How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

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senorhosh
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How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby senorhosh » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:50 pm

Compared to undergraduate studies, how much more difficult is it to get "good" grades at law school?

For example, as an undergraduate chem major, how good my grades are is almost directly proportional to how much I study. More studying = more A's.

How is law school like? Are grades less based on studying and more based on the individual's intellect (more abstract or concrete) What are the differences in getting a "good" grade in LS and in undergraduate classes?

Thanks

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Cavalier
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby Cavalier » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:57 pm

This is hard to answer. Law school requires a lot of work, but it also requires "learning the system" much more than undergrad does. You absolutely must know how to properly take a law school exam in order to do well, so hard work alone isn't going to get you good grades. Many people who work hard have no idea what to do on an exam.

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vamedic03
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby vamedic03 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:01 pm

I think Cavalier is spot on. But, it's worth adding that the grades are curved - your grade is based on your performance as compared to your peers. At the top schools, your peers also had 170+ LSAT's and 3.8+ GPA's.

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OGR3
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby OGR3 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:03 pm

.

senorhosh
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby senorhosh » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:37 am

Cavalier wrote:This is hard to answer. Law school requires a lot of work, but it also requires "learning the system" much more than undergrad does. You absolutely must know how to properly take a law school exam in order to do well, so hard work alone isn't going to get you good grades. Many people who work hard have no idea what to do on an exam.


Good to know.
Btw it took me 3 years to "learn" the undergrad system....
Getting great grades but on my 4th year.
Hopefully it doesn't take this long at LS!...

Thanks

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:34 pm

senorhosh wrote:
Cavalier wrote:This is hard to answer. Law school requires a lot of work, but it also requires "learning the system" much more than undergrad does. You absolutely must know how to properly take a law school exam in order to do well, so hard work alone isn't going to get you good grades. Many people who work hard have no idea what to do on an exam.


Good to know.
Btw it took me 3 years to "learn" the undergrad system....
Getting great grades but on my 4th year.
Hopefully it doesn't take this long at LS!...

Thanks



Definitely read Getting to Maybe and maybe even listen/read LEEWS if you had trouble figuring our UG. Its practically required reading even if you did well in UG. They are good books just to inform yourself of what you are getting yourself into.

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androstan
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby androstan » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:05 pm

LEEWS?

I'm a 0L but just from my vantage point it seems like the manadatory curve would make it a lot more difficult to get good grades in LS. In UG, in most classes at least, if you get all the answers on the test right you get an "A". If you write a good enough paper you get an "A". In LS, if you write a great paper and someone else writes an excellent paper, you get a "B". If you write an excellent paper and someone else writes a nobel-winning piece, you get a "C".

No matter how brilliant the whole class is or you are, some people have to get B's and C's.

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johnnyutah
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby johnnyutah » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:07 pm

senorhosh wrote:Compared to undergraduate studies, how much more difficult is it to get "good" grades at law school?

For example, as an undergraduate chem major, how good my grades are is almost directly proportional to how much I study. More studying = more A's.

How is law school like? Are grades less based on studying and more based on the individual's intellect (more abstract or concrete) What are the differences in getting a "good" grade in LS and in undergraduate classes?

Thanks

What UG and what law school? We need specifics.

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MrSparkle
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby MrSparkle » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:18 pm

If your science degree was anything like mine, most/all of your classes were curved. My belief is that people who say law school is harder had undergraduate liberal arts majors where none of their classes were curved, and you could get A's in classes while doing none of the reading (I took a bunch of upper-div lib arts classes as well =).

But law school is probably hard enough, curve notwithstanding. From what I read about law school, it is similar to hard science in terms of competition between classmates and ridiculous amounts of time necessary to learn everything, but different in that there are no steadfast "right answers." But honestly, are you going to try anything less than your best, knowing that your class rank will determine job prospects? We'll all find out how hard law school is soon enough.

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby quickquestionthanks » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:46 pm

Just finished my first semester. It's all about the reading.

It's not that there's "more" reading for any given class. It's that you really HAVE to do every reading for every class. And you don't really experience that in undergrad.

