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Author Topic: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!  (Read 1817 times)

cjprof4

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Here's the point.  Since I have never been a discplined studier, I have always skated under the radar through skimming and late-night cramming. This being my first semester, I was a tad bit apprehensive after an orientation full of warnings and advice for the long hours of reading ahead, not even counting the time studying "necessary" supplements.  I have tried to work on the study skills but I while I am competitive and reasonably intelligent, I am light years away from becoming a disciplined and organized student!

Needless to say, I have been shocked to discover that I have had no trouble comprehending and retaining the concepts presented in the assigned book or the classroom.  I honestly find myself engaged by the material and come away from reading assignments elated to have understood all of it.  I have only cracked one supplement, and that was to quickly clarify some facet of consideration. (E&Es are phenomenal)!  WHen faced with hypotheticals in class, sample mini-tests in study group, and/or questions raised in dissecting the briefs, I get the question right 9 out of 10 times.  I even find that I am able to present an answer to the "thought-provoking" end of chapter questions.       

Soooo whats the problem??  I am not sure. I feel silly about this but lately I have begun to find myself second-guessing the extent of my knowledge and have become pretty anxious at the thought of midterms. Compared to what we were warned about or compared to what I hear from my Classmates, (many of whom are devouring the supplements), I just dont spend a lot of time studying.  Its that simple.  I have considered forcing myself to re-read the textbook as well as reading all of the supplements anyway.  Just so no one has an advantage.  May sound competitive, but the school has a very unforgiving grade curve.  Also, since it is not considered one of the "top" or "elite" institutions, I feel I have no choice but to finish as close to the top as possible to remain competitive.  Howeer, I find that I am loving where I am at in comprehension and I also truly love the material.  I dont want to BurnOut or overextend myself, and most importantly, I dont want to give up the precious time with my 3 year old. 

I have tried to find old exams at school but all of the previous tests are for second and third year students.  One professor has given us a sample essay topic, so I am going to at least complete that so I may focus on becoming used to the particular structure she covets.  If there is a weakness, that is it!  This style of writing is new for me and I have a incessant need on essay exams to embellish.  Thats just a matter of practice though. 

I have never blanked on a exam but I am terrified that this may very well be the first time.  I am finding myself psyching myself out on a regular basis.  I have dreams in which I have conquered the material but find myself soon in the nightmare of blanking as a result of seeing the first 2 page fact pattern.  I should add that I have been diagnosed with Adult ADD for years but only recently have resigned myself to take the medication. So before Law School any lengthy word problems and/or any essay needing strict organization have always proved hard and close to impossible to complete without having my mind drift and overlook a detail.  I knew that the briefest and most minute detail in an otherwise lengthy question in a law school exam could prove vital.  Hence the new medication.

So if ANYBODY has found themselves studying far less than expected but still gaining a firm grasp of the material... please share your experience.  If you didnt do well as a result, let me know!  Please also post to let me know if you did well and any tips you may have for me to gauge my knowledge effectively.  I have heard that the PMBR books have a great range of Multiple Choice questions, and many professors have pulled questions from them.  I tried a couple during a break and did fine on those. Any other well-known study guides that closely resemble an actual test?  I apologize for the rambling, chalk it up to the lack of a social life, 12 cups of coffe and a growing level of anxiety.

THanks in advance to anyone who wants to contribute ANYTHING, be it experience, hearsay, criticism or advice.  However you are so inclined to approach it, it is most welcome to me.  I had been a member of this board before, when I first began considering schools.  Ive found myself frequenting the board again all while shamelessly scavenging for tips and I am grateful it is here.  Hope everyone takes at least one day out of two to HAVE SOME FUN!  Even if your idea of fun is like mine::  Watching the same DVR recording of Backyardigans over and over all while being begged to read Green Eggs and Ham for the hundredth time................

blackpowerman

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2008, 12:31:30 AM »
I'm confused- is this spring semester your first law school semester?  I thought law school started in the fall?  Or is this a flame?  Sounds weird...
"The fox knows many tricks; the hedgehog one good one" - Archilochus

cjprof4

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2008, 03:04:58 AM »
Sorry didnt think to clarify.  Some schools, as mine does, have spring semester admits.  We eventually merge with the Fall class, either through 2 summer sessions or this summer sessions combined with a few intersessions.  Hope that helps answer your question!

nybartutor

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2008, 03:23:56 AM »
I'd buy at least (and maybe at most) one supplement for each class you are taking. Even if you believe you have a solid grasp of the material, it can't hurt at all to look over a supplement to reinforce the material. You'll likely pick up a few points as well, which might then earn you a few points on the exam.

On the exam (unlike exams you've probably taken in the past), knowing the content is only half the battle. You have to be able to spot issues, and then analyze those issues in a short period of time. (Unless it's a take-home test.)  The skills are a lot harder to learn than the content, but the best way to practice is to look over old law school exam answers, even if they are not answers of tests given by your specific professor. Best of course is to look over tests given by your professor, but if those are not available, just get a hold of some essays so that you can see what legal analysis is supposed to look like, and practice prior to your test.

Everyone (maybe not everyone) will know the content on the day of the test. So if you already feel confident in that regard, then spend less time learning the material, and more time practicing your skills.

--Sean

--Sean

Tutoring available for both the MBE and NY essay portion of the exam.  Tutoring is available online (using Instant Messenger or Skype) and in person (NYC only). Please contact ssiver0210@hotmail.com if you have any questions, or for more information.

slacker

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2008, 12:22:22 PM »
Good...you know the law. That's the baseline, and it means you're good for a "C".

The question really isn't whether or not you know the material, the question is can you write about the material in such a way that demonstrates proper legal reasoning and analysis.

Giving the "right answer" isn't important. How you reach the right answer is the important skill. If you provide a conclusory answer based on your knowledge of the law, you're not really performing any analysis and won't do well on the exam. If, instead, you can write a reasoned analysis, apply law to facts, etc., etc., then you should do well.

The skills you will need for the exam, in addition to knowing the law, is being able to pick out the relevant issues in the fact pattern (issue spotting) given the call of the question and being able to write in your IRAC or whatever is the preferred style on those issues, and do this all within a well-structured answer.

Definitely do the sample exam that you've been given. If you have the opportunity to discuss your answer with the professor or a TA, do that, also.


Jumboshrimps

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2008, 01:44:25 PM »
You're probably fine. . . for now. Cramming can get you through law school quite  well but it is a recipe for disaster in law practice. The reason you need good habits now has nothing to do with your law school grades. It has to do with hitting the ground running in less than three years when someone is paying you to do perfect legal work. It took me a couple of years to figure that out. Hopefully, the fear of reality will slap you into shape, as it did me.

jacy85

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2008, 07:20:27 AM »
The seigel's books have sample essay questions (w/ answers) and some MC questions.  I used them for all my first year classes.  They're not what the professor gave, obviously, but in the absence of old or sample problems from the prof, I found seigel's to be the next best thing.

babychicken

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2008, 08:01:55 PM »
Have the Siegel's books been effective for others as well? I am thinking about getting them but I am not sure if it is worth the money or not? Any advice?

jacy85

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2008, 08:57:30 PM »
You can also look for them used if you can on half.com or similar sites, and/or you can see if your library has them before you spend the money.

babychicken

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Re: Midterms looming..... 2 weeks! Please offer any thoughts on my dilemma!
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2008, 09:56:21 PM »
This is the first time I am hearing about the Siegel books so I just wanted to know how effective they are.