Old Thread (Spring 2016 exam strategy course)

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Old Thread (Spring 2016 exam strategy course)

Postby thesealocust » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:57 am

Old Thread: This thread was used for the Spring 2016 version of the exam strategy course, which has since closed.

Fall 2016 course is here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=266538


The course is back - this time for students looking to improve their spring grades!

Many students wind up disappointed with their performance on law school exams, and even worse, have little feedback on what went wrong or what steps they should take to improve. That's where my course can help! It's designed to demystify law school and help get you the best exam grades possible, through teaching effective (and efficient!) study strategies, as well as teaching how exams are graded, and what strategies you can use to get the most points out of every question.

Fundamentally, the curve means you will still be competing against incredibly smart and motivated peers, some of whom have already figured out the tricks to success. When you sit for exams, everyone will 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 performing sophisticated legal analysis. Unfortunately, students receive little feedback along the way, but I firmly believe the skill of legal analysis can be taught and practiced.

Over the years I have discovered that professors look for the same thing on exams, and grade their exams in a consistent manner. Getting an A "just" means getting a lot of points - but nobody will ever tell you plainly 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 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've been writing about exam strategies on TLS since 2010 and have run this exam strategy course since 2014, and 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.

What the course offers

Below is a complete list of what the course offers for spring 2016:

  1. One-on-one post-mortem of your first semester over email. All of my experience at law school and teaching exam strategy will be at your service: let me know how your first round of exams went and how you studied, and I'll give you personalized feedback on how to change your strategies and get better grades. We'll correspond via email as your time allows over the course of the spring semester.
  2. Unlimited email consultation, life coaching, etc. for the remainder of your 1L year. I’ll be there to respond to questions, work on strategy, and provide advice and encouragement via email for this semester's courses. I'll be there for you night and day, up until your last 1L exam.
  3. My full-length guide to law school and law school exams. This multi-part guide, extensively edited and revised based on my two years of teaching the course, covers strategies for reading, studying, and exam taking. Totaling over 20,000 words and including a section on learning from your first round of exams, these guides will lay the foundation for the study habits and exam writing techniques necessary to get top grades in your second semester.
  4. Two custom practice exams with personalized grading and feedback. Twice during the semester we will work through practice exams (45 minutes each) that I have prepared for teaching exam skills. I’ll provide personalized grading and written feedback on your work, as well as group comments based on everyone's performance (but don't worry - everything is anonymous!).
  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 course is designed to be comprehensive, providing all of the knowledge, practice, feedback, and support necessary to maximize your potential for great grades.

What the course is NOT

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

  1. Not 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. Not 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. Not 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.


Tuition for the course is $700, due in two installments of $350 each via check, PayPal, or Venmo.

That's a reduction of $200 from the fall since the course will be getting started later in the semester, and that means less total time available for personalized consulting and strategizing.

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

Sign up

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

  1. Send me an email at thesealocust@gmail.com – just tell me you're interested in the course, you don't have to include any information.
  2. I’ll send you my complete background and contact information as well as a syllabus and enrollment form, and will be happy to respond to any questions you have.
  3. Complete and return the enrollment form, mail me a check or pay via PayPal/Venmo, and you’re all set! The first guides will come as soon as I see your payment land.


When does it start? How long does it last?

As soon as you sign up, I'll be available for email consultation (including discussing your performance last semester) and will send you the first round of guides. Weekly emails and guide distributions begin on Monday, February 29th (if you sign up later in the semester, I'll get you up to speed on all materials that have gone out previously, no worries!).

The course materials and weekly emails will run through Monday, May 2nd - but I'll be available for consultation through your last final exam 1L year.

How have prior years gone?

Many of the students I've worked with have done exceptionally well - well enough that we've had discussions about transferring, applying to V10 firms, clerking, etc. Students from my first year have gone to top firms and have been selected for highly competitive clerkships (including with "feeder" CoA judges). You can't remove the variable of self selection bias, but I don't think I'm selling snake oil.

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 get on the right track, even if you weren't happy with your first semester results.

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 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, instead of working with other 1Ls - which all too often devolves into wasted time and the blind leading the blind.

What's changed for the spring version of the course?

All of the course materials have been updated and expanded based on my experiences in the last two years, and there is extra emphasis on how to improve after your first exposure to law school and its delightful exams. Fundamentally, the goals of the course remain the same: teaching effective and efficient study strategies, exam strategy, and exam writing technique - designed at every step to maximize the points you earn on each exam. Additionally, the course no longer includes exam grading beyond the two included practice exams for the simple reason that most people didn't take me up on that offer.

Who are you?

Like I said above, I don't intend for this to be an anonymous business. If you send me an email, I'll 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.

My school is on the quarter system, can you still help?

Absolutely! The main schedule is based on traditional semesters, but I'm happy to work with students at schools using the quarter system through whenever your last final exam of 1L year happens to be.

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

Yes! But please understand that the course is tailored to first year students currently in their second semester - I'm not sure the value proposition will be the same for 2Ls or 3Ls.

Can I just hire you for exam grading or strategy sessions, or just buy your guides or practice materials?


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.

This was super long are you done yet?

Yes. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to helping you improved your 1L grades!
Last edited by thesealocust on Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:34 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course (Spring 2016)

Postby thesealocust » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:41 pm

Kicked things off today - there's still a bit of room, and plenty of time left in the semester, if anybody is interested!

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course (Spring 2016)

Postby Nagster5 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:19 am

Just out of curiosity, how many students/clients do you take on in a semester?

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course (Spring 2016)

Postby AnMzungu » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:50 am

Warning: Don't take advice from someone who went to a school where "A" grades are a thing.

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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course (Spring 2016)

Postby thesealocust » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:58 pm

This semester I'm looking to take on about 20 students, which is a good amount to make sure I'm not stretched thing responding to questions, especially as we approach exam time.

There's still room, for the record - and plenty of time left in the semester to work on the practice problems I provide and work on exam strategy.


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Re: TheSeaLocust's 1L Exam Strategy Course (Spring 2016)

Postby Tls2016 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:23 pm

AnMzungu wrote:Warning: Don't take advice from someone who went to a school where "A" grades are a thing.

It's great that you go to Harvard. The Sea Locust is one of the best posters here and if I were in law school I would pay to have his help. $700 seems worth it if you are lost on exams. If you are doing fine, don't bother.

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