and you'll make them fit that framework.

From what I've seen, this is kind of right. You throw everything and the kitchen sink at stuff. Most profs don't mark off, but rather just mark the points you get right, so just shove everything you can at it.

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:16 pm

In my 1L year, I booked 3 classes out of 8, got B's in 2 classes, and a C in another class. I prepared equally for all the exams. So in almost half my classes, I was the top grade, in the other half I was middle of the pack or even bottom quarter. That's an insane discrepancy. And in one of the classes I got a B, it was a take home and I wrote the exam with the guy who booked the class and I changed 3 sentences of my exam after that in a 2000 word exam. 75 /2000 words was the difference between the best grade in the class and middle of the pack. Some professors are very policy oriented, others aren't. Some really like conciseness, other's want you to hit every possible issue. Some care about your analysis more than your issue spotting, others reverse. Some care about grammar, others less. Some make esy exams and identify the issues for you, others make extremely tough exams which dictates how tight the curve is. Some are cool without citing to cases while others think case citations are imperative. Basically, every prof has their own style, and it's tough to know the style until you walk in and go over the exam with them after taking it. ALso, profs spend less than 10 mins grading each exam.

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

Postby utahraptor » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:21 pm

the real real talk is that grades don't matter as much as you think they do, so neurotic gunning is pointless

you want to get a better job out of law school/actually improve something? practice interviewing/get an interview coach

kcdc1
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby kcdc1 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:26 pm

I would add that 'practicing' helps, but you also want to have a specific exam strategy. I would not recommend going directly from knowing the law well to practice exams. At the very least, I would have a flowchart (written or mental) for how to bring up every rule we hit in class. If you don't have a specific plan for how to hit the tangential rules, you'll leave points on the table.

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

Postby DCNTUA » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:27 pm

utahraptor wrote:the real real talk is that grades don't matter as much as you think they do, so neurotic gunning is pointless

you want to get a better job out of law school/actually improve something? practice interviewing/get an interview coach


This is mostly true if at a T10, assuming at or above median.

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Zero99
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby Zero99 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:39 pm

Improving your typing speed is one thing you can do now that will help with exams.

nick417
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Re: Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

Postby nick417 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:40 pm

People who end up around the median, always complain law school grades are random and they knew the material just as well as people who go an "A." This is not the case.

If grades were random, it would be impossible to get straight A's or a 4.0. The chances of randomly getting A's in every class would be so remote. Yet, some students semester in and semester out get A's. This can't be because of luck OR random, but something else.

Also, law school grades are graded on a curve. Thus, "knowing the material" is irrelevant. The real question is whether you know the material better than your classmates. In addition, being able to logically apply the material to the fact pattern, spot the issues, and make coherent arguments on both sides are how "A" answers are built.

1 L performance is simply not unpredictable.

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

Postby nick417 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:46 pm

lawhopeful10 wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:My 2 cents:

Law school grades are mostly dependent on how effectively you can game law school exams. Everyone who works at it (95% of your class) is going to learn the law. Come exam time, everyone will be able to explain every major black-letter rule that you learned in class, and they will be able to apply those rules to the fact patterns.

But not everyone will manipulate law exams at the same level. The top exams will spot the same issues that the median exams will, but they will drag those issues through more twists and turns. They will concisely and quickly grind through every minor rule that you covered over the semester complete with case citations, and they will shoehorn the fact pattern into every possible iteration of analysis that the professor mentioned in class. And they will hit 7,000+ words (easily over 20 pages) in a 3 hour exam.

The trick is recognizing that good law exam-taking is not the same as good analysis or good writing. You bring up bad arguments just to dismiss them. You shove square pegs into round holes just to show that you knew the round hole was out there and that this square peg doesn't fit. Then you mention that maybe it does fit if 'x'. And you type fast. You need to know how you'll grind through every minor logical fork before you even read the fact pattern. The facts don't really matter. The professor chose them because they can be analyzed with the rules she gave you, and you'll make them fit that framework.

This. Practicing exams is by far the most important thing. Knowing all the issues and basically how you are going to dissect them beforehand will save you time. 1L year I put in a lot of hours and did supplements and practiced all the time and finished near the top of my class. 2L fall I didn't open up some of my textbooks until a month before the exam and still had really good grades. The takeaway is that mastering how to game exams is the most important skill in law school.



I agree, and I would add, 1 L year I met with my professors and went over their prior exams with them. Each one of them explained exactly what they were looking for and some even told me the difference between an "A" and a "B" answer.

The Professor's like to see thought process and argument on both sides of an issue. Law school exams are like writing a judicial opinion. The Judge usually starts out with the law; describes each sides arguments; and picks one side and explains why that side wins. That has been my exam strategy and it hasn't failed yet.

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

Postby romothesavior » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:51 pm

Please, 0L, lecture us law students and graduates on what law school is really like.




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