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SehajTheCanadain

About to Graduate from Biochemistry BSc., but want to go to Law School

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If you really want to go into Law, switch into a different major you are interested in and do 2 more years before you graduate with that biochem degree. Trust me I know several people with core science degrees who are wondering what the heck to do after graduation after they couldn't make it into medicine. Masters degree at a reputation institution is a must if you want to have any decent career in that field. I was also a biochem major in my first and second years of undergrad, trying to get into medicine. Even though I was pretty good at chemistry and physics, I was absolutely horrible with biology related courses. I switched to business school and graduated with decent grades. Also accepted at a law school this cycle.

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I assume you mean Biology 427?

This course seems like it's:
A) Awesome
B) a Biology course (so, a STEM course, not an "easy" arts course)
C) Challenging

 

Mini rant time (directed to no one in particular):

 

Why is it that courses which get you out of the classroom continue to be frowned upon? The few courses in my undergrad to include trips/assignments were some of the most enjoyable, and certainly the most memorable. As it happens, the courses which are most enjoyable tend to be the most memorable, and the most memorable are also the most useful down the road.

 

Instead of valuing experiential learning, we've somehow come to equate the size of a textbook with the difficulty of the material and thus a course's inherent worth. I think part of the reason is that everyone - parents, professors, university administrators, even students themselves - wants to differentiate university from college. Thinking is valued over doing, even though doing encourages us to do more thinking. Maybe there are just better ways for most people to learn material than through a textbook? Being outside and learning should not be seen as mutually exclusive.

So yes, a course on bird watching may sound shallow on its surface, but I'm willing to bet that anyone who has taken it ranks it among their most memorable courses of undergrad.

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To be perfectly honest, I don't think you'd be well suited to law school or the legal profession. You don't present yourself as a very serious person and the way you write suggests that your lack of academic success may not be entirely attributable to a lack of interest or other situational factors

 

I'd also caution you from entering law if your decision is in any way attributable to family pressure or a sense of "prestige." I am also of South Asian heritage and it's my experience that while relatives are happy to hear I'm in law school, they're not happy to hear that I'm interested in areas other than business law. To the extent that your relatives might be similar to mine and that your choice of practice area may not be open to you, you may find that their approval is short lived.

 

Sorry if that sounds harsh. I really do mean it with the best of intentions.

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Hey guys, I'm a month away from graduating from UBC Okangan Campus with a BS. in Biochemistry, medical specialization. As you can tell by my major, I had different aspirations at the start of my university career, but after four years of grueling, difficult, and eventually uninteresting material I have had enough.

 

It's not that I find the material too difficult, but after four years I went from only studying and staying at home/shy etc. to living, working and studying on my own in a different city, doing speeches on behalf of cultural minorities, starting and running a couple of clubs (Sikh Students Association and the Biochemistry Course Union), and all in all becoming a different person who felt held back with this degree. I'm telling you random strangers this is that my marks suffered compared to the other students in my classes, who kept that aspiring medical degree/research degrees in mind, but I would rather fall down the Alps in a barrel than spend the rest of my life doing research on bacterial cultures. I found out I was not interested in much of the material by second year, but chose to stick with it to the end anyways, which might have been a mistake.

 

My biggest fear is that though I was very involved extracurricularly at my university, and it didn't help that I kept taking harder classes than I should have (think Bio-inorganic chemistry or Number theory instead of a bird watching class or a psychology class) my GPA would be considered weak in comparison to other people applying in Canada. 2.7-3.0 depending on all or just my upper year courses.

 

Though I haven't taken the LSAT yet, I'd love some more information on the possibility of my acceptance into a reasonable school in Canada (since the political climate/ future of the states is very much a shit show), and the work/experience of being a Lawyer is like.  

 

Thanks

 

Why do people always need to bash others with a B.A.? I always find this so irritating.

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Why do people always need to bash others with a B.A.? I always find this so irritating.

Probably because the entrance requirements for undergraduate STEM faculties tend to be higher than the arts faculties.

