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 Post subject: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:14 am 
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How do you guys feel about pre-written answers? Have they been successful in the past? Will it get you an A or a B?

We are allowed our rulebook for Civ Pro but I've already memorized all the rules and application for the most part so I was thinking of putting it to good use and writing out model answers.

Advice?


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:22 am 
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You do well on law exams by applying law to facts. You don't know the facts in the exam question yet. How could you possibly write out a useful answer when you're missing half of what you need?


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:30 am 
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DaydreamBeliever wrote:
How do you guys feel about pre-written answers? Have they been successful in the past? Will it get you an A or a B?

We are allowed our rulebook for Civ Pro but I've already memorized all the rules and application for the most part so I was thinking of putting it to good use and writing out model answers.

Advice?

i think it's a waste of time.
i thought about doing this for an open book exam. i never tried it because i decided to spend what little time i had on hypos. i think it's a waste of time because you could be doing hypos, which really help you out with the most important aspect of exam taking: issue spotting. it also gives you a feel of what A papers do (spot more issues than others; argue both sides (and incorporate policy in these arguments); and sometimes propose some really good ideas).

i think it's not a bad idea, if it's open book, to write down some things that are definitely going to show up. for instance, if you're guaranteed to have search and seizure on your exam, then you might want to write out the rule so that you can just type it out without thinking (perhaps giving yourself a little break). but beyond that, i think it's a bad idea. i haven't done some in depth analysis into the feasibility of this, but i suspect that there are too many permutations to make this approach worthwhile. the most important part is issue spotting and analysis. write down the rules and fuck trying to guess the exam.

edit: by typing out the rule, i meant the "setup" that will lead to your analysis. your analysis, i feel, can only be done at the exam because you have to use facts...


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:41 am 
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I see what you both are saying and I understand and appreciate the input.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:44 am 
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I definitely second taking practice tests. Actually practicing out writing out your answers, and the way that makes you think about applying the law, will help you do better on test day.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:48 am 
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It depends on what you bottleneck on. I bottleneck on writing, so I write out my practice exams several times so I have a skeleton answer for each type of analysis. If you bottleneck on issue spotting, you should spend more time doing hypos.

The only way you can tell which is your bottleneck is to take timed practice exams.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:44 pm 
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It depends. I had a 2L tell me about a past prof who would recycle tests from another school he used to teach at by simply substituting names/places/misc facts. Once he and his group figured out the pattern, they literally drafted a pre-written rubric and applied it to the exam.


Probably doesn't happen often, but worth noting.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:33 pm 
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zeth006 wrote:
It depends. I had a 2L tell me about a past prof who would recycle tests from another school he used to teach at by simply substituting names/places/misc facts. Once he and his group figured out the pattern, they literally drafted a pre-written rubric and applied it to the exam.


Probably doesn't happen often, but worth noting.


It's not even that. All K's, torts, etc exams are basically the SAMs. You know you'll talk about contract formation, then interpretation, etc. So if you've got a skeleton ready to go, you just need to plug in the facts.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:40 pm 
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rayiner wrote:
zeth006 wrote:
It depends. I had a 2L tell me about a past prof who would recycle tests from another school he used to teach at by simply substituting names/places/misc facts. Once he and his group figured out the pattern, they literally drafted a pre-written rubric and applied it to the exam.


Probably doesn't happen often, but worth noting.


It's not even that. All K's, torts, etc exams are basically the SAMs. You know you'll talk about contract formation, then interpretation, etc. So if you've got a skeleton ready to go, you just need to plug in the facts.



Very true. For open-book exams, I like to have the rules I KNOW will be on the exam written out so I don't have to waste time wording them/looking them up. As you said, you'll need to know the definition of offer, acceptance, contract, etc., so have these pre-written.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:06 pm 
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dougroberts wrote:
rayiner wrote:
zeth006 wrote:
It depends. I had a 2L tell me about a past prof who would recycle tests from another school he used to teach at by simply substituting names/places/misc facts. Once he and his group figured out the pattern, they literally drafted a pre-written rubric and applied it to the exam.


Probably doesn't happen often, but worth noting.


It's not even that. All K's, torts, etc exams are basically the SAMs. You know you'll talk about contract formation, then interpretation, etc. So if you've got a skeleton ready to go, you just need to plug in the facts.



Very true. For open-book exams, I like to have the rules I KNOW will be on the exam written out so I don't have to waste time wording them/looking them up. As you said, you'll need to know the definition of offer, acceptance, contract, etc., so have these pre-written.


this seems to be basically the same thing as a bullet point outline


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:16 pm 
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Quote:
i think it's a waste of time.
i thought about doing this for an open book exam. i never tried it because i decided to spend what little time i had on hypos. i think it's a waste of time because you could be doing hypos, which really help you out with the most important aspect of exam taking: issue spotting. it also gives you a feel of what A papers do (spot more issues than others; argue both sides (and incorporate policy in these arguments); and sometimes propose some really good ideas).

i think it's not a bad idea, if it's open book, to write down some things that are definitely going to show up. for instance, if you're guaranteed to have search and seizure on your exam, then you might want to write out the rule so that you can just type it out without thinking (perhaps giving yourself a little break). but beyond that, i think it's a bad idea. i haven't done some in depth analysis into the feasibility of this, but i suspect that there are too many permutations to make this approach worthwhile. the most important part is issue spotting and analysis. write down the rules and fuck trying to guess the exam.

edit: by typing out the rule, i meant the "setup" that will lead to your analysis. your analysis, i feel, can only be done at the exam because you have to use facts...



this is all MONEY right here!!


