Why do people say 1L performance is unpredictable?

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

Postby runinthefront » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:53 pm

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

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

Postby ymmv » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:53 pm

nick417 wrote: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.


This is really stupid. Loads of people get A+'s in some classes and B's in others. Professors and courses can be unbelievably idiosyncratic, and even with the benefit of hindsight it's often impossible to tell why exactly you booked a class you didn't study for or bombed a class for which you drilled and PT'd your brains out.

And I'm well above median at a competitive school, so fuck your condescending "only the losers complain about this" self-congratulatory schtick.

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

Postby pancakes3 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:00 pm

Also to add, confirmation bias. The guy who put in 18 hr days and had a "system" but ended up submedian exists. He just doesn't write TLS guides.

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

Postby UnicornHunter » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:33 pm

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.


This strategy might work great with a traditional issue spotter, but at least half of my exams have been not-traditional issue spotter format. The profs only release like 2-3 years worth of exam questions, and there's not a supplement on the market that will accurately reflect what they want to hear (btw: I never realized there was a difference between hornbooks and supplements).

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

Postby UnicornHunter » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:37 pm

nick417 wrote:
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 issue. Law school exams are like writing a judicial opinion.The Judge usually starts out with the law rule; describes each sides arguments analysis; and picks one side and explains why that side wins conclusion. That has been my exam strategy and it hasn't failed yet.


Brilliant. You just described IRAC. I bet nobody else on the curve uses that.
Last edited by UnicornHunter on Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby BankruptMe » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:45 pm

Do not go to law school with the intent to transfer

I did and I am 95% sure I am stuck where I am.

The curve is a brutal brutal thing. You cannot predict law school grades, except maybe median (and that is if you followed all of the normal steps).

After speaking to a professor who is loathed, but in my opinion is one of the most intelligent people I have met, he said if you have all of the points necessary to pass an exam, yet you do not articulate it clearly and concisely, you will be in the 50%-75% of the class. He said if he has to hunt through your paper to give you points, you will get less than if you clearly state them.

So your not even just graded on if you know the info, but also on how you state your answers too. You cannot predict how others will do that.

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

Postby pancakes3 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:53 pm

TheUnicornHunter wrote:
nick417 wrote:
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 issue. Law school exams are like writing a judicial opinion.The Judge usually starts out with the law rule; describes each sides arguments analysis; and picks one side and explains why that side wins conclusion. That has been my exam strategy and it hasn't failed yet.


Brilliant. You just described IRAC. I bet nobody else on the curve uses that.


Fucking hilarious.

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

Postby ymmv » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:54 pm

You really can't make this shit up.

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:04 pm

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


Seriously, what's with the hostility towards people who question the TLS regulars' paradigm? There are law students/grads responding saying that grades aren't a roll of the dice. Where is this lecturing happening? I'm asking questions about how to improve my chances of success in law school. And there are people giving substantive, helpful replies (page 2 and onward). What's the big deal.

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

Postby utahraptor » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:06 pm

it's not a big deal

they're just trying to show you some mercy so you don't delude yourself the way that those giving "helpful advice" deluded themselves

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

Postby beepboopbeep » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:10 pm

nick417 wrote: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.


Alright, flip a coin six times. Write down the results. Then get 400 different coins and repeat x400. Some of those are going to be HHHHHH or HHHHHT. Were those coins just superior? Did you flip the coins in such a way that guaranteed they'd all land on heads?

And yea, echoing ymmv - this whole "the people who do well don't think it's random" schtick is idiotic. I finished 1L top 5% at CCN and I wouldn't recommend my study methods to anyone. It just worked out. If you want to dedicate a post describing what my great characteristics are that led to that result, please, go ahead. I'm not going to do it because I'm not so stuck up enough to believe there's anything superior about myself or how I studied. Law school is going to law school and grouping people into "median bros" and "straight-A bros"--and trying to discern the difference between the two categories--is pointless.

PeanutsNJam wrote: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.


Not really, because 1) tbh, in most classes there just wasn't much "better" to do, and 2) the classes I did worst in were those I studied for the most. But I studied the most because they were the subjects I didn't understand. So maybe you can say something like, "understanding a class helps to get a better grade." What an earth-shattering revelation.
Last edited by beepboopbeep on Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Icculus » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:12 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
TheUnicornHunter wrote:
nick417 wrote:
lawhopeful10 wrote: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 issue. Law school exams are like writing a judicial opinion.The Judge usually starts out with the law rule; describes each sides arguments analysis; and picks one side and explains why that side wins conclusion. That has been my exam strategy and it hasn't failed yet.


