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1
Studying and Exam Taking / 4.0 Grades First Semester!
« on: January 01, 2007, 12:49:57 PM »
I just finished my first semester as a 1L...so this is my limited experience that I am going to share....

I got two grades so far. 4.0 in Legal Writing and 4.0 in Torts! I am still waiting on my Contracts grade. I am a part-time student because I have to work full-time. I am a single mom of seven kids at home (9 in total) - 4 bio and 5 adopted.

Thanks to Atticus Falcon's Planet Law School 2 and thanks to Fleming's Exam Writing Workshop! Without those two tools, I would have not done as well.

Before starting law school, I got some of the books Atticus recommended, like E&E, Concepts & Insight Series, etc. and read them. I also really liked "Understanding Contracts" and "Understanding Torts", there is an entire series of the "Understanding _____" from Lexis. (Also, I found the "A Concise Restatement of _____" series very useful. It give the Restatements but it gives a good overview of examples of how that particular restatement applies to senarios. It is published by The American Law Institute - Atticus recommended them as well.)

I only had 2 months to prepare, but it was great to get a general overview of the topic. I am not somebody who can read and memorize. I have to have repeated exposure through different contexts (reading, discussion, writing, etc.) However, one of the very important things to concentrate on is to get a good general overview of the topic (i.e contracts) of what will be taught that semester.

So, before starting classes, I knew about offer-acceptance-consideration, etc. Of course, our class started with consideration and promissory estoppel without ever having touched on offer and acceptance. The course was taught completely out of sequence! Most students were lost, they saw individual trees but did not see the forest.

I was able to start my outline very early on. Since I had a basic understanding of the main topics and compared them to the syllabus and the sequence the casebook took, I was able to work on my outline with ease. It all made sense to me.

Additionally, very early into the semester, I took Fleming's Exam Writing Workshop. It does not matter if you know the law if you do not know how to write about it. Fleming's workshop took one weekend (12 hours) of which 4 hours was spent on the basics, like issue spotting, setting up an outline, etc. and the rest of the 8 hours was spent actually issue spotting/debriefing and exam writing/debriefing. It was the bootcamp for exam writing! We went home on Saturday evening with an exam to write that we had to bring back on Sunday. It was almost painful to do, but with practice, I got better.

That course really helped me with my legal writing class. I got really good at writing the "A" part of the IRAC.

Additionally, I made use of the exam writing workbooks and the course outlines that are accompanied with CD lectures that Fleming has.

I actually used the outline from Fleming to guide my outline. It was a great overview to listen to the course overview lecture that is based on the outline. They are a bit pricey, but worth it.

(To prepare for next semester, Torts 2, Contracts 2 and Property I, I am already listening to the CDs and reading the outlines, in addition to the books that Atticus is recommending.)

Additionally, I used canned casebriefs. I bought the online versions and cut & pasted them into a word document. This way, I was able to edit it to fit what I needed. I have already done the ones for this coming semester. I also read cases, but at times I did not have the time. Reading cases is important because of the legal reasoning that you get exposed to (some are better than others). But the main thing to focus on is that you are supposed to get a rule out of that case or an example of an exception to the rule. I always asked myself where the case fits into the main outline in terms of the rule.

I think that most students spend too much time on trying to make it through the cases and thus did not have time to get to the Outline or to take practice exams.

One other tip is to look at lexis to get the headnotes from a case in the casebook. The headnotes give you the main issues of the case. I used them to brief cases. When I got called on, I had all the issues listed and my professor said that he could not think of any questions to ask me because I had listed all the important points of the case. Not because I am soooo smart...LOL...but because I knew how to prepare using the headnotes. (In class does not count toward the final grade, but it was a nice feeling to not be torn apart in front of the class --- though this particular professor is a nice person and does not embarrass students, nonetheless, he asks a lot of questions usually.)

