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General Board / Re: Books for this fall
« on: July 30, 2004, 11:54:54 AM »
I just finished my first year, and I agree with what the earlier poster said. Go to the bookstore and look for used books that have almost no markings or highlights in them. I was able to find two or three books that were tagged as used but had no markings - instant savings. But if you're not so lucky, don't buy a used book that has been highlighted or written in heavily. I'm no psychologist, but it messes with your mind and keeps you from really reading the material yourself. Dunno, but it doesn't work for me.


General Board / Re: Laptop Questions: What Should I Get???
« on: July 30, 2004, 11:46:03 AM »
I hate to agree (goes against my newly acquired 1st year training) - but I had the exact same problem with my Compaq. After about 9 months, the screen died on me. I sent it in, it came back, and it died again after 3 days. I've had it back for about a week and everything seems to be fine, but I would caution anyone against a Compaq given this apparently commonplace problem.


I'm personally not a big fan of paying big fees for test prep courses. My sister took Kaplan and improved about 4 points. I took the test after studying only the prior exams that come in with your registration and make a 162. Then I went and picked up the LSAT 180 book from (can't remember who makes it), studied in a more paced manner and improved to a 170.

Your biggest improvement will come on the logic/problem sections. You should develop a system for those babbies pretty quickly. The reading comp section is probably out of your hands by this point.


Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Law School Success / LEEWS
« on: July 29, 2004, 05:52:48 PM »
One of my peer group mentors had taken it as a first year and liked it. I asked him about its methodology, and I suppose it would make sense for someone that didn't have any idea about how to approach law school. Personally, I don't think that study systems are all that useful. Just remember that you're there to LEARN the material, not to cubbyhole it for an exam, and you'll outpace your classmates.


Southern Methodist / SMU First Year
« on: July 29, 2004, 05:50:25 PM »
In order:

1) I didn't even do the summer writing assignment until after it was actually due on the first day of class. They don't grade them nor refer to them in any way. Just have something on paper and forget about it.

2) I've never heard of them moving anyone from one section to another, unless something unusual is discovered (they find out that two married students have been inadvertantly placed in the same section). Not going to happen too often.

3) Studying that much, coupled with the written work for LRWA would kill you. Go read the post I have up on the "Studying" thread for my opinion on study habits. I ended up the first year with a 3.75 (Top 2 or 3 %), worked Thurs-Sun in Austin and had my first kid in the process.


Southern Methodist / Re: SMU Law Starter Thread
« on: July 28, 2004, 10:55:12 AM »
I just finished my first year at SMU Dedman, and am now about to begin my first year in the Cox MBA progam as a JD/MBA student. I can answer any JD related questions about first year life at SMU if anyone has any.


Studying and Exam Taking / Law School Success / LEEWS
« on: July 28, 2004, 10:47:42 AM »
My two cents:

 My purpose isn't to dissuade anyone from buying anything that can help them do well in law school (other than Gilberts, etc. style outlines - fairly worthless), but rather to try and dispell a few misconceptions I've heard bounding around school and the discussion boards about doing well during your first year.

 First, there isn't a "law school game." This is not some bizarre system designed to trick you into making mistakes or weeding you out. Law schools have too much to lose by damaging their retention numbers in so doing. There are a few simple steps to follow (in my opinion) to get the most out of your first year experience:

 1) read your cases the night before class to UNDERSTAND the material, not to remember the names of all the parties and on which street the events took place. You'll have the occassional professor that will rejoice in grilling you over what the bizarre procedural posture of the case is or what some arcane term means in the context, but such facts are just about completely irrelevant

 2) LISTEN in class. Don't write down every fact, every thing everyone in the class says, etc. Most people aren't able to convince themselves to do this, but you would be well served if you could: don't take a single not during class that can't be typed into your laptop in a few words. People that end up taking 200 pages of notes during the semester neither really understand what they've heard nor have a useful, short tool with which to study.

 3) Start preparing your outlines (SHORT outlines - no monster 100 pages dandies) at least a month or two before the final. Yes, this means that you'll be starting your outlines about half way through the semester. This is good. Trust me. When the end of the semester rolls around and you've already finished, everyone will be envious.

 4) Find a study group that actually studies. I'm not a study group kind of guy - I'm generally considered to be a little too controlling. But, once I found three people (and four is the ABSOLUTE maximum for a study group, three might be preferred) that really wanted to study and not eat meals and chat, we really hit stride.

 5) On finals, remember to do the following IN ORDER:
     a) read the entire question - think about what the prof is really wanting
     b) outline the entire answer - don't write a WORD until you've outlined
     c) explain the law as exists without referring to the facts
     d) explain the way that the law applies to these facts
     e) explain your conclusion(s)

 6) Most importantly, remember that your purpose here is to LEARN the law (or more accurately, a general framework from which to learn the law - that part takes a summer internship or two to really understand). You are NOT here to do well on exams. If you have the right attitude, then the exams will be a piece of cake. Don't ask yourself what person X is doing or how they are preparing, nor wonder what everyone's grades are going to be.

If anyone has more specific questions, I'll be happy to share my experiences,


Transferring / Re: HAVE YOU Xferd? To? From? #'s?
« on: March 29, 2004, 09:21:31 PM »
Thanks for the replies. I'm not sure that I will transfer, but good to keep one's options open.

As far as studying, I actually did quite a bit less studying than a lot of others around me, but when I did study I tried to devote myself to the enterprise at hand. Also, I'm 30, and have a wife and a 6-month old son, so my time at school must be very devoted.

As far as study methods go, you might not want to go the route I went. I don't take any notes on my reading, nor use any hi-liters, etc. I just read for content. Then, I pay very careful attention to during lecture. Then, re-read the material (with your new appreciation) and discuss it in a study group.

I didn't take a single outline into any of my finals.

Again, perhaps not the method for everyone.

Transferring / Re: HAVE YOU Xferd? To? From? #'s?
« on: February 07, 2004, 05:51:26 PM »
I'm thinking about a transfer this fall as well. I'm at SMU right now, and was fortunate enough to end the fall semester with a 3.9 GPA. I guess I have a couple of questions for anyone knowledgeable:

1) Would I be better off staying at a low 1st / high 2nd tier school and joining the law review, or transfering to a top school?

2) Do I have a realistic chance of getting into, say, Penn, Columbia or -- dare I say -- Yale, if I am able to repeat my 1st semester performance?

My LSAT was reasonable (164)

Thanks in advance

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