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yeah, but having a class where you go to look at birds in the morning of the summer and number theory class being worth the same in terms of credits just doesnt seem worth it. ( PS its a real thing, really missed out ) 

 

I digress as well haha

 

 

I completely agree with Dwarvishleaf on this, and will add my .02 re: Arts courses (which, as is previously noted, your birdwatching course was not...)

 

Firstly, it is undeniable that there are some Arts courses that are easier than some STEM courses, either in terms of workload or time commitment (I was always glad never to have to deal with 12 hours of lab work each week...) However, even IF a given course is objectively easier, it does not follow that it will also be easy to get a high grade in that course. My first Undergrad program, every single class was scaled to a strict 65% average, with a normal distribution. It doesn't matter how easy the work is at that point - getting an A- or above means beating the curve in a pretty big way.

 

Secondly, I do not understand where STEM majors get off thinking that the skills they've learned are somehow more worthy or more applicable than those learned in Arts programs. From my view, STEM folks tend to learn a pretty constrained and narrow skill set that's useful to a specific set of jobs/fields of research. Outside of that field, how often do you think you'll find yourself needing to analyze cell cultures? or actually USE number theory? At the same time, STEM people often (not always) seem to lack basic skills that Arts students get drilled into them from day one - writing, argumentation, research, the reading of ponderous tomes of only marginally exciting (and not at all forbidden) knowledge, and the concentration of maximal caffeine into minimal liquid volume (I kid)...skills that do have more general application outside the ivory tower, and specifically in the context of law and law school.

 

Now, if you want to argue that it's easier for an average (C+) student to graduate an arts degree than a STEM degree, there'd probably be a decent argument there - the subjective marking schema of Arts courses does tend to err away from failing students in large numbers, so even poor students are likely to pass. The thing is, when we're talking about LAW applicants, we're rarely discussing the C+ students coming out of the arts program - we're talking to and about people with 3.5+ GPAs, by and large, likely in the upper 10% of their respective programs. And frankly, the same central tendency of Arts programs that keeps too many students from failing also keeps too many students from excelling-particularly over the course of a 4-year program. So the argument is really moot in this instance. 

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I completely agree with Dwarvishleaf on this, and will add my .02 re: Arts courses (which, as is previously noted, your birdwatching course was not...)

 

Firstly, it is undeniable that there are some Arts courses that are easier than some STEM courses, either in terms of workload or time commitment (I was always glad never to have to deal with 12 hours of lab work each week...) However, even IF a given course is objectively easier, it does not follow that it will also be easy to get a high grade in that course. My first Undergrad program, every single class was scaled to a strict 65% average, with a normal distribution. It doesn't matter how easy the work is at that point - getting an A- or above means beating the curve in a pretty big way.

 

Secondly, I do not understand where STEM majors get off thinking that the skills they've learned are somehow more worthy or more applicable than those learned in Arts programs. From my view, STEM folks tend to learn a pretty constrained and narrow skill set that's useful to a specific set of jobs/fields of research. Outside of that field, how often do you think you'll find yourself needing to analyze cell cultures? or actually USE number theory? At the same time, STEM people often (not always) seem to lack basic skills that Arts students get drilled into them from day one - writing, argumentation, research, the reading of ponderous tomes of only marginally exciting (and not at all forbidden) knowledge, and the concentration of maximal caffeine into minimal liquid volume (I kid)...skills that do have more general application outside the ivory tower, and specifically in the context of law and law school.

 

Now, if you want to argue that it's easier for an average (C+) student to graduate an arts degree than a STEM degree, there'd probably be a decent argument there - the subjective marking schema of Arts courses does tend to err away from failing students in large numbers, so even poor students are likely to pass. The thing is, when we're talking about LAW applicants, we're rarely discussing the C+ students coming out of the arts program - we're talking to and about people with 3.5+ GPAs, by and large, likely in the upper 10% of their respective programs. And frankly, the same central tendency of Arts programs that keeps too many students from failing also keeps too many students from excelling-particularly over the course of a 4-year program. So the argument is really moot in this instance. 