If you are still with me...one other IMPORTANT tip is to write lots and lots of practice exams! When I first took the Fleming's course, I focused on writing his practice exams because they come with a sample issue outline and a sample answer. Once I felt more comfortable with the sample answer and got the IRAC down, especially the "A" part, then I started focusing on the previous exams that my professor had given. I would do an issue outline, like I had been taught by Fleming (and got really fast at it). Then I would compare the prof's answer (he had an issue checklist) to make sure that I spotted all the issues. I got pretty good at it.

Once I checked on the issues, then I would write the exam. I noted certain patterns on what the professor focused on. For example, in the contracts mid-terms, I noticed that all mid-terms had a certain pattern of examining offer, acceptance (which were always non-issues) and then there was lack of consideration. Then there was a discussion of "past consideration", "gratuitous promise", "moral consideration" even if these were really not at issue, these mid-terms still had them in the model answer. Then the exam would go onto "quasi contract" and "promissory estoppel". I noted this pattern and practised accordingly. When the mid-term came along, it was exactly that same pattern. I got an "A-" in the mid-term, there were no "A's" given. So, I had one of the highest grades.

I did the same for the finals. I started right after mid-terms in my preparation for finals. Of course there are some areas that you cannot write on because you do not quite understand. However, you can write on what you already know. For example for torts, I was able to write the "duty" and "breach" portion of exams, then I would go back to that exam and write the "causation" and "damages" portion.

Again, I looked for patterns. I found some and noticed some areas that the professor liked testing, like landowner duty for negligence. I made sure that I could write on that fast and with ease. I practiced and practiced writing.

Also, I would also rewrite exams that I had already written to make sure that I learned how to express myself better. There was phrasing that I noticed the professor used in his sample answers. I memorized that phrasing to use in my writing. It seems to have worked because of my 4.0's.

One more thing, our exams also have multiple choice questions (which I do not like). I bought several books to practice them. Emmanuels, Siegels and Q&A from Lexis. Emmanuel and Siegels were the easier type of questions. I started with them. If I noticed that a question was something that we had not covered yet, I marked it to do later. Then I moved onto the Q&A series. There the questions are categorized. The questions in Q&A are a bit trickier than the Emmanels and Siegels.  I made sure to review the answers in the back because the explanations were good.

I also bought a Multistate book for multiple choice, but for a new student these are not so good because they combine subject matter even if the question is under "Torts" it may contain elements of procedure which I had not taken.

Hope this helps somebody. I am not an expert, just finished my first semester as a part-time student, but I thought that I could share.

Happy New Year ~ Vera :)

2
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Torts - 4 CD's - 5 Hours

Contracts - 7 CD's - 9 Hours

Property - 5 CD's - 6 Hours

Evidence - 5 CD's - 6 Hours

Constitutional Law - 5 CD's - 6 Hours

Criminal Law - 3 CD's - 3 Hours

Civil Procedure - 3 CD's - 4 Hours

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Please email me at sunfunliving at yahoo dot com


3
October 16, 2006

"Ghetto Fabulous" Parties: the New Face of White Supremacy
Racism and Cheap Thrills at the University of Texas Law School
By ROBERT JENSEN

