Exam taking

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littleboyblue
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Exam taking

Postby littleboyblue » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:10 pm

Ok - another question. How can you really differentiate your exam from everyone else's? I study by creating an outline and taking all the practice tests available. Isn't that what everyone else is doing? What is the additional stuff I should be doing?

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rayiner
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Re: Exam taking

Postby rayiner » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:13 pm

littleboyblue wrote:Ok - another question. How can you really differentiate your exam from everyone else's? I study by creating an outline and taking all the practice tests available. Isn't that what everyone else is doing? What is the additional stuff I should be doing?


You do well on exams by knowing the law better, and applying it to the facts more quickly and more thoroughly. Everyone creates outlines and takes practice exams, but process isn't what's important, it's results. Do whatever you have to in order to know the law cold and to know how to apply each rule quickly to hypos.

littleboyblue
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Re: Exam taking

Postby littleboyblue » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:20 pm

so its essentially a combination of speed and accuracy?
when you take practice exams do you actually write out the answers like you would in an actual exam or do you just outline the issues and see how many you can come up with?

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rayiner
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Re: Exam taking

Postby rayiner » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:47 pm

littleboyblue wrote:so its essentially a combination of speed and accuracy?
when you take practice exams do you actually write out the answers like you would in an actual exam or do you just outline the issues and see how many you can come up with?


If you (1) hit most of the issues, including the (2) ambiguous wrinkles posed by the facts, and (3) correctly apply the law to those issues, while (4) presenting your analysis concisely and (5) incorporating the facts at each step, then you'll be way ahead of most of your classmates. It doesn't sound hard to do 1-5, but doing it at a level that might've been enough in undergrad and at a level that is sufficient in law school is very different.

As for writing out your answers, yes! I only did 1-2 practice exams for each class, but I wrote out the answers fully, and sometimes wrote the same exam out several times. You want to be able to state the law on the exam without thinking, and typing it out really helps you do that.

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RVP11
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Re: Exam taking

Postby RVP11 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:52 pm

I agree with 1-5 by Rayiner. If you do all the above (like, actually apply the law to the facts), and don't screw the pooch, I'd be surprised if you get anything below median.

I disagree with the belief that everyone outlines and everyone does practice tests. A ton of people don't do something they probably should have done. If you read supplements to understand the material, outline early (and well), and do every available practice test, you're probably at least top half in terms of preparation.

avacado111
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Re: Exam taking

Postby avacado111 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:07 pm

rayiner wrote:
littleboyblue wrote:so its essentially a combination of speed and accuracy?
when you take practice exams do you actually write out the answers like you would in an actual exam or do you just outline the issues and see how many you can come up with?


If you (1) hit most of the issues, including the (2) ambiguous wrinkles posed by the facts, and (3) correctly apply the law to those issues, while (4) presenting your analysis concisely and (5) incorporating the facts at each step, then you'll be way ahead of most of your classmates. It doesn't sound hard to do 1-5, but doing it at a level that might've been enough in undergrad and at a level that is sufficient in law school is very different.

As for writing out your answers, yes! I only did 1-2 practice exams for each class, but I wrote out the answers fully, and sometimes wrote the same exam out several times. You want to be able to state the law on the exam without thinking, and typing it out really helps you do that.


how important is timing on law school exams? For example, if you had say (an hour more) would you get a higher grade as compared to your peers? Or is timing/exam length not that important?

Black-Blue
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Re: Exam taking

Postby Black-Blue » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:13 pm

It can depend. I've seen all multiple choice exams during which half the class left with an hour remaining. I've also seen super time crunch exams that most people didn't "finish." In a time crunch exam, speed and skill are relatively more important, since it wouldn't help to know the book if you didn't even have a chance to answer the question. Whereas in the opposite case, you'd rely relatively more on knowledge of the material.

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rayiner
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Re: Exam taking

Postby rayiner » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:14 pm

avacado111 wrote:how important is timing on law school exams? For example, if you had say (an hour more) would you get a higher grade as compared to your peers? Or is timing/exam length not that important?


