disco_barred wrote:Yeah, definitely want to violate the spirit of the rules as much as possible when taking an exam so long as there's a tenable argument you were within the letter.
One reason for page limits: because you can do well without exceeding them. Concision & precision >>>>>> chicanery. Make your grader WANT to give you an A.
Right, in a perfect world professors will spend hours ruminating over the sheer brilliance you've evinced in your eight-page manuscript. They will spend five hours thinking about how brilliant your carefully-crafted sentences are, and how each one covers numerous points in your course. Then, they will do the same thing for eighty other exams.
Sorry, that's not how it works (at my school, at least). Here, the professor has a checklist and he crosses off each point as he reads it. He doesn't spend longer than a few seconds thinking about a sentence, and certainly won't spend time thinking about whether it'd apply to different aspects of the course. They don't assimilate your exam, they robotically throw your exam at their checklist, and whatever sticks accounts for your grade.
That said, forget about brilliance and eloquence; save that for your semester brief. For a multi-hour take-home exam, conciseness and fitting in as many points as possible is key. Use a lot of Volokh's methods for replacing words, and add some new ones, like replacing "that is to say" with "viz." or "compare" with "cf." -- little things like that save space and ultimately allow for more arguments to be made.