Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

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lillawyer2

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Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby lillawyer2 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:09 pm

I am attending LS this Sept. Even though it is several months away, I am getting anxious. Everyone tells me 1L is HARD. So is it the 500+ (pages) reading? Is it the assignments (do you guys even receive assignments?)? Is it the concepts/new way of thinking? I am trying to wrap my head around it. School has always been my arena. I always thought LS was like my college arena just small, tougher competition and higher stakes, but people make it seem way worse. A la law school is like trying to walk through quick sand.

How many hours a day do you study per class? I understand it varies from person to person, but I am just curious.

Also people make friends in LS right? Maybe I am taking the noise to literally. I've heard some terrible stuff about students deleting each other's notes (Columbia+same-similar stuff happens everywhere). No one can be trusted. Everyone is out to get you. Stepford wives and fake smiles. I was looking forward to a new journey and making lifetime friends. I mean who wouldn't bond with people who made it out of the quick sand? We all took this journey together. However, I have heard arguments-> "making friends at LS is as recommend as making friends at work."

I am super excited, but now also very nervous.

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brinicolec

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby brinicolec » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:35 pm

I'm an 0L so I can't answer your questions but I'm pretty sure some of that stuff from the "Stepford Wives" paragraph is paranoia, such as, "No one can be trusted." I think the competitiveness (or at least passive-aggressive/just plain aggressive sabotage) is definitely gonna depend on the school as well. Either way, figured I'd ease your mind by saying I'm nervous too but, after talking to an NU student during my interview, I was reminded that basically all 1Ls are nervous and even those who seem like they have it together probably aren't going to have it together. On a brighter side, we're potentially better off than some people who never found this forum or anything similar to it.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby tomwatts » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:55 pm

The volume of reading is generally not the issue. I think I typically had 40-50 pages per night. The density is more of a problem; a page of law school reading will probably take you 3-4 times as long as a page of any other kind of school reading. Part of it is that much of it is written in an old-timey way, but part of it is that it's just seriously dense logical reasoning, intended for people who know more than you do (so the concepts/vocabulary may be totally unfamiliar).

But I think the bigger issue is that law school is weird. You've probably had midterms, papers, problem sets, or some sort of intermediate feedback about how you were doing in a course; you don't get that in law school. For most classes in most law schools, 100% of your grade is based on the final exam. You've probably had pretty clear subject matter in a course (i.e., you knew what it was that you were supposed to be learning from moment to moment and from week to week). You may not have a sense of that in law school until a month or two in. (I certainly didn't.) There's a lot of learning by immersion. No steps back and tells you the big picture; you're just supposed to pick stuff up from here and there and everywhere until you have a sense of what's going on. It's just such an odd experience that it's stressful making the adjustment. (Law school is — literally — taught by the very best pedagogical standards of the 1870's!)

And yes, people make friends in law school. I never saw people being really cutthroat, although I've heard stories. But that varies by person and by school. In most places, I would expect people to be pretty easygoing and friendly (or at least I would expect it to be possible to find people who are, even if not everyone is).

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby TLSModBot » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:16 am

1L isn't intellectually hard; it's stressful

Learning cases and holdings are piss easy tasks; being able to do so better than the rest of your class and knowing that these grades can decide your career are the hard parts.

Also 99% of it is just utterly useless but you won't really appreciate that until much later.

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mjb447

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby mjb447 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:49 am

lillawyer2 wrote:I am attending LS this Sept. Even though it is several months away, I am getting anxious. Everyone tells me 1L is HARD. So is it the 500+ (pages) reading? Is it the assignments (do you guys even receive assignments?)? Is it the concepts/new way of thinking? I am trying to wrap my head around it. School has always been my arena. I always thought LS was like my college arena just small, tougher competition and higher stakes, but people make it seem way worse. A la law school is like trying to walk through quick sand.

How many hours a day do you study per class? I understand it varies from person to person, but I am just curious.

Also people make friends in LS right? Maybe I am taking the noise to literally. I've heard some terrible stuff about students deleting each other's notes (Columbia+same-similar stuff happens everywhere). No one can be trusted. Everyone is out to get you. Stepford wives and fake smiles. I was looking forward to a new journey and making lifetime friends. I mean who wouldn't bond with people who made it out of the quick sand? We all took this journey together. However, I have heard arguments-> "making friends at LS is as recommend as making friends at work."

I am super excited, but now also very nervous.

