I know this is a stupid question

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jay115
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I know this is a stupid question

Postby jay115 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:12 am

but for current law students, I'm kind of confused as to how we're supposed to "prep" and take past exams and tests throughout the course of the semester when we presumably won't have all the knowledge to do the exam until the end of the semester?

Mal
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Re: I know this is a stupid question

Postby Mal » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:28 am

jay115 wrote:but for current law students, I'm kind of confused as to how we're supposed to "prep" and take past exams and tests throughout the course of the semester when we presumably won't have all the knowledge to do the exam until the end of the semester?


You don't... thats why the work is focussed into the end of the semester.

270910
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Re: I know this is a stupid question

Postby 270910 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:02 am

That's actually a very intelligent question.

In any given law school course, some material you learn will be fairly discrete. As an example, most civil procedure courses will teach you about subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, and venue. Once you've learned that material, you can attempt any question that covers those discrete areas.

It's tricky though, because you often don't know what you don't know. It's extraordinarily difficult as a first semester law student to find workable practice exams on your own. But as the above poster noted, it's one reason why your best studying happens towards the end of the semester.

bex
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Re: I know this is a stupid question

Postby bex » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:14 am

Yes, you won't necesasarily be able to do much in terms of practice tests until the end of the semester, but most of my professors handed out practice questions on an area or several areas we had covered at about the half way point through the semester.

It's also important to have your outlines just about done by the end of the semester so that you can study from them and take practice tests once you are able to do them, rather than worrying about getting the outlines done.

surenough
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Re: I know this is a stupid question

Postby surenough » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:42 am

Some Prof. use the "problem method" where you will be constantly doing questions, so in those classes you will have an opportunity to constantly practice...

However, you will have Profs who will just teach you "the rules" with no real application in the real world, and for the exam it will be your job to just figure it out. I think in those courses it is wise to invest into a horn-book like E&E, or whatever else fits the course ( I think it's wise to ask the Prof. what he would recommend, or 2Ls who already took the course..) Horn-books usually have subject based questions.

Also the type of practice you do, is totally course-specific. If your Prof. is heavy on policy, Westlaw could help. If your Prof. emphasizes state-specific rules, bar exam prep materials are good for that.

I think by Thanksgiving, you should look over the practice exam. Especially if it is an issue spotter. If the exam is just a fact pattern where you are spotting the issues and analyzing, then by Thanksgiving you should be able to spot 80% of issues. ( and the facts pertaining to the topics you haven't done just won't make sense, so you can ignore them).

Once, you've spotted all the issues, I would analyze one, and discuss my analysis with the Prof. (Of course some Profs give really good review sessions, where they do just that, so in that case you don't need to set up any special time to do that) However, if the Prof. doesn't, I think it is very important to figure, what the Prof. expects and think is good legal analysis.

Because a law school exam is something like 3 hours, with 20 issues, you have to be smart, because you could easily use 3 hours to analyze one issue, but you can't. So it's your job to figure out what this Prof. thinks is excellent analysis that you can do fairly quickly.

Anyway, I realize this isn't exactly what you asked, but these are the reasons why I don't wait until a week before the final to look over old exams. I want to make sure I have time to practice.

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worldtraveler
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Re: I know this is a stupid question

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:49 am

Some exams have multiple questions. If you have a lot of exams available, you can take parts of the exam you've covered and wait on the other parts. It's probably best to take a full exam in one sitting but starting some things early can be helpful too.

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jay115
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Re: I know this is a stupid question

Postby jay115 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:27 pm

bex wrote:Yes, you won't necesasarily be able to do much in terms of practice tests until the end of the semester, but most of my professors handed out practice questions on an area or several areas we had covered at about the half way point through the semester.

It's also important to have your outlines just about done by the end of the semester so that you can study from them and take practice tests once you are able to do them, rather than worrying about getting the outlines done.


OK because I was compiling information using all the different "advice" threads (by arrow, xeoh, etc) and they all emphasized getting acclimated with professors' old exams early. But I imagine outlining will take the lion's share of my time during the beginning/middle of my first semester.

worldtraveler wrote:Some exams have multiple questions. If you have a lot of exams available, you can take parts of the exam you've covered and wait on the other parts. It's probably best to take a full exam in one sitting but starting some things early can be helpful too.


Yeah I skimmed through some of my professors' old exams, and only one professor has multiple choice on his exams. I haven't decided whether multiple choice is a good thing or bad thing - I guess it depends on my peers.

Thanks for all the insights dudes (and chicks).




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