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Queries queries everywhere

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 11, 2011 in Site Stats

Good evening folks!

I haven’t compiled one of these Site Stats entries since January, owing largely to the fact law:/dev/null has been slowly atrophying during my chronic absences and I didn’t feel the urge to memorialize it in a blog post ;)

The number of visitors atrophied a bit over the Spring

But despite the chronic disappearances we still had two interesting developments in the statistics department, so I figured I’d go ahead and cobble an entry together.

First, we somehow inexplicably had a +35% spike in folks subscribing to the RSS feed in the past month. That’s the largest month-over-month increase — both in terms of % and # of raw subscribers — since we started publishing via RSS back in November ’09 :surprised:

I have no clue where y’all came from or what prompted you to start reading law:/dev/null via RSS, but welcome! :D

The other surprise was that my disappearances didn’t seem to impact the number of people reaching us via search engine. There were over 1,800+ unique queries made by folks visiting this site since that December entry (9,100+ searches total, with ~400K impressions), setting a record for us in January and setting the #2 and #3 marks in May and April.

We’re currently averaging 350 unique searches a month (compared to 80 this same time a year ago), a perk of producing original content even if it is a bit on the infrequent side :)

***

Here’s a random selection of 20 out of the 360+ unique search terms that brought folks here in May 2011:

  • which t4 law school is the best to attend: NCCU Law. Duh. :P
  • nccu law is hard: That’s generally the idea. If law school was easy, everyone would be doing it ;)
  • suicidal thoughts after law school exam: ok it’s hard, but it’s not that hard. Seriously, your grades don’t matter and there’s -0- point in stressing about what you can’t change.
  • law school, got a c in a class where the median is a b+: Can you change it? No. So stop worrying about it and just do better next time. :*
  • 1l student failed out+someone help me: Talk to your professors and to your mentors. Between the two of them, you’ll know what options you have open to you.
  • do 3ls ever fail: Yep.
  • when will nccu law school grades for 2010-2011 be posted?: They should all be finally online for everyone as of this past week. Though apparently some of my almost-3L colleagues are still waiting to learn whether or not they’ve passed ConLaw :beatup:
  • nccu law unfair grading: 1Ls (and some 2Ls/3Ls) complain about this every year when grades don’t turn out how they want. It’s a myth. Go get your exams from your professors and you’ll see sometimes you really do get things wrong ;)
  • if my final grade is b+ and my midterm was b+ what was my final: It depends on the curve. For example, in CivPro II during my 1L Spring semester there was a +19-point curve on the final exam to get the grade distribution we had.
  • law school c- curve: Doesn’t exist, at least if this well-cited Wikipedia entry on law school curves is to be believed. NCCU Law is among the lowest at 2.0.
  • why is nccu’s law school curve so low?: I’m actually covering this question (and a related one on why we kick people out) in a Mailbag entry I’m hoping to have posted on Monday or Tuesday this coming week — keep an eye out for it :)
  • definition for “madame prosecutor”: This is a loaded query so I’ll plead the Fifth on this one :beatup:
  • i missed my deposit deadline with campbell law: Give them a call and see if you can still pay it. And if not, go somewhere else :angel:
  • unranked law schools worth it: I think so, both here and here.
  • preston mitchum, nccu law: El Presidente, he is my predecessor as SBA President, kicked Harvard Law’s butt in the Luke Charles Moore Invitational, served as President of his 1L and 2L classes, and is an all-around cool guy.
  • has anyone gotten into duke law with a 2.7 gpa and a high score on the lsat: Depends on how high your “high score” is ;)
  • attrition at nccu law: Was #2 highest in the country for a public law school the last time NLJ put a chart together (scroll down), and around #7 highest among public and private law schools combined.
  • unc asg constitution: It’s been shuffled from location to location since I left the organization in April ’10, but you should (hopefully) still be able to find a copy at this URL on iwantmydollarback.org. I have no clue if it’s been amended since then though.
  • t. douchette, nccu law grades: There’s no “h” in my last name :P  But you can find my grades in the transcript at the bottom of this entry.
  • does the the law a pickle is not a pickle unless it bounces to be considered a pickle stand today: Wait… what?? :crack:

