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the sharks are circling

October 26, 2005

The fear-mongering has begun. I recall JCA at Sua Sponte using the words panic-inducing in reference to a certain exam-taking seminar program offered to law students. I get what she means now.

I’m not much of a panicker. I generally don’t buy into hard-sell marketing that tells me that I “must” do this or that in order to succeed. I realized a long time ago that panic doesn’t pay. For many of the same reasons that I didn’t take an LSAT course, therefore, I will not be spending 8 weekend hours in a hotel with 1Ls from across the city learning how to take law school exams—two days before my next memo is due.

But the fear-mongering is difficult to ignore. Not just from the seminar organizers themselves, but also from the students who are buying into it. We are generally non-competitive around here, but suddenly I hear my classmates saying they HAVE to spend money and time on this course because “the competition” will be taking it.

Holy hell, that’s freaky! It makes me angry that programs like this are being pushed upon us, but it makes me even angrier that they’re being pushed in a scary way such that normally nice people are turning into One-L style mind-f**kers. I’ve heard tell of someone saying that he’ll take the course not because he’s worried about being able to take an exam but because HE cares about being at the top of our class, getting the best grades.

What a load of crap! I can’t believe that any of us don’t want to do well. Are there actually people here who are spending $120,000 so they can aim just for C’s? (OK, maybe there are people doing that. They are a very slim minority.) So I don’t appreciate the fear-mongering, I don’t like the competitive edge it stirs up, and it makes me sad that nice people who are good students and who always seem to have smart things to say in class are now on the verge of all-out anxiety attacks on school property because they are convinced they’re going to fail out of law school because they can’t afford the time or money to take the program!

Rant ended. I have a memo to work on and lunch to eat.

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Categories: 1L
  1. October 27, 2005 at 11:11 am

    You know, I’m not one to panic, but law school exams are (unnecessarily) intimidating. There’s the “unknown” because, until you have taken one, you don’t *really* know what they are like. Practice exams are nice, but at least for me, I always know they are a practice, so the pressure isn’t the same. So it’s really easy to get worked up, panic and as a result, do poorly.

    First semester, I did that on a couple of exams and I didn’t get the grades I was capable of getting. But here’s the thing: nothing anyone said in any of the “exam prep seminars” that I went to helped one iota. (I didn’t pay for any, but I cannot believe *any* are worth a dime.) Here’s why:

    1. No two professors exams are the same. They write them differently and more important, they grade them differently.

    2. None of those seminars are *real exams* and until you’ve faced a *real exam* you won’t know what it’s like. Period.

    For me, that meant nearly all of my “fears” were completely internal. I have a simple, three point system that is *sure* to get anyone the best grade they are capable of getting:

    1. Do the reading.
    2. Take notes in class.
    3. Study the reading and the notes.
    4. Study all semester long, you can’t learn it all in reading week.
    5. Review old exams from your prof.
    6. Get a *good* night’s sleep before the exam.

    If you really, really follow steps 1-5 (6 is my personal preference) you will do *fine*. You have nothing to fear, but fear itself. 🙂

  2. October 27, 2005 at 11:15 am

    BTW, my “three point” system really is three points: Study, Review, Rest. I just elaborated for the post. 🙂

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