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Author Topic: Can you completely slack off in a law school class and still get a good grade?  (Read 1525 times)

bradley

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I'm in spring of my 1L year.  First semester grades were good.  But this semester I am absolutely swamped, and therefore am not paying as much attention to my classes.  For my criminal law class, I have noticed that I only put in about 30 minutes of outside-of-class work each week - 15 minutes to outline the classes, 15 minutes to skim the reading.  I would have never dreamed of doing that last semester; I spent hours preparing, outlining, and memorizing.  It's just that in this class, he pretty much spells out the rules/elements he wants us to know in the first 5 minutes then we discuss theory the rest of the class.  Do you think I am slacking off too much, and will regret this come exam time?  Or are some classes just easy let you can get away with this?

jimmyjohn

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As long as you're reasonably smart and put in the work in the 3 or so weeks leading up to exams you'll be fine.  Get a good supplement. 

jacy85

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It depends on how much this prof tests the theory you talk about for most of the class.  If you're not tested on the theory, then not paying attention to it won't hurt.  But based on what you've said, this doesn't seem likely b/c you prof spends a ton of time on it.  

It also depends on what your other classmates are doing, and how well they'll do on the exam.  This is pretty much out of your control.

Finally, it depends on your aptitude for crim law.  I loved crim law, and understanding the concepts came easier to me than other courses.  Granted, this isn't a substitute for doing work, but it can help pull you through when you don't do a ton of work.  

Everyone is different and every prof/class is different, and *maybe* you're putting in all the time you need.  But I think odds are probably better that you need to figure out your schedule and manage your time a little more effectively.  30 minutes a week on a major substantive course seems very extreme.  Yes, you probably have a reading period and the end of the semester is still a few months away, but you have other subjects to study too, and can't devote all of your end-of-semester time to one class.

TTom

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Yikes. I tried this once and it completely bit me in the ass, i.e., lowest grade in law school. It wasn't an easy class for me to begin with. I just figured that because I was already behind in it (with no hope of catching up), that the best thing to do with my available time was focus on all my other classes. Then, toward the end of the semester, I'd teach myself the class through supplements. Did not work.

Your situation might be different?

Matthies

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Yikes. I tried this once and it completely bit me in the ass, i.e., lowest grade in law school. It wasn't an easy class for me to begin with. I just figured that because I was already behind in it (with no hope of catching up), that the best thing to do with my available time was focus on all my other classes. Then, toward the end of the semester, I'd teach myself the class through supplements. Did not work.

Your situation might be different?

Ugh, that sucks. Totally opposite experience worked really hard in a class, sucked up, turned in a great exam still got my worst grade in law school. Another class I rarely went, did not do any of the reading, and did not pay attention at all in class, got an A. Its random. I would say I donít put much effort into most classes, certainly donít pay attention in class, my mind wanders after five mins.

But I pick my battles, the classes I enjoy or like I try to stay up on and get everything done before the deadlines, the classes I hate I put off till exam week then search/destroy the answers (assuming they are take home open book which is what I try to always take now). Those two weeks suck ass, but having picked my battles and focus on the classes I enjoyed I got those done and just fight through the ones I hate.

Works pretty good, get As or B+s in most classes with the B/B- in the one class a semester I totally blow off. I have enough credits now that the B- donít really do anything to my rank, and the Aís keep me where I was at before. So itís a wash and I can dedicate more time in the semester to the classes I actually like by blowing off one a semester. What sucks, is Iím only taking one class this semester, and I hate it and blow it off, not good.  :o
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bryan9584

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Without reading all the other posts, here is my thoughts

You came to law school, and most likely paying a lot of money and even if you have a full scholarship, you still have cost of living expenses.

So with that said,

1) law school should not be considered easy
2) be practical, some classes do require less work than others and its possible to get a good grade without doing a lot of work
3) it is best to create a good work ethic early, if you feel like you are not putting your all, then you probably aren't
4) be serious, you are in a professional school, and are trying to enhance your knowledge and skill.
5) There is a difference between slacking off and doing what is necessary to do well and think that the mentality behind the two are completely different. The first being a very lazy attitude while the second is more for efficiency.

Just my two cents
Peace

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I don't think that the cases are worth too much of your time.  I mostly skim for the holding.  That's what real lawyers tell me they do, too. 

M_Cool

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^same.  Personally, I think it is much more helpful to understand the law first and then plug cases in.  I see too many people who try to master the cases and then figure out the broader framework of the law.  How inefficient.

bradley

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Thanks for your input, everybody.  I guess I shouldn't have said I was "slacking off," it's just that I feel my other classes require much more time and if I spend a lot of time in Crim Law I am not making efficient use of my time.  This semester is brutal, especially with a big writing assignment coming up, so hopefully when that is done I will have time to catch up.  I just don't understand it - our teacher told use that he tests on rules, and their application, and he will tell us exactly what he wants for exams.  But, we spend 90% of the class talking about theory and policy.  I guess if we get surprised and are tested on that stuff I will be screwed.

Miss P

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It is completely possible to slack off and do well in a class but you can't count on it in the way that you can realistically count on doing well in classes in which you work hard (if you are a good enough test taker, etc.).  In my experience, the best way to cover your bases is to attend and pay attention in class so that you can get some idea of how your professor thinks.  If you can follow the conversation without having done the reading carefully, you can probably do the exam without having done the reading carefully too. 
That's cool how you referenced a case.

Quote from: archival
I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.