  When one of the first-year University of Texas law students who participated in a "ghetto fabulous" party posted pictures on the web, we saw the ugly face of white privilege and the racism in which it is rooted. But the depth of the problem of white supremacy at the university -- and in mainstream institutions more generally -- is also evident in the polite way in which the university administration chastised the students.
  While the thoughtless actions of young adults acting out the racism of the culture are disturbing, the thoughtful -- but depoliticized -- response from the law school is distressing. The actions of both groups in this affair are a painful reminder of the depth of white society's commitment to white supremacy.
  This controversy is not unique to UT. It seems that every year students at a prestigious university -- the University of Chicago last year, Cornell in 2004, and Texas A&M in 2003 -- hold one of these parties, in which white students revel in what they believe to be the appearance and behavior of the black and brown people of the "ghetto."
 The student from the UT party who posted the photos has taken them off the web, but news reports describe a party in which the students "carried 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor and wore Afro wigs, necklaces with large medallions and name tags bearing historically black and Hispanic names." No one involved has contested the characterization of the event.
   The motivations and views of participants may vary, but these parties have two consistent features:
(1) white people mock African American and Latino people through stereotypes of the residents of low-income urban areas, while at the same time enjoying the feeling of temporarily adopting these looks and poses; and
(2) the white folks typically do it without pausing to ponder what right they have as members of a dominant racial class to poach in this fashion on the lives of people of a subordinated racial class.
  In other words, white people find pleasure in insulting non-white people while at the same time safely "slumming" for cheap thrills in that non-white world, all the time oblivious to the moral and political implications.
  Also typical in these university controversies is a tepid reaction from administrators, who tend to avoid the contentious race politics at the core of the problem. At UT, the email that went out to all law students from Dean Larry Sager is revealing.
  Let me be clear that this critique is not focused on the dean, or any other administrator involved. Sager, who has a distinguished record as a teacher, is a widely recognized constitutional scholar who has published important work on civil liberties, especially freedom of religion. He consulted other administrators and students before communicating to the entire student body, and his commitment to equality and diversity is clear. Still, his characterization of the incident is troubling.
  The email to students doesn't use the terms "racism" or "white supremacy." The only reference to the racial politics of "ghetto fabulous" is the description of the party as being "named in a way that was easily understood to have negative racial overtones" and a reminder that being "racially insensitive" is inappropriate. While many of the students at the party may not have thought they were being racist, it's essential that we name such activities as rooted in white people's sense of privilege and entitlement, the result of historical and contemporary racism in a white-supremacist culture.
  This language is crucial. Even with the gains of the civil-rights movement, U.S. society is still white supremacist in material terms (there are deep, enduring racialized disparities in measures of wealth and well-being, some of which haven't improved in the past four decades) and ideology (many white people continue to believe that the culture and politics of Europe are inherently superior). To pretend that things such as a ghetto party are not rooted in those racist realities is to ignore fundamental moral and political issues in an unjust society. It's not about "negative racial overtones" -- it's about racism, whether conscious or not. It's not about being "racially insensitive" -- it's about support for white supremacy, whether intended or not.
  The dean's email to law students goes on to give three reasons the party was "thoughtless."
  First, Sager suggests that some students "might be seriously offended by the party, and especially by the pictures taken at the event." No doubt many people were offended, and we all should avoid unnecessary offense to others. But the key problem is not that such images are offensive but that they are part of an oppressive system of white supremacy. In a pluralist society, we all can expect to be offended by some things other people say and do. Such offense becomes an important political issue when connected to the ways in which some people are systematically devalued and discriminated against.
  

4
Hi to all the people who email me off list and all the others...

I wrote "The Perfect LSAT Study Plan" so that students would not have to take a full-length class and pay $1,000+ for the class. The study plan is an alternative to taking an expensive class. I have several people wanting to work through the study plan AFTER they have finished their full-length classes...don't...

The scope-and-sequence of "The Perfect Study Plan" covers everything that a class would cover, utitlizing the best materials out there on the "open market". You would really double-do it (and waste your valuable prep-time) if you had already taken a full-length LSAT class and were to go over the sequence of the study plan again. (Except for maybe some of the lower quality prep-classes.)

When you take a LSAT full-length class, if you look at your homework assignments, you are basically going over the basics and you are doing corresponding LSAT tests exercises.

When you are done with your full-length LSAT class, you MUST start taking timed tests and review those tests as your MAIN focus of study!

Do NOT waste your time re-reading all the bibles from the front to the back (especially if you already took the Powerscore class.) The way to utilize the bibles is to see what kind of questions/games you still have problems with and to review the specific chapters that deal with that.

It bothers me to see people review and reread the chapters over and over again, even to the extend of taking notes on what they read...you are spinning your wheels if you do that. You MUST do timed tests or test sections in combination to any review that you do.

I almost feel like I am repeating myself over and over again, when I say the following... To get a good LSAT score take two steps:

1) You must learn the basics (that is done by taking a class or very effectively through self-study - keep in mind that some classes are better at teaching you the basics than others)

2) You must learn to apply those basics by taking timed tests and test sections and reviewing those sections.

