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Author Topic: Pre-school study plan  (Read 6521 times)

jgruber

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2004, 11:28:28 AM »
From what I've read LS does not teach black letter law.  they expect you to discover it for yourself.  This is what PLS says, but beyond that I don't think the advice is particularly helpful.

And your point about the grades being arbitrary. ......  if they are, then why study at all?  Just trust to luck or suck up.

Yes, LS is a game that we need to learn how to play, but it doesn't seem like Atticus Falcon learned to play that game.  The anonymous author sounds like someone who had a very hard time in LS and is very bitter.  Not someone you would normally go to for advice.

GA_Kristi

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2004, 11:32:30 AM »
There are lots of people who don't touch a single book before coming to law school.  I could never do that, and I think most who invest their time on this board also invest their time in preparing for school.  I know my roommate hasn't touched a single book about law school and is always amazed by the things I've learned in the books I've read.  I certainly feel like I'm more prepared than these kid of people.  At least I know what to expect.

I suppose we all learn by our own methods.  I personally do not like the PLS II method and will not be using it.  I don't think that this means anyone in my classes who has followed this will automatically do better than me, we just prepared in different ways.  I'm all for doing whatever makes you feel confident, because I think that's very important in law school.

Every book I've read and every student I've talked to has said the same thing about exams...its about being able to find what your professor wants you to find.  This cannot be learned in a book.  I think books can help teach you how to spot issues, but every professor is still going to be different.  Its being able to read your teacher, know their motives, and be able to pick out what they want you to find.  Often this has nothing to do with the law, it has to do with how fast you're able to figure your teacher out. 
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious." - Vince Lombardi

canuck

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2004, 11:38:43 AM »
In response to you, JeffJoe

In all honesty, I just finished the Delaney book on Legal Reasoning and am starting on the primers.  They don't state the Black Letter Law line after line and expect mental regurgitation.  They do however let you go on and explore the hypotheticals - and I think this is what you mean by "discovering the law for yourself".

As for law school marks being completely arbitrary, that is from law school students who have studied the conventional method - so herein lies the difference.  If you know how Profs create exams, how to write those exams, and have a good understanding of what law applies to the given situation, you'll score better than the conventional method.

What is the conventional method?  IMHO it is to go to class, take notes, create an outline, do practice exams, and write the final.  Only the final is under a time constraint, just like the LSAT, and for those that are better prepared it will be easier to write an "A" answer rather than scrambling to search for what law/principle/rule applies to the question.

It is also MHO that there are a select few students in every school that are legal stars - and for whom the conventional method is just as effective in getting the grades.  But you will haven't addressed the main point, JeffJoe - if law schools are doing such a good job teaching law students, why is it that only 10% get A's?  For those 90%, the conventional method of learning and teaching is obviously failing them no?  Isn't that why for the most part 30% of law students (trained at law schools) end up failing the bar exam?

Okay, I got to stop myself, because I'm starting to sound like Atticus Falcon.  But these "facts" about law school grades and bar passage rates were already something I knew.  His book helped me to put it in the context of my situation as a student.
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farnsworth

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2004, 11:46:06 AM »
To the extent that pre-law school books help you "learn to learn", it makes sense to get as much of a head start as you can.  I personally had the experience in undergrad, when I had a 3.0 gpa after frosh year, and about a 3.8 after that (giving me around 3.6...and keeping me out of a couple schools).  Of course, i had never studied in HS, so it was quite a transition.

The question I have of these books is how helpful they really are to individuals.  Studying (to me) is a very personal thing...as alike as we were, I couldn't use my best friend's method and he couldn't use mine.  Just didn't work out that way.  I think that there is some danger in taking a book like what I've heard of LSC, and boxing yourself into studying a single way that may not be best for you.

However, I am personally looking for books to peruse for the summer just to get some idea of what has worked for other people.  From this thread, Getting to Maybe seems like one i ought to pick up, along with possibly LSC and How to Ace Your First Year of Law School.  Any other suggestions are highly encouraged.

canuck

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2004, 11:48:09 AM »
GA Kristi,

Excellent points, and I believe I've sort of strayed from the main point, and that is it can't hurt to study before law school.  For those fearing burnout or being taught the wrong way, that is in the control of someone's mindset.  If you're eager and excited, studying before law school won't seem like a chore- it'll actually be enjoyable.  For those that think it will lead you astray, that's only if you're not open to learning from your profs and fellow students.

As for looking for what the prof wants, PLS II hits that point.  That's why the author advocates going to class to decipher exactly what the professor wants from you regarding specific terms used, political siding, and so on.  That's all part of playing the game - cuz you have to cater to your prof.

