UVA Law Students Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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jawsthegreat
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby jawsthegreat » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:48 pm

It really just depends on the class. Some profs don't wanna read 20 pages. I'd be willing to bet that someone who writes 25 pages on a Mitchell/Cohen exam is almost guaunteed a A-, whereas a person writing that amount for Mahoney or someone like him would likely not make above a B+.

It really just depends on what your profs want, which is why its so hard to consistently crush 1L exams, all profs want something different.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:49 pm

3 hours definitely makes it more reasonable, though, so if your analysis is very strong, you could pull through. The problem with hewing too closely to the "fairly raised" issues from the fact pattern, if you find yourself with excess time, is that unless your analysis is very strong, it's a bit of a gamble. My advice might be to raise a few more fringe issues if you have the time, and explain why they will ultimately not be persuasive.

edit: but it is extremely important to remember that this is both very individual and professor-specific. Different things work for different people, there's absolutely no denying that. If you're certain your analysis is perfect and you've picked out the most relevant issues, leaving aside the red herrings or mostly-irrelevant ones, then go ahead. I've read A+ exams and a lot of them are very much like that. When you read it, you as the reader are left with absolutely no doubt that the writer recognized, but ultimately dismissed as unimportant, the other issues they did not mention because they knew exactly what they were doing. It's a weird phenomenon that is hard to describe, and that I wish I was smart enough to pull off.
Last edited by 5ky on Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:52 pm

jawsthegreat wrote:It really just depends on the class. Some profs don't wanna read 20 pages. I'd be willing to bet that someone who writes 25 pages on a Mitchell/Cohen exam is almost guaunteed a A-, whereas a person writing that amount for Mahoney or someone like him would likely not make above a B+.

It really just depends on what your profs want, which is why its so hard to consistently crush 1L exams, all profs want something different.


This is very true, particularly under some grading schemes where a professor will dock you points for spending too much time on issue they believe to be minor/immaterial. If you look at professors that essentially just employ a checklist and mark off points for issues/facts raised, I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a very high correlation between being above 20 pages and being median or better.

Morgan12Oak
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Morgan12Oak » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:53 pm

First semester last year I didn’t do that well because I tried only talking about stuff that was relevant and I outlined for like 10-15 minutes before my exams. I think I probably averaged like 12 pages per exam. Second semester I studied far less, and talked about anything I could possibly think about and started typing from minute one and averaged like 18-19 pages per exam and my GPA was nearly half a letter higher.

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:58 pm

5ky wrote:You should absolutely come back and shove it in my face if you get an A/A-, but I think that ~9 pages for what I'm guessing is a 3.5 hour Torts exam is probably too short.


I can shove it in your face now. I know more than one person who has gotten As on exams of that length.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:01 pm

thesealocust wrote:
5ky wrote:You should absolutely come back and shove it in my face if you get an A/A-, but I think that ~9 pages for what I'm guessing is a 3.5 hour Torts exam is probably too short.


I can shove it in your face now. I know more than one person who has gotten As on exams of that length.


Yeah, I do too. But I feel like it's a pretty reasonable thing to say that the vast majority of under-10 page torts exams are going to be a bit short.

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:16 pm

5ky wrote: I feel like it's a pretty reasonable thing to say that the vast majority of under-10 page torts exams are going to be a bit short.


Well I'm glad the 1Ls have you to tell them they should be worried that they fucked up because of how much they wrote. It would be awful if they had to come up with things to stress about all by themselves.

grash
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby grash » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:24 pm

Important question to those of us who are 2Ls: how much gentler is the bottom of the curve during 2L fall? I expect that I'll be riding its waves, and I want to know how much booze I should stock up on over break.

Morgan12Oak
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Morgan12Oak » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:30 pm

The 2L/3L apathy is something that is so severely over-estimated in my opinion. You have some 2L’s who are not only trying harder than they did 1L year but are working smarter. You have the other 2L’s who have it figured out and are coasting but with amazing efficiency since they know how to do it. Everyone else falls under the category of people who just can’t NOT work really hard because it is their personality.

desertlaw
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby desertlaw » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:41 pm

Morgan12Oak wrote:The 2L/3L apathy is something that is so severely over-estimated in my opinion. You have some 2L’s who are not only trying harder than they did 1L year but are working smarter. You have the other 2L’s who have it figured out and are coasting but with amazing efficiency since they know how to do it. Everyone else falls under the category of people who just can’t NOT work really hard because it is their personality.


