[Old thread - from fall 2015] TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course

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thesealocust

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[Old thread - from fall 2015] TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:09 pm

[Old thread - you can see the fall 2016 version of this thread here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=266538]

The exam strategy course is back! I'm excited to offer an updated and improved version of the course for fall 2015. The guides have been revised and expanded, there's a new practice exam, and the price is still $900. Read below for how to sign up and details on all the fun we can have being over-eager about law school exams together.

Current enrollment status (as of 9/14/2015)

I've hit the enrollment number I was targeting for fall 2015, so I'll no longer be updating this thread.

If you really want in though, feel free to read on and shoot me an email - I may be able to squeeze a few more in.

Introduction

The course is designed to demystify law school and help get you the best 1L grades possible. Law professors notoriously "hide the ball" and don't make it clear how to succeed on finals, despite the tremendous impact those exams will have on your career. One of my professors likened it to spending a semester reading about the history of swimming and then getting thrown into a pool for a race.

Worse still, the curve means you’ll be competing against incredibly smart and motivated peers. When you sit for exams, everyone is going to know the material – as Getting to Maybe says, law school is a place where just knowing the material isn't enough. To earn top grades, you’ll need to have perfected the skill of applying the law and performing sophisticated legal analysis.

I have discovered that professors generally look for the same thing on exams, and grade their exams in a largely consistent manner. Getting an A "just" means getting a lot of points - but nobody will ever tell you directly how to get those points. Many students devote absurd amounts of effort to studying the law in hopes it will get them good grades, only to discover that grades depend far more on the skill of taking the exam than on the level of substantive preparation. The course is designed to make exams your priority from day one, and to teach you how to destroy the curve by focusing on the dark art of exam grading. Understanding the grading process is the key to mastering the skill of writing a killer exam.

I want to teach you that skill. I want to remove all the bullshit and uncertainty and mind-games, help you hone the abilities you will need to impress the hell out of your professors, and reap the huge rewards our industry rains on those who ace their exams.

The first year of law school is immensely stressful and critical for your future career. Why go it alone?

What the course offers

Below is a complete list of what the course offers for the fall 2015 semester:

  1. My full-length guide to law school and law school exams. This multi-part guide, extensively edited and revised for the second year, covers strategies for reading, studying, and exam taking. Totaling almost 20,000 words, these guides will lay the foundation for the study habits and exam writing techniques necessary to get top grades.
  2. Two custom practice exams with personalized grading and feedback. Twice during the semester we will work through practice exams that I have prepared for teaching exam skills. I’ll provide personalized grading and written feedback, as well as group comments based on everyone's performance.
  3. Grading and feedback on one of your professor’s practice questions. After you've done the two practice exam questions I have written, I’ll grade a practice exam from your professors and provide detailed feedback.
  4. Unlimited email consultation, strategizing, Q&A, and life coaching. I’ll be there to respond to questions, work on strategy, and provide advice and encouragement all semester via email. Whether it's coming up with a study strategy, analyzing your professors, or reviewing feedback on your practice exams, I'll be there for you night and day.
  5. Weekly advice emails. At the beginning of each week you'll receive an email with tips, encouragement, and advice based on where we are in the semester.
  6. Copies of my 1L study materials. A complete collection of my 1L outlines, examples of my case briefs, and a sample of my exam writing from a practice question.
  7. My exam strategy research collection. For the truly obsessive – a treasure trove of law review articles, blog posts, quotes, and strategy guides about law school success that I’ve collected over the years.

The base course is designed to be comprehensive, providing all of the knowledge, practice, feedback, and support necessary to maximize your potential for great grades. However, if you're looking for more help, additional practice exam grading or one-on-one phone sessions can be purchased at an hourly rate.

What the course is NOT

To be clear, there are a few things you should not expect. The course is NOT:

  1. Substantive law tutoring. The course will not teach you torts or civil procedure. It will help you choose efficient study strategies, avoid wasting time, and master the skill of exam writing, but you're responsible for learning the substantive law on your own.
  2. Sketchy. I won’t take your exams for you, provide you with any kind of privileged information, or do anything that would be even slightly ethically questionable.
  3. A panacea. 1L is an enormous amount of work, and you’ll have to put in the time to master both the material and the skills we cover. Just signing up won’t get you As.