But I think that if you can somehow make your answer less arbitrary by quickly spotting the issue, addressing and dismissing irrelevant points, and then truly exploring the critical points, that will get you an A.  My belief is that in order to do that, you can't just go by what your professor teaches you.  If that were the case, more students would feel that exams weren't so ambiguous, or you would see higher passage rates in the bar exam.  Just my 2 cents.
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Findedeux

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2004, 11:48:18 AM »
I think Canuck's point was that grades are arbitrary if you don't know how to play the game. While Mr.Falcon may not have been a victor in the game of law school, that does not mean he does not know how to play it, or how it works After the fact.
  As for law school failing because only 10% get A's, this is somewhat of a nonsensical argument when we are talking about a grading curve here. Some people at Cooley law who are in the top 10$ may write horrible exams. Some people in the bottom 10% may write incredibly perceptive exams. Forced curves are relative grading judgments, thus by definition, only 10% will be getting A's, etc.
  As for the unconventional for conventional approach, I don't really notice a big difference Canuck. From all the "How to Study Law" books I have read, the people who do the "conventional" way of studying also do the "unconventional" way as well.
  Still, I would not be quick to disregard all of what Mr.Falcon says even if he says it bitterly.

Findedeux

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2004, 11:50:31 AM »
TYPO-Some people in the bottom 10% (AT HARVARD) may write incredibly perceptive exams.


GA_Kristi

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2004, 11:51:52 AM »
As far as the debate on the PLS II method and studying primers before law school, this is the last I want to say...

As soon as a current student gets on here and tells me that it worked for them, that they tried this method and felt much better prepared and got better grades than their classmates...then I'll put more faith in this method.  Until then, hearing a bunch of other pre-law students go on and on about how much it helps does nothing to convince me.  I've heard too many current students tell me not to study any before school, seems like too common of a theme not to listen to.

As for only 10% getting As and the other 90% failing at doing well using conventional methods...its called a forced curve.  Most schools have this and even if EVERYONE in the class wrote A answers, some people are going to have to get Bs, Cs and so on.  Only 10% (or whatever the school/class uses) get As because it has been mandated that only 10% get As.  If everyone graduated law school with stellar GPAs how would employers decide who to hire?  I'm sure there's a reason for the forced curve.
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious." - Vince Lombardi

jgruber

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2004, 11:57:07 AM »
No, you're not sounding like AF.  I've had a number of exchanges with him/her and you are much too reasonable to be mistaken for AF.

As to your main point...  There are many ways to explain the distribution of grades.  Can you assume that the A students did not use the convential method?  I don't think you can.  It could be as many have suggested that the differnence between the A and B- are miniscule. 

As to why 30% fail the bar exam...   How does this compare to other professional exams?  What percentage of med students fail their state boards?  How many nurses fail theirs?

I'm not arguing that law schools teach you the law.  I dunno.  I've heard and read opinions on both sides.  My opinion at this point is that they teach you to learn the law without telling you that.  Perhaps it is true that some people never get it.  I dunno.

The idea that PLS and many others have made about exams -- pay close attention to the profs opinions, issues he/she emphasizes, and their old exams -- well, yeah.  Duh.

As far as PLS and AF, I have trouble taking advice from someone who is so strident in denouncing anyone who disagrees.  At one point I received an email from AF saying he was right because no one could provide a counter-example.  After a few more exchanges, he admitted that there may be a counter-example, but that didn't prove he is wrong.

If others feel PLS is useful, more power to them, but I'm going another way.
But you will haven't addressed the main point, JeffJoe - if law schools are doing such a good job teaching law students, why is it that only 10% get A's?  For those 90%, the conventional method of learning and teaching is obviously failing them no?  Isn't that why for the most part 30% of law students (trained at law schools) end up failing the bar exam?


sarahz

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Re: Pre-school study plan
« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2004, 11:58:27 AM »
I personally started out reading all the PLS and similar books as well as looking at the Examples & Explanation series for first year students and now i've decided to give it a rest.

I have a basic understanding of what each 1L class is about, a basic background of legal history/philosophy and (what i think) is an understanding of outlining/briefing.  Beyond that, i dont think there is much else that i can do that will be worthwhile.

I recommend just reading.  We are going to all be spending a lot of time doing it and especially if you've been working (aka not in school) it is prob. good to get your brain back in "school-mode".  I'm reading fun, stupid books as well as harder legal based books (Brethren is a great read, as is A Civil Action), and classic literature.  I try to sit down and read for extended periods of time (couple of hours each) to get myself used to it.

I think freaking out and spending hours studying for 1L classes is crazy, you're prob. learning things wrong or at the very least-not the way your prof. is going to want it.  So chill out, pick up a few fun books you've been meaning to read and have some fun before school starts!!