How imporant are typing skills?

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AlabamaIceman
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How imporant are typing skills?

Postby AlabamaIceman » Tue May 10, 2011 8:52 pm

Random question, I know, but I'm not exactly Barry Allen when handwriting my notes or typing (wpm of about 60), but I have no idea how important that skill actually is in the grander scheme of things pertaining to the law.

And while we're on the subject, can I expect to be allowed to use my computer (MacBook pro at the moment) to take notes? Or do the lion's share of professors disallow this for some reason?

Samms
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby Samms » Tue May 10, 2011 9:16 pm

Typing is important in all aspects of life. As society completes modernization, it will take even more of a roll than it does now. I'm 21 years old and thanks to growing up in this age, I have about a 120 WPM. I know that to be a dispatcher, you need 35 WPM. You have 60, which is great.

Most professors allow laptops, but there are always exceptions. Since most tests are done using a keyboard and a computer, I can't imagine one that disallows it in this day and age. If anyone can counteract this point, go ahead, but as far as I can recall, no professors disallow them.

Hope the above helps.

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Kimchi_smile
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby Kimchi_smile » Tue May 10, 2011 10:33 pm

I have about 90 WPM speed of typing. It allows me to type up my notes very fast. (I use OneNote to take almost all of my notes).

All of the tests are done on computers in LS?? You mean 1Ls all packed in a computer lab noisily typing up their essay exams? That sounds really distracting. Some people just have the habit of banging hard on the keyboard...

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Ty Webb
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby Ty Webb » Tue May 10, 2011 10:41 pm

Kimchi_smile wrote:I have about 90 WPM speed of typing. It allows me to type up my notes very fast. (I use OneNote to take almost all of my notes).

All of the tests are done on computers in LS?? You mean 1Ls all packed in a computer lab noisily typing up their essay exams? That sounds really distracting. Some people just have the habit of banging hard on the keyboard...


People bring their laptops and take the exam using approved exam-taking software. Exams are typically saved to flash drives. Student services processes these and will provide the professor with the printed copies.

It is relatively distracting, which is why most people wear ear plugs.

To answer the OP's question - typing skill and speed is important in law school, especially on exams. Many exams are of the variety where more is better. The majority of my exams have been the kind where professors simply "point up" for good analysis and spotting all of the issues (usually too many issues for anyone to get all of them). More typing speed equals more analysis and more issues spotted. This leads to more points and more grades generally. I have heard of many instances where people have typed less than a lot and gotten good grades. I have heard very few anecdotes about people typing a ton (think 3000 words/hour) and getting a bad grade. (I recognize that it's highly possible that there is a correlation between people who know the material well and people who are able to type consistently throughout an exam as is required to produce 3000 productive words per hour).

IMO, improving your typing speed is the most important pre-LS activity that you can do.

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law4vus
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby law4vus » Wed May 11, 2011 11:08 am

I type 90 WPM with two fingers. I should really get on the typing like real people thing before school starts.

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ahduth
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby ahduth » Wed May 11, 2011 11:58 am

AlabamaIceman wrote:Random question, I know, but I'm not exactly Barry Allen when handwriting my notes or typing (wpm of about 60), but I have no idea how important that skill actually is in the grander scheme of things pertaining to the law.

And while we're on the subject, can I expect to be allowed to use my computer (MacBook pro at the moment) to take notes? Or do the lion's share of professors disallow this for some reason?


My school made owning a proper laptop a stipulation of even putting down a deposit.

Also, I only got 73wpm here:

http://www.typeonline.co.uk/typingspeed.php

120wpm sounds painful.

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Ty Webb
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby Ty Webb » Wed May 11, 2011 12:00 pm

law4vus wrote:I type 90 WPM with two fingers. I should really get on the typing like real people thing before school starts.


Whatever works for you. I had a friend point out to me last year that I basically only use two fingers on my right hand when I type, and that I cover a disproportionate amount of keyboard with my left hand (even though I'm right handed).

Renzo
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby Renzo » Wed May 11, 2011 12:01 pm

There is a floor below which typing speed is a handicap on exams, but above that it's not a real advantage. If you can type 60wmp relatively accurately, you're fine.