I am going to continue to enjoy my Christmas break despite what you just posted.

grash
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby grash » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:09 pm

I'd argue the point, but I just can't seem to find the motivation.

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Cavalier
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Cavalier » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:33 pm

The discussion about how much one "should" write on an exam to have a good chance at a B+ or A- or whatever is just silly. Yes, exam length is weakly correlated with performance, but plenty of short exams will receive good grades and plenty of long exams will receive poor grades. I'm an advocate of the "type as much as you can" approach, and it's worked for me, but I've compared my word count with other students who received the same grade I did, and some of them did it in fewer than half than words I used. So there's no reason to freak out based on how long or short your exams were.

As far as 2L/3L apathy goes, there's a substantial portion of students who simply don't care. If you doubt this, just count the number of students in class on any given day and compare it with the total enrollment (which is listed on the course page on LawWeb). With the exception of the usual gunner courses, probably a quarter to a third of students won't be there. If you show up to class most days, take decent notes, and then study hard during finals, you probably don't have anything to worry about.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby bgdddymtty » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:39 pm

Cavalier wrote:If you show up to class most days, take decent notes, and then study hard during finals, you probably don't have anything to worry about.
Batting .333, baby!

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:44 pm

Cavalier wrote: If you show up to class most days, take decent notes, and then study hard during finals, you probably don't have anything to worry about.


Shit :(

Morgan12Oak
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Morgan12Oak » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:23 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Cavalier wrote: If you show up to class most days, take decent notes, and then study hard during finals, you probably don't have anything to worry about.


Shit :(


I pray there is a safe harbor to this test.

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BruceWayne
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:34 pm

paulinaporizkova wrote:sarcasm?



Lol not at all. If their is one thing that I've seen consistently from looking at other students exams and exams that have received the highest grade in the class (teachers will often show these to you after you get your grades back) it's that longer is definitely better. Frankly, I had one teacher show us a short exam that got an A because of how odd that is. He remarked about how it was very unusual for an exam of that length to do so well (it was 10 pages). The guy at the top of our class routinely turns in 25 page exams. There are so few professors that don't care about length that their actually rather noteworthy: see dean Mahoney and Fred Schauer.

People on this site like to talk a lot about "analysis" and "applying law to fact" but to be quite honest, when I've actually looked at a lot of exams everyone is basically saying the same thing. I think it's really hard for professors to differentiate and so a lot of times they do so based simply on length. The people who do best tend to be able to say a lot more and take a borderline "dump everything from my outline" into the exam approach. They'll also do things like answer questions in the alternative on top of answering the question that was asked.

I encourage you to actually look at exams that receive high grades. You'll learn more from that than you will from reading Getting to Maybe or this website.

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plenipotentiary
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby plenipotentiary » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:44 pm

BruceWayne wrote:If their is one thing that I've seen consistently from looking at other students exams


Um. Isn't that an honor code violation?

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ReelectClayDavis
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby ReelectClayDavis » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:54 pm

cubbiesyear wrote:Anyone know/care to comment on how easy or difficult it is to get to Chicago/the Midwest from UVA? I was offered 25 a year a couple weeks ago and that's more than I'm going to get at UMich or Chicago (if i even get into the latter) so it's pretty tempting. But I don't want to be barred from my home region.


To balance earlier optimism, I had good (top third) grades, strong midwest ties and struck out in Chicago. I didn't have that many bids there so it wasn't heartbreaking to me so I can't speak to what would have happened if I went all in, but another data point for you. Its a much smaller market than DC or NYC and has lots of good schools in the area, so be careful.

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:58 pm

plenipotentiary wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:If their is one thing that I've seen consistently from looking at other students exams


Um. Isn't that an honor code violation?


As BW mentioned in the same post you quoted, professors will often show you exams of other students when you go to discuss exams.

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Doritos
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Doritos » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:14 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
paulinaporizkova wrote:sarcasm?