1L is hard, and yes, it's mostly due to the 'new way of thinking' - even if you're already a pretty good critical thinker, it's really difficult to keep that mindset active for all your classes and reading basically all the time (and the profs, who've had years to think about their subjects, will help test the limits of your thinking). The forced curve is also brutal: remember, for most people going to any halfway decent law school, school was their "arena" too, but this time around there are only a handful of As available in every single class.

With respect to making friends, I think the cutthroat aspect of law school is overhyped. There are varying strains of gunner at any law school (some of whom might actively attempt to thwart you but most of whom probably won't), but most people manage to find a group of fairly like minded well-adjusted people to hang around with. I still keep in touch with lots of my law school friends, and I think that's very normal.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby mudiverse » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:07 am

tomwatts wrote:
But I think the bigger issue is that law school is weird. You've probably had midterms, papers, problem sets, or some sort of intermediate feedback about how you were doing in a course; you don't get that in law school. For most classes in most law schools, 100% of your grade is based on the final exam. You've probably had pretty clear subject matter in a course (i.e., you knew what it was that you were supposed to be learning from moment to moment and from week to week). You may not have a sense of that in law school until a month or two in. (I certainly didn't.) There's a lot of learning by immersion. No steps back and tells you the big picture; you're just supposed to pick stuff up from here and there and everywhere until you have a sense of what's going on. It's just such an odd experience that it's stressful making the adjustment. (Law school is — literally — taught by the very best pedagogical standards of the 1870's!)


No likey. I am a 0L who has been out of school for a while. I will probably need some guidance to get back into the groove. I get that the learning curve is like being thrown into the deep end of the pool, but isn't there something I can do to make sure that I am 'getting it' from day 1? Just something to reassure me I'm on the right track and not just routinely reading whatever is assigned.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby twenty » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:58 am

(Ended up top 5-10% first year, and I think I'm sitting around top 5~ people in my class right now.)

First day of class is contracts. Everyone's in their seats five minutes before class starts, books open. Someone behind me is loudly telling the person next to them that "they don't take notes on a computer because [some study showed that] you retain information better through handwriting." A bunch of people hear this and put their laptops away, because they're not going to be the shmuck who bottoms out the curve because they weren't in on the fix.

Professor shows up, barely introduces himself, and launches into talking about consideration. There's an assumption that everyone in the class has already read the case backwards and forwards - and he's right, everyone has. There are a couple people who seem to always have their hand up - and those people tend to always have the right answer to whatever the professor's talking about. Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck. I bet the other section is way easier. Why did I get stuck in the section with all the gunners? I bet my school section stacks. I bet it's because my school SOMEHOW KNEW and put all the gunners in one section to help out minorities or whatever. Fuuuuuck. Oh man. This girl already knows how consideration works. She's saying she worked at a law firm before coming to law school. And this other guy - both his parents are lawyers; it's like having a personal tutor on call 24/7. And this girl is whispering something about CALI lessons that she found out about from a site called "Top Law Schools". Wait a second, that's that forum I go on! And other people are referring to it as "TLS." Turns out, everyone googled "how to do well in law school" before enrolling in law school. Who knew!

But that's not all - not only was I not at any sort of special advantage, I was actually "disadvantaged" for several reasons: My commute to and from school was about an hour, I was also working at a pretty stressful non-legal job, and I had a serious girlfriend. I never did the readings because I just didn't have the time or energy. In one class, to avoid being cold called, I started being fairly racist. This probably outs me, but I referred to affirmative action as "white asses for the dean's list, black asses for the brochures." Never got called on again after that. I regularly skipped class - probably 5-6 times per class, except for LRW (which I attended religiously). In Civ Pro, I was the only guy in a class of 60+ people using a laptop to take notes, because the professor had told the class that "using a laptop might adversely affect your ability to participate, and therefore your grade." I didn't outline at all. I didn't write in my books at all. I didn't go to the library more than to find a quiet place to (secretly) eat food.

As the first semester went on, people started showing up to class wearing the same clothes they'd worn the day before. One girl broke down in the elevator with me and just started sobbing uncontrollably. I think she'd missed a deadline or something for LRW. A girl in another section had a nervous breakdown and left the school. On one rare occasion, I was in the library with my laptop and a secondary source I was using for the memo. I went to the bathroom and came back five minutes later - my laptop was still there, but someone had taken off with the book. ( :lol: ) I didn't do any of the right things you're apparently supposed to do in law school. I was a shitty law student, and I should have gotten shitty grades (except in LRW. I busted my ass in that class. Also was the worst grade I've gotten in the three years I've been here).

During one exam, there was someone that was making these dying/(sex having?) groaning sounds: "uhhhnhnnnnn. hnnnnnn." until the proctor told him to stfu and/or quit masturbating.