The key is that you should spend about 1/3 or at most 1/2  of your LSAT prep time (say 1-2 months out of a 4 month-prep time) doing step (1)..... AND then you MUST spend about 2/3 or 1/2 of the rest of those 4 months to focus on taking timed tests and timed test sections and reviewing/debriefing those sections.

It is like learning to ride a bike, let's use that analogy. Before you learn how to ride it, you have to learn the basics, watch somebody ride a bike. You want to read a booklet about the basics of bike riding.

Does that make you a proficient bike rider? - NO

YOU MUST GET ON THE BIKE AND RIDE IT!!!!

That is the same with the LSAT. I get so many emails from people that tell me that they are reading and re-reading and studying and studying some more from the PS Bibles and the other books...."No!! Get on the bike and ride it!" --- Then if you fall off or your don't get up the hill on the bike, go back to the booklet and see what you did wrong. Also, once you have learned to stay on your bike, then you need to practice to ride your bike faster without falling off.

Do you think the Tour de France guys just watch videos of each other riding or reading books on how to ride the Tour de France? No - they ride and ride and ride --- and then they review to see how they could do better riding up a mountain or how to maneuver through dangerous curvy terrain....it is the same with the LSAT.

(Does this analogy clarify things a bit?)

Vera :)

5
Studying for the LSAT / #40 - June 2003 Answer Key Needed
« on: August 04, 2006, 07:12:17 PM »
Can somebody please email me the answerkey to that test. For some reason, I do not have it.

Thanks, Vera

sunfunliving@yahoo.com

6
Studying for the LSAT / For those who "know me".... sunfunliving
« on: July 20, 2006, 09:06:13 PM »
Everybody --- I know this is not LSAT related, but I know that some of you are following what I have been working on...

I got a call today and an email telling me that the situation is falling apart in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 29 Westeners (non-Haitians) have been kidnapped in July already...two missionaries were released after over $100,000 U.S. Dollars was paid in ransom for each.

Cars are being attacked going to and from the Airport and UN Troops are in "Fierce clashes in Haitian capital" according to the BBC News website.

My suitcases are packed, my non-refundable airline ticket is sitting here...and I am so frustrated!

There is nobody who has $100,000 US Dollars to pay for me should I get kidnapped and I have five kids at home age 11 and under...

The orphanage desparately needs the baby milk that I was bringing along with me...it's the baby milk that I purchased with the proceeds from the LSAT Perfect Study Plan.

If you are the praying kind...please pray...

Vera :-(


7
I am posting this to maybe eliminate all the repeat posts that get posted with the same questions...over and over again...

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is one of the more difficult college admissions tests. The test does not assess content knowledge, for example, you won’t be tested on your mathematic knowledge. Instead, the LSAT assesses your ability to analyze and respond to short reading passages, your speed to absorb, process and manipulate certain information based on short scenarios of logical reasoning, and your ability to apply analytical reasoning skills in disseminating information and reassembling that information under strictly timed conditions.

Some people are of the opinion that the LSAT is equivalent to an intelligence test. Personally, I disagree with that opinion. I am sure that you cannot teach a baboon to score high on the LSAT, however a person of average intelligence can “learn the test” and obtain a satisfactory score on the LSAT.

I have only known of one person who studied for less than a month and scored a 175, which is in the 98th to 99th percentile. However the majority of students I know of who scored above 165 and above 170 spent several months studying for the LSAT. These successful LSAT students devoted several hours in preparation for the actual test per day, at least three to five days per week.

Unfortunately, there are no short cuts to “learning the test”. I am sure that you have seen ads that promise you to “learn the LSAT secrets in 30 minutes flat” or that promise you to increase your score to the perfect 180 score by simply purchasing the advertised program, I compare those promises to the miracle cure for male baldness.

Scoring high on the LSAT is going to require your personal commitment to work hard for several months.