Not as exotic as some of the entries from months past, but still fun to dig through :spin:

***

We also have a whole new set for the Top 5 most-viewed posts of the month, including one that vaulted to #2 in just a couple days:

  1. On me nearly missing my CrimPro final: Dear Future 2Ls… (05/04/11)
  2. On my $.02 about 1L grades: Your 1L Grades Don’t Matter (05/29/11)
  3. On closing arguments at TYLA’s Southeast Regionals: Wrong man. Wrong place. Wrong time. (05/05/11)
  4. On slogging through the end of 2L Spring: 2L Year: 1 more exam to go… (05/03/11)
  5. On my 1L Spring grades and NCCU Law’s attrition stats: Spring ’10 Final Grades (or, “A 2L. For srs.”) (06/08/10)

*THANK YOU* to all of you for continuing to check out law:/dev/null despite my chronic disappearances — I truly appreciate you! :heart:

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From the Site Stats archives:

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2L Year: 1 more exam to go…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 3, 2011 in The 2L Life

Hey y’all!

I’m currently on my lunch break here at my internship1 and figured I’d use the opportunity to finally post something here on the blog :)

The past couple weeks have been crazy with exams and other end-of-semester festivities. That Scientific Evidence paper I mentioned in my last entry took up the better part of the week, with my routine basically following a “Shower. Eat. Paper. Eat. Paper. Eat. Paper. Sleep.” cycle for days on end. Turns out I went a wee bit overboard in terms of research, and rather than take out huge chunks of stuff I had written about other stuff I had already spent hours reading, I decided to just throw almost all of it in the final memo :beatup:

On the upside, if you have any interest at all in either the underlying science or current case law regarding the admissibility of expert witness testimony on the behavioral impact of violent video games, you are more than welcome to read my finished memo and let me know what you think / point out the inevitable BlueBook errors.2 :D

The latter part of last week was spent furiously studying for my Business Associations final… which proceeded to thoroughly pummel the daylights out of me on Friday. No clue how the grade on that one will turn out, but for now I’m just ecstatic I’ll never have to take the class again.3 ;)

Since then I’ve essentially been dividing my time between working and studying for my Criminal Procedure exam coming up on Thursday. I’m even further behind in CrimPro than I was in BA (if such a thing is possible to imagine) so there will be a whole lot of prayers said between now and exam time…

So that’s life in my neck of the world :) Congratulations in advance to all the 3Ls who are done or who will be done shortly, and *good luck* to everyone else still in the middle of final exams! :D

  1. One of the “missing entries” from the past month was about me going back to I-Cubed as of last week. Not sure if this will be a full summer gig, but I’ll stick with it while it’s still fun/interesting :) []
  2. Be gentle, and bear in mind my patience with doing a solid+thorough writing job waned after Day 3 of reading/writing :beatup: []
  3. End-of-semester grade expectations / synopses will be coming in a later entry. []

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Revisiting 1L Spring Grades

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 14, 2011 in NotFail

Good evening y’all :)

As law:/dev/null exhibited the occasional sign of life over the past couple weeks, I had a trio of people ask me the same question: aside from my obvious elation at the ending GPA, how did my individual classes turn out during 2L Fall?

I’ve been meaning to post an entry explaining exactly that… but then realized I never gave y’all a final update on 1L Spring, or any update at all on 1L Summer :beatup:

So to properly bolster my reputation of being totally open about my law school grades, I’ve copy/pasted my previous Spring grades entry and revised it with the exam info :D The textual updates are [bracketed], bolded, and preceded by “Update:” for readability.

I’ll post a separate entry on summer school grades some time this week, and then 2L Fall grades after that — I thought about rolling all that info into this one entry, but considering I haven’t managed to string 3 consecutive entries together for awhile now I wanted to make sure I’ve got easily-editable stuff in the queue ;)

Without further ado…

********************
1L SPRING REVISITED
********************

[Everything below is a copy/paste from this entry except for the updates and the final exam grades. You’ve been forewarned, so any resulting confusion is your own fault! :P ]

====================
CIVIL PROCEDURE II
====================

MDG switched things up from the usual final, giving us a set of multiples but then providing documents from a mock court case to review for the essay. Our objective was to review the documents and craft a letter to the client discussing the numerous FRCP-related concerns that existed.

