I used to think that the curved grading in law school was lousy, particularly for part-time students with full-time jobs and families, because it was so dependent on intelligence, time spent on studying, etc.  I had classmates whose employers were paying for them to go to school and then giving them two weeks off before finals whereas I was working all day and rushing to the exam just in time to sit there from 6-10p and pray that my prep had paid off.  Oh, yes, and always super ill at exam time.

At my current law school, there is NO curve.  You are graded against the standards of the California Bar on essays and they use Cal Bar MCQs for the multiple choice portions.  Easy right?  No….  The MCQs are insanely tricky and just when you think you know what you are talking about, bam, the answers post and you have totally failed.  Unlike traditional law school, this school offers quizzes and essay exams throughout the course, each type of which make up 20% of the grade with the exam itself making up 60% of the grade.  Yes, I am grateful to have the chance to test my knowledge but I feel really incompetent right now.  :S  I have to wonder if others are struggling like I am.  I feel like I’m ready and understand and then they present a question that totally throws me.

To move onwards and upwards, I have purchased the Finz Multistate Method workbook that has about 100 MCQs per multistate exam topic.  This has helped with Real Property and Con Law.  It’s just finding time to work through them when I also have so much reading to do.  I’ve also purchased a bar exam essay book to practice essay writing to Bar standards.

I feel so down right now because I feel like I keep hitting my head against a wall.  Plus, no pressure, if I don’t pass any one of these courses, I would have to REPEAT THE WHOLE YEAR!  (This is a CA requirement).  I am so stressed about this.  Why am I putting myself through this hell?  To make it even more fun, when I do have finals, I have TWO on the same day!  Property and Criminal Procedure are about 4 hours apart in start times.  Fortunately Con Law is two days after that and my Cyberlaw class is actually two weeks prior, which is odd.

Anyone have thoughts, advice, tips (quit?!? Hide?!?).  Since everything has to be a Bar answer, how did you prepare for the Bar?  Any good resources, strategies, etc., would be most appreciated.

7 thoughts on “Incompetent

  1. I’m so sorry it’s taking a toll on you! I think lawschool is designed to make you feel inadequate an incompetent. And what you feel is totally normal. Other lawstudents may seem like they have it all together but I guarantee, they feel JUST the way you do. The ones who go around bragging and acting like they are so smart (AKA “gunners”) are either delusional or actually are compensating for the fact that they feel incompetent.

    In my experience the ones who seem most “together” and “smartest” actually did badly as far as grades go. Many of them even dropped out!

    This is part of the process and it stinks but just do the best you can and have faith in your abilities. You may not ace them all, but surviving law school is a feat in itself! :)
    CP´s last blog post ..Politics & Civility

  2. You fail the whole year if you don’t pass one class? What?

    I could give you a pep talk if you want one, but given that 1) law school is expensive, 2) if you go to this school, you can only sit for the bar in one state (if I’m remembering correctly, based on what you posted earlier), and 3) you have a very full life and an established career already, I don’t think I would be inclined to. There are a lot of lawyers in the world already, and you’ve already found your career niche. Is a JD going to offer you much more? If so, how much?

    But aside from all that, the only way to study for the bar is to do a gazillion practice questions. As much as I think it’s a good idea to prepare students for the bar, the difference is, when you study for the bar, you’re studying to get anything higher than a D- (or passage). When you’re studying for class, you’re shooting a lot higher than that. They’re entirely two different standards.
    AAL´s last blog post ..Single Parenting Sucks

    • This law school is not that expensive, actually – one of the reasons it is a slightly better gamble than my former one, at least in terms of debt load. Actually I can take the bar in several states right away (including DC) and others after five years of practice. Given the nature of what I want to do with the degree, bar passage is not actually necessary although I do plan to take it so I have broader options. Not sure how to study for class given that all the tests seem to use bar MCQs and the essays are graded to CA bar exam standards. Guess just practice, practice and more practice? :)

  3. I’ve never taken something as grave as the bar but I can identify with your woes. Exam time is always unlucky for me. i feel that everything does not work out the way you expect them too even though you did try your best.

  4. Wow, I hope things have gotten better for you since you posted this… You seem very frustrated. I hope you hang in there, maybe talk to the instructor, see if there a any helpful resources to keep you going. You’ve come to far to give up. Keep going and best of luck to you.

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