Just Bombed a Take Home

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stinger35
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby stinger35 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:34 pm

apper123 wrote:there's definitely a difference between a tabbed and annotated FRCP and open note IMO

we were the same way and the annotations are quite limited

adding extra pages is odd tho


I agree about the annotations - but if you can add pages, honestly you can just staple in your notes. Just seems pointless.

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apper123
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby apper123 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:00 pm

lol someone from antoher section told me they had an exam with a paragraph limit

looool

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Blindmelon
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby Blindmelon » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:03 pm

Take home finals are brutal - ugh.
Last edited by Blindmelon on Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:08 pm

I've had page limits in two classes. Font size/style and margins were also mandatory, however.

Usually my strategy is like this

If page limit --> abbreviate things!



See also: disregard proper grammar and style.

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McBean
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby McBean » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:21 pm

yeff wrote:This thread has more redactions than declassified CIA files.



Sorry. Had an anonymity problem.

270910
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby 270910 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:37 pm

McBean wrote:
yeff wrote:This thread has more redactions than declassified CIA files.



Sorry. Had an anonymity problem.


You have 31 posts, unless half of them were [stricken: we don't allow those words on TLS. -Mods] like you see on XOXO, I can't imagine it being a real 'anonymity problem'

engineer
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:06 pm

On the subject of anonymity, it's kind of pointless to redact your posts *after* someone has already quoted them. Moreover, I doubt anyone on this thread cares enough to find out who you are. To date, only one person at my school has outed me, and they flat out asked me at a bar if I'm "engineer." I answered affirmatively. It's really no big deal.

On the subject of take-home exams, my professor also imposed a page limit: eight pages, double spaced, font size 12, and 1" margins. I like when professors try to get cute with arbitrary restraints that fail to address the real issue (the length of the exam), they're giving you a carte blanche to be creative with saving space. If you want to restrict length, impose either a word limit or character limit and require the # of words/characters to appear on the final draft. Make it an honor code violation to lie.

Anyway, when professors dance around the point, I use whatever tools I have at my disposal to add more substance. Regarding the takings clause, my prof had something about "red," "blue," and "green" parties with respect to the degree of the taking (blue party = one right removal is a taking; green party = it's not a taking until all rights are removed, etc.), so I used different font colors to emphasize my point. I used abbreviations where necessary and incorporated a few other space-saving tricks, like using smaller words, maybe deleting some linking words to use up full last line instead of having last word start new line, etc. I thought about having a couple hand-written annotations--technically, that wouldn't be a violation, but it probably would've been frowned upon, or at least put the professor in a bad mood while grading it.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:08 pm

engineer wrote:On the subject of anonymity, it's kind of pointless to redact your posts *after* someone has already quoted them. Moreover, I doubt anyone on this thread cares enough to find out who you are. To date, only one person at my school has outed me, and they flat out asked me at a bar if I'm "engineer." I answered affirmatively. It's really no big deal.

On the subject of take-home exams, my professor also imposed a page limit: eight pages, double spaced, font size 12, and 1" margins. I like when professors try to get cute with arbitrary restraints that fail to address the real issue (the length of the exam), they're giving you a carte blanche to be creative with saving space. If you want to restrict length, impose either a word limit or character limit and require the # of words/characters to appear on the final draft. Make it an honor code violation to lie.

Anyway, when professors dance around the point, I use whatever tools I have at my disposal to add more substance. Regarding the takings clause, my prof had something about "red," "blue," and "green" parties with respect to the degree of the taking (blue party = one right removal is a taking; green party = it's not a taking until all rights are removed, etc.), so I used different font colors to emphasize my point. I used abbreviations where necessary and incorporated a few other space-saving tricks, like: using smaller words, maybe deleting some linking words to use up full last line instead of having last word start a new line, etc. I thought about having a couple hand-written annotations--technically, that wouldn't be a violation, but it probably would've been frowned upon, or at least put the professor in a bad mood while grading it.


Just thought of another way to do it - don't hit "enter" to indicate the next paragraph, but just add in one of those "paragraph" special characters.

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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:16 pm

Unemployed wrote:
Renzo wrote:Who gives a page limit instead of a word limit? Is your professor living in the age of typewriters and cave drawings?


Apparently one of our professors gave both, but they conflicted with each other. The students were warned of "severe punishment" should they go over the limit, so most of them stuck to the less generous word limit. Those who dared to use the page limit, however, were not punished.