It was during that portion of the exam that I stopped watching the clock and had time called before I got anywhere near finishing it :beatup:

CivPro II Final Exam Grades

The multiples were a challenge, with MDG describing them as “nuanced” and mentioning that even a fellow CivPro instructor missed a couple. The highest correct was 15 out of 20 multiples (75%) with the class average at 12 (60%) — high enough to pass the Bar, which is definitely a good thing given the difficulty.

The chart to the right shows how the final exam grades broke down. There was a +19-point curve.

My final grade for the course turned out slightly higher than anticipated, so my guess is I did well on the multiples. But I’m kicking myself for choosing a UNC Board of Governors meeting over an extra credit assignment we were given shortly after midterms though — the extra 5 points would have bumped the final grade to a B, bumping my 1L GPA above a 2.7 (eligible for some NCCU Law merit scholarships).

Lesson learned :headdesk:

[Update: I found out from MDG that I tied for top score on the multiple choice, which let me know I completely bombed the essay — so I didn’t bother picking it up :beatup: ]

Midterm exam grade: A-
Final exam grade: C
Expected final grade for class: C+
Actual final grade for class: B-

Synopsis: Worse performance than last semester, but given how gratuitously I choked on the essay I’m satisfied with how it turned out. And now I know to do all available extra credit in the future :beatup:

====================
CONTRACTS II
====================

Not a whole lot to say here: Contracts clearly isn’t my thing.

The downside is that I now have to explain to future employers how I barely passed a core class two semesters in a row.

The upside? I never have to take Contracts again until the bar exam ;)

[Update: This was the first (and thus far only) exam where I’ve underperformed on the multiples compared to the essay. According to Prof Ks, I got 33 of 50 possible essay points and was comfortably above the class median. But I somehow had the 3rd lowest score on the multiple choice :crack:  Still glad the class is over…]

Midterm exam grade: C-
Final exam grade: C
Expected final grade for class: C-
Actual final grade for class: C

Synopsis: I passed :surprised:

====================
CRIMINAL LAW
====================

If my perpetual flailing in Ks killed any briefly-nurtured dreams I had of going the intellectual property route, CrimLaw coupled with 1L Trial Team have convinced me to follow my heart and go the criminal prosecution route professionally. It’s something I had wanted to do for years, but never seriously considered since public employees don’t make much salary-wise.

But based on my grades it seems like the only thing I’ll be qualified to do :beatup:

The really crazy part? This was my best grade all year, and it was in the one class where I didn’t study for the final exam because I had a UNCASG meeting that weekend :crack:

Professor CrimLaw sent me an email making sure I knew that (i) I earned the grade I got but (ii) I shouldn’t make any professional decisions based on one course. He’s got a valid point but I don’t feel like I’m doing that here — I really, truly, and deeply hate Contracts too so technically it’s based on three courses :spin:

[Update: I missed a trio of the multiple choice, and had a few points taken off on the essay. For an ever-so-brief period of time I thought about arguing with Prof CrimLaw over some of the missed points — including a section where he wrote that I misread the fact pattern, even though myself and every other classmate I spoke to “misread” the same thing — but I was sufficiently happy/stunned to have at least 1 A-range grade that I didn’t bother contesting it.]

Midterm exam grade: A-
Final exam grade: A-
Expected final grade for class: A-
Actual final grade for class: A-

Synopsis: I’m 90% sure Professor CrimLaw isn’t a TDot fan, but I still enjoyed the course. And I’m glad I finally have something other than B’s and C’s populating my transcript ;)

====================
LEGAL RESEARCH & PERSUASION
====================

Along with not watching the clock in the CivPro final, this was my other instance of taking a strong starting grade and pissing it away through truly stunning incompetence.

Note to the pre-Ls: read directions!

Then when you’re done: re-read directions!

Then after that: re-re-read directions!

