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Author Topic: Those who aced their 1L Exams  (Read 3561 times)

lizette112162

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Those who aced their 1L Exams
« on: October 18, 2007, 06:29:47 PM »
Hello...hope everyone is having a great semester.

I have a couple of questions for people who aced their exams in their first year. I would appreciate any input, suggestions/ advice

-How did you approach the issues in the exam? Did your notes suffice or did you have to think outside the box ?
-Regarding the outlines, did you actually get to use them during the exams, given the time limit?
-Were study groups an effective way to prepare for the exam?
-If you were to do it allover again...what changes would you make in your study / exam preparation tactics
-If you had a high LSAT score, did that score correlate to your performance in your first year?


Thanks

thorc954

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2007, 06:52:16 PM »
Hey, I didnt ace the exams, but top 15% at a upper tier one.

How did I approach the exam: stuck strictly to the notes.  Did not use a single supplement/outside resource except that barbri book and an outline bank to make sure that i had the ride idea when i got to tricky issue.

Regarding outlines: I made my outline fairly short: 12-16 pages for most of my classes.  I tabbed the outline, which you will see certain people do.  I also highlighted the main points on it (the rules and left the elaborations of the rules untouched).  This made it so the outline was short, it was easily accessible, and i could just flip right to it when addressing an issue.  Also, the tabs served as a checklist.  They were labelled and I could look down them to make sure i didnt forget anything.  I went straight from my outline the whole exam.  It was very effective.

Study groups: only useful during the end for me.  I only used one when I was doing practice exams, and only so I had some motivation to take them and someone to discuss issues we spotted to make sure I didnt miss any.  I study better generally by myself and find groups to be a waste. 

All over again:  I probably wouldnt change anything about my studying.  Well, i made two mistakes that i would change second semester.  one is I forgot to focus as heavily on the irac format, so I lost some points i think on organization.  Also, i got cocky and thought i knew what the question was going to be on one exam.  As a result, i thought the second half would take forever and so i blew through the first half.  needless to say, the second wasnt as tough as i thought it would be and i finished 45 minutes early.  My grade wasnt terrible, but it wasnt what i wanted.

LSAT: didnt have a high one, didnt have an average one either.  I think i was in the 0-25%.  I think gpa is a better indicator, because i think it better reflects your work ethic (depending on your major).  Intelligence means little in law school when it comes to an exam.  Its like playing hungry hungry hippo.  Whoever is fastest (and i guess organized, but that doesnt relate to the analogy) wins...

jacy85

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2007, 07:07:27 PM »
I'm not sure what you're asking for your first question; if you're asking if the professor pulled a fast one and put something unexpected on the exam, then my answer is no.  But different professors have different approaches, and I suppose that there is a prof out there who puts policy questions that require some "out of the box" thinking.  If you're talking about study aids, the only aids I used were the E&Es on occasion for substantive stuff, but mostly for the questions.  I also used Seigel's sample exam questions for every class.

I did actually use my outlines, and I use my outlines in every open-book exam I have.  I have gone through my outline at least 20 or maybe 30 times, reading through, editing down, by the time exam comes.  My outlines usually tended to be about 50-60 pages, and ultimately edited down to about 40-47 pages.  I also use my outline in working practice questions. Additionally, I tab my outlines, so I can quickly get to the section I want.

My study group was effective; we didn't start meeting until just before Thanksgiving.  The best part of it was that it motivated me to do work - when the last thing I wanted to do was work on contracts hypos, I knew I had to in order to not let my study group down.  The actual work we did wasn't incredibly helpful as a full group, but one person and I in particular got together more often and discussed issues.  We stayed more focused, and i think those were more helpful.

I don't think I'd do anything differently, since what I did worked very well.

And my LSAT was directly in the median at my school, and for my entire law school career, I've been well above the median.

JG

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2007, 07:24:02 PM »
1.  I studied and used only what we studied in class--no supplements, etc.  I thought inside the box. I used IRAC.  I drew conclusions, but I didn't let my conclusions cut off lines of discussion.  After I said, "Therefore, the court will likely find X," I said, "On the other hand, if the court decides Y, another issue will arise:" and did another IRAC. I made liberal use of headings to make it easier for the professor to read.

2.  I occasionally used my outlines on exams. To make it feasible under time pressure, I made a table of contents or index and added tabs.

3.  I used study groups at the very end (a few days before the exam) and found them very helpful.  See my other posts for a detailed discussion of how I used them.

4.  If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have wasted a bunch of money on study aids I never really used.

5.  My LSAT did correlate with my high exam performance (though I don't know how you're going to use that information to help you now!)




cesco

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2007, 09:24:18 PM »
Funny how this all works out. My study experience was completely the opposite of thorc's.... and many of us seem to have approached things very differently.

1. I used at least one study aid in each class.  Not because I wanted to learn more than what was taught, but I just liked an additional explanation by a 3rd source (not the text or the prof).   A lot of supplements have hypos, and thinking through issues helped me.

2. My outlines tended to be huge - ridiculously huge.  I included a lot of policy issues (for policy profs) and actually had some cut and paste from my notes, and some hypos/explanations.  The process of making my outline was where I learned - so I generally didnt spend much time with it during the actual exam.  By then it was ingrained in my head.

3. I had an amazing study group. We spent a lot of time on hypos, and spent a lot of time just talking out issues.  Often one person would have a question, and while someone was explaining the answer, we'd all realize that we didnt understand that particular issue as well as we thought we had.

