Absolute Bottom of the Class...

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prezidentv8
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:42 am

legends159 wrote:Just keep looking through the model answers and the question structure and try to psycho-analyze your professor.


Good advice I think, but I didn't even have a class with model answers. Personally, I've noticed that use of the kitchen sink method seems to be pretty prevalent.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:43 am

traehekat wrote:Well what is it then, just a crapshoot? Nature ability? Professor bias? I understand that one below median grade puts you towards the bottom of your class (assuming the rest of your grades are right at median), and yes that is a scary thought, but there has to be something that is distinguishing your exam answers from those at the top of the class.

I admit I may be plain ignorant when I say this, but I have to hope that if one studies a lot, studies correctly, and doesn't choke on the exam, they will reap the benefits. My understanding is that almost everyone in law school does a fair amount of studying, but the majority (of course there are exceptions) of students who find themselves below median either didn't study CORRECTLY or choked during the test. Am I wrong?

I maintain that the As are separate from the Bs but the Bs are a crap shoot.

leron
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby leron » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:45 am

Kohinoor wrote:It means that at a T14, you can't assume that the B students were creating shitty work product that would have been bottom of the class at a T2.


fair enough, but isn't that true of any curved class at any law school? where the b range is 20%-80%?

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traehekat
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby traehekat » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:46 am

Kohinoor wrote:
traehekat wrote:Well what is it then, just a crapshoot? Nature ability? Professor bias? I understand that one below median grade puts you towards the bottom of your class (assuming the rest of your grades are right at median), and yes that is a scary thought, but there has to be something that is distinguishing your exam answers from those at the top of the class.

I admit I may be plain ignorant when I say this, but I have to hope that if one studies a lot, studies correctly, and doesn't choke on the exam, they will reap the benefits. My understanding is that almost everyone in law school does a fair amount of studying, but the majority (of course there are exceptions) of students who find themselves below median either didn't study CORRECTLY or choked during the test. Am I wrong?

I maintain that the As are separate from the Bs but the Bs are a crap shoot.


Okay, I can sleep a bit easier with this answer (being that I am 0L who will of course get all A's and A-'s in law school, like all little boys and girls who do their homework :P )

showNprove
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby showNprove » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:53 am

traehekat wrote:Are you satisfied with this explanation? Did he elaborate on perhaps what a better answer would have looked like? I imagine it is frustrating to know that you should of perhaps received a higher grade but because of the curve you were bumped down, but do you feel like it was just a matter of luck that you were the one that was bumped down, or do you feel as if you were 'outperformed' so to speak by those who weren't bumped down?

For what its worth, it DOES seem like there is a very fine line between grades, and a number of things (perhaps even out of your control) can affect it. Kind of scary.

Was I satisfied? Yes and no. On the one hand, I understand how law school grading works. We're evaluated on a discrete grading system with a defined and limited number of spots for each grade. It sucks, but if you don't accept that this is the way it is, you won't ever be able to work in this environment. On the other hand, he didn't seem to be able to offer why my exam was chosen as the one that got knocked down. We went over it together, and I missed some things here or there, but that was already accounted for when he initially considered what my grade should be. Was it random? I don't think so--I'm sure he found some justification for it, but I think it was nonetheless an arbitrary justification.

It's frustrating knowing I should have had the higher grade, but it also corroborated my feelings about how I performed. I came out of the exam feeling confident with my performance, and the grade was a bit of a blow. It's nice to know that I'm working on a higher level, and if I correct a few things about my exam strategy, maybe I'll be able to avoid being in the same spot next time.

Kohinoor wrote:
leron wrote:
showNprove wrote:I just reviewed a fall exam with a professor, and he told me that I did solid [Grade X] work -- not that I was on the cusp of [Grade X] and barely missed it, but that my exam was [Grade X] work. However, he gave me [Grade X - 1] because the curve only allowed for so many [Grade X's] and he needed to choose which exam wouldn't get it.


what does this really mean? it means nothing. you defined what a curved test is.

It means that at a T14, you can't assume that the B students were creating shitty work product that would have been bottom of the class at a T2.

This.

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Aeroplane
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby Aeroplane » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:57 am

^^^ Don't your professors grade exams w/raw scores before converting to letter grades? I'm pretty sure that's what all of my fall semester professors did (2 for sure, 1 IIRC).