As you probably already know, law schools use the LSAT score, in addition to the undergraduate grade point average (GPA) to determine admission and financial scholarships. Reality is that most law schools give more proportional weight to the LSAT than to the applicant’s GPA. I agree that it does not seem fair to give more weight to an exam that is approximately three hours in length exam over the GPA that you earned in four years of college study, but this is the reality that every prospective law student has to face and live with.

What makes the LSAT so difficult is that it is administered under strictly timed conditions and because it tests skills that many of us do not use in our daily lives. However the reasoning skills that you will be tested on are crucial for first year law school success. It is encouraging to know that you can learn these skills and that you can learn to do them “fast” with sufficient practice.

I have met LSAT students who had graduate degrees and even met one student who had a Ph.D. who had scored horribly low because of lack of proper test preparation. These students underestimated the LSAT and made the false assumption that they could score high based of their previous educational experience. Do not fall into this trap! Prepare!

When students ask about LSAT test preparation, I ask them if they would ever consider running in a marathon without prior training or practice. One cannot expect to complete a marathon race, let alone with a good finish time without having trained for several months prior to the marathon. Preparing for a marathon does not only consist of random training sessions but of a implementation of a well thought out training plan. The same concept applies to LSAT preparation.

When you take the actual LSAT, your preparation or lack of preparation will determine the outcome of your final score. I was utterly amazed at the lack of preparation of some students who take the LSAT. When I took the test, a student next to me left during the break. He was very upset because, as he told me, he thought that he could just come and take the LSAT and “wing it”. He experienced a rude awakening, to say the least.

Some people, me included, tend to become nervous in the formal testing environment similar to the LSAT administration. For “the nervous people” it becomes essential to take another step in preparation, namely what to do to calm those nerves.  

So, how do you best prepare for the LSAT?

You have several options for your LSAT preparation. Many students chose to take a preparatory class offered by competing LSAT prep-companies. The companies promise you a higher LSAT score; actually most guarantee you at least a 10 point increase in your score. This is very enticing for a serious student who wants a high score.

As mentioned previously, there are no magic LSAT improvement quick fixes, so how can these companies promise you a 10 point increase in your LSAT score? After all, on their websites and brochures plenty of their former LSAT students testify that their scores went up from a 147 score to a 160 score or from a 155 score to a 170 score.  Guess what? These classes required their students to work through almost all the previously released LSAT questions and tests. They require their students to study almost every day for several months. The classes are great if you invest your time and effort into studying and completing all the homework assignments and timed sample tests that make up the class materials.

If you have the financial means to pay out approximately $1,000 - $1,600 and you lack the self-discipline to study on your own, by all means sign up for a class.

However, if you are like most aspiring law students, you have enough self-discipline to study and you cannot afford to spend $1,000+ on a class. I want to point out, that some preparatory companies allow students to make payments and one of companies even offer a limited amount of partial scholarships. If you feel that you cannot prepare on your own and you have the financial means to take one of the preparatory classes, make sure to do research. Talk to students and get their opinions on the companies who offer these classes. Some of the companies have a better reputation for preparing student than some others.

However, you can prepare for the LSAT and score high without taking such a class and without having to spend a lot of money. Like mentioned above, the material that is used in the preparatory classes does not consist of “some magic intellectual LSAT secret” that you read and that will cause you to suddenly achieve a perfect LSAT score. The study materials that you will be provided with at the preparatory classes consist of previously administered LSAT tests that are readily available for purchase.

What happens is that most students preparing for the LSAT do not have the time and know-how on how to construct an effective “LSAT training schedule” and they do not know how to select the right LSAT prep-materials. As a result they either end up registering for one of the above classes or they spend their valuable study time “spinning their wheels”, trying to figure out how to prepare for the LSAT.

Often students purchase many of the prep-books that are offered for sale in bookstores and try to self study that way.  Unfortunately, these books offer limited preparation to successfully score high on the LSAT. If you take one of the full-length preparatory LSAT courses, the materials you will receive consist of up to 2,000 pages of material, consisting of some explanations and mostly of previously administered LSAT tests. I have wondered why some test prep companies put out 200 page “complete LSAT study books” that are supposed to prepare students for the LSAT in 200 pages or less. I have come to the conclusion that if a student was given a choice between two books, each promising complete test prep, of one that is 200 pages thick and the other that is 2,000 pages thick, the student would probably chose the thinner book. The big book would stay on the shelf and collect dust.