Law school is a personal hell which punishes the anxious, the aspergery, and the people who just absolutely must get biglaw to be happy with their lives. It rewards those who stare down its boomer professors and say "I didn't get a chance to do the readings for class" every time they get cold called.

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twenty

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby twenty » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:06 am

mudiverse wrote:but isn't there something I can do to make sure that I am 'getting it' from day 1?


It depends; if by "getting it" you mean "sound impressive in class from day one" or "have good grades four months later." In undergrad, those two things usually occur simultaneously. In law school, they do not.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby Easterbork » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:46 am

I think it depends on your personality. If you're relaxed, you'll be fine. If you are a very high strung person you might have an issue, because law school adds new stresses that aren't totally comparable to past school.

I'm convinced that working your ass off doesn't help. If you do the reading and then study hard starting some time in November, you'll be fine. The issue is that a lot of people think that they are ruining their future if they aren't working in any given moment like somebody else is. Grades just don't seem to work like that from my experience.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby S.Picquery » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:02 am

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby 87mm » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:37 am

lillawyer2 wrote:I am attending LS this Sept. Even though it is several months away, I am getting anxious. Everyone tells me 1L is HARD. So is it the 500+ (pages) reading? Is it the assignments (do you guys even receive assignments?)? Is it the concepts/new way of thinking? I am trying to wrap my head around it. School has always been my arena. I always thought LS was like my college arena just small, tougher competition and higher stakes, but people make it seem way worse. A la law school is like trying to walk through quick sand.

How many hours a day do you study per class? I understand it varies from person to person, but I am just curious.

Also people make friends in LS right? Maybe I am taking the noise to literally. I've heard some terrible stuff about students deleting each other's notes (Columbia+same-similar stuff happens everywhere). No one can be trusted. Everyone is out to get you. Stepford wives and fake smiles. I was looking forward to a new journey and making lifetime friends. I mean who wouldn't bond with people who made it out of the quick sand? We all took this journey together. However, I have heard arguments-> "making friends at LS is as recommend as making friends at work."

I am super excited, but now also very nervous.


Reading:
Typically 15-25 pages per class meeting. I would say I have about 120ish pages a week only? I typically do most of it on the weekend, and some in between classes during lunch. Depending on your ability to read and take notes, it could take an hour per reading to 3 hours.

The reading takes time... but its not too bad. If you get a good outline, you could potentially skip the casebook. It depends on what your professors are like.

Assignments:
The legal writing course will be the bulk of your assignments. It is the most important class you'll take. It is also the most annoying class because of the workload (with respect to the credits you get). Research for some of the assignments takes 15-40 hours to do depending on the assignment. Writing it takes me a few hours a day for a week or so. Then you have the class time itself which eats into your free time.

Other classes may have midterms or practice exams given during the semester. Typically they are ungraded. They arent the issue.

Finals/Studying/Outlining
Not bad during the first half the of the semester. But at the end of the semester you're basically going to be balancing the reading you do every day, learning how everything fits together, and outlining/reviewing what you did previously. This takes tremendous time. I spent all of thanksgiving break outlining 3 classes. But for me it helps doing it at the end of the semester. I didnt do well outlining early.

Finals suck. 3 hours to smear as much shit as possible to get points. Hopefully you have enough mastery of shitting to beat your classmates. Enjoy the forced curve. Most people arent used to being graded on a hard curve (engineers are the few who are).


Overall difficulty:
It isnt conceptually hard at all. The workload isnt insane... it just kinda sucks. I have never felt overwhelmed in any way. What makes it hard is the forced curve, the inability to gauge your progress and knowledge w.r.t the rest of the class, and the somewhat subjective grading that makes finals partially a crapshoot. Add in the stress of GPA being the most important factor in getting a job during OCI (for most)... then you have a very difficult situation.

You will likely have some time early in the first semester to go to bar review etc, however, you will quickly find out that you have to sacrifice free time for school. It isnt that bad, but if you're not used to the level of stress, competition, and work then itll be tough.

It is unlikely you will meet anyone who will try to screw you over. Depending on personality they may help you. If anything they may get a tidbit of info that may help them and they wont share it. Nobody will outright screw you over. If they do, they will be hated universally. You'll make friends. People in misery tend to bond together quickly.

2nd semester is better and worse. Everyone else is burned out like you will likely be. There is less "unknown" about things. You can get your routine more refined and efficient. You will also have more on your plate. Job hunting picks up around Feb.