 

This largely depends on the post-secondary institution that one attends as well. By and large, It is far easier to  do well at an institution like Douglas or Kwantlen than it is to do well at UBC or U of T. Hell, even SFU is well-known for being much harder than Douglas or Kwantlen.

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Probably because the entrance requirements for undergraduate STEM faculties tend to be higher than the arts faculties.

 

So it makes it okay to bash people with a B.A.? Makes no sense, sorry. Even if you have a harder time getting into STEM majors, doesn't make it okay (or correct) to make statements like these. By that logic people at Ivy league schools could bash everyone else since their requirements are higher, and although many do, don't we think it comes off as pretentious?

 

Especially when you haven't done particularly well in a science degree it makes you sound like you have sour grapes. Many STEM majors wouldn't necessarily do well in the arts and its kind of ridiculous when we see these threads of people assuming they would have necessarily done excellent in the arts.

Edited by flash21
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So it makes it okay to bash people with a B.A.? Makes no sense, sorry. Even if you have a harder time getting into STEM majors, doesn't make it okay to make statements like these. By that logic people at Ivy league schools could bash everyone else since their requirements are higher, and although many do, don't we think it comes off as pretentious?

 

Especially when you haven't done particularly well in a science degree it makes you sound like you have sour grapes. Many STEM majors wouldn't necessarily do well in the arts and its kind of ridiculous when we see these threads of people assuming they would have necessarily done excellent in the arts.

 

It is pretentious...no doubt about it.  Hence why the responses have pinpointed that it's something about the OP and not so much about the faculty or coursework.

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As someone with neither a BSc nor a BA, I feel left out. Can someone tell me how should I feel about my HBComm?  :roll:

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Hey guys, I'm a month away from graduating from UBC Okangan Campus with a BS. in Biochemistry, medical specialization. As you can tell by my major, I had different aspirations at the start of my university career, but after four years of grueling, difficult, and eventually uninteresting material I have had enough.

 

It's not that I find the material too difficult, but after four years I went from only studying and staying at home/shy etc. to living, working and studying on my own in a different city, doing speeches on behalf of cultural minorities, starting and running a couple of clubs (Sikh Students Association and the Biochemistry Course Union), and all in all becoming a different person who felt held back with this degree. I'm telling you random strangers this is that my marks suffered compared to the other students in my classes, who kept that aspiring medical degree/research degrees in mind, but I would rather fall down the Alps in a barrel than spend the rest of my life doing research on bacterial cultures. I found out I was not interested in much of the material by second year, but chose to stick with it to the end anyways, which might have been a mistake.

 

My biggest fear is that though I was very involved extracurricularly at my university, and it didn't help that I kept taking harder classes than I should have (think Bio-inorganic chemistry or Number theory instead of a bird watching class or a psychology class) my GPA would be considered weak in comparison to other people applying in Canada. 2.7-3.0 depending on all or just my upper year courses.

 

Though I haven't taken the LSAT yet, I'd love some more information on the possibility of my acceptance into a reasonable school in Canada (since the political climate/ future of the states is very much a shit show), and the work/experience of being a Lawyer is like.  

 

Thanks

 

Fellow STEM undergrad here. 

 

I would 100% echo what Diplock and Another Hutz have had to say on this. Pay very close attention to their advice. The fact that it's a STEM degree is no excuse for underperformance. You don't get to wave a STEM card, although it could marginally help you stand out from a pool of PoliSci applicants.

 

Further, I would advise against conflating extracurricular commitment with extenuating circumstances. One is a choice, the other a force beyond your immediate control. 

 

[...]

 

Secondly, I do not understand where STEM majors get off thinking that the skills they've learned are somehow more worthy or more applicable than those learned in Arts programs. From my view, STEM folks tend to learn a pretty constrained and narrow skill set that's useful to a specific set of jobs/fields of research. Outside of that field, how often do you think you'll find yourself needing to analyze cell cultures? or actually USE number theory? At the same time, STEM people often (not always) seem to lack basic skills that Arts students get drilled into them from day one - writing, argumentation, research, the reading of ponderous tomes of only marginally exciting (and not at all forbidden) knowledge, and the concentration of maximal caffeine into minimal liquid volume (I kid)...skills that do have more general application outside the ivory tower, and specifically in the context of law and law school.

