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1 down, 2 to go, 0 grades expected

October 18, 2005

It’s over. The first ungraded midterm, that is.

For my first experience with a law school exam, I feel remarkably calm. The long question was one I had spent considerable time reviewing–though I could have done more work on detailed issues. The short questions related to material I had quick and ready access to and, at least, had a decent handle on.

So what were my bigger problems? Time management.

  • I spent too much time jotting down notes in a different document than the exam document.
  • I spent too much time teasing the issues out of the fact pattern.
  • I took too much time outlining issues and not enough time on the rules and analysis.

I mean, it was a personal jurisdiction question, but I spent a good ten minutes figuring out exactly which part of the scenario was the problematic part. Once I did that, the analysis flowed nicely, but I wasted time that could have been used to clarify points or remove some bad redundancies.

But now I know. I know what to work on when I’m taking practice exams. I know how to better tool my outline so it’s even easier to use. As an experience, it was worth it. Not the best hour-and-fifteen I’ve ever spent, but hey, an hour-and-fifteen isn’t that much time.

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  1. October 18, 2005 at 8:09 pm

    Ungraded midterms? I hope you at least get some feedback on them. Does that mean you’re done with the material, or are they more like practice exams for the real thing at the end? Either way, good you have one down. Good luck with the remaining.

    Our only midterm was for LRW. Everything else is a final only. To think all the stuff we’ve talked about so far is only HALF of what will be on the final (since we’re halfway through) is a little overwhelming. Although I’m sure we’ll all be just fine. 🙂

  2. October 18, 2005 at 8:24 pm

    We get feedback on this midterm, thank goodness. I believe the TA will have a first pass, then the professor will go over specific issues.

    These are basically like practice exams; a chance for us to see how exams work and what the prof is expecting. It’s a “kinder, gentler” approach. And I am pretty sure that we can anticipate any issues on the midterm to show up on the final, though maybe not in the same form or under a single fact pattern.

    Legal writing, though, we have no tests. Three memos. 30%, 35%, and 35%. That’s 100% “how well do you write?”

  3. October 18, 2005 at 8:41 pm

    Oh, our LRM midterm was a memo. It’s just called a midterm because it’s graded (although that definition is obviously different from your schools definition of a midterm). In LRW we have a mid-term & a final which are both graded, and then a bunch of small pass/fail assignments, which you basically get 100% on as long as you turn it in on time and make a good faith effort to do it.

    Good that you get professor feedback. We have TAs that give us practice problems and will give feedback if we want it, but I really don’t know how much trust to put in those guys. Some seem better than others. Some don’t seem to know much beyond their own outline.

  4. emily
    October 19, 2005 at 9:44 pm

    damn i wish my lawschool had ungraded midterms when i was a 1L. it would have helped sooo much knowing what i was getting into, like realllllly knowing. i mean, we had the option of going to the library and checking out one of the prof’s old exams, but hell. who has the self-discipline for that? not me. not me at all.

  5. October 20, 2005 at 7:09 am

    I remember the ungraded midterm from 1L. What a mindscrew…

    I was notoriously bad at issue-spotting.

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