Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Exam post-mortem: Random musings about finals

My first written final exam of the semester is over. Taxalicious. For many law students, there is a feeling toward the end of the semester, as you synthesize all of the rules and holdings for a particular course, that you finally understand the material. You see the forest for the trees. For me, I didn't get that feeling until about two days before Monday's final, which is dangerously close (especially because I try to take at least half a day off before exams to relax and charge up my mental batteries). In this final, I can honestly say that my fellow classmates saved my bacon. I usually don't spend much time in study groups, but I was feeling so uneasy about this class that I spent six hours with two different groups of people over the weekend figuring out answers and comparing notes. It was surprisingly effective. It was also surprisingly scary to find out how many tiny errors I had made in my own outline. One of the nice things about Louisville Law is that students are pretty open with each other when it comes to sharing notes, hornbooks, outlines, etc.
The downside of discussing courses with other students is that you (or at least me) inevitably fall into post-exam conversations about what went right and wrong. And then, what felt so right just an hour or two ago, suddenly feels horrible and wrong. You pick apart your answers, and realize the tiny nuances that you missed on that long essay suddenly look like gaping black holes. It's pretty difficult to fail a law school exam, but these nuances also illustrate why it's so difficult to score an A. Most grades fall into a tight range between C minus and A minus. If you're able to notch a 3.0 GPA overall, you're in the top one third of your class. Above a 3.2 and you're close to the top 15 percent. It's actually possible to figure out, with reasonable certainty, where your grades will fall in a particular class using sites like this one. I try not to look in the rear view mirror too much after each final is over. We'll all find out how we did in a few weeks, and then we'll move on. With that in mind, I leave you with yet another goofy music video, this time about Basic Income Tax, made by students at Queen's University.


  1. Is that you rapping in the video, Alex? ;)

  2. Definitely not. I'd be even worse.