Cost

Just like last year, tuition for the course will be $900. That amount will be due in two installments of $450 each via check or PayPal.

Once enrolled in the base course, if you are interested in one-on-one phone sessions and/or additional practice exam grading, you can add more for $150 per hour. As I've stated before though, the base course is designed to be comprehensive, providing all of the necessary knowledge, practice, feedback, and support necessary to maximize your potential for great grades.

About me

I post as TheSeaLocust on TLS (and have posted guides as Scribe in the past), and had the highest GPA my 1L year at a T14 law school. While at school I was on law review and heavily involved in the law school comedy show. I also worked for two law firms, a federal judge, and as a research assistant. After law school I worked at a "V5" law firm in New York City.

If you’re interested in the course, I will send my full background and contact information before asking you to sign up. The intention isn’t for the business to be anonymous.

Curriculum vitae

Below are some of my previous guides and posts:

  1. Law school exam guide (this won a ~prestigious~ TLS content competition award): viewtopic.php?f=22&t=120673
  2. TLS Collected Wisdom on Success in Law School: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=123092
  3. Article on getting points on exams, with examples: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=199175
  4. 1L anxiety meditation retreat: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=216920
  5. OCI / legal recruitment guide: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=161018
  6. Maybe you should drop out of law school (honesty!): viewtopic.php?f=3&t=175022
  7. Last year's course (out of date info about course offerings): viewtopic.php?t=235154

Sign up

Interested in the course? Great! Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Send me an email at thesealocust@gmail.com – give me a little background and let me know your TLS username, if applicable.
  2. I’ll respond with my complete background and contact information as well as a course syllabus and enrollment form.
  3. Complete and return the enrollment form, mail me a check or pay via PayPal invoice, and you’re all set!

FAQ

When does it start? How long does it last?

As soon as you sign up, I'll be available for email consultation and will send you the course's first short guide - an introduction to law school exams. Weekly emails and guide distributions begin in earnest on Monday, August 31st. Of course, if you sign up later in the semester, I'll get you up to speed on all materials that have gone out previously.

The course materials and weekly emails will run through Monday, November 30th, and I'll be available for consultation through your last final exam in the fall 2015 semester.

How did last year go?

It went great! There was undeniably a self-selection bias, so I surely can't claim credit for all of their successes, but many of the students I worked with did exceptionally well.

How will an exam strategy course help me?

Most law students never really understand why they got the grades they got - good or bad. I spent a huge amount of time trying to deconstruct that mystery by researching the experience other people had and picking the brains of my classmates and professors. It paid off for me in a big way, and the people I have helped have also obtained strong results.

Professors really do "hide the ball," and the first year of law school is organized more as a tournament than as an educational system. Law professors (and many lawyers) place a lot of value on first year courses as a sorting mechanism. That is equal parts toxic and silly, but since the belief is out there, there is tremendous value to knocking 1L out of the park. It's not even that hard, there's just very little instruction or guidance, so it rewards those who are motivated to deconstruct the system. This course will make sure you're on the right track from day one.

How much extra work will it be for me as a law student?

Not much! Part of what I emphasize is that furiously studying the law isn't as important as focused preparation for the exams. To be cliché, the goal is to study smart, not hard. In fact, taking the course might save you time - instead of reading ten hornbooks for each class as an outlet for your anxiety, you will know to concentrate on exam skills. In addition, you'll be getting my feedback and guidance on your work, instead of working with other 1Ls - which all too often devolves into wasted time and the blind leading the blind.

What's changed for this version of the course?

All of the course materials have been updated and expanded based on my experience last year, including the addition of a new practice exam. In addition, I've fixed the base amount of exams to grade per student (three) as well as the means of consultation (email), breaking out one-on-one phone sessions and extra exam grading as additional hourly services. That decision was based on demand last year during the course's pilot program: almost nobody requested feedback on more than three exams, and email for consultations was both more productive and more popular.

Who are you?

Like I said above, I don't intend for this to be an anonymous business. If you're interested and send me an email, I'll gladly introduce myself, and everyone who signs up for the course will get all of my contact information. You'll know who I am and have my phone number and address before needing to commit to anything.

