Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

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ThreeYears
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Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby ThreeYears » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:49 pm

"...it's interesting how in the class I thought I did worst in I did much better than expected, and the classes I thought I did best in I did worst in..."

I heard almost exact same comments from various law students, and while I was consolidating and distilling experiences from past threads on 1L experiences, I also see the recurring pattern of this dichotomy.

One explanation is that while the exam taker feels confident about his/her answer, the exam response tend to be conclusive, and the feeling of uncertainty usually correlates with more explorative exam answers, which is instinctive GTM style.

Are there any other explanations? And how can this disparity be avoided?

Lucidity
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby Lucidity » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:59 pm

I don't buy into this. More likely, its the people who have the huge disparities from result and expectation that post about it. Could you imagine someone creating a thread just to say that they got exactly what they expected ?

To be sure, the somewhat arbitrary nature of essay exams and the forced curve naturally results in some unexpected grades. However, I don't think this is as common as it seems. My grades first semester fell into my range of expectations very neatly. The one class that the professor provided model answers for, I got an A. The only class that was a curve-ball was legal writing.

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kalvano
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby kalvano » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:49 pm

I knew when I did poorly and when I did well and when I did about average.

Except for Legal Writing. Fuck that class in the butt with a splintery broomstick.

LurkerNoMore
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:57 am

This does happen a lot. The explanation is exceedingly simple: the curve.

A lot of people walk out of an exam and base their expectations for grades on how they felt they performed. This can lead to the inverse results. If the exams you felt you performed well on were really easy exams, then it is entirely possible that your "great" answers still didn't measure up to other people's. Likewise, if the exam you thought you bombed was a really hard exam, your bad answer could have still be the best of the bunch.

You need to base your expectations on how you felt you did relative to how hard/easy you thought the exam was. Some people can do this two-step analysis pretty well, some can't.

xyzbca
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby xyzbca » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:58 pm

The best I've ever felt walking out of an exam was confidence that I had performed at median. Of the other exams I've taken in my 1.5 years of LS I've felt terrible about every single one. I am significantly above the top 10% cutoff at my school. Typically, I undervalue my performance b/c I walk out of an exam and immediately think of better/more fully developed answers to the questions and assume (in retrospect) the better answer was so clear and obvious everybody else in the class should have nailed it.

Lucidity
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby Lucidity » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:12 pm

Moral of the story: Have realistic expectations.

09042014
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby 09042014 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:46 pm

Like others have said you are curved against others, who are just as smart as you are. If it was easy for you, it was easy for them. If it was hard for you, it was hard for them.

I knew I fucked myself in Contracts because I messed up pacing myself and had to skip most of the damages analysis.

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:50 pm

I've accurately predicted all but 1 (out of ~15) grades. If u can be objective it's doable.....pointless skill tho :lol:

law777
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby law777 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:28 pm

Personal anecdotes sought: has anyone ever walked out of an exam having made a significant (and verified) mistake, and still managed to score at the top of the class?

BeenDidThat
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby BeenDidThat » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:54 pm

law777 wrote:Personal anecdotes sought: has anyone ever walked out of an exam having made a significant (and verified) mistake, and still managed to score at the top of the class?


Forgot my casebook going into an open book/notes final. Was fine for all but the 5-10 MC quoting cases. :/

Top grade.

Granted, I knew the class well, and I have a damn good memory when it comes to judges' quotes. Thought I would end up around the median, as I assumed the other students would be close enough in the other sections but eat me up on the MC. Wrong.

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IAFG
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby IAFG » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:56 pm

I have no idea how a first semester 1L, based on THEIR feelings and THEIR experience, could begin to guess at how they did relative to everyone else.

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ben4847
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby ben4847 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:04 pm

IAFG wrote:I have no idea how a first semester 1L, based on THEIR feelings and THEIR experience, could begin to guess at how they did relative to everyone else.

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Pricer
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby Pricer » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:55 pm

law777 wrote:Personal anecdotes sought: has anyone ever walked out of an exam having made a significant (and verified) mistake, and still managed to score at the top of the class?


In con law, my final was comprised of three essay questions. The first two were consistent with the first two on past exams, and the third was completely different, as past exams had indicated would be the case. Everyone had an answer prepared for the first, so even though I know my answer was near perfect, everyone who had taken a past exam answered it near perfectly as well. The second question I did an okay job on, as did everyone else. Most things people missed were not because they didn't know them, but because of the 1200 word limit per question.

The third question, which I thought would determine the curve in the class, was a quote from an article that had been posted a few weeks before on Slate.com. I was not super worried that I missed many points, even when people discussed their different points they made after the exam. When someone brought the article to my attention, I realized that I had approached the problem in a completely different way. I approached it from a Marbury v. Madison type analysis, while my classmates and the Slate writer had all approached it from a Jackson Steel Seizure type analysis. I thought that because I had screwed up so bad on the curve-busting question, I would end up below median in the class. I had that in the back of my mind during the entire Christmas break. When grades came out, I got an A.

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NoleinNY
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby NoleinNY » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:00 pm

With the exception of Property and Torts, I did about as well (or not so well) as I expected I would in every 1L and 2L course thus far.

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rayiner
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby rayiner » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:01 pm

The disparity can be due to a number of things, and while I agree it is less common than people make it out to be it definitely happens. Even as a 3L who is quite consistent with my grades, I was totally surprised last semester by my Legal Ethics grade. A class like that is really typical of one where people are surprised by their grades--the material is really easy so small differences in memorization or remembering a hypo the professor used can result in big grade differences on the forced curve. For other classes, there is an element of "you don't know what you don't know." Someone who misses a lot of issues will obviously not walk out of the exam thinking they missed a lot of issues.

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20160810
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby 20160810 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:24 pm

It's probably good practice in curved classes to just assume you got a B.

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ben4847
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby ben4847 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:27 pm

ben4847 wrote:
IAFG wrote:I have no idea how a first semester 1L, based on THEIR feelings and THEIR experience, could begin to guess at how they did relative to everyone else.


And just to confirm this with my own anecdotal evidence.
First semester, I apparently had no idea how I was going to do.
Second semester I did more or less as I would have predicted, on 3/4 exams. Third semester, as I would have predicted.

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IAFG
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby IAFG » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:31 pm

SBL wrote:It's probably good practice in curved classes to just assume you got a B.

Or, every time you find yourself wondering how you did before grades come out, to take a shot.

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Gail
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Re: Why the disparity between the expection and the real grade?

Postby Gail » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:11 pm

How can you expect to do median? Were you cheating by looking at everyone else's exam?


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