 

[...]

 

Excellent stuff.

 

I would nevertheless be careful with the above. It encourages the massive dissemination of misinformation of the kind that really puzzles me.

 

First, you are framing the discipline in a way that is dangerously simplistic. And I get it, unless you've had practical exposure to how science works, it is truly difficult to fully apprehend its scope. 

 

Second, the idea that STEM students are poor writers. The causation/correlation link is tenuous at best, and I believe you scored marvelously on your LSAT so I have nothing to teach you on this. But unless it is empirically backed up, the claim doesn't even amount to a cliche. Further, research is just about communicating your results as it is about experimental analysis. Academics write. A lot. In fact, I would challenge you to access any scientific article in any life sciences journal, and again try to advance the claim that scientists are poor writers, even with the convenient "some, not all" caveat.

 

Third, there seems to be an insinuation that somehow scientists do no research, or that arts students do more research... This was probably a lapse.

 

On the other hand, I would readily concede that scientific disciplines have relatively little focus on argumentation. 

 

The essence of your post remains spot on though, and I agree completely with you that scientists who think arts students are inferior in any way need a reality check--or a law school exam.

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Business, Engineering, English, etc. all test for different skills. Engineering (or whatever) may be the hardest objectively but that doesn't mean someone in that program could register for any Arts course and easily get A's. 

 

I think the ability to excel is subjective and largely dependent on an individual's abilities. Many of my friends in Engineering who took English courses ended up doing quite poorly and apologizing for saying that my degree was a joke. On the other hand, I would be very lucky to pass an upper-level STEM course. I don't think it means I'm smarter than them or they're smarter than me - we're just good at different things.

 

But anyways, I don't think it's worth arguing over what schools or programs are easier or harder. We've discussed it on the forum many times and gotten nowhere every time.

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Fellow STEM undergrad here. 

 

I would 100% echo what Diplock and Another Hutz have had to say on this. Pay very close attention to their advice. The fact that it's a STEM degree is no excuse for underperformance. You don't get to wave a STEM card, although it could marginally help you stand out from a pool of PoliSci applicants.

 

Further, I would advise against conflating extracurricular commitment with extenuating circumstances. One is a choice, the other a force beyond your immediate control. 

 

 

Excellent stuff.

 

I would nevertheless be careful with the above. It encourages the massive dissemination of misinformation of the kind that really puzzles me.

 

First, you are framing the discipline in a way that is dangerously simplistic. And I get it, unless you've had practical exposure to how science works, it is truly difficult to fully apprehend its scope. 

 

Second, the idea that STEM students are poor writers. The causation/correlation link is tenuous at best, and I believe you scored marvelously on your LSAT so I have nothing to teach you on this. But unless it is empirically backed up, the claim doesn't even amount to a cliche. Further, research is just about communicating your results as it is about experimental analysis. Academics write. A lot. In fact, I would challenge you to access any scientific article in any life sciences journal, and again try to advance the claim that scientists are poor writers, even with the convenient "some, not all" caveat.

 

Third, there seems to be an insinuation that somehow scientists do no research, or that arts students do more research... This was probably a lapse.

 

On the other hand, I would readily concede that scientific disciplines have relatively little focus on argumentation. 

 

The essence of your post remains spot on though, and I agree completely with you that scientists who think arts students are inferior in any way need a reality check--or a law school exam.

Anyone who thinks there is no argumentation in science clearly has not had a vindictive reviewer while trying to push out a publication  :-P

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You're all good at what you trained at. I'm very certain that anyone who is willing to work hard enough and had the ability to understand complex topics, could do well in any classes as long as they were interested in spending four years of their life learning the material from the basics.