There are two ways to think about that. Either the professor unknowingly made a mistake resulting in incongruent instructions, or he wanted to see who was daring enough to take a chance. If I were a professor, I'd give instructions like that just because it'd be fun to see how many people take chances.

Before choosing between limits, I'd do an expected value (EV) calculation. If the sum of benefits exceeds the sum of harms, then it's okay to proceed. For many, the idea of "severe punishment" is in itself a harm belying any sort of justification that additionally exceeds any possible benefit or benefits, so they scurry away and take the more restrictive approach. For me, I'd have to rationalize it a bit more, but I'd probably side with taking a chance. Worst case, it was a reasonably misinterpretation of instructions, and you can ask for permission to strike out what you don't want considered or something.
Last edited by engineer on Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

engineer
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:16 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:Just thought of another way to do it - don't hit "enter" to indicate the next paragraph, but just add in one of those "paragraph" special characters.


Brilliant. Damn, I really wish I had used that! That's seriously brilliant; it would've saved me like a page.

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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:22 pm

Just as an added note, has anyone ever realized the humor in how we used to ask, in college, "How long must the paper be?" and now that we're in law school, the question has metastasized into, "How long can the paper be?"

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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby 270910 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:24 pm

engineer wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:Just thought of another way to do it - don't hit "enter" to indicate the next paragraph, but just add in one of those "paragraph" special characters.


Brilliant. Damn, I really wish I had used that! That's seriously brilliant; it would've saved me like a page.


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.

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Unemployed
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby Unemployed » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:26 pm

engineer wrote:
Unemployed wrote:
Renzo wrote:Who gives a page limit instead of a word limit? Is your professor living in the age of typewriters and cave drawings?


Apparently one of our professors gave both, but they conflicted with each other. The students were warned of "severe punishment" should they go over the limit, so most of them stuck to the less generous word limit. Those who dared to use the page limit, however, were not punished.


There are two ways to think about that. Either the professor unknowingly made a mistake resulting in incongruent instructions, or he wanted to see who was daring enough to take a chance. If I were a professor, I'd give instructions like that just because it'd be fun to see how many people take chances.

Before choosing between limits, I'd do an expected value (EV) calculation. If the sum of benefits exceeds the sum of harms, then it's okay to proceed. For many, the idea of "severe punishment" is in itself a harm belying any sort of justification that additionally exceeds any possible benefit or benefits, so they scurry away and take the more restrictive approach. For me, I'd have to rationalize it a bit more, but I'd probably side with taking a chance. Worst case, it was a reasonably misinterpretation of instructions, and you can ask for permission to strike out what you don't want considered or something.


It was most likely a mistake. Something like "4000 words or roughly 8 single spaced pages" - as anyone who tried to fudge the page limit in high school knows, you can actually fit more than 4800 words in 8 pages.

engineer
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:33 pm

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.

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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby 270910 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:37 pm

engineer wrote:
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.


d00d. I was responding to somebody who suggested you REMOVE PARAGRAPH BREAKS AND REPLACE THEM WITH PARAGRAPH SYMBOLS. You straw-manned the shit of my argument, missing both my suggested course of action AND the reason for my suggested course of action AND the motivation behind my suggested course of action. 1-fucking-80.

engineer
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:39 pm

Unemployed wrote:It was most likely a mistake. Something like "4000 words or roughly 8 single spaced pages" - as anyone who tried to fudge the page limit in high school knows, you can actually fit more than 4800 words in 8 pages.


Oh man, in that case, and especially if they didn't require a soft-copy, use all eight pages! There's no reason words like "of" and "a" should count equally as the movement or ideology opposing the separation of church and state, antidisestablishmentarianism. It'd be cool to compute an "average length of each word" for your exam, and use the "total number of average-length words" as the variable that must be less than or equal to 4,000.

engineer
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:42 pm

disco_barred wrote:d00d. I was responding to somebody who suggested you REMOVE PARAGRAPH BREAKS AND REPLACE THEM WITH PARAGRAPH SYMBOLS. You straw-manned the shit of my argument, missing both my suggested course of action AND the reason for my suggested course of action AND the motivation behind my suggested course of action. 1-fucking-80.


Haha, sorry about that! I'm still hot-blooded from exams this week. I think I'm going to have a beer to cool down before getting into crim law more in depth. That course bothers the hell out of me, and the prof during his review today told us that, "the exam will be roughly thirty pages of multiple choice and short answer questions that cover some stuff we've covered and some stuff we haven't covered. The curve will sort all that out, though."