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nygrrrl
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby nygrrrl » Wed May 11, 2011 12:12 pm

Several of the professors where I go to school strongly discourage laptops for note-taking; I do not know of any who ban it, full out. (Personally, I like taking class notes by hand but it's definitely not always the best - depends on the course and the prof, I think.)
Exams are taken on laptops by 90% of the students - it is very loud; most of us wear ear plugs. I have a friend who is graduating this year who has taken every one of his exams by hand and he's done just fine... but it's unusual.

I type between 68-70 wpm and I've been fine. That said, one of my goals for the summer is to increase that as much as possible.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby Stringer Bell » Wed May 11, 2011 12:13 pm

law4vus wrote:I type 90 WPM with two fingers. I should really get on the typing like real people thing before school starts.


90 WPM is damn fast. Don't worry about it. You would initially take a huge step backwards learning to touch type properly and it would be a long time before you could hit 90 with that method much less surpass it.

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BruceWayne
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby BruceWayne » Wed May 11, 2011 12:15 pm

On traditional law exams, it's better to have a moderate grasp of the subject matter and blazing fast typing speed, than it is it have a strong grasp and be a slow or even average typist.

forty-two
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby forty-two » Wed May 11, 2011 12:17 pm

Some professors at my school also discourage laptops for note taking, but I've only hear of one who actually banned them. He allowed laptops for the final though.

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quiver
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby quiver » Wed May 11, 2011 12:22 pm

Like others have said: it makes the most difference for exams. I only type about 50-55 wpm. I knew this would hurt a bit so I made a conscious effort to practice analyzing fact patterns more quickly, leaving me more time to type my answer. I'm not sure how much this actually helped but from talking to other people I'm always within a page or two of the everyone else. No doubt, it definitely helps to type faster, but it's not a death knell to your grade if you can't.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed May 11, 2011 12:23 pm

Renzo wrote:There is a floor below which typing speed is a handicap on exams, but above that it's not a real advantage. If you can type 60wmp relatively accurately, you're fine.


+1

i type at 110 wpm (who says playing video games growing up doesnt help? lol), but i never actually type at 110 wpm on an exam...lol, i think above a certain threshold it is all about the same (since hopefully one is still thinking before one types). even if a professor says more is NOT better and they value conciseness, i think what they really mean is typing a whole lot will not help you, but typing too little may still hurt

forty-two
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby forty-two » Wed May 11, 2011 12:26 pm

BruceWayne wrote:On traditional law exams, it's better to have a moderate grasp of the subject matter and blazing fast typing speed, than it is it have a strong grasp and be a slow or even average typist.

This depends on how good these people are at writing law school exams. I only type around 60 WPM and my grades are higher than some of the fastest typists I know. If you are well organized, focus on applying law to the facts, and make every word count, you can get a great grade on a shorter exam. However, in the situation you described, if both students were equally good at writing law school exams, the faster typist would probably be able to properly analyze more issues will probably end up with the higher grade.

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BruceWayne
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby BruceWayne » Wed May 11, 2011 12:28 pm

quiver wrote:Like others have said: it makes the most difference for exams. I only type about 50-55 wpm. I knew this would hurt a bit so I made a conscious effort to practice analyzing fact patterns more quickly, leaving me more time to type my answer. I'm not sure how much this actually helped but from talking to other people I'm always within a page or two of the everyone else. No doubt, it definitely helps to type faster, but it's not a death knell to your grade if you can't.


If you type less than 50 wpm it is definitely a death knell to your grade on traditional law exams. You simply won't be able to compete with someone who types 80 or god forbid 100 wpm, even if you know the subject matter better. This is one of the things that causes people to say that grades are "random". They aren't random, but they often hinge on a lot of things that don't have anything to do with knowledge, work ethic, or intelligence. Typing speed may be the most glaring of these.



forty-two wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:On traditional law exams, it's better to have a moderate grasp of the subject matter and blazing fast typing speed, than it is it have a strong grasp and be a slow or even average typist.