With that being said, I have taken a combination of STEM and arts classes (I was a couple of requirements shy of a minor in biochem and graduated with an arts degree in psych). Admittedly, I learned some things in three weeks of STEM classes that I learned in an entire course in the faculty of arts (the overlap was a nervous system class, in case you're curious) and I also met a lot of people in my STEM classes that struggled with simple concepts unless they were laid out in pictures and bullet-form. As to who was successful in classes, there were a lot of differences. I found STEM classes had a lot more, for lack of a better term, natural geniuses, who easily cruised through class and didn't really do any work until they had to. The fact that the exams were mostly short answer or math-based was a massive boon to them. On the other hand, there were a lot of bright students in my arts programs who wrote beautifully and didn't have to comprehend the topics very well to write an A paper.

 

From an an objective perspective, I found the STEM students to be, on average, working a lot harder than arts students, simply because every week was 15 hours of lecture and maybe 9-15 hours of lab time plus about 3-10 hours of reading, depending on the classes, while arts classes required about 5 hours a week of reading and 15 hours a week of lecture.

 

The other thing I noticed about arts vs. STEM was that arts professors seem more willing to negotiate a grade, while STEM professors just pointed at work and said "how else would this have been marked?".

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I started off as a biochem major, and switched over to psychology, and I wouldnt say either is easier than the other. A lot of it depends on what you're good at and interested in. 

Although I find psychology more interesting, and would never go back to biochem, one thing I liked better about biochem was that, even if I didnt do well, I know I got the mark I deserved. With psychology, I feel like sometimes the mark you get partially depends on the TA/professor who is marking the assignment. 

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Asking what majors/faculty/courses to take pre law has always been asked on these forums over and over and over again. It's simply because there are "easier" courses/majors to take than others (like OP alluded to), if your end goal is law and you want a high GPA. Speaking from experience with a Bcomm degree, several of my friends who knew Bcomm was just a stepping stone into Law decided to major in Marketing. Why? Because it's easy to get that near 4.0. You'll be hard pressed to find any other classes that base 10-25% of your final grade on "participation"? While I was studying for my finance final exams, my marketing major friends worked on a group presentation as their final - which they had the entire semester to prepare for. 

 

At the end of the day, arts students have received a social stigma that their faculty is easier than others. Just like how engineering has received the stigma that it's difficult. It's not bashing at all, it's just the common perception that most people have. To debate this further is futile, since those that come from a BA will defend their faculty, and those coming from others will defend their own.

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Asking what majors/faculty/courses to take pre law has always been asked on these forums over and over and over again. It's simply because there are "easier" courses/majors to take than others (like OP alluded to), if your end goal is law and you want a high GPA. Speaking from experience with a Bcomm degree, several of my friends who knew Bcomm was just a stepping stone into Law decided to major in Marketing. Why? Because it's easy to get that near 4.0. You'll be hard pressed to find any other classes that base 10-25% of your final grade on "participation"? While I was studying for my finance final exams, my marketing major friends worked on a group presentation as their final - which they had the entire semester to prepare for. 

 

At the end of the day, arts students have received a social stigma that their faculty is easier than others. Just like how engineering has received the stigma that it's difficult. It's not bashing at all, it's just the common perception that most people have. To debate this further is futile, since those that come from a BA will defend their faculty, and those coming from others will defend their own.

 

How is not bashing when people essentially the argument is..

 

I took science, and all of these other people took an arts degree and it was way easier than what I had to do so its not fair that these undeserving people get an unfair advantage to get into law school. They should take into account how smart I am for doing a science degree..really? The implicit assumption is science major = inherently more intelligent than arts major when people make these type of comments, because presumably if they took sociology they would have just killed it..yeah, okay. Law schools and people in general give you credit for what you have actually done, not what you think you can do. It is especially ridiculous when they take science with the intention of going to med school and cannot do well enough to get into that, and then decide to apply to LS and bash those who didn't take science.