The good news is that you can thoroughly prepare for the LSAT on your own without spending a fortune. In combination, some of the above mentioned books are excellent guides in preparation.

continued....

8
Book sales, auctions, trades, etc. / The Perfect LSAT Study Plan
« on: June 18, 2006, 12:00:07 PM »
I wrote a 150 page study guide to prepare for the LSAT without having to fork out a lot of money for a class. The book has one study plan for 2 months, 4 months and 6 months.

Please check out the ebay auction at the link or do a search for The Perfect LSAT Study Plan on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7042891182&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1

I charge $10 for the book in ebook format. Please know that the proceeds from the sale go to support an orphanage in Liberia (I adopted two children from there) and to an orphanage in Haiti (where I am currently adopting a baby from).

Best of luck on your LSAT studies.

Vera :)

9
A professor at Havard University, Dr. Howard Gardner, identified seven learning styles (also referred to as multiple intelligences) that are taught in teacher preparation courses. Everybody learns differently and a good teacher knows how to identfiy how their students learn best and are supposed to taylor their lessons to these learning styles to ensure maximum learning in their classrooms.

Why am I posting this? Because if you can identify your learning style, it may help you not only with your LSAT studies but also in your future learning career.

Dr. Gardener identified the following learning intelligences:

 Linguistic intelligence ("word smart"):
 Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
 Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
 Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
 Musical intelligence ("music smart")
 Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
 Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
 Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

You are not just one learning style, most people are a mixture of two or three, yet you will find that you have one style (intelligence) that is more prominent than the others.

So how do the different intelligences learn?

 words (linguistic intelligence)
 numbers or logic (logical-mathematical intelligence)
pictures (spatial intelligence)
 music (musical intelligence)
 self-reflection (intrapersonal intelligence)
 a physical experience (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence)
 a social experience (interpersonal intelligence), and/or
 an experience in the natural world. (naturalist intelligence)

I have bolded the most prominent learning styles. The ones that are not highlighted tend to be the minor learning styles that are connected to the stronger ones.

That means that a person who learns with words mostly is an auditory learner, this person learns through hearing and talking about the subject. This kind of learner will do well with a study group or partner.

That means that a person who learns with numbers or logic mostly is a mathematic kind of learner. You know the kids who have deep analytical skills who make connections easily. Most engineers are this kind of learner. They put everything into a mathematical formula. These students do well with learning the conditional reasoning through the "formula" that is given by the Powerscore Book. They are natural at the games, but may have problems with the reading comp section, unless they can devise a formula that helps them break down the reading comp into neat little sections.

That means that a person who learns with spacial smart mostly is somebody who learns best by writing everything down and reading from a book. This kind of learner does really well with self study and discussing of problems may even confuse this kind of learner.

That means that a person who learns with physical experience mostly is somebody that learns by doing. These are the students who can not seem to sit still and cannot learn how to take an engine apart from books, but will be able to figure it out on their own by physically taking the engine apart and knows then how to put it back together again. If this is your learning style, then you might have a challenge with learning the LSAT and or law school because most of it is so reading/book based. But this kind of learner does best in preparation with just doing tests and checking them instead of reading a chapter and trying out the questions. They seem to learn best "backwards" with the LSAT.

to be continued...


10
Studying for the LSAT / Attention - Sept & Dec 2006 Test Takers
« on: May 30, 2006, 10:22:18 AM »
If you are taking the September of December LSAT, then take advantage of the sample test that Princeton Review offers on June 12th, during the same time as the June LSAT is being administered.

Though I do not recommend Princeton Review as LSAT prep, they offer a sample test that is a real LSAT and administer it under simulated LSAT test conditions. That is its strength.

Taking the LSAT with 50 other people in the room under proctored conditions is different from taking it alone in your room or with a friend.

Just thought I'd point out the opportunity...

Vera :)

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