This depends on how good these people are at writing law school exams. I only type around 60 WPM and my grades are a lot higher than some of the fastest typists I know. If you are well organized, focus on applying law to the facts, and make every word count, you can get a great grade on a shorter exam. However, in the situation you described, if both students were equally good at writing law school exams, the faster typist would probably be able to properly analyze more issues will probably end up with the higher grade.


Not on traditional issue spotters. On other types of exams that's fine, but on a pure issue spotter (which most 1L exams are) the bottom line is that (as long as they're not saying anything blatantly wrong--which they probably aren't) the more issues spotted and the more issues typed out the higher the grade.

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yngblkgifted
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby yngblkgifted » Wed May 11, 2011 1:01 pm

This has quickly turned into a "my dick must be bigger than yours because I can type faster" contest...

HeavenWood
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby HeavenWood » Wed May 11, 2011 1:03 pm

yngblkgifted wrote:This has quickly turned into a "my dick must be bigger than yours because I can type faster" contest...


My dick's over 100 WPM.

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TTH
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby TTH » Wed May 11, 2011 1:14 pm

Late to the party, but becoming a good typist is key. TyWebb said it. It's the only 0L prep worth doing.

http://www.typeracer.com

Go nuts.

forty-two
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby forty-two » Wed May 11, 2011 1:29 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
forty-two wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:On traditional law exams, it's better to have a moderate grasp of the subject matter and blazing fast typing speed, than it is it have a strong grasp and be a slow or even average typist.

This depends on how good these people are at writing law school exams. I only type around 60 WPM and my grades are a lot higher than some of the fastest typists I know. If you are well organized, focus on applying law to the facts, and make every word count, you can get a great grade on a shorter exam. However, in the situation you described, if both students were equally good at writing law school exams, the faster typist would probably be able to properly analyze more issues will probably end up with the higher grade.


Not on traditional issue spotters. On other types of exams that's fine, but on a pure issue spotter (which most 1L exams are) the bottom line is that (as long as they're not saying anything blatantly wrong--which they probably aren't) the more issues spotted and the more issues typed out the higher the grade.


In my experience, this even holds true for traditional issue spotters. When I asked my professors about this last semester, they all said that lots of long exams include a lot of fluff that doesn't actually get any points (one of my profs even said that he sometimes read several pages without awarding any points, it's not that what these people wrote was wrong, it's just that it didn't yield any points because it wasn't application of the law to the facts). Like I said, if a fast typist is good at taking law school exams, extra typing should lead to more points. But someone who types 120 WPM but isn't good at law school exams and thinks that spending time and space on the history of the law or minute legal details that show knowledge of the law but don't pertain to the fact pattern probably won't get a better grade than the 55 WPM typist who knows how to write a good law school exam and uses his time wisely.

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Ty Webb
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby Ty Webb » Wed May 11, 2011 1:38 pm

forty-two wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:
forty-two wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:On traditional law exams, it's better to have a moderate grasp of the subject matter and blazing fast typing speed, than it is it have a strong grasp and be a slow or even average typist.

This depends on how good these people are at writing law school exams. I only type around 60 WPM and my grades are a lot higher than some of the fastest typists I know. If you are well organized, focus on applying law to the facts, and make every word count, you can get a great grade on a shorter exam. However, in the situation you described, if both students were equally good at writing law school exams, the faster typist would probably be able to properly analyze more issues will probably end up with the higher grade.


Not on traditional issue spotters. On other types of exams that's fine, but on a pure issue spotter (which most 1L exams are) the bottom line is that (as long as they're not saying anything blatantly wrong--which they probably aren't) the more issues spotted and the more issues typed out the higher the grade.


In my experience, this even holds true for traditional issue spotters. When I asked my professors about this last semester, they all said that lots of long exams include a lot of fluff that doesn't actually get any points (one of my profs even said that he sometimes read several pages without awarding any points, it's not that what these people wrote was wrong, it's just that it didn't yield any points because it wasn't application of the law to the facts). Like I said, if a fast typist is good at taking law school exams, extra typing should lead to more points. But someone who types 120 WPM but isn't good at law school exams and thinks that spending time and space on the history of the law or minute legal details that show knowledge of the law but don't pertain to the fact pattern probably won't get a better grade than the 55 WPM typist who knows how to write a good law school exam and uses his time wisely.


