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Author Topic: Does effort even matter?  (Read 640 times)

jack24

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Does effort even matter?
« on: January 08, 2011, 02:31:50 PM »
I've always been a decent law student;  I hover around the top third in class rank.  Well this semester (my second-to-last) I have a job and I work a lot, so I decided to not do anything school-related.  No reading, no listening in class, no notes.  A week before finals, I got some old outlines for my courses, indexed them and read through them a couple times.  I got straight A's.
I usually study my butt off and get a 3.3 gpa, so this is kind of a big deal to me.  It just makes me think that knowing how to take a test well and focusing on the highlights might be far more important than the hours spent on learning everything about the course (most of which won't be on the test).
It also makes me wonder how anyone could ever fail a law school exam.

john4040

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Re: Does effort even matter?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2011, 07:53:21 PM »
knowing how to take a test well and focusing on the highlights might be far more important than the hours spent on learning everything about the course (most of which won't be on the test).

There's no doubt about it.  Most students put in a similar amount of effort studying, however, the ability to test well and study efficiently and effectively sets some apart.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Does effort even matter?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 01:39:59 AM »
I've always been a decent law student;  I hover around the top third in class rank.  Well this semester (my second-to-last) I have a job and I work a lot, so I decided to not do anything school-related.  No reading, no listening in class, no notes.  A week before finals, I got some old outlines for my courses, indexed them and read through them a couple times.  I got straight A's.
I usually study my butt off and get a 3.3 gpa, so this is kind of a big deal to me.  It just makes me think that knowing how to take a test well and focusing on the highlights might be far more important than the hours spent on learning everything about the course (most of which won't be on the test).
It also makes me wonder how anyone could ever fail a law school exam.


J24 -

One of the aspects of law school that is hard to fathom, even for law graduates, is the [low] correlation between effort and result.  Most 0Ls would find it unbelievable . . . and, judging by some conversations and threads, do find it unbelievable (and are quite upset with folks such as I who attempt to tell them otherwise . . . that their brilliance, often mis-directed efforts, and cherished habits won't help them pull through.

What distinguishes a good exam from a mediocre one is not a knowledge of the law.  [!]  Rather, it is an ability to do something with a presumed knowledge of the law.  So, after first year, you see law reviewers doing just what you describe, and still acing their tests.  How?  They're not regurgitating stuff.  They're not attempting an "info dump," and are instead looking at the exam question and fashioning a cogent legal analysis.

To your point, however, this isn't about "knowing how to take a test" as in gaming the test.  That's the stuff of undergraduate, memorize-and-regurgitate, and multiple-guess fame.   Rather, it's the difference between knowing the law and using the law.

Thane.

PS:  Yes, it is possible to fail a law exam.  It's not easy to do so, but it can be done.  = :  )

smithrep

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Re: Does effort even matter?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2011, 10:04:06 PM »
I, unfortunately, am on the other end of that spectrum (well not completely).   My first semester of law school I did not study much and felt I could do just like I did in undergrad and when I walked into the first exam I was blind-sided.  Since then I have studied like crazy and have found I actually know and understand the material, however I am a very poor exam taker.  I just received a grade back in which I was sure was going to be an A that was far from it.  At this point I am just ready to graduate so I can get out there and practice.  I obviously, even after two years, have not mastered the "knowing how" or the "gaming the test" that you speak of.  I have no doubt that I will be an excellent attorney.  I just have to make sure I get there!