Exam length isn't necessarily particularly important, within a wide swath. I know of people who wrote from 4,500 to 8,000 words on their 3 hour exams who got similar grades. Timing however is very important. I think most people could turn in a much better exam given an extra hour. Not so much because they could write more, but because they could hit more of the issues more completely.

littleboyblue
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Re: Exam taking

Postby littleboyblue » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:26 pm

exams are so far away and i am already starting to freak a little. its just seems to be overwhelming when you are surrounded by super smart classmates all hoping to make top grades. luck and quick thinking seem to be more important than dedication to the law.

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rayiner
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Re: Exam taking

Postby rayiner » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:27 pm

littleboyblue wrote:exams are so far away and i am already starting to freak a little. its just seems to be overwhelming when you are surrounded by super smart classmates all hoping to make top grades. luck and quick thinking seem to be more important than dedication to the law.


Quick thinking and knowledge of the law is more important than anything else.

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ConMan345
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Re: Exam taking

Postby ConMan345 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:28 pm

littleboyblue wrote:exams are so far away and i am already starting to freak a little. its just seems to be overwhelming when you are surrounded by super smart classmates all hoping to make top grades. luck and quick thinking seem to be more important than dedication to the law.


My understanding is that this will largely be true for the rest of your career as well.

littleboyblue
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Re: Exam taking

Postby littleboyblue » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:30 pm

thanks all. i guess i should stop worrying and start studying!

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RVP11
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Re: Exam taking

Postby RVP11 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:34 pm

WTF is "dedication to the law"?

littleboyblue
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Re: Exam taking

Postby littleboyblue » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:39 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:WTF is "dedication to the law"?


i should have written dedication to studying the law - meaning the real nitty gritty stuff, for example reading law review articles to further understand an issue discussed in class or by reading books written by your professor to get a sense of her theory of the law (this is a total waste of time if only interested in getting good grades)

chitown825
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Re: Exam taking

Postby chitown825 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:48 pm

My secret to exam performance is...

--ImageRemoved--

POWER!!

UNNNNNLIMITED POWER!!!!!!

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RVP11
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Re: Exam taking

Postby RVP11 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:53 pm

littleboyblue wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:WTF is "dedication to the law"?


i should have written dedication to studying the law - meaning the real nitty gritty stuff, for example reading law review articles to further understand an issue discussed in class or by reading books written by your professor to get a sense of her theory of the law (this is a total waste of time if only interested in getting good grades)


I agree with you. That's a total waste of time.

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rayiner
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Re: Exam taking

Postby rayiner » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:10 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
littleboyblue wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:WTF is "dedication to the law"?


i should have written dedication to studying the law - meaning the real nitty gritty stuff, for example reading law review articles to further understand an issue discussed in class or by reading books written by your professor to get a sense of her theory of the law (this is a total waste of time if only interested in getting good grades)


I agree with you. That's a total waste of time.


Which is good. No need to reward the gunners.

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apper123
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Re: Exam taking

Postby apper123 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:39 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
littleboyblue wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:WTF is "dedication to the law"?


i should have written dedication to studying the law - meaning the real nitty gritty stuff, for example reading law review articles to further understand an issue discussed in class or by reading books written by your professor to get a sense of her theory of the law (this is a total waste of time if only interested in getting good grades)


I agree with you. That's a total waste of time.


I highly disagree. Reading articles or books written by your professor on the topic is probably one of the more useful things you can do. It gives you an idea of how your professor structures ideas when he presents them and of exactly what he is looking for.

This especially applies to a class where you will have a policy question. Professors often write law review articles which detail their policy beliefs behind certain areas of law. I'm not saying you should plagiarize their law review article or anything as an exam answer, but it gives you an idea of the basic structure and foundations the professor used. Now you may have already picked this up in class, and that's fine, but if you didn't pay attention and/or your prof didn't ever talk much about it, it can be useful.

For example, I was struggling learning the intricacies of proximate cause, which I knew my professor (as any good torts prof) would hammer on the exam. I found a law review article by him on proximate cause. It was incredibly useful in my exam prep, especially on a topic like proximate cause where opinions can differ so much.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: Exam taking

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:45 pm

apper123 wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:
littleboyblue wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:WTF is "dedication to the law"?


i should have written dedication to studying the law - meaning the real nitty gritty stuff, for example reading law review articles to further understand an issue discussed in class or by reading books written by your professor to get a sense of her theory of the law (this is a total waste of time if only interested in getting good grades)


I agree with you. That's a total waste of time.