Trust me :beatup:

[Update: The professor said my final memo was excellent and would have earned me an A- had it not been days late. Le sigh. #kanyeshrug]

Cumulative grade after midterm: A-
Final memo grade: C-
Expected final grade for class: C
Actual final grade for class: C

Synopsis: It could have been worse I guess. At least the research skills we learned actually turned out to be useful. ::headdesk::

====================
PROPERTY II
====================

This was the only final exam where I didn’t have a gut feeling one way or the other on how it turned out. I’m not sure if it was from the stress of the looming Contracts final two days later or what.

My performance was worse than the midterm, but high enough that I ended up with the exact same grade I got in the Fall.

And I don’t remember any of it already :beatup:

[Update: The final for Property II was “meh” all around. Lost a few points on the multiples. Lost a few points on the fill-in-the-blanks covering future interests. Lost a few points on the essay. If anyone has any particularly compelling insights to glean from that performance, let me know :) ]

Midterm exam grade: A- (and in Top 3)
Final exam grade: B
Expected final grade for class: B+
Actual final grade for class: B+

Synopsis: At least I’m consistent :beatup:

====================
TORTS II
====================

Professor Torts is currently in Costa Rica with our Study Abroad folks, so I won’t know how the final exam turned out for a long while.

But I know enough to know I blew it :(

Back on the midterms I ended up with the #1 score out of the class on the multiples-only exam, so to end up with a final grade below even last semester’s I must have quite thoroughly FUBAR’d the final. And I feel fairly certain I did well on the essay, meaning I can only assume I botched the multiples.

Meh. Was never a fan of this class either…

[Update: Didn’t do as well on the essay as I thought, completing missing 1 of the issues and losing a point or two on a pair of others. Also didn’t do as bad as I thought on the multiples… but someone nailed everything so there was no boost at all in the typical curving of grades :surprised: ]

Midterm exam grade: A (and in Top 3)
Final exam grade: C+
Expected final grade for class: A-
Actual final grade for class: B-

Synopsis: This was the only bona fide disappointment for the semester, but at least it’s over. I will most definitely not be taking Advanced Torts ;)

====================
FINAL SCORE: SPRING 2010 FINALS
====================

Expected End-of-Semester GPA: 2.756
Actual End-of-Semester GPA: 2.733

Actual End-of-1L GPA: 2.678 (Law school median: 2.000)

*****

So that’s the final word on 1L Spring.  Info on 1L Summer coming soon (really! ;) )

Have a great night! :D

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From the grade-related archives:

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It was a trap :(

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 7, 2011 in Fail

Got my Evidence grade today.

The good vibes from ZombieLaw were a trap :(

Nothing like totally laying an egg in a course on something I’m supposed to master if I want to become a competent DA… ::smh::

::headdesk::

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The first grade of Fall 2010 is in…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 5, 2011 in NotFail

…and let’s just say I totally kicked ZombieLaw‘s ass :D

I’ll have the usual full rundown when the rest of the grades come in, but the deadline isn’t officially until January 12th so it’s gonna be awhile :beatup:

For now though I’m gonna enjoy in things turning out better than expected :spin:

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A half-million pageviews later

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 3, 2011 in Site Stats

I bet y’all never thought you’d see one of these entries again :D

2nd month of 6,000+ visitors!

law:/dev/null crossed the 500,000 pageview milestone back in mid-November and I’ve been meaning to do another one of these entries ever since. Then studying and taking finals and working and vacation snuck in and I never got around to it :beatup:

But December 2010 was our 2nd-best-trafficked month since we started — despite two 5-day absences — so I figure that calls for celebration! :spin:

Quite a bit has changed on the server backend of the blog since July, including an increasingly aggressive (and thus far successful) effort at stomping out spammers.

Take a look at one of the new graphs I created below, which shows the number of spammy visitor sources I’ve added to the .htaccess file for banning. I recently started throwing in some keyword bans just to reduce the number of directives the server is processing; for example, instead of banning every spammer coming here from a buythisrandomdrugplz.com address, I’ve just decided to ban all the referers with “buy” in the URL.1

The net result? While July featured an almost comically-absurd abundance of spam comments and we had a couple recurrence spikes in August and October, we’ve “purified” the traffic enough that December had the lowest number of spam visitors in the entire history of law:/dev/null :D

The downside is that the bans kill our pageviews-per-day and Alexa traffic stats, the latter of which are used for determining things like avvo.com’s Top Legal Blogs.

