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Author Topic: Does anyone have advice on study techniques to improve my grades?  (Read 2706 times)

bratgirl9

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Does anyone have advice on study techniques to improve my grades?
« on: September 13, 2008, 11:06:18 PM »
Okay, so I think that I am a pretty smart person, and I study hard.  I really have a grasp of the concepts in discussion, but I guess my written answers aren't as great.  I was extremely dissappointed because I ended up with a 2.5 average after the grades all came in.  Granted, we are forced to take 18 credit hours per semester, I still feel like I could have done better.  I mean, I hate that law school has the effect of making people feel very mediocre.  Does anyone who had really good grades have any advice for study tools and techniques that you felt greatly contributed to your law school success?

mtfbwy

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Re: Does anyone have advice on study techniques to improve my grades?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2008, 09:06:25 AM »
I take it you're a 2L?  If so, one way you can improve your GPA is with good class choices, i.e., in which either an A is easily attainable, or you can get a B with no effort, affording you more time and energy for your harder, required classes (unfortunately, this applies to all of your classmates, so it's not always the source of huge class rank gains). 

Assuming you're required to take business organizations/associations and evidence, and in the event you choose courses such as trusts and estates, securities, tax, admin, etc. (i.e., in which you'll likely take an in-class exam), the same study rule should apply going forward that applied during your first year: don't study "hard," study "smart." 

Studying smart means different things for everyone, but in general, always ask yourself: Is what I'm doing going to help me do well on the exam? 

So much time and energy is expended by 1L's so that they can perform well in class.  They slave away, trudging through and briefing case after case, held hostage to the fear that they could be "called on" in class to recite, in absurd detail, the facts of a case, along with the holding and reasoning (and while facts matter, many professors do seem pointlessly caught up in the facts).  The skills developed throughout that process are indeed necessary (for exams and for practice), but they're developed within the first month or so of law school.  After that, students should stop fully reading and briefing cases (instead book briefing, if at all), focusing instead on the march to exam time. 

For the courses in which you received disappointing grades, how much time did you spend taking practice exams (your professors' old exams and/or commercial prep materials)?  You can know the subject matter cold, having memorized every rule, but come exam day, that's useless without having prepared to perform. 

Do you know what professors do when they call on a student in class, and that student fails to adequately present a case?  NOTHING.  Though many state that they'll raise or lower grades based on preparedness, I think it's rare that they actually raise grades for students who routinely knock it out of the park in class (though they do it occasionally), but I've not heard of anyone's grade having been lowered for being repeatedly unprepared for class (one logical reason being that, in such big classes, people are only going to get called on a few times a semester; another reason is that raising/lowering a grade would require the prof to do extra work).  Students can be drooling idiots in class, but if they memorize an outline and PRACTICE writing out answers, they can do well on exams.

Good luck. 

casper86

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Re: Does anyone have advice on study techniques to improve my grades?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2008, 08:57:17 AM »
Awesome advice. My first semester in law school taught me how crucial it is to take practice exams. I had the best outline going into the final, but it was WORTHLESS when I did not sit down and take a bunch of practice exams under timed conditions.

jillibean

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Re: Does anyone have advice on study techniques to improve my grades?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2008, 09:26:29 PM »
It may not be the way you are studying. I had a mediocre first semester and I felt like a complete failure about it. When I went in to speak with my professors they all basically said that they could tell I knew the info but I didn't explain it well enough- too circular, too narrow, etc.
Looking back, there was absolutely nothing more I could have done study wise. I knew everything on the exam- and most other people do as well. Hell, I taught my study group torts and they all got great grades- and me, not so much.
Really, I needed to learn how to write law school exams- in exam conditions, and practice a lot. It really helped 2nd semester.
....Now, I just need to learn how to stop having a mini-freak out session in the middle of the exam.
UMiami c/o 2010

pig floyd

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Re: Does anyone have advice on study techniques to improve my grades?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2008, 09:43:16 PM »
I found that I did better on exams when I didn't worry about planning as much and just sort of let myself type.  By the time I was taking the exams, I knew the material well enough that arguments, objections, etc. would just come to me naturally as I wrote.  That IMO leads to a much better exam than whatever else it is people do.  Just write, and keep writing (obviously this is for an in-class exam w no word limit). 

Meh.  Better to take 15 minutes to outline what you see immediately, reread the hypo, go for a walk, think, come back, add a few more things to the outline, go for another walk, think, add another thing or two, then start typing.

If I were a professor, I would hunt and kill anyone who just typed.  But then, I'm Piggy Pop.
I hate science because I refuse to assume that a discipline based in large part on the continual scrapping and renewal of ideas is unconditionally correct in a given area.

OldCraig

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Re: Does anyone have advice on study techniques to improve my grades?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2008, 12:30:40 AM »
Key to better grades huh? Well... you could always "hump" your way to the top. :o