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Author Topic: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?  (Read 38713 times)

Em Woods

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #160 on: June 05, 2008, 01:48:54 AM »
tag
"Anything easy ain't worth a damn" - Coach Woody Hayes

ZooLander

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #161 on: June 05, 2008, 02:43:10 PM »
Tier 1, t35.  Went from 40% of the class to 15%. 

The Artist

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #162 on: June 05, 2008, 03:33:39 PM »
Tier 1, t35.  Went from 40% of the class to 15%. 

Ah, just like me  :). Thanks!

jd2bee

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #163 on: June 05, 2008, 06:18:34 PM »
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kennybattle

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #164 on: June 05, 2008, 08:00:11 PM »
I agree with Zoolander's advice, and let me add some of my own. 

-I think a lot of people don't do as well as they could because they don't manage their time well during the exam.  Because in many classes 100% of the grade is riding on the final people get anxious to start writing.  Try to fight this urge and work as methodically as possible. 

-Most exams involve ridiculous fact patterns that require issue spotting.  I cannot overemphasize how important it is to spend A LOT of time making sure you spot all of the issues (if possible).  Most professors take a pen and count how many of the issues you spotted (and this will make up a large part of your grade). 

-Spend as much time as you think you can afford outlining your answers before you begin writing.  Almost everyone will understand the law, so a well organized exam can seperate you from the pack.

-Try to befriend some smart upperclassmen.  Ask them for copies of their outlines (if they've had the same professors).  Also ask them if they can remember any of the questions from their finals.  I asked an upperclassman friend what questions he could remember from his property final last year, and then I used those questions to practice for the final.  Every single question on the final was the same as the year before (this was not an issue spotting exam; it was all essays).  The first year can be tough, and upperclassmen are a great resource for shortening your learning curve.

-Utilizing supplementary materials is fine, but don't over do it unless you are confused.  You really don't need to understand all of the material in great depth (in fact this can sometimes be a disadvantage - if your depth takes you too far away from what is being discussed in class), but make sure you understand the material and then spend time memorizing and applying what you know.

-If an exam seems easy you probably missed something (or the curve will be hell - because if it truly is easy everyone is going to do well on it).

Anyway, good luck to all of you 0Ls.  The first year is not as bad as you think it will be.  Law school is not rocket science.  In fact, once you get the hang of it you will be surprised how easy it is.

For what its worth, I'm in the top 15% of a tier 2 school (since I know this undoubtedly will be important to some).
Marquette University Law School Class of 2010

MaxtoneFour

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #165 on: June 05, 2008, 09:19:21 PM »
My advice to 0Ls (I go to Vanderbilt):

1. Think about your answer before you begin to write it. Don't write yourself into a corner.

2. Spot every issue and discuss it, even if it's perfunctory.

3. Don't be afraid to take risks when you write (this means you can adopt a conservative position if your professor's a liberal, or vice versa).

4. Read your answer after you've written it! You'll catch errors. Professors don't grade your spelling or tone, but it never hurts you to write well on an exam.

This approach has served me well so far. Good luck and enjoy law school. Don't let the work consume you, 'cause it ain't that difficult.
East 1999 is where you'll find me.

2L at Vanderbilt University Law School (Class of 2010)

The Artist

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #166 on: June 05, 2008, 10:55:43 PM »
My advice to 0Ls (I go to Vanderbilt):

1. Think about your answer before you begin to write it. Don't write yourself into a corner.

2. Spot every issue and discuss it, even if it's perfunctory.

3. Don't be afraid to take risks when you write (this means you can adopt a conservative position if your professor's a liberal, or vice versa).

4. Read your answer after you've written it! You'll catch errors. Professors don't grade your spelling or tone, but it never hurts you to write well on an exam.

This approach has served me well so far. Good luck and enjoy law school. Don't let the work consume you, 'cause it ain't that difficult.

Since I know some1 will ask if I dont... how did you do grades/ranking wise?

rekopter

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #167 on: June 05, 2008, 11:32:46 PM »
tagster.

The Artist

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #168 on: June 06, 2008, 06:52:15 AM »
Alright, so I wasn't going to say anything, but since you have mentioned it like 100 times I'm going to refute your 'public school vs. private school undergrad' statements. You basically claim that since you went to a top liberal arts school and worked hard there, you will academically smoke classmates who went to a large public school and slacked. Besides the elitist undertones, I disagree completely. First off, LSAT scores tend to be similar (well, for the most part) among students at a given law school. Since the LSAT is standardized, it doesn't discriminate based on where you went to college. Second, and what I disagree about more, is the idea that a hard working liberal arts/ivy undergrad kid will dominate the 'slacker public school kid'. Did it ever occur to you that maybe exactly the opposite is true? Let's say the public school kid never put in any effort in college and got drunk 5 times a week, including finals, but with raw intelligence got decent grades. Well, now he is at the same law school as the liberal arts kid. And unless daddy is gonna hook him up with a biglaw gig post-graduation, he likely will not slack to the extent he did in college. So now that the naturally intelligent slacker is not a slacker, how will he do? Who knows. But I assure you he is no more likely to get beat out by the Lib arts kid than the lib arts kid is by him. Furthermore, why do you assume public schools are so much easier than private ones? I'd say it depends more on your major than your school.

vap

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Re: Advice for a 0L hell bent on being near the top of his class?
« Reply #169 on: June 06, 2008, 08:53:48 AM »
Not exhaustive, but...

1) Know what your professor wants.  This is not to say, as in undergrad, "know how your professor thinks and wants you to regurgitate."  Rather, you should know what type of grader your professor is.  Some profs want you to mention non-issues, and others don't.  (A non-issue being one that is completely obvious with no counter-argument).  Some grade with a rubric, and others just wing it, assigning numbers subjectively or by counting issues.
2) Take old exams, noting which issues appear often.  This will also help you spot issues.
3) Policy arguments are only useful when they make a difference in the outcome of the problem.
4) Your textbook has all the information you need.  When the text doesn't, your library should have a hornbook or supplement to read.  When the library doesn't, your prof will usually be helpful.
5) Know the law.  This one is kind of silly, though, because everyone will know the law (unless they really don't care about school).
6) For open-notes tests, type up actual paragraphs (rather than just an outline) for each conceivable issue.  Doing this will allow you to "pre-game" the substance and style of your answer so all you have to think about during the exam is spotting issues and analysis.
7) Create your own outline.