I highly disagree. Reading articles or books written by your professor on the topic is probably one of the more useful things you can do. It gives you an idea of how your professor structures ideas when he presents them and of exactly what he is looking for.

This especially applies to a class where you will have a policy question. Professors often write law review articles which detail their policy beliefs behind certain areas of law. I'm not saying you should plagiarize their law review article or anything as an exam answer, but it gives you an idea of the basic structure and foundations the professor used. Now you may have already picked this up in class, and that's fine, but if you didn't pay attention and/or your prof didn't ever talk much about it, it can be useful.

For example, I was struggling learning the intricacies of proximate cause, which I knew my professor (as any good torts prof) would hammer on the exam. I found a law review article by him on proximate cause. It was incredibly useful in my exam prep, especially on a topic like proximate cause where opinions can differ so much.

I'm going to put a vote out here for reading your professor's articles as well, so long as they pertain to a subject you've discussed in class. Anecdotally (and yes, it's only one example), one of my best friends is at a T1 where he happened to read one of his professor's recent law review articles before his Fall semester finals. Turns out about 1/2 the test hinged on a policy question based on what he'd written about. The kid is now on his the Exec Board of his school's LR.

Completely depends on the professor, but for some it can be quite helpful. Gauge your professor's likelihood of doing something like this and then act accordingly.

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Aeroplane
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Re: Exam taking

Postby Aeroplane » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:48 pm

One of my professors sent us several of his law review articles throughout the semester as the relevant topics came up in class. I skimmed those and they ended up being relevant to the exam (duh), BUT the relevant parts of the articles were more than adequately discussed by him during class. I didn't read anything by my other professors and I felt that class material + readings provided more than enough to answer the exam questions.

Snooker
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Re: Exam taking

Postby Snooker » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:10 pm

Speed plays an important role in taking law exams, but it's the speed of the reasoning, good reasoning, you do that counts. The reason you take the LSAT is to tell law schools how well you can take a law exam under time pressure, so a lot of this skill is innate and not something you are taught. Curiously, there is no correlation between the speeded component of law exams and the performance of any lawyering skill. (Actually there is a .015 correlation, statistically insignificant)

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RVP11
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Re: Exam taking

Postby RVP11 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:12 pm

Snooker wrote:Speed plays an important role in taking law exams, but it's the speed of the reasoning, good reasoning, you do that counts. The reason you take the LSAT is to tell law schools how well you can take a law exam under time pressure, so a lot of this skill is innate and not something you are taught. Curiously, there is no correlation between the speeded component of law exams and the performance of any lawyering skill. (Actually there is a .015 correlation, statistically insignificant)


Where is the study that says there's a correlation at all?

270910
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Re: Exam taking

Postby 270910 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:13 pm

Snooker wrote:Speed plays an important role in taking law exams, but it's the speed of the reasoning, good reasoning, you do that counts.

I agree with this, and it makes quite a bit of sense.


Snooker wrote:Curiously, there is no correlation between the speeded component of law exams and the performance of any lawyering skill. (Actually there is a .015 correlation, statistically insignificant)

Image

Renzo
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Re: Exam taking

Postby Renzo » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:20 pm

disco_barred wrote:
Snooker wrote:Curiously, there is no correlation between the speeded component of law exams and the performance of any lawyering skill. (Actually there is a .015 correlation, statistically insignificant)


(BIG Annoying JPEG)



You know, speeded:

1. a) (archaic) : to cause or help to prosper; aid b) to further the success of

Wait, what?

270910
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Re: Exam taking

Postby 270910 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:55 pm

Renzo wrote:
disco_barred wrote:
Snooker wrote:Curiously, there is no correlation between the speeded component of law exams and the performance of any lawyering skill. (Actually there is a .015 correlation, statistically insignificant)


(BIG Annoying JPEG)



You know, speeded:

1. a) (archaic) : to cause or help to prosper; aid b) to further the success of

Image


Fixed that for ya'.




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