Question about practice tests - 0L

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corporatelaw87
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Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby corporatelaw87 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:33 pm

This may seem dumb, but how do you do practice tests throughout the semester, if you haven't learned all of the material yet? I hear that people start taking practice tests early to get better at actually taking a law school exam. However, if your halfway through the semester, there has the be concepts on the hypo that you haven't learned. yet right?

gustrock
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby gustrock » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:40 pm

I would also like to know about this. Anybody have any input?

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:42 pm

corporatelaw87 wrote:This may seem dumb, but how do you do practice tests throughout the semester, if you haven't learned all of the material yet? I hear that people start taking practice tests early to get better at actually taking a law school exam. However, if your halfway through the semester, there has the be concepts on the hypo that you haven't learned. yet right?

Jesus man, live the last five free months of your life. You will figure out all of these question in LAW SCHOOL. Honestly, youre going to pay them somewhere between 30,000 and 75,000 per year. Let them do their job so you don't feel screwed even more than you actually are.

Before asking more questions, use the 0L Questions thread stickied at the top of the forum for law school students. All of these questions have been asked and answered as current students can answer them.

Also, get used to unresponsive answers. No one at law school will give you a straight answer. It's important that they don't. You have to able to figure these things out on your own.

HTH
Last edited by mikeytwoshoes on Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mr. Pablo
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby Mr. Pablo » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:48 pm

I am not in law school yet either, but I imagine that one would just do the best you could do. You will have learned something, so you write about what you know. I think the practice has more to do with becoming more comfortable with the process, hence it being called practice.

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lilybbloom
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby lilybbloom » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:30 pm

you would be a fool to start taking practice tests early on in the quarter/semester- there are only so many of them for each professor, so if you waste any of them by not fully completing the tests you're just wasting opportunities to improve. I wouldn't recommend taking any earlier than 3 weeks before finals.

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dbt
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby dbt » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:54 am

Don't use practice tests until you're about 2/3 through the semester. I usually start taking tests (1, maybe 2 a week) around a month before finals study time begins. Then I crank it up to like 3 a week toward the end. The problem is you run out pretty quick (at least of old exams from your specific professor) so you've got to not take too many and you want to start out with just E&E problems/other professors' old exams. But like people here have said, you should be worried about outlining. Old exams shouldn't enter your mind until at least 1/2 way through the semester, since you wouldn't have any idea how to do the majority of the problems if you started on them early.

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A'nold
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby A'nold » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:58 am

I like this OP, he/she announces that they are a 0L in the thread title. Keep up the good work OP. :wink:

I wondered about this too before beginning, actually, and I think it is not so much about learning the material as much as learning to apply law to fact. You will hear this over and over again but it is not a matter of memorizing stuff to regurgitate or knowing the "right answer" to, it is about consistently nit picking the facts (LEEWS). You don't have to do a full exam. I only ever did little snipets and practiced on exploiting all the minutae and ambiguities in one small part of the hypo.

For example, on one of my professor's old contracts hypos there was a huge fact pattern with tons of mini questions posited at the end. I would do the entire question on, say, moral obligation/restitution and really concentrate on the legal analysis part of the answer. After you do something similar, take the exam into the professor and have them look over your answer. I think this is the best way to "take" practice exams in law school. Good luck. :)

270910
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby 270910 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:33 am

This is a very smart questions. It's a constant problem an annoyance with no clear answer. Couple things:

First, even after you know all of the material, other professor's tests can be landmines because no first year course covers or emphasizes identical material. And since it's rare to find a prof with more than a handful of practice tests (many of mine gave us exactly one) you're going to have to do a lot of 'making do'.

Second, it's sometimes pretty easy to find questions that are very discrete. You can spot a civ pro question about jurisdiction from a mile away, and it's common for jurisdiction to be both taught and tested discretely.

Third, as has been pointed out, you just do your best. If as your taking a test you realize there's an issue on it you haven't covered yet, you just don't answer it. Sucks, but what else can you do?

Finally, as others have noted it's important to take practice tests but you really don't need to do it from day one. It's probably most important first semester when you're learning how to take a law school exam in the first place though...