(Aside: this is especially true in the beginning. Some professor have a calling process and perhaps you'll be able to know when you are/aren't getting called on. But if you plan on getting anything out of the class discussion, you need to read.)

So every day you have 4 hours of class + 3 hours of reading for the next day's classes. Then you have to balance this daily workload with your tedious legal writing assignments, and ultimately exam prep. The last part is hard because you don't really figure out how to prepare for exams until you're finishing your memo around Thanksgiving.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby Kilpatrick » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:14 pm

This is a question I had before I started law school and I wish somebody had just given me the simple answer - the curve. I never thought the material in law school was particularly difficult. What's challenging is that you have to know everything and then you have to apply it better than the people in your class. Learn how to take exams and practice a lot.

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dextermorgan
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:18 pm

The vast majority of undergrads have never seen an actual curve. In other words law school (most grad schools actually), are a rude awakening for most of undergrads who have coasted from kindergarten to a B.A.

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ArchRoark
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby ArchRoark » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:20 pm

vamedic03 wrote: At the top schools, your peers also had 170+ LSAT's and 3.8+ GPA's.


Blatant NU trolling.

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Cupidity
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby Cupidity » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:24 pm

Everyone at your law school is as smart as you, and works as hard as you. It is all on a curve. It is VERY hard to get good grades.

gerbal
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby gerbal » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:59 pm

Nearly all my ugrad classes were "curved" using a bell curve (around 70% gets between a B- and B+, 15% gets between B+ and A, and 15% gets somewhere between an F and a B-). Is this how law schools usually curves grades as well (the majority falls somewhere in the middle)?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:02 am

this much:

|-----------------------------------------------------------------------|

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vanwinkle
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:10 am

Kilpatrick wrote:This is a question I had before I started law school and I wish somebody had just given me the simple answer - the curve. I never thought the material in law school was particularly difficult. What's challenging is that you have to know everything and then you have to apply it better than the people in your class. Learn how to take exams and practice a lot.

Bolded is what makes doing well hard. You don't just have to do well, you have to do better than everyone else.

MrAnon
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby MrAnon » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:11 am

A monkey could do the work. That's why there is a forced curve, to keep grades down.

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby quickquestionthanks » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:15 pm

This is a good thread. In general, TLS parrots say that there's "no way to know" how well you'll do in law school, since everyone is just as smart/hard working as you. This is very misleading.

If you are a slow typer who always has to start essay assignments far in advance because your first 5 drafts are crappy, you're probably not well suited for law school exams.

On the other hand, if you are a really fast and accurate typer, can come up with arguments quickly, and in college have been able to whip out 10 page papers in one night, then you're probably the ideal law school exam taker.

It's true that 75% (def not 100%) of students will "know the law" by the time they take the exam. And yes, everyone else was able to get into the same law school you did. But you and your classmates are not equally skilled. There's a difference.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby TatteredDignity » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:38 pm

quickquestionthanks wrote:This is a good thread. In general, TLS parrots say that there's "no way to know" how well you'll do in law school, since everyone is just as smart/hard working as you. This is very misleading.

If you are a slow typer who always has to start essay assignments far in advance because your first 5 drafts are crappy, you're probably not well suited for law school exams.

On the other hand, if you are a really fast and accurate typer, can come up with arguments quickly, and in college have been able to whip out 10 page papers in one night, then you're probably the ideal law school exam taker.

It's true that 75% (def not 100%) of students will "know the law" by the time they take the exam. And yes, everyone else was able to get into the same law school you did. But you and your classmates are not equally skilled. There's a difference.


As a 0L, I'm glad to finally hear someone in LS say the bolded. I was willing to believe that if I go to my state school where tons of people are getting in with 155s/3.2's, everyone would be just as smart/hard working as me, but it was pissing me off to believe it.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:28 pm

0LNewbie wrote:As a 0L, I'm glad to finally hear someone in LS say the bolded. I was willing to believe that if I go to my state school where tons of people are getting in with 155s/3.2's, everyone would be just as smart/hard working as me, but it was pissing me off to believe it.

