Top Five Mistakes on 1L Exams, with Angela Vorpahl (Ep. 378)

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Reports of the LSAT’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Nathan and Ben kick off this week’s episode with a brief discussion of the recent news surrounding the U.S. News rankings and the ABA’s decision to end the testing requirement for law school applications. Current applicants can rest assured that law schools will continue to value the LSAT and offer merit scholarships to attract high-scoring applicants. Later, Ben interviews Angela Vorpahl, a consultant who guides law students through their 1L year. Angela shares the top five mistakes students make on law school final exams.

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4:01 - Rankings and ABA News

Nathan and Ben discuss the implications of top law schools withdrawing from the U.S. News rankings and the ABA’s decision to remove the standardized test requirement for law school applicants. For now, these changes are unlikely to affect law school admissions in any meaningful way.

13:58 - Angela Vorpahl

Angela Vorpahl helps law students take control of their 1L grades through her consulting business and YouTube channel. Angela joins Ben to discuss why students need actionable study plans. She also shares the top five mistakes that students make on final exams.

32:38 - Mistake #1: Not Creating a Study Plan

Angela explains why you shouldn’t simply study for your first exam first. Instead, create a schedule that spaces out your study in the buildup to exam week.

41:30 - Mistake #2: Repeating the Facts of the Case

On law school exams, you don’t get points for simply repeating the facts of the case. Instead, you should use the facts in the context of your arguments about the relevant issues.

45:21 - Mistake #3: Ignoring Format

Make an effort to format your arguments so the professor can more easily award you points for them. In some cases, this might mean numbering your arguments.

52:12 - Mistake #4: Not Talking to Your Professors

Angela recommends talking to your professors in person to ask about their formatting preferences for their final exams. Professors are also invaluable resources for finding jobs and securing letters of recommendation.

59:20 - Mistake #5: Trying to Get the Answers “Right”

On law school exams, you get points by making arguments and counterarguments for each issue you spot. You aren’t expected to—and shouldn’t try to—get the question “right.” Angela discusses why “thinking like a lawyer” helps avoid blind spots that might sabotage your exam.

1:05:41 - Final Advice

Angela advises you to think of law school as a step toward the life you want to build. After all, you attend law school to become a lawyer, not a law student.