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:52 am

lilybbloom wrote:you would be a fool to start taking practice tests early on in the quarter/semester- there are only so many of them for each professor, so if you waste any of them by not fully completing the tests you're just wasting opportunities to improve. I wouldn't recommend taking any earlier than 3 weeks before finals.



I keep hearing the exact opposite. Outlines and hypos, I have read on these boards, should be started sooner rather than later.
What is the harm in using a test from other professors? I know each prof teaches different but that would come through in grading, would it not? Also, if I'm practicing on another prof's test and sorta self-checking myself (in the beginning month to 6 weeks or so) and I do this just to learn formatting/organisation or whatever, what's the harm? That has to be more useful than what some other people are doing.

Also, in an E&E's book....say civpro...are the wording of those answer pretty similar to what you need to acheive on an exam?

270910
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby 270910 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:10 am

Kobe_Teeth wrote:
lilybbloom wrote:you would be a fool to start taking practice tests early on in the quarter/semester- there are only so many of them for each professor, so if you waste any of them by not fully completing the tests you're just wasting opportunities to improve. I wouldn't recommend taking any earlier than 3 weeks before finals.



I keep hearing the exact opposite. Outlines and hypos, I have read on these boards, should be started sooner rather than later.
What is the harm in using a test from other professors? I know each prof teaches different but that would come through in grading, would it not? Also, if I'm practicing on another prof's test and sorta self-checking myself (in the beginning month to 6 weeks or so) and I do this just to learn formatting/organisation or whatever, what's the harm? That has to be more useful than what some other people are doing.

Also, in an E&E's book....say civpro...are the wording of those answer pretty similar to what you need to acheive on an exam?


1) The big harm is in using your professors exams early, since those are the best tools you will have and you need to practice the real deal with time constraints and such somehow. Even if there's no harm from using other profs tests, believe me when I say you won't have a damn clue what to do with a law school exam until at least halfway through your first semester. One of the big tricks is that each law school course is taught in a nice, neat timeline but everything you learn relates to everything else. It's pretty common to hear people talk about things clicking or falling into place once they learn more about the doctrine.

2) The answers in E&Es are answers to short, discrete questions and not issue spotters. They're useful for testing application and thinking, but they're really more about making sure you know the material than they are teaching you issue spotting / analyzing skills. A major exception is that the back of the Torts E&E has a great section on exam taking with practice hypos.

For the record, the people I know who did well in law school all either did a ton of practice exams, or did a lot (but fewer) more carefully. But none of them started before halfway through the semester, and I'd say most started closer to the 3/4 or 2/3 mark, because otherwise you're wasting a lot of energy on problems you can't answer or don't understand.

tikitavi
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby tikitavi » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:10 pm

I don't think looking at a professor's old exam 'wastes' it. I had one class last semester w/ ~20 old exams available, but the other 3 classes only had 2-3 available. For those classes, I just did them over and over again. You learn something new each time, and you especially get good at spotting issues and writing the analysis concisely without really having to think about it. Because(at least for me) the hard part isn't spotting the issues in your head, it's getting it all down on paper in a way that is concise and gets you the most points possible. Yeah, you have already seen the fact pattern before, but there isn't likely to be anything totally new on the actual exam. If, for example, you get really good at writing the analysis for a self-defense issue on a crimlaw exam, you're probably going to do a really good job of it on the actual exam. The facts will be different but you're really just plugging the new facts into your old analysis(and the analysis is already hard-wired into your brain b/c you've done so many practice tests.)

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AlasLavinia
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby AlasLavinia » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:16 pm

I think the reason you have this question, OP, is that you have not yet learned that the exams do not primarily test the material. Exams test your ability to apply law to facts. Professors assume that everyone who walks into the examination room knows the material cold.

You can practice the process of applying law to facts, and writing a well organized and well reasoned paper, well before you have completed the semester.

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Cavalier
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Re: Question about practice tests - 0L

Postby Cavalier » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:48 pm

I wouldn't start doing practice tests until a month before finals. At that point, you should have a good feel for the course, and know what you can't answer yet, so just do the practice problems like normal, and when you see an issue that you can't handle, move on. For instance, in contracts, I think most professors leave damages until the end, so when you're doing practice exams, you can easily see when the issue of damages arises, which means you can forget about it and focus on what you know how to answer.




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