Over 1,000+ spammy domains banned!

Our ranking has steadily dropped like a stone over the past two months while sites like Bitter Lawyer — which has become spam-blasted and hasn’t had fresh content in 3+ months — actually find their stats going up over that same timespan :crack:

But, just between you, me, and the interwebz: I’d prefer having 6,000+ flesh-and-blood visitors a month actually reading this stuff instead of tens-of-thousands of spammers just crawling for comment forms ;)

We’ll see if we can keep our current anti-spam success going in the new year. Honestly I’m just pretty amazed / impressed / blown away that we had as many visitors as we did in December, especially given my infrequent posting. So thanks to all of you :*

***

On the search query front, we’ve had over 1,000 new queries since the last time I did one of these lists :surprised:

Here are 20 of the 240+ unique search terms that brought folks here in December 2010:

  • time magazine decade from hell picture: the picture was more thoughtful than the story itself ;)
  • 1l grade wait: will be at least a month for most law schools, sorry
  • human shooting target: didn’t survive my concealed carry qualification shooting :D
  • nccu law school grades: aren’t due until January 12th :beatup:
  • badass eagle: was briefly considered for my new gravatar — but I decided to stick with my current colonial eagle instead
  • is law school worth it: yes
  • is law school really worth it: yes
  • t4 law school worth it?: probably
  • essay explaining why i would attend north carolina central university: here’s a tip: if you can find it on Google, the admissions staff can find it on Google too ;)
  • if you turn in your tag for lapse in north carolina can you turn around and get a 30 day temporary tag: I could, so you probably can too
  • gpa ncsu computer science: hopefully yours is higher than mine :beatup:
  • final exam advice: check out this entry and this entry — and GOOD LUCK!
  • 1l gpa for top 10%: depends on where you’re going to school, but for the NCCU Law Class of 2012 it was around 3.28
  • hey tar heels… kick rocks: please :angel:
  • people v andrew madison mock trial keys to win: villify the Queen of Hearts :D
  • first kid movie: was my first/only foray in a Hollywood movie (check #19 on that list and see my FB profile for the pics :) )
  • how can a 24 year old get money for law school: apply for students loans. Lots of loans. :beatup:
  • do classmates know your 1l grades: usually no, unless they do really well
  • grading curve nccu law: follows a strict-C, which I’m apparently the only one supporting
  • can’t stand law students: then you’re probably reading the wrong blog ;)

I missed going through these monthly… :spin:

***

And finally, here are the Top 5 most-viewed posts for the month of December 2010:

  1. On tackling finals: TDot’s Tips: More Final Exam Advice (11/30/10)
  2. On Fall 2010 grade expectations: Halfway done! (12/12/10)
  3. On combating spammers: Fight WordPress comment spam with .htaccess (08/04/10)
  4. On law students around the web: Law School Roundup #247 (12/19/10)
  5. On figuring out what to do with my life: Straddling the fence (12/13/10)

*THANK YOU* again to each of you for your continued support of us here at law:/dev/null! :D

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Past Site Stats entries:

  1. On the ever-so-slim chance you happen to get here from a legit source with “buy” (or any other banned keyword) in the URL and you get one of our lovely error pages, just reload law:/dev/null manually and you should be able to see everything :) []

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Halfway done!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 12, 2010 in The 2L Life

Another month, another one of my sporadic weeklong disappearances :beatup:

This has been a crazy week — spanning both final exams and a new job — but things are finally starting to get back into a rhythm so I can start focusing on the important things in life.

