January 20, 2017

Bouncing Back from a Bad Grade in Law School

4 things to do to overcome a bad grade in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

I know I just got done bragging about my grades, but it was a struggle to get there. To be real with y'all, I got a few C's my first year of law school. Luckily mine were at least C+ and I got more B's than C's so I was content with that. But I know realistically some of you reading this didn't do so hot your first semester. First off just know that I'm here for you if you want to vent or talk about your grades or anythings else. I hope y'all feel free to email me whenever you have something to ask me. So here's what you can do. 

Related: How to Get an A in Law School

Calm down

I know that's the easy thing to say right now but I'm being serious. Don't be too hard on yourself. Yes you didn't do as well as you had expected and even if you did slack a little, what's done is done and beating yourself up isn't exactly going to help you stay positive next semester if and when school gets hard again. In law school, you really do have to learn to be your own cheerleader or this can get really overwhelming. Sure a little kick in the rear might be what you need to get yourself together and get motivated, but seriously don't waste your energy tearing yourself down. 

Also, know that in law school it's super common to get a C so even if you got a D you're not that far behind everyone like you might be if this is undergrad. And don't you dare start trying to find out what your friends made or compare yourself to them! It's toxic and it literally won't help your self esteem at all. Even if you did better than your friends thats not going to help you at all when you're trying to improve yourself

Figure out what happened

If you got a bad grade then something went very wrong and you're going to have to figure out what it was. If timing was your issue and the test simply ended before you had time to finish, then this semester you need to work on doing full length practice problems until you get faster. If you had okay answers but got your grade because of the curve, you'll need to start strategizing on how to point chase better. If you had a nervous break down and just couldn't (you think I'm kidding but this actually happens), then you need to get to know yourself and learn what you can do to keep yourself calm, cool, and collected. Of course, most of the answers to your questions will come from when you meet up with your professor to review your test/grade. Trust me, I know that it's embarrassing to go in there and feel like an idiot but you can't expect to improve your grade when you're not certain about what your test grader is looking for. 

Be careful with asking for help

Not to talk badly about anyone's job, but through undergrad and going to two different law schools I have learned that academic support is either a hit or miss. Sometimes they will basically just say what I said in my last point but will know of resources that your school has, such as tutoring or subelements for subjects in the library or old tests to practice on. Other times they might just scare you in to thinking that if you do not wake up at 6 am to study before class and then study from after class until midnight then you will definitely for sure absolutely flunk out. I advise you to ask around to any upperclassmen that you might've met to make sure that they're the first type before you make an appointment.

Also be a little careful asking a new friend to help. You don't know for sure that they actually did well on their tests so it could just be the blind leading the blind. And their study methods might not even help you. For example: I like to zone out on review days right before finals because other people's questions tend to confuse me on topics that I already understand, but for other people these are the classes where they can get some last-minute learning in. Everyone is different so don't think just because your study style is different that it's any worse. What's more important is working to find what study style does work for you!

Power on

If there is one thing that I learned last year is that "fake it 'til you make it" should be the mantra for all 1L's. Seriously, even the top people in your class are probably still confused about a lot of legal concepts. You gotta keep pushing on. You might not realize what it was that was detrimental to you at once, but you still need to be trying to improve yourself. If you wait until you're the perfect student to start studying then you're going to miss most of this next semester and seriously screw yourself over even worse. Again, the bad grade happened, it sucks, but you still gotta get through this next semester.

And remember, C's get degrees. Realistically, only like your first one or two employers will care about your grades. The rest will care more about your legal skills and reputation. Getting a bad grade in law school doesn't necessarily mean you'd be a bad lawyer, it just means that the other students that you went up against just so happened to do better than you on that one particular test.

Related: How to save your law school GPA


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