This, and all advice, should be qualified with a "depends upon the professor" disclaimer. Most professors prefer that you write exams in a way that weaves the facts, rules, and analysis all together. Applying the law to the facts given gets you points, while the other stuff is just window dressing.

I have had one professor, though, who believes his preferred method of exam writing is the only way it should be done. His is a strictly PRINCIPLES-FACT ANALYSIS-CONCLUSION method, and he wants it rigid. He wants you to literally type out of all of the relevant (or possibly relevant) principles before starting any sort of analysis. It's almost certain that he awards points both for good analysis and for people who can provide him with the largest quantity of relevant law. It really is asinine, but you have to do it if you want a good grade.

So, according to your professor's desires, always. If the professor is silent on the matter, then it's safe to assume that they want you to do apply the law to facts to earn your points.

forty-two
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby forty-two » Wed May 11, 2011 1:44 pm

Ty Webb wrote:This, and all advice, should be qualified with a "depends upon the professor" disclaimer. Most professors prefer that you write exams in a way that weaves the facts, rules, and analysis all together. Applying the law to the facts given gets you points, while the other stuff is just window dressing.

I have had one professor, though, who believes his preferred method of exam writing is the only way it should be done. His is a strictly PRINCIPLES-FACT ANALYSIS-CONCLUSION method, and he wants it rigid. He wants you to literally type out of all of the relevant (or possibly relevant) principles before starting any sort of analysis. It's almost certain that he awards points both for good analysis and for people who can provide him with the largest quantity of relevant law. It really is asinine, but you have to do it if you want a good grade.

So, according to your professor's desires, always. If the professor is silent on the matter, then it's safe to assume that they want you to do apply the law to facts to earn your points.

Oh definitely. It's super important to know exactly how each individual professor grades, and people should vary their style depending on what their professor wants to see (use of case analogies, lots of issues and a little analysis, fewer issues and a lot of analysis...). I just didn't want slow typists to get caught up in the silly notion that they would always be beaten out by faster typists no matter what.

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yngblkgifted
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby yngblkgifted » Wed May 11, 2011 2:01 pm

Serious question: What is the general consensus on the minimum typing speed in law school that won't hurt you on exams? 55 WPM? 50 WPM? 90?

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Ty Webb
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby Ty Webb » Wed May 11, 2011 2:08 pm

yngblkgifted wrote:Serious question: What is the general consensus on the minimum typing speed in law school that won't hurt you on exams? 55 WPM? 50 WPM? 90?


I think that depends upon your definition of the phrase "won't hurt you." In one sense, you are "hurt" if your typing speed is anything less than the best in your class because then at least one person has a tangible advantage over you in a directly adversarial system.

The question then becomes, "How fast will the majority of my classmates type?" so that you can know what's necessary to not get left behind. The answer to this is likely somewhere between 55-65 WPM I would guess. At least in my section, it seems as if there are a few painfully slow typers, a couple of people who can hit 100+ WPM and everyone else seems to fall into the same generally vicinity around that 60 WPM mark.

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yngblkgifted
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Re: How imporant are typing skills?

Postby yngblkgifted » Wed May 11, 2011 2:14 pm

Ty Webb wrote:
yngblkgifted wrote:Serious question: What is the general consensus on the minimum typing speed in law school that won't hurt you on exams? 55 WPM? 50 WPM? 90?


I think that depends upon your definition of the phrase "won't hurt you." In one sense, you are "hurt" if your typing speed is anything less than the best in your class because then at least one person has a tangible advantage over you in a directly adversarial system.

The question then becomes, "How fast will the majority of my classmates type?" so that you can know what's necessary to not get left behind. The answer to this is likely somewhere between 55-65 WPM I would guess. At least in my section, it seems as if there are a few painfully slow typers, a couple of people who can hit 100+ WPM and everyone else seems to fall into the same generally vicinity around that 60 WPM mark.


Thanks for the answer. Makes me feel a little better about my speed (55-60). However, I suspect it would still be advantageous to get my WPM as fast as possible this summer before law school.




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