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rayiner
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby rayiner » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:00 am

Aeroplane wrote:^^^ Don't your professors grade exams w/raw scores before converting to letter grades? I'm pretty sure that's what all of my fall semester professors did (2 for sure, 1 IIRC).


+1 Makes everything so much easier. I saw the rubrics for three of my four exams, and it was all very straightforward.

showNprove
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby showNprove » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:02 am

Aeroplane wrote:^^^ Don't your professors grade exams w/raw scores before converting to letter grades? I'm pretty sure that's what all of my fall semester professors did (2 for sure, 1 IIRC).

No, at least not this professor. I saw that he graded each of the three questions on the exam with a letter grade. I assume he averaged those partial grades somehow to get a cumulative grade for the final.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:04 am

showNprove wrote:
Aeroplane wrote:^^^ Don't your professors grade exams w/raw scores before converting to letter grades? I'm pretty sure that's what all of my fall semester professors did (2 for sure, 1 IIRC).

No, at least not this professor. I saw that he graded each of the three questions on the exam with a letter grade. I assume he averaged those partial grades somehow to get a cumulative grade for the final.


I had one who kept re-sorting them into piles

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Aeroplane
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby Aeroplane » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:04 am

showNprove wrote:
Aeroplane wrote:^^^ Don't your professors grade exams w/raw scores before converting to letter grades? I'm pretty sure that's what all of my fall semester professors did (2 for sure, 1 IIRC).

No, at least not this professor. I saw that he graded each of the three questions on the exam with a letter grade. I assume he averaged those partial grades somehow to get a cumulative grade for the final.

Oh. That sounds way arbitrary. I would not like to have a prof like that.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:05 am

Aeroplane wrote:
showNprove wrote:
Aeroplane wrote:^^^ Don't your professors grade exams w/raw scores before converting to letter grades? I'm pretty sure that's what all of my fall semester professors did (2 for sure, 1 IIRC).

No, at least not this professor. I saw that he graded each of the three questions on the exam with a letter grade. I assume he averaged those partial grades somehow to get a cumulative grade for the final.

I had a similar experience.

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D Brooks
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby D Brooks » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:10 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
Ragged wrote:This is an interesting yet a very scary thread. I can't help but picture me being that guy. Oh the horror.

When you're in class, look around. Half of those people will be below median. A quarter will be in the bottom quarter. Think hard about how smart you are and how much you prepare.

Yep. If there are 360 people in a class, 180 of them will be at or below median. That's a lot of kids, and kids who were the smartest and best the law school could get.

To put this differently: At UVA, if you get B+s in every single one of your classes, you've got a 3.3 GPA and you're median. If just one of those grades ends up being a B- instead, even though you've got the same B+ as everyone else in your other three courses, you drop to a 3.15 or so, which puts you around the bottom quarter of the class.

One grade can make you, but one grade can also fuck you. Isn't that a pleasant thought?


:shock: :?

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07ggfa5
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby 07ggfa5 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:48 am

This thread is scaring the crap out of me.

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manbearwig
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby manbearwig » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:18 am

07ggfa5 wrote:This thread is scaring the crap out of me.


I'm not going to be nervous until I actually see what the classes/exams are like. I figure the 25-75 percent range may be a bit of a crap shoot, but the people at the top can't just constantly luck out. They have to get it. And hopefully I'll be there.

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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby RVP11 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:32 am

manbearwig wrote:
07ggfa5 wrote:This thread is scaring the crap out of me.


I'm not going to be nervous until I actually see what the classes/exams are like. I figure the 25-75 percent range may be a bit of a crap shoot, but the people at the top can't just constantly luck out. They have to get it. And hopefully I'll be there.


Ehh. Your response to "luck is a big factor" is "people at the top can't just constantly luck out"? While true for some (people with 4.0s were probably always going to be top 10%), a lot of people in the top 10% are only one lucky/unlucky grade from being top 20%. One grade up or down can easily equal one decile.

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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby manbearwig » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:16 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
manbearwig wrote:
07ggfa5 wrote:This thread is scaring the crap out of me.


I'm not going to be nervous until I actually see what the classes/exams are like. I figure the 25-75 percent range may be a bit of a crap shoot, but the people at the top can't just constantly luck out. They have to get it. And hopefully I'll be there.


