Untimed Practice Exams?

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goosey
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Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby goosey » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:54 pm

wondering if this is worth it?

I have started taking practice exams, however I find the time constraints to make it near impossible to come up with a decent answer to a question. todays question has a 60 min time allotment and it took me double that. Part of that is because I simply do not know the bll down cold where I can just type it on demand--I have to go through my outline and perfect the wording. Ideally that will not be the case on exam day since I will 1) have it memorized 2) have practiced enough to not need to do the wording thing and 3) its a closed book exam so even if I wanted to I couldnt waste time flipping pages.

My question is, is this a useful exercise or am I wasting exams? He has plenty of exams to practice on, but especially for other classes where there is only one exam available---is it silly to do these without having the bll memorized?

I just want to be able to fine tune my outline (the one I will memorize) and also start getting some practice using the blll in analysis, and maybe discovering nuances I didnt know existed that i can get clarification on from the professor. At the same time I dont want to waste 3 hours a day on something that is not going to help me on the exam.

I feel like its kind of like the lsat---anyone could ace it if they had unlimited amounts of time. So is it bad for me to give myself unlimited amounts of time in this case?

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rayiner
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby rayiner » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:56 pm

goosey wrote:wondering if this is worth it?

I have started taking practice exams, however I find the time constraints to make it near impossible to come up with a decent answer to a question. todays question has a 60 min time allotment and it took me double that. Part of that is because I simply do not know the bll down cold where I can just type it on demand--I have to go through my outline and perfect the wording. Ideally that will not be the case on exam day since I will 1) have it memorized 2) have practiced enough to not need to do the wording thing and 3) its a closed book exam so even if I wanted to I couldnt waste time flipping pages.

My question is, is this a useful exercise or am I wasting exams? He has plenty of exams to practice on, but especially for other classes where there is only one exam available---is it silly to do these without having the bll memorized?

I just want to be able to fine tune my outline (the one I will memorize) and also start getting some practice using the blll in analysis, and maybe discovering nuances I didnt know existed that i can get clarification on from the professor. At the same time I dont want to waste 3 hours a day on something that is not going to help me on the exam.

I feel like its kind of like the lsat---anyone could ace it if they had unlimited amounts of time. So is it bad for me to give myself unlimited amounts of time in this case?


1) You don't need to restate the BLL word for word. You need to be precise, but only to the extent that the precision is material. Eg: you can state the 1-year rule in the statute of frauds in contracts however you like as long as you distinguish between "performance in 1 year" and "full performance in 1 year." In general, don't worry about wording things "just so." Focus on the substance.

2) Taking untimed practice exams is really useful. I personally never take timed practice exams anymore (after the first couple, I've got a pretty good handle on time-management). Write out the exams fully so you know how to talk about the issues and how to structure your answer.

3) I've seen you mention flash cards elsewhere. I'd be wary of that. Doing outlines, taking practice exams and writing them out fully is a much better way to learn the law. It trains your fingers at the same time as your mind so you don't have to think about how to word things, etc.

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goosey
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby goosey » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:20 pm

thanks. I understand what you're saying about flashcards, I think I basically just want them to help me get the gist on the law and to memorize it. I plan on using the weeks before finals to write out "paragraphs" for the rules, which would basically allow me to just whiz through it during an exam and spend more time on analyzing the actual facts.

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kswiss
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby kswiss » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:11 am

Just do both with the same test.

Time constraining is a really good way to get the process of taking the test down and learning what you need to do to get more on the page.

After its done, redo the test with unlimited time and compare the answers. When I do this I can quickly see the issues that take up too much time and the ones that I don't get to that are worth more points.