 

To say its simply perception is wrong, because although there is perception, it becomes bashing when its the rationale many bitter people use to try to rationalize why they didnt or are not likely to get into LS

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At the end of the day, arts students have received a social stigma that their faculty is easier than others. Just like how engineering has received the stigma that it's difficult. It's not bashing at all, it's just the common perception that most people have. To debate this further is futile, since those that come from a BA will defend their faculty, and those coming from others will defend their own.

 

 

And to be fair, this probably has an effect...on the average student. People who think that Arts are 'easier' to pass, and only WANT to pass, will gravitate towards Arts programs. Since grades are distributed on a standard curve, it makes it easier to PASS, or even get a 3.0-3.3 average, in an Arts course. In contrast, it is much more difficult to ride the curve in STEM classes. However, I'd argue that towards the upper end of the curve, those differences even out, or even skew a little bit towards the Arts in terms of difficulty. It's HARD to maintain a perfect GPA in an Arts program - at some point, there WILL be a prof who disagrees with you (and takes it out in marking) or who simply doesn't believe A's should go to anything less than publication-ready work. And you will have no control over that. Whereas in a more objectively-marked course, that shouldn't happen. Since we're talking about top-tier students in law school applications, I don't see how this would have an impact. Maybe your 2.7 STEM GPA is better than a 2.7 Arts GPA. But it's not better than a 3.5+ Arts GPA, and that's the person you're competing against.

 

Also, I fully agree with flash21 in that this perspective, as it tends to show up on this board, IS in fact bashing. Remember, law school admissions are by and large a zero-sum game. When someone comes to this board and claims that their sub-3.0 STEM GPA is worth more than an Arts students' GPA, they're not just saying that they deserve to get into law school, they're saying that some hypothetical Arts student does not deserve to get in. 

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Fellow STEM undergrad here. 

 

I would 100% echo what Diplock and Another Hutz have had to say on this. Pay very close attention to their advice. The fact that it's a STEM degree is no excuse for underperformance. You don't get to wave a STEM card, although it could marginally help you stand out from a pool of PoliSci applicants.

 

Further, I would advise against conflating extracurricular commitment with extenuating circumstances. One is a choice, the other a force beyond your immediate control. 

 

 

Excellent stuff.

 

I would nevertheless be careful with the above. It encourages the massive dissemination of misinformation of the kind that really puzzles me.

 

First, you are framing the discipline in a way that is dangerously simplistic. And I get it, unless you've had practical exposure to how science works, it is truly difficult to fully apprehend its scope. 

 

This is a fair point. I will readily admit that my experience with STEM is entirely secondhand. That being said, the people that I know who do STEM (particularly sciences) tend to have a very narrow field of expertise. Admittedly, these people are mostly Grad students, so...take it for what it's worth.

 

Second, the idea that STEM students are poor writers. The causation/correlation link is tenuous at best, and I believe you scored marvelously on your LSAT so I have nothing to teach you on this. But unless it is empirically backed up, the claim doesn't even amount to a cliche. Further, research is just about communicating your results as it is about experimental analysis. Academics write. A lot. In fact, I would challenge you to access any scientific article in any life sciences journal, and again try to advance the claim that scientists are poor writers, even with the convenient "some, not all" caveat.

 

This one I can actually attest to from personal experience in marking undergraduate papers. STEM major students routinely fall into the bottom quartile of my classes, largely as a result of writing issues. This could absolutely be a result of different expectations between departments in terms of formatting and writing style, and/or a lack of familiarity with core theory, but it does occur on a pretty regular basis. Of course, anecdotal evidence, small sample size, etc.

 

Third, there seems to be an insinuation that somehow scientists do no research, or that arts students do more research... This was probably a lapse.

 

Fair enough

 

On the other hand, I would readily concede that scientific disciplines have relatively little focus on argumentation. 

 

The essence of your post remains spot on though, and I agree completely with you that scientists who think arts students are inferior in any way need a reality check--or a law school exam.