Ehh. Your response to "luck is a big factor" is "people at the top can't just constantly luck out"? While true for some (people with 4.0s were probably always going to be top 10%), a lot of people in the top 10% are only one lucky/unlucky grade from being top 20%. One grade up or down can easily equal one decile.


So if I made the range 10-90 percent, it'd be better? :) Then I'll just have to hope to be top 10%, I guess.

Edit: Read your response again, and perhaps I need to change my goal to top 5%. But, in any case, as it's impossible to really have a goal, I'm not going to worry about it.
Last edited by manbearwig on Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rayiner
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby rayiner » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:20 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
manbearwig wrote:
07ggfa5 wrote:This thread is scaring the crap out of me.


I'm not going to be nervous until I actually see what the classes/exams are like. I figure the 25-75 percent range may be a bit of a crap shoot, but the people at the top can't just constantly luck out. They have to get it. And hopefully I'll be there.


Ehh. Your response to "luck is a big factor" is "people at the top can't just constantly luck out"? While true for some (people with 4.0s were probably always going to be top 10%), a lot of people in the top 10% are only one lucky/unlucky grade from being top 20%. One grade up or down can easily equal one decile.


Meh.

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:48 pm

Doritos wrote:
kittenmittons wrote:TCR is reasonabledoubt

hth


It's just so fitting he's got this guy as his avatar...


--ImageRemoved--


+1
Hilarious.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby OperaSoprano » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:31 pm

I know Ray maintains that nobody lucks out at law school, but I'm personally not sure. I psychoanalyzed my professors to a ridiculous degree, and asked a ton of questions about the specific kind of exams they wanted to see, because one offered a single model answer, and the other offered none. If we were graded on paranoia, I'm certain I would be #1 in my class.

Whether or not we can really control where we fall, I want to caution people not to let the fear take over. When our first grades were released, my roommate couldn't reach me, and I missed a bunch of messages from her. When I called her back, she said she'd been afraid for my life, and I had to reassure her that I was fine, and not about to hurl myself from the GW bridge.

I don't want any future 1Ls to go through what I experienced. I'm being candid about this because of what too much time in threads like this one did to me. I thought it would make me happy, but it wasn't worth the price I paid. This is a plea to work hard but not lose sight of what matters. The fear of ending up at the bottom can be that strong, and yes, it is out of our control, at least to some degree.

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RVP11
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby RVP11 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:39 pm

OS, you seem like a really nice person. But whenever I read your posts I can't help but feel like I want to reach through my computer monitor and slap someone.

09042014
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby 09042014 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:40 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:OS, you seem like a really nice person. But whenever I read your posts I can't help but feel like I want to reach through my computer monitor and slap someone.


ITT: Creepy S&M come on disgusted as insult

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Aeroplane
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby Aeroplane » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:43 pm

Knowing ray, I doubt he maintains any assertion as extreme as "nobody lucks out."

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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby Lawschoolman » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:47 pm

Never underestimate the law of horrible. If you have a large enough group of law students (I don't care which school), some of them will be horrible at taking law school exams. This will comprise the bottom of the class.

On a side note, rather than worry about the bottom of the class (which is not something you have any control over), why not worry about maximizing your chances to not be at the bottom of the class (which is something you do have control over).

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rayiner
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby rayiner » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:00 pm

Aeroplane wrote:Knowing ray, I doubt he maintains any assertion as extreme as "nobody lucks out."


I don't contend that nobody lucks out. I contend that given sane curves and sane exams, luck isn't the primary differentiator.

I psychoanalyzed my professors to a ridiculous degree, and asked a ton of questions about the specific kind of exams they wanted to see, because one offered a single model answer, and the other offered none.


So you're saying that you spent a lot of effort figuring out what you were expected to do before charging ahead and doing something. That doesn't sound like luck --- it sounds like a skill that's actually highly valuable in the real world.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Absolute Bottom of the Class...

Postby OperaSoprano » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:19 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:OS, you seem like a really nice person. But whenever I read your posts I can't help but feel like I want to reach through my computer monitor and slap someone.


ITT: Creepy S&M come on disgusted as insult


:cry:. In all seriousness, I'm trying to get happy and healthy again in the new semester. I'm talking about it because I think someone needs to.

To Ray: I don't know why I feel this way, only that it feels awful. I admire your coolness and composure so much. If anyone deserves success, you do.




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