At the end of the day, it all depends on you. If you stress yourself out and enjoy stress to motivate then great. If you can shrug everything off and be relaxed and that works for you then great. You will have a lot of work, a lot of uncertainty, and have a lot less free time than you expected. That being said, it is enjoyable and the classes are interesting. I am happy with my decision."


EDIT: If you dont give a shit about biglaw. Have fun. Enjoy life. (Unless you want to work for USAO or something hard to get.. then you're basically biglaw tier for pain and suffering)

Also, dont be the guy who has to make his opinion known in class... every.... fucking.... day.... Nobody cares. You will be a douche. I promise.

My advice: Go to class, read, do the work systematically. Figure out what the prof wants and learn your professor. Take the final and do well. Let 2L and 3L be the time to "learn about the beautiful aspects of the law and all that policy stuff"

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:34 am

twenty wrote:
mudiverse wrote:but isn't there something I can do to make sure that I am 'getting it' from day 1?


It depends; if by "getting it" you mean "sound impressive in class from day one" or "have good grades four months later." In undergrad, those two things usually occur simultaneously. In law school, they do not.


As a counter to this, it is entirely possible to enjoy learning the material, speak up in class, and still do very well on the exams. I think people take the narrative about the shy, quiet students ending up doing well too far and use it to imply that anyone who dares to actually enjoy this or (horror of horrors) engage in a good dialogue with a professor on a case is going to crash and burn on the exam.

It's totally fine to be uncomfortable speaking up in class (although I wouldn't recommend ever being a trial attorney if that scares you), but if you're the type of person who enjoys talking about this stuff, you shouldn't be afraid of some antisocial pricks labeling you a "gunner" for doing so. I regularly speak up in class, and I haven't suffered any adverse consequences. My school doesn't publish rank, but based on prior years, I'm sitting around the top 5%-ish.

I think the common takeaway from this should be that law school will change the way you think, but if you're already secure in who you are as a person, you can't let it change that. There's no magic formula for doing well, but everyone's going to sell you on their miracle cure (and I mean sell you). Just be yourself, and don't slack off.

lillawyer2

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby lillawyer2 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:19 am

Thanks.

I have calmed down quite a bit. :D

The scales have been tipped and I am more excited than nervous.

All I can do is my best.

September cannot come soon enough.

Oh I am confused about one thing-the curve, how does it work?

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby UVA2B » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:42 am

lillawyer2 wrote:Thanks.

I have calmed down quite a bit. :D

The scales have been tipped and I am more excited than nervous.

All I can do is my best.

September cannot come soon enough.

Oh I am confused about one thing-the curve, how does it work?


A forced curve means your class has to median out to a set grade (lots of places it's a B+, but school dependent). What that means in practice varies by professor and how they want to implement it. For some, they'll give few grades above/below that grade with a glut of students getting that median grade. Others may reward a bunch of students with high grades, others with a lower grade, and few in the median. It all depends on the prof. This will happen in every class independently.

It's not conceptually hard to understand, but when combined with the not incredibly difficult material and people of generally similar abilities, it becomes very hard to stand out. That's why, generally speaking, most students should go in assuming they'll get the median grade, because it's the most likely outcome for most students.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby zot1 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:47 am

1L was a lot of fun.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby White Dwarf » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:16 am

cavalier1138 wrote:As a counter to this, it is entirely possible to enjoy learning the material, speak up in class, and still do very well on the exams. I think people take the narrative about the shy, quiet students ending up doing well too far and use it to imply that anyone who dares to actually enjoy this or (horror of horrors) engage in a good dialogue with a professor on a case is going to crash and burn on the exam.


I think this is exactly right. The students in my section who ended up on Law Review were almost all regular participators.

Still OP, don't feel like being uncomfortable participating/being terrible at cold calls means you are way behind your classmates. I didn't raise my hand a single time Fall of 1L (and bombed multiple cold calls) and still ended up above median.

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mjb447

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby mjb447 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:24 am

Agreed - to me, there doesn't seem to be a strong correlation either way between how much/well someone participates in class and their grades.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:42 am

Yeah, if you only prioritize looking good on call and don't think about how that's all going to play out on the exam, then maybe class participation is detrimental. For me and most people I know who participated voluntarily, participating in class becomes another way of processing the material. There will be some people who talk all the time who do terribly on exams, there will be some who talk all the time who do great on exams, there will be some people who never say anything who will do terribly on exams, and there will be some who never talk who do great on exams. There are too many other factors at play to draw simple conclusions about participation.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby whats an updog » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:58 am

twenty wrote:(Ended up top 5-10% first year, and I think I'm sitting around top 5~ people in my class right now.)
It rewards those who stare down its boomer professors and say "I didn't get a chance to do the readings for class" every time they get cold called.