Including, but not limited to, the fact I’M NOW HALFWAY DONE WITH LAW SCHOOL! :spin: :spin: :spin:

::happy dance::

My last exam was in Evidence last Wednesday and with it my 2L Fall semester officially came to a close. Professors at NCCU Law have until January 12th to turn in grades so it’ll be awhile until I find out how I did, but here’s my expectations on how things will turn out:

  • Constitutional Law I: Unlike the midterm that I knew I knocked out of the park, I thought the final was pretty @#$%ing difficult :surprised:  30 multiple choice questions and then 3 essays spanning a whole range of issues. There were a few multiples I genuinely had no clue how to answer, and I was typing on the essays right down to the very last minute. After talking with classmates after the exam I’m fairly certain I missed a good chunk of stuff on the essays so at this point I’ll just be happy if my grade doesn’t have a negative impact on my GPA. Hoping for: B+.
  • Domestic Violence: History, Law & Practice: I drew a bead on this class early, determined to deal with the difficult subject matter and ace the course. I tried to avoid skipping class (difficult for an 8:30am time slot), intentionally went overboard perfecting my motion in limine, thought I was fairly well-prepared for oral arguments, and just generally worked my @$$ off to excel at everything. This is the only class where I’ll be legitimately irked if I don’t get the grade I want :beatup:  Hoping for: A.
  • Legal Letters: This was another paper-based course along with DVLaw, and I got near-perfect grades on all the assignments… except for the research memo I postponed in favor of studying for ConLaw. That dropped me to the bottom of the pile grade-wise, so the only hope I have for a decent grade is that (1) other classmates turned stuff in late too, and (2) my grades on the other assignments were marginally high enough compared to everyone else that I can edge past a few folks into the middle of the pack.  Hoping for: C+ or better.
  • Evidence: This one burns. 10 true/false question, 30 multiple choice, 1 essay. I know I completely and totally demolished the essay, in no small part due to knowledge I cemented in my brain doing research for DVLaw and from watching all 7 hours of BarBri’s online lectures (something I highly recommend for future exams). But the answer options on the multiple choice weren’t as precisely worded as I expected, and I often found myself feeling like I was playing a game of “pick the least wrong answer”… which means I probably didn’t know wtf I was doing :(  Fingers are crossed but this one falls into the ConLaw pile of “I’ll be glad as long as it doesn’t drop my GPA.” Hoping for: B+.
  • ZombieLaw (Decedents Estates I): My feelings toward this one have changed a bit since the post I wrote just after the exam. Initially I likened it to Contracts and my 1L Spring final, where spending a ton of time on questions just to work my way to an “either of these could be right” coin flip meant I did pretty bad. But in this case, although it took me 2.5 hours to grind through the 30 multiple choice questions, I eventually found an answer for each one that made sense to me — there was no coin-flipping at all. So my hope of hopes is that it means I got all the multiple choice right ::fingers crossed:: Hoping for: A-.
  • Expected 2L Fall GPA: 3.400 | Probability Factor: 18.2%

Why the added “Probability Factor” on this particular grade rundown? Well, if all these grades turn out like I hope, that means I’d make the Dean’s List… a feat I haven’t accomplished since Fall 2005, my first semester back at N.C. State :beatup:

Back in undergrad I had an incentive to perform well, since I had a pre-existing agreement with the Dean’s office set up in 2000 where they’d retroactively wipe away my sophomore Spring semester1 once I finished a summer session with “satisfactory academic progress” to prove I wasn’t totally incompetent. Of course I dropped out that June because I couldn’t afford tuition, so that semester of solid grades never took place until I came back 5 years later.

But here in law school, the only incentive I’ve got to perform well in class is just the self-satisfaction of knowing I can do it… and truth be told that’s just not a terribly strong motivator to a guy who already has an outlandishly oversized ego ;) So I figure the odds of me actually making Dean’s List this semester are about 2-in-11.

If any of you get the urge to cross your fingers, say a prayer, or bribe a professor on my behalf2 please feel free to do so. Until then, y’all have a great night — and best of luck to anyone still dealing with final exams! :D

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From the grade-related archives:

  1. They took pity on the fact I was a moron who was working 4o hours a week thinking I could make enough $$$ for tuition and still perform well academically :beatup: []
  2. Just kidding about the bribe part. Maybe. :angel: []

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“I fought the [Zombie] Law and the [Zombie] Law won”…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 6, 2010 in The 2L Life

Ugh.

I’m usually pretty good about gauging how I perform on an exam after I leave the room.  For example, I knew within minutes that I got thoroughly mauled on my Contracts II final.1  Conversely, I figured I knocked the ConLaw midterm out of the ballpark before I left the room.