Will this be private and confidential?

Absolutely! I won't introduce you to my other students or publish the names (real or on TLS) of the students I'm working with under any circumstances. You can gun for top grades in private - I understand the desire to do well, but not to flaunt your ambition publicly.

OMG that's too expensive!

I firmly believe my unique skills and background coupled with the importance of 1L grades make this a good value, but I realize not everyone will agree.

The course will probably cost less than you spend on books and supplements your first year, or less than a third of one week of summer associate salary. It's a lot of money, but I am committed to making it worth it for you.

I'm not a 1L, can I still sign up?

Yes! But please understand that the course is tailored to first year students. The highest value I can provide will be from the focus on learning how to crush law school exams from the very beginning, and many of my materials are written assuming the audience is just starting law school.

Can I just hire you for exam grading or strategy sessions?

Nope! Those are offered exclusively to students enrolled in the basic course, to avoid having to start from scratch on methods and strategies.

I'm not at a U.S. law school, can I still sign up?

No - I really don't have any idea how legal education outside of the U.S. works (I have had people ask though!)

Do you accept bitcoin?

The answer is still no, I'm afraid. Maybe next year.

Do you have a terrible website that duplicates the information in this thread?

You bet! Check it out here.

This was super long are you done yet?

Yes. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to being your secret weapon this fall!
Last edited by thesealocust on Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:35 am, edited 20 times in total.

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Johann

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby Johann » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:31 pm

great is a cool adjective and all but how did last year's class actually do?

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thesealocust

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby thesealocust » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:18 am

JohannDeMann wrote:great is a cool adjective and all but how did last year's class actually do?


That's a delicate question - a number of them are posters here still (and might stop by the thread), and it feels kind of crude to be airing people's performances for my own purposes. To be a little more specific though: Not everyone knocked it out of the park, but many did well enough that we've had realistic discussions about transferring, applying to V10 firms, clerking generally, and in more than one instance, clerking for the Supreme Court. You can't remove the self selection bias variable, but I don't think I'm selling snake oil.

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby Johann » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:28 am

thesealocust wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:great is a cool adjective and all but how did last year's class actually do?


That's a delicate question - a number of them are posters here still (and might stop by the thread), and it feels kind of crude to be airing people's performances for my own purposes. To be a little more specific though: Not everyone knocked it out of the park, but many did well enough that we've had realistic discussions about transferring, applying to V10 firms, clerking generally, and in more than one instance, clerking for the Supreme Court. You can't remove the self selection bias variable, but I don't think I'm selling snake oil.


I don't think you are selling snake oil, and $900 to do 1L right is a much better investment than $3500 to do the bar right. I'm just genuinely curious in the idea and what the results show. I still think you could provide results while being anonymous i.e. 25% law review, 20% top quarter, 75% above median. Of course, there's a chance you don't even know how they did, which I get not asking on your part.

Anyways, sealocust's children, feel free to use the anonymous function and discuss .

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby Inboston » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:29 am

I was a student of TSL last year. I don't want to give too much information about myself but I was a student at HYS and finished with what amounts to above a 4.0 (somewhere in the top 5-7%). If you really want substantial insight into the process of transforming how you read legal texts, digest cases, and then apply that knowledge in an exam situation, this is a superb program. 1L comes with an insane amount of anxiety and "herd blindness" with everyone scrambling to figure "it" out without many having any clue what "it" is. TSL cuts through the BS and helps distill where the focus of your energy should be. $900 may seem (and did seem) like a lot but when one considers the ridiculously high stakes of 1L year it makes much more sense. I'm happy to be PM'ed with any further questions.

FWIW, I did end up with a feeder clerkship after 1L year and this was due almost entirely to my grades and the professor recommendations that I was able to get because of said grades in their classes.