4. I dont think I'd do anything differently.

5. I had an average LSAT score at my school - performed extremely well first year.

6.  Unsolicited tip:  I thought "Getting to Maybe" was extremely helpful for learning how to think through exam problems.  If you havent already done so, I'd pick up a copy and read it over Thanksgiving break.
2L

McLovin

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2007, 09:36:50 PM »
www.leews.com  Do it.

lawmama09

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2007, 08:18:22 AM »
I am not sure that you really have to think "outside the box" but you do have to think critically on exams. The single most important thing to do is remember to analyze all the issue. Don't just state conclusions. As an example, in contracts, don't just say "X is an acceptance" and go on from there. Say "An acceptance requires these things. P will argue X is an acceptance because of A,B,C facts. D will argue that it is not because of D,E,F, facts. I believe that under rule of Case 1, this would be considered an acceptance, because...." Also remeber every fact is in an exam question for a reason. Don't discount them. Be creative in using the facts you have to support your arguments. But if you don't have facts, say so. And if you make an assumption, state it clearly.

I did use my outlines occasionally during the exam and I tabbed them to make it quicker and easier to use them, but for me, the value is in making the outline as a review. I pretty much only outline toward the end of the semester and use that as my review session. I also like to make a list in certain classes of the Code sections I need with a summary, so in Contracts I had a list of each Restatement and each UCC section we covered with the summary. Also works well for FRCP. That is a lot quicker to flip through than the book if you need specific wording. I also tab the rule book so I can flip through it quickly on an exam.

My study group was primarily useful in making me actually do work. I am a huge procrastinator, and being accountable to other people really helps me. We actually outlined together, going through all our class notes to make the outlines, to make sure we didn't miss anything. That may not have been totally efficient, but it worked for me in the end. We also did a lot of questions together, like from flashcards and Q&A books. Then we also wrote out practice exams and compared answers.

I don't think I'd really do anything differently. In fact, I just did basically the same thing for my tax midterm this week and I feel pretty good about that exam.

I had a good LSAT score, not stellar but decent for my school, but my class rank is significantly higher (Top 5%).

lizette112162

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2007, 01:33:20 PM »
Thanks for the advice!! :)

kulrythm

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2007, 05:53:49 PM »
I am not sure that you really have to think "outside the box" but you do have to think critically on exams. The single most important thing to do is remember to analyze all the issue. Don't just state conclusions. As an example, in contracts, don't just say "X is an acceptance" and go on from there. Say "An acceptance requires these things. P will argue X is an acceptance because of A,B,C facts. D will argue that it is not because of D,E,F, facts. I believe that under rule of Case 1, this would be considered an acceptance, because...." Also remeber every fact is in an exam question for a reason. Don't discount them. Be creative in using the facts you have to support your arguments. But if you don't have facts, say so. And if you make an assumption, state it clearly.

I did use my outlines occasionally during the exam and I tabbed them to make it quicker and easier to use them, but for me, the value is in making the outline as a review. I pretty much only outline toward the end of the semester and use that as my review session. I also like to make a list in certain classes of the Code sections I need with a summary, so in Contracts I had a list of each Restatement and each UCC section we covered with the summary. Also works well for FRCP. That is a lot quicker to flip through than the book if you need specific wording. I also tab the rule book so I can flip through it quickly on an exam.

My study group was primarily useful in making me actually do work. I am a huge procrastinator, and being accountable to other people really helps me. We actually outlined together, going through all our class notes to make the outlines, to make sure we didn't miss anything. That may not have been totally efficient, but it worked for me in the end. We also did a lot of questions together, like from flashcards and Q&A books. Then we also wrote out practice exams and compared answers.

I don't think I'd really do anything differently. In fact, I just did basically the same thing for my tax midterm this week and I feel pretty good about that exam.

I had a good LSAT score, not stellar but decent for my school, but my class rank is significantly higher (Top 5%).

Very helpful!  Particularly when you're talking about a Contracts exam response.  Contracts exam questions baffle me, because it is not always clear how and whether I should include citations or references to specific sections of the UCC.  For example, I might be familiar with a rule or principle that is captured in the UCC, but cannot quickly remember which UCC rule specifically applies.  Is it necessary to cite an actual section of the UCC?  Do I need to become more familiar with the UCC to the point that I've memorized specific sections?  Or, is it generally okay to just to discuss/paraphrase the rule without actually citing it? 

Any suggestions?  Sorry if my question is confusing.

lawmama09

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Re: Those who aced their 1L Exams
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2007, 06:27:55 PM »
I understand what you mean about citing the UCC sections. I like to cite the specific section as a shorthand for its rule, but also I will sometimes grab specific language out of it on the exam to really drive my point home. I don't know if it is truly necessary, but I think it looks good and a lot of professors like to see you cite authority. You will learn all the sections once you review, more than you want to probably. I like to have my list with summaries of each section too, so as long as you can bring something like that into the exam, there is no reason to memorize the sections. Also when I tab my book, I buy bigger tabs and try to write a 2 or 3 word summary of the section on the tab, so I can easily see what I want.

As you do more questions, you will start seeing how the sections fit together more. I really think it came together better for me in the second semester. As I recall, the Contracts Q&A book was pretty good for review and the Contracts E&E is good too. Good luck! Contracts was actually my favorite class last year.