My impressions of ZombieLaw fall more toward the KII side of the spectrum than the ConLaw side :(

The cover to my class binder. Clearly I wasn't ready...

I’ve spent most of the past 72 hours studying non-stop for this exam. For someone who can’t stand sitting still for any protracted length of time, and who (successfully) finds a million different reasons to avoid doing schoolwork,2 somehow managing to sit still in my living room with the North Carolina General Statutes and the Uniform Probate Code and class notes and outlines and etc etc etc all strewn around me while actually reading them was quite a big accomplishment.  I thought I knew the material reasonably well.

And then I turned to the first page of the exam, and felt like I spent the ensuing 3 hours being repeatedly violated by a few sheets of paper :crack:

The exam was 3 hours long, comprised of 30 multiple choice questions worth 60% and a multi-faceted essay worth 40%.  And just like in the KII final, it took me an exorbitant amount of time just to work my way through the multiple choice — 2.5 hours.

For those of you who are math whizzes, that translates to 83.3% of the exam time spent slogging through 60% of the points…

In the 30 minutes that were left I frantically typed as much as I could conceivably type on the essay topics. There were issues with failed devises from a will, figuring out where the residue goes under the fictional jurisdiction’s anti-lapse statute, testamentary libel, partial revocation by physical act, an attempted holographic codicil, dependent relative revocation, latent ambiguity with a devise, the list goes on and on.

I think I maybe got about two-thirds of those issues covered in some minimally-competent fashion, and there’s no telling how many other issues were there that I missed. It was a mess.

The only potential upside is that most of my colleagues had similar concerns, so either (1) we all did equally bad and I can eke out a passing grade, or (2) the extra time I invested on the multiples will put me in the top echelon of the class and I can ride the curve on the essay to a better-than-passing grade.

Or (3) I really didn’t know wtf I was doing and I end up with a C like I did in KII :beatup:

We’ll see how it turns out :)   Spending tonight and tomorrow studying for Evidence, my last exam of the 2L Fall semester :D Good luck to everyone who still has exams left!

  1. Notice both that entry and this entry start the exact same too. That’s what literary folks call “foreshadowing” ;) []
  2. One of my occasional diversions from ZombieLaw was finding a functioning PSone emulator that I could either run in VMWare on the Mac or boot into Windows and load directly so I could play my old Final Fantasy Tactics game again  :spin: []

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2

Showtime

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 2, 2010 in The 2L Life

Lots to talk about y’all, but not tonight — 1st exam of Fall 2010 is at 9am tomorrow :surprised:  A 4-hour beast in Constitutional Law I to be precise.

I know basic ConLaw almost instinctively after studying it since at least high school, but I don’t feel confident at all about my recollection of the minutiae on stuff we’ve gone over these past 2-3 weeks — when I was focusing on assignments for other classes :beatup:

If you’ve got any spare prayers available, feel free to send them my way ;)

Thanks guys, and have a great night!

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3

TDot’s Tips: More Final Exam Advice

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 30, 2010 in TDot's Tips

Good evening y’all! :D

Let me preface this entry by giving a quick shout-out to the folks at FAMU Law down in Orlando, one of the ~40 historically black public institutions in the country alongside NCCU. I was told earlier today that some 1Ls down there found some helpful information here at law:/dev/null and I just wanted to thank y’all for reading! There’s no higher praise I can get than someone liking what I’ve written :)

Today was Reading Day at NCCU Law and final exams start for our 1Ls tomorrow morning with Property I. So it seemed like a timely opportunity to point the 1Ls back to a handful of final exam tips I wrote back in December, along with some recent additions I added in October :angel:

There are so many blawgs with so many exam tips that I don’t want to pile on more beyond what’s already out there — after all, you should be learning rules of law instead of this random 2L’s suggestions on how to do better at exams.