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby swizzlestix » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:46 pm

I just want to chime in and add another perspective--I was one of the students who didn't knock it out of the park, and actually ended up doing significantly better second semester, on my own. I don't want to attribute that to this program, obviously, but I do think it will be a better fit for certain types of students than others. I think why it didn't work as well for me is because I'm a very self-sufficient studier; I didn't take an LSAT class and did great, never really went to professor's office hours in undergrad, you get the picture. That always worked really well for me, and I think signing up for this program as a new 1L made me doubt my own skills and rely way too heavily on TSL's advice and guides. The guides were great and really helpful, but if I could go back I don't think I would do this program knowing what I know now. Take that with a grain of salt, though; TSL is SO NICE and always available for assistance and lamentation-listening, so if you think that's what you'll need going into your first year, by all means sign up! Also, if you're the type of person that really benefits from someone making sure you're staying to a certain type of schedule, I think this may be beneficial for you too. But, for whatever reason, it didn't work for me and I ended up a little lower than median first semester on this program (then managed to make it into top 25% after much better grades second semester, self-studying). Just wanted to offer one person's different perspective!

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby Attax » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:53 pm

Another student here. I didn't do too hot, except in torts. About top third at Texas. But pretty certain I wouldn't have done that we'll without the help. It was awesome.

ETA: upon reflection, I should add I should have done better with things not associated with this course. This couse helped a ton with essays. Which I did best on. I had some mc that hurt me in one class, and another actually had a grade docked for "participation." Without that dock I'd have been top 25%. My not so perfect performance was not a result of the class.
Last edited by Attax on Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mack.Hambleton

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:54 pm

Gunner selection bias

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby LSdreamer » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:48 pm

There will always be some gunner selection bias on TLS, even more so for something like this. However, I can say from personal experience that working with the Sea Locust is the best decision a starting 1L can make. Law school can be very hard to navigate. $900 is certainly a significant investment, but so is $200k in debt. You are getting access to someone who crushed law school and has helped others do the same. It is pretty clear to me that working with the Sea Locust will almost certainly help your exam success. Getting serious feedback on practice exams is something that is very hard to find. That being said, the system is not perfect. There are certain variables that someone who has not been in class with you cannot account for so keep that in mind when considering the program.

Having unlimited email access and exam feedback from this guy is exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to succeeding in law school.

FYI, I am using a new TLS account to separate it my other one which has enough posts to potentially get me outed.

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thesealocust

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby thesealocust » Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:33 am

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Over 15 students have enrolled so far, and I'm furiously revising guides and working on practice questions for the fall. It's exciting and hilarious to be eagerly anticipating the start of another 1L fall semester... definitely starting to get a groundhog day vibe :lol:

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby Attax » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:50 pm

thesealocust wrote:Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Over 15 students have enrolled so far, and I'm furiously revising guides and working on practice questions for the fall. It's exciting and hilarious to be eagerly anticipating the start of another 1L fall semester... definitely starting to get a groundhog day vibe :lol:


I'm weirdly excited for any 0Ls that I know who are starting here shortly.

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thesealocust

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby thesealocust » Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:25 pm

I'm weirdly excited too... it turns out 1L is a lot more fun when you're strategizing/cheering/life-coaching other people through it than when you're trying to survive it. Who could have guessed?

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby thesealocust » Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:54 pm

The course starts tomorrow! Just a few spots left (depending on how many enrollment forms I get back) if anybody is interested.

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thesealocust

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby thesealocust » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:31 pm

This fall's class is just about full - I'm at the number of students I want for the semester, but a few haven't returned forms yet, so I'll leave enrollment open probably through next Monday.

Also, another student from last year wrote a review/endorsement, but is still a regular poster and so asked me to post on their behalf. I'm still kind of blushing, but I guess it's business and so I should just shut up and be grateful :oops:

One of my students from last year wrote:I used Thesealocust in 2014 for my first semester of 1L and would highly recommend anyone who wants to get good grades take advantage of his program. I was personally thrilled to get a spot in his inaugural program before he ran out of spots--his law school exam obsession and expertise are incredible and he was well-known. I knew from reading his guides that he had dissected exam-taking skills (and, what's more, how those skills are acquired by live law students) and I knew from lurking in his anti-anxiety thread that he cared genuinely about the mental sanity of the incurable neurotics matriculating at top law schools around the country. The opportunity to learn his ways more in-depth, to develop my skills from thorough and focused training and to sharpen them with personalized feedback on my own practice tests from a law school sensai offered such a return for my investment that, compared with the amounts of money at other points in the law school -> law firm process, choosing to take him up on this opportunity seemed like a no-brainer.