Even at the HYS level, there are people who work hard and people who slack off in law school, despite most of them having 170+ and high 3.x GPAs. However, that doesn't always mean working hard will equate to doing better. Some of those slackers will somehow end up at the top of the class anyway and irritate you to no end, and there's always at least one person with the highest possible GPA/LSAT and who worked 10 hours a day and still did poorly because they just didn't "get" something.

Even if people aren't as "smart" or as "hard working" as you they still might do better. Don't get focused on the wrong things.

Renzo
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:42 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Even if people aren't as "smart" or as "hard working" as you they still might do better. Don't get focused on the wrong things.

This is crucial to understand. I am neither smarter nor more hardworking than my classmates, but there are classes where I have been above the curve despite not putting in a ton of effort. There have also been classes where I worked my dick off and still got pwnt. Some things just "click" for some people, sometimes a "weird" exam question will make some look like geniuses and others like dummies, and it'll have very little to do with understanding of the law, smarts, or work ethic.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby TatteredDignity » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:52 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
0LNewbie wrote:As a 0L, I'm glad to finally hear someone in LS say the bolded. I was willing to believe that if I go to my state school where tons of people are getting in with 155s/3.2's, everyone would be just as smart/hard working as me, but it was pissing me off to believe it.

Even at the HYS level, there are people who work hard and people who slack off in law school, despite most of them having 170+ and high 3.x GPAs. However, that doesn't always mean working hard will equate to doing better. Some of those slackers will somehow end up at the top of the class anyway and irritate you to no end, and there's always at least one person with the highest possible GPA/LSAT and who worked 10 hours a day and still did poorly because they just didn't "get" something.

Even if people aren't as "smart" or as "hard working" as you they still might do better. Don't get focused on the wrong things.


I understand that there isn't a 100% correlation between effort/intelligence and grades. I just hate when people claim that grades are completely arbitrary. I have to believe that some combination of effort put in to learn the law + raw analytical ability can produce a statistically reliable determinant of grades.

Maybe I just want it to be more of a meritocracy than it is.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:09 pm

0LNewbie wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
0LNewbie wrote:As a 0L, I'm glad to finally hear someone in LS say the bolded. I was willing to believe that if I go to my state school where tons of people are getting in with 155s/3.2's, everyone would be just as smart/hard working as me, but it was pissing me off to believe it.

Even at the HYS level, there are people who work hard and people who slack off in law school, despite most of them having 170+ and high 3.x GPAs. However, that doesn't always mean working hard will equate to doing better. Some of those slackers will somehow end up at the top of the class anyway and irritate you to no end, and there's always at least one person with the highest possible GPA/LSAT and who worked 10 hours a day and still did poorly because they just didn't "get" something.

Even if people aren't as "smart" or as "hard working" as you they still might do better. Don't get focused on the wrong things.


I understand that there isn't a 100% correlation between effort/intelligence and grades. I just hate when people claim that grades are completely arbitrary. I have to believe that some combination of effort put in to learn the law + raw analytical ability can produce a statistically reliable determinant of grades.

Maybe I just want it to be more of a meritocracy than it is.


maybe it is simply a threshold. i.e. 0 effort = bad grade, but once you pass a certain threshold of effort, it becomes more arbitrary. i dont know, ill have to see my grades first to decide. if they are bad, grades are arbitrary! if they are good, all skill baby :P

hds2388
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Re: How much more "difficult" is law school (in terms of grades)

Postby hds2388 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:11 pm

It's not arbitrary at all. Certainly it can be surprising for many people when they get their grades (largely because they worked hard, but their grades don't correlate; this is probably where the arbitrariness argument comes from.) I got straight A's my first semester...I worked exactly as hard as most people I would say (I did the homework every night, and I outlined for finals.) The differences for me were:

1. Getting to Maybe (Highly Recommend)
2. LEEWS (Highly Recommend)
3. Attended the schools academic tutoring program things (most schools have it).
4. Lots of practice exams (well, not that many...but maybe 3-5)

That's it. On top of that I did poorly on my LSAT...so take that supposed predictive power!




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