Lol not at all. If their is one thing that I've seen consistently from looking at other students exams and exams that have received the highest grade in the class (teachers will often show these to you after you get your grades back) it's that longer is definitely better. Frankly, I had one teacher show us a short exam that got an A because of how odd that is. He remarked about how it was very unusual for an exam of that length to do so well (it was 10 pages). The guy at the top of our class routinely turns in 25 page exams. There are so few professors that don't care about length that their actually rather noteworthy: see dean Mahoney and Fred Schauer.

People on this site like to talk a lot about "analysis" and "applying law to fact" but to be quite honest, when I've actually looked at a lot of exams everyone is basically saying the same thing. I think it's really hard for professors to differentiate and so a lot of times they do so based simply on length. The people who do best tend to be able to say a lot more and take a borderline "dump everything from my outline" into the exam approach. They'll also do things like answer questions in the alternative on top of answering the question that was asked.

I encourage you to actually look at exams that receive high grades. You'll learn more from that than you will from reading Getting to Maybe or this website.


A caveat to this is that there are profs who want a short exam and will say as much. Dean Mahoney for instance let everyone know last year that conciseness for his Contracts exam would be rewarded. I know people who did quite well and turned in very short exams (think under 10 pages). Other classes are going to be typing races (like Torts or Civ Pro with Nelson) and a long exam is probably good. So pay attention to what your prof wants.

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:15 pm

Also, as a philosophical matter, the fact that people even have to debate what makes a good exam / what you have to do in order to receive high grades is one of the most obnoxious parts of law school. What an absurd thing to be shrouded in mystery. Could you imagine a bunch of chemistry students bickering over what it took to actually get an A on an orgo exam? I feel like even in the arts people generally have a better sense of what is expected of them / how to perform well than in law school. It really is a ridiculous, inefficient system that definitely isn't placing the focus on learning or teaching or nurturing. Law exams have more in common with hazing than any legitimate academic experience as far as I can tell.

* grumble grumble grumble *

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Cavalier
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Cavalier » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:18 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
paulinaporizkova wrote:sarcasm?

Lol not at all. If their is one thing that I've seen consistently from looking at other students exams and exams that have received the highest grade in the class (teachers will often show these to you after you get your grades back) it's that longer is definitely better. Frankly, I had one teacher show us a short exam that got an A because of how odd that is. He remarked about how it was very unusual for an exam of that length to do so well (it was 10 pages). The guy at the top of our class routinely turns in 25 page exams. There are so few professors that don't care about length that their actually rather noteworthy: see dean Mahoney and Fred Schauer.

People on this site like to talk a lot about "analysis" and "applying law to fact" but to be quite honest, when I've actually looked at a lot of exams everyone is basically saying the same thing. I think it's really hard for professors to differentiate and so a lot of times they do so based simply on length. The people who do best tend to be able to say a lot more and take a borderline "dump everything from my outline" into the exam approach. They'll also do things like answer questions in the alternative on top of answering the question that was asked.

I encourage you to actually look at exams that receive high grades. You'll learn more from that than you will from reading Getting to Maybe or this website.

lol, just lol

Morgan12Oak
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:21 pm

thesealocust wrote:Also, as a philosophical matter, the fact that people even have to debate what makes a good exam / what you have to do in order to receive high grades is one of the most obnoxious parts of law school. What an absurd thing to be shrouded in mystery. Could you imagine a bunch of chemistry students bickering over what it took to actually get an A on an orgo exam? I feel like even in the arts people generally have a better sense of what is expected of them / how to perform well than in law school. It really is a ridiculous, inefficient system that definitely isn't placing the focus on learning or teaching or nurturing. Law exams have more in common with hazing than any legitimate academic experience as far as I can tell.

* grumble grumble grumble *


Don't rain on our parade! And the difference between law school and chemistry students is, theres not a medical school for everyone but theres a law school for EVERYONE!

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Stringer Bell
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:32 pm

From the profs I have this semester, based on model answers and actual student answers that they consider good and ones they consider bad that they've shown us as well as what they tell us gets points vs. what doesn't, it seems like you could have a long exam that's really shitty and a good one that's not long.

I'm not trying to rationalize and make myself feel better either since accepting either side of this argument would probably make me feel nearly the same about my performance so far.

Morgan12Oak
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:50 pm

so to sum up:

size matters, but only if you know how to use it




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