Foosters Galore
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby Foosters Galore » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:33 am

I'm kinda in the same boat. This week was the week I was going to start practice exams. I spent the weekend updating outlines. On sunday night I sat down to type out a sample torts essay the prof had given us and just stared blankly at the page. I mean, I jotted down the big stuff, but had no in depth knowledge of the course as a whole. I've been wondering what the best way to go about it was. Spend the next 1-2 weeks memorizing outlines and THEN begin practice exams? Maybe spend a few days memorizing one outline and taking that practice exam immediately after? Maybe even take the exam, as OP mentioned, untimed and with an outline in front of me? Somewhat discouraged and really don't know where to begin.

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Cupidity
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby Cupidity » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:44 am

I can't imagine starting any other way. I take roughly 3x as long as I am supposed to (at least at this stage) so that I can ensure I get everything correct. Speed can come later, I have a month still :D

LurkerNoMore
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:40 am

Goosey -- take this advice or leave it, but in reading your posts, I worry that you are setting yourself up for a crash on exams. On timed exams it is simply not possible to get to every issue and phrase everything perfectly. Your prep seems to be striving for perfection, and perfection is simply not attainable. I worry that the weight of your preparation is going to result in the production of answers that go a mile deep on only an inch of issues. This is a way to fall to the bottom of the curve.

I would stick with timed exams only. Get a realistic sense of what you can write in the time. Find out which issues you know without referring to notes (you really don't want to use notes during the exam). Seeing the glaring errors in timed practice exams will focus your studying. The goal of outlines is not to have a masterpiece to pass on, but rather a product that helped you learn the material in such a way as to make the outline unnecessary on the exam. Time practice exams are great ways to make sure you are actually spending your time in a productive way.

Of course, this is all based on what I've casually gleaned off a message board, so toss the advice if you don't think it fits.

NOTE: this advice is based on the fact that you have a lot of practice exams to work with. If that were not the case, I would save practice exams until the end of studying, still take them timed, but use things like E&E questions and CALI to test substantive knowledge along the way.

stayway
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby stayway » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:23 am

Timed exam IMHO. Also if you type slow I recommend that you practice typing. 90wpm is a good speed.

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rayiner
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby rayiner » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:57 am

Foosters Galore wrote:I'm kinda in the same boat. This week was the week I was going to start practice exams. I spent the weekend updating outlines. On sunday night I sat down to type out a sample torts essay the prof had given us and just stared blankly at the page. I mean, I jotted down the big stuff, but had no in depth knowledge of the course as a whole. I've been wondering what the best way to go about it was. Spend the next 1-2 weeks memorizing outlines and THEN begin practice exams? Maybe spend a few days memorizing one outline and taking that practice exam immediately after? Maybe even take the exam, as OP mentioned, untimed and with an outline in front of me? Somewhat discouraged and really don't know where to begin.


The last one. You'll learn best by applying the law (which means using it to answer the exam questions).

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beach_terror
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby beach_terror » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:35 pm

Both can be useful, and as I approach taking a full exam as opposed to small sections, I'm going to do a few untimed just to make sure I can write a big picture answer. After that, I feel like I'll be able to differentiate between what needs a lot of analysis and what doesn't.

It seems if you take timed exams exclusively, you could fail to identify big mistakes because you're just trying to get it all out as fast as possible. If nothing else, writing an "ideal" answer without time limits will allow you spot more issues on exam day, and then select the ones that you remember devoting the most (and best) analysis to when it comes to writing. Does that seem to be a fair assessment/expectation?

LurkerNoMore
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Re: Untimed Practice Exams?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:57 pm

beach_terror wrote:It seems if you take timed exams exclusively, you could fail to identify big mistakes because you're just trying to get it all out as fast as possible.


The value of taking practice exams comes from two steps -- writing them and then going over them. Your concern is totally unfounded if you follow through with the second step. Take the exam timed, see what you know cold and how much you can get on a page (and how long you can spend with each stage of the writing process). Then go over the exam. Figure out what issues you missed, what tests you weren't clear on, how you could have phrased things more concisely so you could have moved on to the next issue, etc. Don't underestimate how much of an effect the time limitations have on your grade, or how important a skill it is to be able to write within them.




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