Crim Law Prof Won't Talk about Exam?

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LoriBelle
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Crim Law Prof Won't Talk about Exam?

Postby LoriBelle » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:25 am

Okay, so our curriculum is structured in such a way that we take criminal law in our 1L spring rather than fall. Crim is my only new class this semester, and the prof is very dry and hard to follow in class.

I'm currently hanging on by a thread to the top 10% of my 1L class, and this prof is making me nervous because he's not behaving as though there is an exam at the end, when obviously there is. I asked him about it, and he said if you're paying attention in my class and doing the readings, you will be fine - don't worry about the exam. YEAH RIGHT! Not to mention that I AM actually having trouble paying attention in class (which is not like me at all btw).

I talked to a couple of 2Ls and they all said that he just doesn't like to talk about his exam, but if you know the MPC and common law approaches to each offense we cover, you should be okay to get a B+ or a B in the class. We are on a B- curve, and my B+/A- GPA puts me in the top 10%, but I'm just really nervous about a prof who won't even discuss his exam. It's downright weird.

There are no exams on reserve in the library either. He is very top secret about it all, and the 2Ls say he is very severe during the actual exam and almost paranoid that students might be cheating.

I just thought the conglomerate of knowledgeable posters on TLS might be able to give some advice in this situation. Thoughts, anyone?

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macattaq
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Re: Crim Law Prof Won't Talk about Exam?

Postby macattaq » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:18 pm

What exactly are you looking for from the professor? Are you asking for the breakdown of the exam? Things that will/will not be covered? Your best bet is to approach him in office hours. Often, professors will be more candid in a one-on-one situation. However, what you have described suggests that either a) he has not begun writing the exam, or b) he doesn't want you to know anything about the exam until you walk in. If a, wait until mid-April and approach him them. If b, then he probably wants to ensure that people learn as much about the material as possible, while mitigating cheating. The second seems more likely, given what your upperclassmen have said. So if you can't squeeze anything out of him in office hours, then you should probably try to finish outlining this class and move on to practice tests/hypos as quickly as possible.

LoriBelle
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Re: Crim Law Prof Won't Talk about Exam?

Postby LoriBelle » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:30 pm

I'd basically just like to hear something about the exam from him - whether it's essay/MC/short answer/a combination, his approach to exam questions, whether computers are allowed, just something so that the exam is not some gigantic black hole of mystery.

I did approach him during office hours; it was then that he told me if I was paying attention, reading, taking good notes, etc., I'd be fine. I think you are right that he just wants to make sure we study the material thoroughly, but it's frustrating! I don't have any practice tests from this prof (he doesn't release them), but I know some are available generally on the internet. What is the likelihood that his exam is just ridiculously out of the mainstream? The 2Ls don't seem to indicate this is the case. Maybe I'm insecure for no reason, but I like to know what I'm facing before I go into things, kwim?

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Crim Law Prof Won't Talk about Exam?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:01 pm

It really is bullshit not to tell people whether the exam is essay vs multiple choice/whether there will be a word limit. Those two things completely change the approach to exam prep.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Crim Law Prof Won't Talk about Exam?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:35 pm

That's true, though the inability to hone your study method to the exam type only affects people who do, in fact, prepare differently based on exam type. Lots of people don't.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Crim Law Prof Won't Talk about Exam?

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:14 pm

betasteve wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:It really is bullshit not to tell people whether the exam is essay vs multiple choice/whether there will be a word limit. Those two things completely change the approach to exam prep.

Agreed, but at the same time it is affecting uniformly.

I don't see why it would change your entire approach to preparation. You need to be able to do the same analysis for MC as you would do for an essay test. The only difference is that with MC you have to be able to find the right choice by analogy. For a test with a word limit, you need to be concise. The difference here is that you can't vomit your notes on to the page, toss in some topic sentences, and call it answer.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Crim Law Prof Won't Talk about Exam?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:38 pm

mikeytwoshoes wrote:
betasteve wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:It really is bullshit not to tell people whether the exam is essay vs multiple choice/whether there will be a word limit. Those two things completely change the approach to exam prep.

Agreed, but at the same time it is affecting uniformly.

I don't see why it would change your entire approach to preparation. You need to be able to do the same analysis for MC as you would do for an essay test. The only difference is that with MC you have to be able to find the right choice by analogy. For a test with a word limit, you need to be concise. The difference here is that you can't vomit your notes on to the page, toss in some topic sentences, and call it answer.


First of all, MC frequently covers the actual details of cases, especially on 1L MC exams. That's obviously a huge difference.

Second, lol@vomitting notes on to a page as a way to do well on an essay exam. I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever referenced an outline during an exam.

Third, MC, by their nature, involve a different type of analysis--it is one concrete issue, with a right answer. There is no arguing in there alternative--nor studying to find ways to argue in the alternative. Arguing in the alternative extremely well is the key to getting A+s on regular exams, so this is a significant difference. MC is more about knowing the rules cold, as opposed to knowing how to bend and weave through the rules, and the way the rules interact with each other.

It's also essentially impossible to test public policy on multiple choice, aside, again, from asking for what amounts to "Article X said Y" type answers.

No offense, but if you don't know these things, you have a lot of work to do on your examsmanship, which is why the tone of your response is a little amusing.




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