Brilliant. You just described IRAC. I bet nobody else on the curve uses that.


Fucking hilarious.


+1.

Just to add, my Civ Pro prof 1L told us the point differential between the top exam and the bottom exam was like 16 points. SIXTEEN! That means basically everyone knew almost everything.

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

Postby swampman » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:14 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:
runinthefront wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Please, 0L, lecture us law students and graduates on what law school is really like.


Seriously, what's with the hostility towards people who question the TLS regulars' paradigm? There are law students/grads responding saying that grades aren't a roll of the dice. Where is this lecturing happening? I'm asking questions about how to improve my chances of success in law school. And there are people giving substantive, helpful replies (page 2 and onward). What's the big deal.


If you want tips on how to do well, check out the really helpful guides here. You asked why 1L performance is unpredictable, and that's where the disagreement is coming from.

Somebody mentioned selection bias above. Meaning, I got straight As my first year, and I did xyz, so I'm going to tell everyone that doing xyz will get you straight As. The problem is, there are 5 other people worked exactly as hard and did exactly xyz and did not get straight As, but were not naturally good at reading professors or writing in precisely the right way.

So even though it sounds like people telling you "just do xyz and you'll get straight As" are being really helpful, they're not. Their tips, and the guides on here will give you a much better chance of top grades, but if you think that just by following their advice you will get top grades, you're going to have a bad time -- the odds are a lot better that you'll be one of those 5 people who don't get straight As. So definitely take people's advice on how to prepare, but don't pick a school based on an assumption that that advice will translate into top grades for you personally.

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:15 pm

utahraptor wrote:it's not a big deal

they're just trying to show you some mercy so you don't delude yourself the way that those giving "helpful advice" deluded themselves


I remember you said you did really well in T6 despite not trying hard. Is it luck, or innate talent? Gotta be one of the two right. What's your opinion. Do you think if you worked harder, you'd do even better?

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

Postby romothesavior » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:19 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:
runinthefront wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Please, 0L, lecture us law students and graduates on what law school is really like.


Seriously, what's with the hostility towards people who question the TLS regulars' paradigm? There are law students/grads responding saying that grades aren't a roll of the dice. Where is this lecturing happening? I'm asking questions about how to improve my chances of success in law school. And there are people giving substantive, helpful replies (page 2 and onward). What's the big deal.

I find it exceptionally arrogant for someone to lecture the people who have been through this process and lived and breathed it for years.

Not only that, but this conversation has been beaten to death ad nauseum. It's a very tired topic. Here's a post I made on this exact subject like two or three days ago:

Hard work and intelligence probably do correlate to law school success. But here's the problem: (1) that correlation is exceptionally weak, and (2) "being good at writing law school exams" correlates a lot more strongly to law school success than hard work and intelligence. Like DF said , the vast majority of your peers will put in the requisite work and possess the requisite intelligence to succeed.

So no, law school grades may not be truly "random," but they are so unpredictable that you can't go in assuming you will crush it based on pre-law school successes, nor can you point to people who don't crush it and assume they didn't work hard enough or weren't smart enough.


Same point here. No one is saying it's a true "roll of the dice," but metrics like hard work and intelligence alone will not get you to the top 10%. The correlation isn't very strong because the material isn't that hard, and most people do the work required to be successful.

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:25 pm

romothesavior wrote:I find it exceptionally arrogant for someone to lecture the people who have been through this process and lived and breathed it for years.


For my own benefit, tell me where I am lecturing people. I'm asking for a more detailed explanation behind the statement "well it's really just luck". It's obviously not a consensus among students/grads. Even if the people saying "it's all luck" are 100% correct, you can understand how it's counter intuitive, and would demand more explanation.

And literally every topic on TLS has been "beaten to death". If you really don't want to repeat yourself, I don't know, stick a thread/guide explaining how it's all luck. Because I read the posted guides, and they're telling me the opposite.

An ignorant kid isn't being arrogant when he questions his science teacher saying "well the sky's not actually blue".