But I also had a few more ideas that I’m also using myself, and I figured it’d be selfish of me not to share. So take this with the requisite grains of salt, your mileage may vary, there are no express or implied warranties of any kind that any of this will actually help your exam grades, etc etc etc ;)

  1. Do as many practice multiples as you can get your hands on. I’ve been banging the “do more multiples!” drum pretty zealously every time I talk about exams, because (for some reason that escapes me) I still have folks swear to me that it’s a misapplication of time and energy :crack:  Y’all, please just trust the computer scientist on this one: your multiple choice questions are more important than your essays. Multiple choice questions have finite answer options that are objectively either right or wrong. If the answer for a question is A, bubbling in “A” on a Scantron is the only way to get points for that question. It’s objective. There’s no room for interpretation. That means multiples can’t be curved. If your law school grades on a curve, for example like the strict-C curve we use at NCCU Law, the professors have to find some subjective way to sort your grades — and since multiples can’t be curved, that subjectivity has to happen on the essays. In other words, no matter how stellar you do on your exam essays, for that portion of the exam you are inevitably at the mercy of your classmates. (Cue the :surprised:  looks.) If you do well, but everyone else does well too, that makes you average; the professors will then start looking for über-nitpicky justifications to shave a point here, a point there, etc. On the other hand, with multiples you stand on your own; you either got them right, or you didn’t. A student with a stellar essay score and a barely-passing multiples score isn’t going to do very well, but a student with a perfect score on the multiples and a less-than-stellar essay can ride the curve to a decent grade.
  2. Start exploiting your bar prep company now. I can’t speak competently about Kaplan’s PMBR because I don’t use them, but I signed up for Thomson Reuters’ BarBri my 1L year and I’m in the process of paying $$$$$ to take their bar review course after I graduate. Not only does BarBri provide a huge “First Year Review” book to 1Ls, they have free practice tests online with their “StudySmart Law School” web application — an app that has more multiple choice questions than you can shake a stick at, and a timer to go with it. I don’t remember if I had as much access to this stuff as I had last year, but right now I can take practice exams on CivPro, ConLaw, Ks, CrimLaw, Evidence, Property, and Torts. You’re already paying money to these folks to provide you with a service, why not start using it now? ;)
  3. See if any 2Ls/3Ls will let you look at their old essays. Just about everyone you ever talk to will tell you to find old tests to practice on, but that doesn’t do you much good if the test is really old or your professor isn’t available to offer their $.02 on your practice work. If you’ve already attached yourself to a 2L for their textbooks and happen to have the professor they had last year, see if they have their old graded essays and would be willing to let you look at them. It will give you a sense of how someone did in your shoes, and if the professor provided any useful commentary on the essay it will also provide some insight into what that particular professor might be looking for in an answer. Your hypo is going to be different of course, but every little bit of insight helps. As an example, for NCCU Law 1Ls the Traveling Professor likes having every single possible detail thrown in about the tested area of law in her Property essays; MDG, by contrast, takes off points if you mention extraneous CivPro law that doesn’t actually apply in his particular hypos.
  4. Visit Academic Support. I never went to our Academic Support office last year, because I routinely fled the law school as soon as class was over to escape the high-stress super-Type A personalities roaming the halls.1 Over the past week I’ve been in there more than all of last year as I was trying to snag this CrimLaw tutor gig…  and I just now realized these folks have scads of supplements, flash cards, practice tests, and all sorts of other stuff to help you pass your classes :eek:  I guess in my mind I really already knew that, but it didn’t really “click” until seeing all of it there in front of my eyes. Definitely pay a visit to Academic Support and use the tools they have available for you (especially since you’re already paying for it).
  5. Pace yourself. You’re going to hear the saying “law school is a marathon and not a sprint” at least a half-dozen times between now and when you graduate. That applies to exams too. Definitely study aggressively, practice frequently, and so on and so forth. But also make sure you take time to relax, sleep, get out of your apartment (or study carrel), exercise, bathe, waste time on Facebook, or whatever else you do in your free time to stay sane. If you’ve got 48 hours of potential study time between now and your next exam, there’s no harm with using 16 of them for sleep and taking an hour or two of the 32 left to relax. You’ll be happier for it, and more inclined to remember the stuff that you studied :spin:

This entry’s running a bit long so I’ll cap it here, but I hope it helps! Make sure to read through the other tips too — and GOOD LUCK! :D

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Past TDot’s Tips entries:

  1. Apparently prompting some people to think I looked down on them… []

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