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Author Topic: tell me about exam taking  (Read 2540 times)

nate

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tell me about exam taking
« on: October 27, 2005, 05:53:04 PM »
if you never skip class, read everything assigned, brief every case, partake in a study group (which you believe does more good than harm), and read supplements...what are the chances that you'll end up at the bottom of your class? is the bottom reserved for those who don't work hard, or are law school exams a total crapshoot, where those who know the material AND take exams well are the ones who end up on top? i guess what i really want to know is, is there any way you can know you won't end up at the bottom?
GW

lipper

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2005, 06:09:04 PM »
not really. amount of work you do in law school does not equal the grade you get. Obviously, the people who do not do a damn thing throughout the semester and then cram will not do so well. however, at least in my school, there are only a few of these people. it really amounts to workin smart when you work. i know people who briefed every case first year, made their own outlines, heck, even made flash cards, were in the library non-stop, never went out, and ended up in the bottom half of class.

The trick to law exams, if there even is one, is not memorizing the black letter law. this is given. obviously, u have to know this. everyone will when they take the exam (unless its future interests, where more than half of the class will not even understand this when they take the exam). You have to know how to apply it to facts. know how to apply public policy arguments to reinforce your BLL argument. the rationale behind a rule. and then know how to do this to the other side as well.
check the footnotes ya'll

Jackson Smith

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2005, 07:52:18 PM »
If you don't memorize the black letter law, how the hell are you gonna know what issues to spot on the exam? The first key to any of this is knowing the rule (black letter law) in the first place. You can't analyze what you can't spot.
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lipper

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2005, 08:45:38 PM »
If you don't memorize the black letter law, how the hell are you gonna know what issues to spot on the exam? The first key to any of this is knowing the rule (black letter law) in the first place. You can't analyze what you can't spot.

yes, you are correct.
check the footnotes ya'll

Krisace

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2005, 10:45:02 PM »
To address your original question, if you toss in doing 10 practice tests per class, about 1/3 of them untimed, you'll do great. Oh and I would highly recommend having everything memorized by deadweek. 

In my experience, it IS the people who work the hardest who do the best.  With the exception of a half dozen people who are ridiculously smart (and likely studying hard anyways, he/she who works hard and the efficiently succeeds.

Case in point, my girlfriend and I both entered our tier 2 law school with an LSAT in the bottom quarter of the class and my GPA was also in the bottom quarter.  We did everything you did, plus that listed above, and finished top 5% and are now at a tier 1.

Lastly, the secret to truly excelling was doing the practice tests.  By numbers 6 or 7 for each class things start to look familiar and you've figured out issues that you will see twists on again, yet you never would have thought of had you not done the practice tests.  And as the above poster mentioned, it IS about applying the facts.  I did much better my second semester than the first because I realized this.  Every word and fact is in there for a reason and most have some sort of ambiguity attached if you think about them.  If you can put out the black letter law then figure out why the professor mentioned in passing that "the street was wet" and argue the ambiguity (and you'll notice them if you really look hard for them) then you'll do great. 

Most people who haven't done many practice tests and haven't learned the BLL properly will still be figuring out how to write a good exam and lay out the BLL as opposed to taking it to the next level like an A student does.  And by the way, don't be too discouraged if your grades aren't as high as you had hoped after the first semester.  Often that's normal so just keep carrying on and it'll work out.  Lots of others will get lazy.  Good luck!

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2005, 06:45:27 AM »
krisace - do you get a dollar everytime you remind people that you finished in the top 5%?

Nate, if you go to a good school (and I can't speak for krisace's crap school), you don't have the benefit of dumb or lazy people - at least not enough to cover all the low grades necessary in a class's grade curve.  Perhaps there are a couple of completely obvious tools, but they won't make up 25% of the class.  You can't even be sure about the few people you think will finish at the bottom.  You see somebody playing video games all day in class, and you think that there's your C student.  Might not happen. 

Truth is, everybody in your class is hard-working, smart, and dedicated.  But half of them have to finish below the median. 

Everything in lipper's post is correct.  But keep in mind that it's not just about how to include policy arguments in your answers, but when.

T. Durden

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2005, 08:37:36 AM »
yeah i'm at a T20 and EVERYONE is abso-fooking-lutely on top of their business

like our professor said in class the other day, "i haven't been able to find a single weak link amongst you"

i'm terrified of finals, dreading them in fact

though i will heed the advice seen on this site and do every practice test that i can get my hands on

Krisace

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2005, 10:36:38 AM »
Hey Lincoln,

I was simply making a point you aroogant prick.  It's a basic "if I can do it, so can you" spiel.  That's how I feel because in my experience, and the experience of others that I know in law school, he who works hardest excels. 

It's unbelievable that you have to tear into my post, which was just trying to be helpful (not boastful) and also tear into the school I went too.  So the hell what if I'm not at a top 20 school.  Your lack of tact and cowardice, saying all that you have in a posting which I know for sure you wouldn't say to my face, is what'll keep you from going far in life.  You're a bad person. Don't even respond to this cause anything you say will just make you sound like a little b***. 

Oh, and to the original poster, to whom I spent 10 minutes writing some advice, a little acknowledgment in defense of a clearly idiotic post would have been nice.

jimmyjohn

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2005, 02:48:19 PM »
I'm at a T20 as well, and I second what T. Durden said.  Save for a few people that sit in the back row, everyone has pretty much been on point with their answers. I know class prep. doesn't equate much to exam success and I've been anywhere from top 25 to top 50% on our practice exams, but I'm nevertheless worried about the "competition" on finals. 

Kris, I found your post helpful; thanks for sharing.  I think telling us your rank helps to put your success perspective.  Law school is all about numbers, so it is helpful for you to tell us where you finished.

nate

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Re: tell me about exam taking
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2005, 04:38:16 PM »
Oh, and to the original poster, to whom I spent 10 minutes writing some advice, a little acknowledgment in defense of a clearly idiotic post would have been nice.

hmm. i did think it was inappropriate, but i only just saw it now. i made my original post yesterday and i don't exactly spend a lot of time here. i would try and blow off the whole "crap school" because everyone (except perhaps those at HYS) can be sure that someone else at a better school thinks they're at a crap school. i've been told that my top 20 is a joke.

but i do appreciate your thoughtful response. i had thought that practice would make the real difference difference, so i'm glad you have had good experience with them. i can see it being similar to the LSAT, where going in knowing the test can take you to a whole different level.
GW