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

Postby kaiser » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:28 pm

Working harder doesn't necessarily help in law school. Its the student who works smart and not necessarily the student who works hard that will do well. The problem is that its hard to know at first whether you are indeed working smart (though its pretty easy to gauge whether or not you are working hard). For some, it becomes like running a horse race with a blindfold in. You may be running super fast, only to find that you have been running in the wrong direction. And that is why it can seem unpredictable. Its easy to see someone working hard, but its much harder to perceive whether someone is working smart, and its the latter that will do well in a more predictable manner.

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

Postby ymmv » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:29 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:
romothesavior wrote:I find it exceptionally arrogant for someone to lecture the people who have been through this process and lived and breathed it for years.


For my own benefit, tell me where I am lecturing people. I'm asking for a more detailed explanation behind the statement "well it's really just luck". It's obviously not a consensus among students/grads. Even if the people saying "it's all luck" are 100% correct, you can understand how it's counter intuitive, and would demand more explanation.

And literally every topic on TLS has been "beaten to death". If you really don't want to repeat yourself, I don't know, stick a thread/guide explaining how it's all luck. Because I read the posted guides, and they're telling me the opposite.

An ignorant kid isn't being arrogant when he questions his science teacher saying "well the sky's not actually blue".


You are done here.

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

Postby notgreat » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:30 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:
romothesavior wrote:I find it exceptionally arrogant for someone to lecture the people who have been through this process and lived and breathed it for years.


For my own benefit, tell me where I am lecturing people. I'm asking for a more detailed explanation behind the statement "well it's really just luck". It's obviously not a consensus among students/grads. Even if the people saying "it's all luck" are 100% correct, you can understand how it's counter intuitive, and would demand more explanation.

And literally every topic on TLS has been "beaten to death". If you really don't want to repeat yourself, I don't know, stick a thread/guide explaining how it's all luck. Because I read the posted guides, and they're telling me the opposite.

An ignorant kid isn't being arrogant when he questions his science teacher saying "well the sky's not actually blue".


Bro, you seem really dumb. Good luck.

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:32 pm

ymmv wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:
romothesavior wrote:I find it exceptionally arrogant for someone to lecture the people who have been through this process and lived and breathed it for years.


For my own benefit, tell me where I am lecturing people. I'm asking for a more detailed explanation behind the statement "well it's really just luck". It's obviously not a consensus among students/grads. Even if the people saying "it's all luck" are 100% correct, you can understand how it's counter intuitive, and would demand more explanation.

And literally every topic on TLS has been "beaten to death". If you really don't want to repeat yourself, I don't know, stick a thread/guide explaining how it's all luck. Because I read the posted guides, and they're telling me the opposite.

An ignorant kid isn't being arrogant when he questions his science teacher saying "well the sky's not actually blue".


You are done here.


...you do know the sky's not actually blue, right? It's molecules in the air scattering more blue light from the sun. The sky's actually clear. You're just seeing the blue spectrum of the sunlight. It's a true statement that's counter intuitive. I don't see what's so offensive.
Last edited by PeanutsNJam on Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Desert Fox » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:33 pm

Some of it is random.

But it's also unpredictable in that you don't know if you just good at exams.

Working hard improves your grades but someone better will still just crush you.

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

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:38 pm

JohannDeMann wrote: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.


This thread is pretty good as is but are we just blowing past Johann admitting to cheating on a law school exam?

Or maybe I'm just misreading that part

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

Postby Emma. » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:38 pm

While all the success in 1L posts give you a lot of detail about the routine of someone who happened to be successful, that gives you very little info about whether you'll be successful using the same or similar routine. You can't know, for instance, whether that person would have crushed 1L working half as hard as they actually did, so you don't even know if the routine was a necessary part of that one person's success. You surely can't know if it is going to be sufficient for you to do well.

Call it luck, call it aptitude (or lack thereof) for a particular subject or exam style, whatever. Preparation & working hard can help for sure, but there are many other factors at play in your grade, and in any given class those other factors may be much more important than how much work you put in.

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

Postby runinthefront » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:40 pm

BigZuck wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:*recounts 1L year*


This thread is pretty good as is but are we just blowing past Johann admitting to cheating on a law school exam?

Or maybe I'm just misreading that part


omg
Last edited by runinthefront on Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:40 pm

Because it is




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