Fuck. My. Life.

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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby 270910 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:43 pm

engineer wrote:
disco_barred wrote:d00d. I was responding to somebody who suggested you REMOVE PARAGRAPH BREAKS AND REPLACE THEM WITH PARAGRAPH SYMBOLS. You straw-manned the shit of my argument, missing both my suggested course of action AND the reason for my suggested course of action AND the motivation behind my suggested course of action. 1-fucking-80.


Haha, sorry about that! I'm still hot-blooded from exams this week. I think I'm going to have a beer to cool down before getting into crim law more in depth. That course bothers the hell out of me, and the prof during his review today told us that, "the exam will be roughly thirty pages of multiple choice and short answer questions that cover some stuff we've covered and some stuff we haven't covered. The curve will sort all that out, though."

Fuck. My. Life.


Beer will help.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:09 pm

To be fair, I did not do that on the exam (only because I did not think of it). But to the end of getting as many possible point-earning statements in, I disregarded paragraph breaks completely if I could not completely fill a line.

My logic => every little bit helps.

But I see your grammatically and stylistically correct points and respect them.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby Kohinoor » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:15 pm

apper123 wrote:had a page limit exam today... he said we could make the text as small as we wanted as long as it was still legible

still managed to drop an unreal amount of words on it as a result

why even have the page limit? just let me pump the text up and double space it so you can read it. i wouldnt have typed any more than i did (and i was told by a couple profs last semester i write the longest exams in the section by far which, trust me, i do not think is a brag).

To the extent that the professor clearly intended to limit the amount you write, it is wise to violate the spirit of the rule?

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apper123
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby apper123 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:18 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
apper123 wrote:had a page limit exam today... he said we could make the text as small as we wanted as long as it was still legible

still managed to drop an unreal amount of words on it as a result

why even have the page limit? just let me pump the text up and double space it so you can read it. i wouldnt have typed any more than i did (and i was told by a couple profs last semester i write the longest exams in the section by far which, trust me, i do not think is a brag).

To the extent that the professor clearly intended to limit the amount you write, it is wise to violate the spirit of the rule?


He told us to use that type font if we needed to and explicitly ok'd it in class. *shrug*

To add on, I think it's just his way of implementing a "soft word cap" or of encouraging students to not write unless they have something to say. I think all of what I added was relevant (aside from the 2 jokes and movie recommendation I made... this prof has a great sense of humor so I'm sure he doesn't mind).

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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:25 pm

Kohinoor wrote:To the extent that the professor clearly intended to limit the amount you write, it is wise to violate the spirit of the rule?


The debate of originalism/non-originalism continues. I feel like Scalia would back me up on this, though. It's funny how, in general, I take a non-originalistic perspective toward the Constitution, but on this issue, I'm a strict textualist. Hypocrisy at its finest.

I guess this actually helps me to view my position on a lot of things: if the idea of the law is to restrict what you're doing, any way to *legally* get around its intent while still remaining true to the letter of the law is okay. It's like baking a muffin: the muffin pan has holes big enough for a single muffin. It doesn't really intend for the muffin to bulge out of the tray, but it often does, I guess (this analogy makes sense to me).

However, when the law enumerates what you're allowed to do, I think looking to the general intent is fine.

I have no idea if that made any sense :?

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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby 270910 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:31 pm

engineer wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:To the extent that the professor clearly intended to limit the amount you write, it is wise to violate the spirit of the rule?


The debate of originalism/non-originalism continues. I feel like Scalia would back me up on this, though. It's funny how, in general, I take a non-originalistic perspective toward the Constitution, but on this issue, I'm a strict textualist. Hypocrisy at its finest.

I guess this actually helps me to view my position on a lot of things: if the idea of the law is to restrict what you're doing, any way to *legally* get around its intent while still remaining true to the letter of the law is okay. It's like baking a muffin: the muffin pan has holes big enough for a single muffin. It doesn't really intend for the muffin to bulge out of the tray, but it often does, I guess (this analogy makes sense to me).

However, when the law enumerates what you're allowed to do, I think looking to the general intent is fine.

I have no idea if that made any sense :?


...

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apper123
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby apper123 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:31 pm

i threw up in my mouth a little

engineer
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Re: Just Bombed a Take Home

Postby engineer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:36 pm

Whoever posted that link about "studying to death" was pretty dead on. I've pretty much lost my mind.




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