Mid-Term Practice Exam Results

Property (B)

Professor Schnably

Fall 2012

You may pick up your practice exam answer from my assistant, Ms. Andrea Garcia, in G463 (Law Library) starting at 10:00 am on Monday, October 15. Make sure you have your AGN with you; otherwise she won’t be able to tell which one is yours.

For those who did not take my exam, you can find a copy here if you want to try taking it on your own. On October 22 I will make available to anyone who did not take the exam a copy of the General Comments.

For those who did take the exam, the packet will have:

A few words about the “grades” may be helpful. The individual grade or grade range (in a number of cases I gave a grade like “B-/C+” rather than a single grade) I gave your exam should be taken with a big grain of salt. It will have no impact at all on your final grade. I spent a lot less time considering exactly what your grade should be than I would on a final exam, so that the grade should be taken more as an indication of range than an exact appraisal.

Further, as you can see below, the overall distribution of “grades” in this practice exam is much lower than the required first-year distribution, and lower than I typically give. You shouldn’t take the distribution of grades as a sign of what will be on the final exam. Nor should you take your own grade as a prediction on my part of the grade you will get on the final exam. The fact that the grades are on the low side overall doesn’t mean I see any general problem in the class’s performance. I don’t. It simply reflects the fact that almost no one is going to have the kind of grasp of legal analysis at this point in the semester that I would expect people to have developed by the end of the semester. In theory I could discount for lack of experience and raise the grades in general, but I don’t see the point in doing that where the grade doesn’t count; my aim is try to give you an appraisal of the problems I see in your analysis and, more importantly, of the problems I see in your skills in and approach to writing answers to law school exams (which is also why most of my comments focus on the negative). The main thing is to correct any problems in exam-taking techniques or study habits. If you address those problems head on, you could well improve your performance. Most people do just that; my experience is that the grades on the final are much higher.

This table gives the “grades” for the Mid-Term Practice Exam:

Practice Mid-Term, Fall 2012
Number Percent
0 0%
B+/B1 5.3%
B/B+1 5.3%
B1 5.3%
B-/C+2 10.6%
C+/B-2 10.6%
C+4 21.1%
C+/C1 5.3%
C/C+1 5.3%
C3 15.8%
C/C-2 10.5%
C-/D1 5.3%
0 0%
0 0%
Grades Required Distribution* Actual Distribution
A, A-, B+ at least 20% 10.6%
A, A-, B+, B at least 45% 15.9%
C- or below 5-15% 13.8%
*Note: There is no required distribution for the Practice Mid-Term Exam. The reference here is to the Required Distribution for the final grades. I put it in this table so you can see that the distribution of grades for the practice mid-term falls below the minimum required under the Required Distribution.
**Note: The average is calculated by applying a numerical value to each grade. There is no requirement of any particular average grade for a class, either for the practice mid-term or for the final course grades.

By way of comparison, below are the Practice Mid-Term Results from 2010, and the final grades for the course. I include these just to give some context to the practice exam “grades.” The point of comparison is not the practice mid-term grades in 2010 versus those in 2012 (the samples are too small to be statistically meaningful and don’t indicate anything), but between the mid-term grades and the final grades in 2010. Also, note that this is not a prediction. The final grades for the course this year could be higher or lower than those for Fall 2010.

Practice Mid-Term, Fall 2010
Grade Number Percent
0 0%
B1 7.1%
B-2 14.3%
B-/C+2 14.3%
C+/B-2 14.3%
C/C+4 28.7%
C-/D1 7.1%
D/D-1 7.1%
0 0%
Grades Required Distribution Actual Distribution
A, B+ at least 20% 0%
A, A-, B+, B at least 45% 35.7%
C- or below 5-15% 7.1%
Final Exam Grade Distribution, Fall 2010
Value Number
B+3.5 8
3.0 9
2.0 7
C-1.5 3
1.0 0
  0 0
*Note: In Fall 2010, we did not officially have A- or B- grades, though I gave them on practice mid-terms.

Finally, I would add that I’m not in a position to to make any observations about correlations between individual performance on the mid-term practice exam and the final exam, because for the most part I never know who took my practice mid-term. (I know only if a student volunteers that information to me.) Over the years, though, I have had a number of students remark to me after final grades were in that they did poorly on the practice mid-term, but then addressed the problems identified in the comments and got a high grade on the final exam. Because the mid-term was given earlier in the semester than usual, you have more time than most students in the past to address any problems.



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