Best advice. If class is w/in first two months of semester, "I haven't got the book yet" works too

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby lillawyer2 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:03 pm

UVA2B wrote:
lillawyer2 wrote:Thanks.

I have calmed down quite a bit. :D

The scales have been tipped and I am more excited than nervous.

All I can do is my best.

September cannot come soon enough.

Oh I am confused about one thing-the curve, how does it work?


A forced curve means your class has to median out to a set grade (lots of places it's a B+, but school dependent). What that means in practice varies by professor and how they want to implement it. For some, they'll give few grades above/below that grade with a glut of students getting that median grade. Others may reward a bunch of students with high grades, others with a lower grade, and few in the median. It all depends on the prof. This will happen in every class independently.

It's not conceptually hard to understand, but when combined with the not incredibly difficult material and people of generally similar abilities, it becomes very hard to stand out. That's why, generally speaking, most students should go in assuming they'll get the median grade, because it's the most likely outcome for most students.



Thank You!

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby lillawyer2 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:03 pm

Is OCI in your second year?

Also how does OCI differ for PT v. FT students?

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:49 pm

lillawyer2 wrote:
UVA2B wrote:A forced curve means your class has to median out to a set grade (lots of places it's a B+, but school dependent). What that means in practice varies by professor and how they want to implement it. For some, they'll give few grades above/below that grade with a glut of students getting that median grade. Others may reward a bunch of students with high grades, others with a lower grade, and few in the median. It all depends on the prof. This will happen in every class independently.

It's not conceptually hard to understand, but when combined with the not incredibly difficult material and people of generally similar abilities, it becomes very hard to stand out. That's why, generally speaking, most students should go in assuming they'll get the median grade, because it's the most likely outcome for most students.



Thank You!


Just to elaborate on the given explanation:

Professors will generally be given a specific goal/cap on their grades. So let's say the median is set to a B/B+. The grading policy might state that 8-10% of the class can get an A, 17-20% can get an A-, 26-33% can get a B+, 5% can get a B-, and 5% can get discretionary C-or-lower grades. The remainder of the class gets a B. This is not very far off from most T14 grading policies.

So now apply that to a class of 100, and we'll see where the problems can come in. Let's say the professor has made a horrible mistake and has given the class a very easy exam. The professor estimates that on this exam, the best possible score is 100 points. The highest score in the class is a 60. 10 students in the class have 58-60 points. Little Johnny Tryhard got 57 points (maybe he missed a minor issue or just failed to get one more argument in for an opposing side). Little Johnny's exam is substantively identical to the lowest A exam, but due to the forced curve, Little Johnny has an A-, even though the professor wouldn't say that he was any less competent than any of the A exams. Now, remember how I said it was a horrible mistake for the professor to give an easy exam? The A- cluster is all between 55 and 57 points. The B+ cluster are all between 50 and 54 points, and the Bs in the class range from 35-49 points. So if you got a B, you could be 8 points shy of an A, or you could be 23 points shy of an A. If the professor had given a hard exam, then the point cutoffs would be much more dramatic, and people in a specific range would actually (hopefully) have submitted exams that were substantively better or worse than people in the surrounding tiers.

And this is why you have to plan on being at median, no matter where you go.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby bceagle_4 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:45 pm

lillawyer2 wrote:Is OCI in your second year?

Also how does OCI differ for PT v. FT students?


OCI is in the fall of your 2L year. At least for a full time student.

I'm not sure if/how it is different for a part time student.

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby tomwatts » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:47 pm

bceagle_4 wrote:
lillawyer2 wrote:Is OCI in your second year?

Also how does OCI differ for PT v. FT students?


OCI is in the fall of your 2L year. At least for a full time student.

I'm not sure if/how it is different for a part time student.

I think generally OCI is in fall of the year before your last year for any program that is not a three-year program. (So, fall of your third year if you're in a four-year program.)

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Re: Can we talk about 1L for a moment?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:41 pm

One of the tricky things about 1L is that you expect it to be horrible and all-encompassing and then when you get there there isn't much to do for the first several weeks. Which of course just adds to the stress because you assume you must be missing something.

First semester 1L I was in class for about 12 hours a week then spent 15 hours or so doing work outside of class. This picked up as the semester moved towards finals. But spread out over 7 days it's obviously much better than what normal schmucks with real jobs have to endure.

That said, you're still better off assuming it will be horrible. Put in some serious effort and you'll quickly realize it's not nearly what you expected.



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