In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. His guides and techniques gave me skills to ace law school exams, his feedback identified areas to work on and he followed up with suggestions about how to work on them. After first semester, I was comfortably within the top 1 or 2 percent of GPAs at my school (a T14) and I did just as well second semester, even though I didn't work as hard, because I had already learned the skills. You really don't have to work as hard as everyone seems to think; you just need to know where to focus your energy. That is probably the primary benefit of using Thesealocust: he helps guide the steering wheel of your 1L car to keep you focused on the finish line which saves you fuel, time and sanity.

I say the technical guidance is probably the primary benefit of using this service because it is truly hard to overstate another upside to using Thesealocust: the mental health benefits of having a law school guru guide you through what is important and what isn't, what matters and what doesn't, when you should be working hard and when you would be better off at bar review are immense and worth the price of admission alone. Being constantly reassured that it's normal to feel like you don't get it by someone who felt the same way and nevertheless got where you want to go is the best possible antidote for the sometimes toxic nature of going through 1L.

I had, I confess, spent much of my 0L summer reading the TLS guides, the books that the TLS guides reference, and the books that those books reference, going through programs and E&Es and whatever I could find that promised to help me through my 1L. Thesealocust taught me more than all of that stuff combined. You see, he's gone through that stuff too. A lot of it isn't great advice and even more of it is hard to appreciate until you're sufficiently far along in your training, but Thesealocust has taken the parts you need and created a program that gives you things to do right when you need them: no sooner, no later. If it weren't for Thesealocust I don't know how I would have done, but I'm 100% certain I would not have done as well as I did. As it was, I did pretty much exactly what he suggested and wound up right around the top of the class, so I'm absolutely certain that I would use him again.

The only downside is being on Law Review.

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby n1o2c3a4c5h6e7t » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:55 pm

Law school is very professor-dependent, so I'm inclined to doubt the value of this course. Actual students stating that it helped is meaningless, unless they can demonstrate (or there is) a standardized variable to which we can compare it (i.e., the same students comparing their results with and without the course). There are, of course, inherent difficulties with recreating those perfect variables.

Then again, even the placebo effect has value.

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course [Open for Fall 2015]

Postby thesealocust » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:00 pm

I just hit my target enrollment for the fall, so I'll no longer be updating this thread (might be able to squeeze in one or two more if anybody else is interested though). Thanks everyone!


Law school is very professor-dependent, so I'm inclined to doubt the value of this course. Actual students stating that it helped is meaningless, unless they can demonstrate (or there is) a standardized variable to which we can compare it (i.e., the same students comparing their results with and without the course). There are, of course, inherent difficulties with recreating those perfect variables.

Then again, even the placebo effect has value.

You're certainly correct that there's no way to do a double-blind test and measure the results objectively. I do have data though - I've graded nearly a hundred practice questions, and have seen many students struggle and improve while working on practice questions (sometimes that was improving from shaky to strong and sometimes from shaky to just O.K.). Of course I've also seen students perform consistently well beginning with their first practice question. The "hide the ball" nature of the first year of law school means a little guidance can go a long way, and getting practice exams graded from somebody obsessed with the process can give a leg up when competing against a herd of ambitious 1Ls who aren't getting any feedback.

As for professor idiosyncrasies, working with dozens of students and going through law school myself has shown me how weirdly similar 1L courses and exams are across schools and professors. Even when they have different exam styles, professors are looking for and rewarding one thing consistently: careful analysis via the application of law to fact. On top of that, there are relatively few exams styles (free-form issue spotter being the most common, followed by word limited essay questions, short answer questions, and then bar exam style m/c questions), and an endearing degree of repetition among exam topics. An awful lot of property professors give exams asking about the ownership of meteors for some reason...

Of course the course isn't a panacea, and I totally respect people who are eager and ambitious but confident in their ability to cut through the BS of law school on their own (after all, that's what I did!). It's not for everyone. But I'm completely committed to helping those who sign up in every way possible, from calming nerves to honing exam skills to analyzing professors and exam styles, and I sincerely believe that guidance and feedback can improve outcomes.



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