Law School Discussion

Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?

Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« on: January 20, 2008, 01:39:59 PM »
I just have no idea what happened, I seriously want to drop out. I've been getting grades over the past week and now have them all. Turns out that I'm below the median, close to bottom third. I have no idea what went wrong.

I started studying this past summer, just casual reading of E&Es for my upcoming courses. I read Getting to Maybe and worked on incorporating the advice from the book. I attended every class, every single one, and was always prepared. The studying over the summer and looking at some exams before school even started gave me a great layout of the courses. When we discussed things in class, I understood every bit of it and even knew the facts and holdings of many cases. Before school started I could name all the torts and their elements, go through contracts analysis, go through a lawsuit from start to finish, etc.

Upon starting school, I read for every class, pretty much every case. If I didn't read the case in it's entirety I got a Lexis summary of it and skimmed it. In addition to that, I read about the subject of each particular class in hornbooks and E&Es, that way I not only knew the cases we were discussing, but the policies and such behind the cases.

I took my first full length practice exam in Sept. and basically did one per week until December. I always compared my answers to the model answers. We took a practice exam in a class and I got an A on it. One of out profs handed out about 75 sample multiple choice questions that were similar to the MC section of the test. I did them all in about half the allotted time and only missed 2 out of those 75 with no help or anything. I thought I was in good shape.

On the exams themselves (practice and real), I clearly stated the rules of law, spent most of the time discussing how it would apply to the fact pattern, and came out with a conclusion in the end. I discussed the strongest arguments (and some weaker arguments) of every party involved, making sure not to make my analysis too one sides. I also added in policy concerns (ala Getting to Maybe) to everything that would apply. For instance, in torts I would discuss all the elements of the intentional tort, do a thorough analysis of both sides including defenses and counters to defenses, add in a conclusion that followed from the analysis, and throw in something like "Battery is meant to protect people from intentional harm to their person. A verdict in favor of the defendant would lead to many administrative concerns and have the effect of opening up the potential field of battery claims by ...etc.etc.etc."

Additionally, I organized with topics and headings. I started each question (or section of question) with xxx v. yyy, or State v. XXX (for crim). For instance, in my negligence analysis, I had the opening XXX v. YYY, a section for Duty, breach, factual cause, legal cause, damages, and defenses. I made it as easy to read as possible and when I was done with the question, I put together a short intro of what happened and a quick look at the analysis I was going to do.

I knew everything cold. Everything. I left every exam feeling like I completely nailed it. I had some fun during the school year, but mostly opted to do practice exams or learn concepts. I even threw in policy arguments that the prof made (when applicable) and some little quotes that the profs said a lot. All this and I got below median.

Can anyone offer tips/advice on what you think the problem may have been? I can even post one of my exam answers so you can see. I knew everything and fact checked it after the exam to verify that I used the right laws and such, and felt even better then! I'm not looking for posts telling me what my options may be, just help with whatever I did wrong. I assume its my writing ability or something. I pretty much always hit every issue on practice exams and such.

HELP PLEASE!!! Sorry for the long read. :(

Also, I'm at a top 20 school on a pretty nice scholarship, 170 lsat, pretty good ugrad gpa. The exams were pretty much issue spotters. All my advice on taking law exams comes from Getting to Maybe and reading countless posts on many different law boards on exam taking.

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2008, 02:26:25 PM »
did you make sure you answered all the questions??

at a t20 school you shouldnt be that worried about getting a job. also, you may have done great, but everyone else may have also done great.  therefore, you fell below the curve.

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2008, 02:28:41 PM »
I did answer every question and made sure to check them all off as I did. I also read every fact pattern several times and marked issues I saw and such. Plus, I doubt I would have missed questions on every exam.

I'm not terribly worried about getting a job eventually, but I'm most concerned with bringing up my second semester.

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2008, 02:32:48 PM »
one thing youve left out so far is that while youve seen your may not have actually seen your exam.

i thought i had written good exams becuase i studied on a similar regimen of beginning with E and E/PLS approach in the summer practice exams outlining etc and just felt good  coming out of the exams.....I had also been in the top 75% lsat for my class at a T1 etc...but when i got my poor grades i went back and looked at the exams that i had written themselves and was horrified by what i had written...just immediately saw i had left things out and made blatant errors...

not sure if it was the stress or staying up all night before each exam to study and tiring myself out...but it would seem the problem for me at least..wasn't knowing the material or knowing how to apply it..but actually getting it from my brain to the paper.

on the other of my profs tolf us not to follow IRAC...told us to forget about stating the rule and just apply it..then on the grading hseet had points for stating the rule itself (gerk) something like that may have happened also.  (the lesson there is always state the rule even if the professor says not to i guess).

go back and read your actual exam.

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2008, 02:37:51 PM »
Yeah, I'm going to do that Monday. Hopefully it shows me something. Do profs write something on the exams themselves to clue you in?

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2008, 02:41:04 PM »
none of my profs have so far. theres just too much to do.  but hey are all happy to sit down and explian if your curious.

make sure you tell him that you know you did ok and that you understood and are not lost-b ut rather are just trying to understand what made the difference between the top of the class and the bottom..he m ay not want to answer that but it would be good to focus his attention.

profs have been doing this for years..they probley have more advice for you than anyone on this board or in a law school prep book written by some guy whos was upset that he didnt get biglaw

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2008, 03:07:27 PM »
Yeah, unfortunately all my profs are now either visiting other schools or on sabbatical or whatever. That makes it harder to get advice.

Would you offer up any other advice for a test taker beyond what I've already done? LEEWS? Anything like that?

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2008, 03:12:01 PM »
ive never done leews..but it certainly appears that thats what we/I need right?

don't be shy about emailing profs for advice....i just sent one to that prof who told us not to put down the rule then graded us on putting down the rule heh.

also if its exam taking technique thats our problem and not understanding or being able to apply a fact pattern...then we probably need more sleep and less stress going exchange for 5 more hours studying...but i already said that didn't i?

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2008, 05:24:04 PM »
When it comes to exams it's all about how you write it. A practice exam isn't curved, so a ton of people could have gotten A's on knowing the law. But how clear and concise you write your answer as well as whether you knew the law in comparison to everyone else determines your grade.

Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2008, 06:59:23 PM »
Is it possible that I wrote too much? Example, Torts, one of the essay questions was a pretty straightforward negligence question, which was half of the exam. It had to do with a retailer stacking bottles negligently on a high shelf and one of them fell. Pretty straightforward.

I had a great intro, talked about all elements of negligence (of course), I threw in a few sentences on negligence per se (even though there was no indication of a statute on point), had a few sentences on vicarious liability (for the worker who stacked the retailer's bottles), discussed evidence such as direct evidence and RIL, hit on the history of proximate cause and how it evolved through the wagon mound cases, polemis, and the palsgraf andrews/cardozo opinions etc. and how each one would have resolved the proximate cause dispute, made sure to discuss factual cause/legal cause, all defenses applicable (comparative negligence, etc.) and joint tortfeasors, etc. I even threw in an alternate cause of action under strict liability for an abnormally dangerous activity and indicated it was weak. Talked about both sides and what they would argue on everything relevant, etc. and policies behind everything such as the hand formula, proximate cause, damages (and what types of damages can be awarded in neg. cases). I even littered the whole thing with case names when they applied.

I think that anything that we had talked about I threw in there if it was a possibility at all. Perhaps I talked too much, although it's not like I threw in professional malpractice or anything absurd that couldn't have been an issue. It's pretty clear from reading though, it definitely doesn't sound rambling.