 

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How many days will you be dealing with this topic? How many pages is it? Is the topic a standalone topic or one piece of a bigger topic? This will give you a rough idea of how much time and concern you should give to this topic and also generally primes you for the work you need to do. Second, very briefly skim the reading while paying attention to the structure of the reading. Read the headings, intros, conclusions, etc. This will help you understand the skeleton of the reading.  Third, once you understand what you're reading (i.e. after completing the first two steps) your next question is: why am I reading this? Why has the professor assigned this reading? In other words, what does your professor want you, as a student, to get out of this reading for the purposes of their class? To answer these questions, look to course summaries/CANs from upper years who have taken the same course with the same professor.  Fourth, now you know what you're reading and why you're reading it. The question now here is: what does this reading say about that? If you're a person who's comfortable relying on a summary/CAN, then rely on your summaries/CANs to provide answer the answer to this question. If you're a person who's more comfortable doing the reading, then let the summaries/CANs create the signposts of what's important in the reading so you can focus on that and allocate your time effectively.  For example, if you're dealing with the topic of sexual assault in 1L criminal law, then you're probably going to want to read all of Ewanchuk and only focus on the bare essentials in every other case (e.g. R v Chase - only matters because it tells us how to interpret the sexual nature element of the AR; R v Cuerrier - only matters because it tells us when fraud vitiates consent and what L'Heureux Dube and McLachlin say in their respective dissents, respectfully, doesn't matter for the strict purpose of your exam unless your professor cares about policy; R v Mabior - only matters because it tells us when non-disclosure of HIV status vitiates consent/constitutes fraud; R v JA - only matters because it tells us to how interpret consent and, respectfully, Fish's dissent doesn't matter unless your professor cares about policy; etc)  Lectures - The purpose of lectures isn't for the professor to spoon-feed you the material, for you to practice your skills as a typist and copy the lecture verbatim or for you to get your online Christmas shopping done. The purpose of the lecture is for the professor to: Confirm to you that you're on the right track (i.e. you've done the aforementioned Reading stage correctly and understand what the topic is, why you're doing the reading, and that you know what you need to know) Clarify anything in the readings and/or correct any mistakes/things missing from your understanding/notes or the summaries/CANs you've relied on Provide you with their unique perspective/opinion/approach to the topic at hand. You're going to keep this in mind when writing your exam in order to cater to their beliefs, prejudices. For example, if you have a feminist professor, don't argue that sex work should be criminalized on an exam. Present both sides to the argument, and in one sentence say that you support it even if you don't. As a future lawyer, you're going to be arguing a lot of things you don't agree with or believe in for your own personal gain. Might as well start early   Give you any hints about the exam. Professors notice if/when the herd thins out during the school year and some times will be inclined to reward students for attending. There have been multiple times that I've gotten useful hints about exams from a professor simply for being present during a boring lecture in the middle of October Exams - Exam-writing is a skill. Learn it. Read books on how to develop the skill. My recommendation is "Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades" by Alex Schimel. Create your own outline. In your 5 to 15 page outline, you should have every piece of the "what you need to know" part of each of your readings. There should be absolutely no superfluous bullshit, fluff or fat on your outline. You've literally condensed the entire course into those 5 to 15 pages. Your casebook, other peoples outlines/CANs, etc were all just tools for you to arrive at your own outline.  Learn your outline cold. I mean cold. This doesn't only mean just memorizing it. You should be able to open up ExamSoft and type out the blackletter law part of your future exam answer on demand and at near-lightning speed. The only class that I actually did this properly for was the one I finished at the top (and despite missing a major issue on the exam) and the other class that I did this, but sort of half-assed, I got an A- despite writing one paragraph for a question worth 33% question because I blanked out. Once you've learned the outline cold, take a few old exam questions and do timed exams on ExamSoft. Your focus is to type out the blackletter law as you've been doing and then actually apply it to the facts. Review your answer by yourself, then with a professor (if you can reach them/they'll allow this) and finally compare against old exam answers. Many people will disagree with this but once you do a few of these timed exams, you'll start to notice repeating patterns in terms of the issues tested, answer structures, etc (there can only be so many and also many professors are creatures of habit). 
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