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 Post subject: .
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:07 pm 
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.


Last edited by APimpNamedSlickback on Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:42 pm 
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Posts: 224
Borhas wrote:
dougroberts wrote:
rayiner wrote:
zeth006 wrote:
It depends. I had a 2L tell me about a past prof who would recycle tests from another school he used to teach at by simply substituting names/places/misc facts. Once he and his group figured out the pattern, they literally drafted a pre-written rubric and applied it to the exam.


Probably doesn't happen often, but worth noting.


It's not even that. All K's, torts, etc exams are basically the SAMs. You know you'll talk about contract formation, then interpretation, etc. So if you've got a skeleton ready to go, you just need to plug in the facts.



Very true. For open-book exams, I like to have the rules I KNOW will be on the exam written out so I don't have to waste time wording them/looking them up. As you said, you'll need to know the definition of offer, acceptance, contract, etc., so have these pre-written.


this seems to be basically the same thing as a bullet point outline


Except outlines are usually not full sentences or thoughts, but fragments and short rules. I'm talking about a full paragraph stating the rule from, say, a statute and then a case backing it up. Then, when this topic comes up on the exam (which you know it will if it is an important one), then you just copy/paste it in (or retype it in), then next paragraph would be a more specific rule if there is, and then apply/conclusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:52 pm 
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I have pre-written "starter" answers for all of my classes (open book). For example, in Civ Pro, I have short answers for PJ, SMJ, Rules, Erie, etc. Basically it gives the rule and requirements in a canned answer, then all that is left is to apply it to the facts. I think this will help improve my speed because I won't have to think of exactly how I want to phrase something. I just copy it from my notes, and move on to the analysis. This concept seems to also work really well for torts, and to a lesser extent, property.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:33 pm 
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uzpakalis wrote:
I have pre-written "starter" answers for all of my classes (open book). For example, in Civ Pro, I have short answers for PJ, SMJ, Rules, Erie, etc. Basically it gives the rule and requirements in a canned answer, then all that is left is to apply it to the facts. I think this will help improve my speed because I won't have to think of exactly how I want to phrase something. I just copy it from my notes, and move on to the analysis. This concept seems to also work really well for torts, and to a lesser extent, property.

yea, this was what i was trying to get at in my earlier post. some professors give you an extra point or something if you are organized like this. for example, one of my professors said that a point was award on an issue if a student laid out the rule right off the bat. so, for example, "the prima facie elements of negligence are duty, breach, cause-in-fact, prox cause, and damage." i found this a bit ridiculous because in every negligence discussion i would lay out those elements by having a separate "section" for each. but the professor makes the rules. so i think this type of system is really good for catching easy, non-brainer points. and maybe it helps because the relevant rules are right there and you're typing them. i would also include more than just the bare bone rule, and try to convey what the rule is trying to achieve, and possibly other policy stuff. but that depends on the rule and context of the fact pattern.

but this can kill a lot time, and i do this at the very end. usually i'll just take someone's response from a hypo that i liked and dump/collect them in a file and print it. i think hypos are most important, after you understand wtf is going on in the subject (which is a real time drain). so final point, and i will leave this thread, is that don't get too bogged down by this stuff. it'll capture some points, but you have to think about how many points you're losing because you haven't looked at a ton of hypos. more points, i think, can be earned through proper analysis and issue spotting than good organization. if you have the luxury of time, then go for the gold. otherwise prioritize wisely and you might still get that A.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:36 pm 
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uzpakalis wrote:
I have pre-written "starter" answers for all of my classes (open book). For example, in Civ Pro, I have short answers for PJ, SMJ, Rules, Erie, etc. Basically it gives the rule and requirements in a canned answer, then all that is left is to apply it to the facts. I think this will help improve my speed because I won't have to think of exactly how I want to phrase something. I just copy it from my notes, and move on to the analysis. This concept seems to also work really well for torts, and to a lesser extent, property.


TITCR at least for civ pro. I pre-wrote out all my rule statements in sentence form and got the high grade, 2nd highest grade did the same thing too. Saves time and ensures you hit all the points in your analysis. Doesn't work as well for other, more common law based, classes but can be done to some extent.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:03 pm 
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I did that for CivPro last year too. Worked out well.

Just be sure to use the right intro for each issue. You know, answer the question actually asked. :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:29 pm 
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What do you mean the right intro?


I know everyone is busy but would someone mind taking a look over some of my pre-written answers?


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:27 pm 
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DaydreamBeliever wrote:
What do you mean the right intro?


I know everyone is busy but would someone mind taking a look over some of my pre-written answers?



The right intro = a canned statement of the applicable rule of law. The R in IRAC.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:29 pm 
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ChattTNdt wrote:
DaydreamBeliever wrote:
What do you mean the right intro?


I know everyone is busy but would someone mind taking a look over some of my pre-written answers?



The right intro = a canned statement of the applicable rule of law. The R in IRAC.

Would you mind if I PMed you some of my pre-writs to look over?


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:24 pm 
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As others have pointed out already, this largely depends on your professor. My Civ Pro professor recycled the same exact issue on each of his exams from 1986-2008 - so, yea, I pre-wrote the shit out of that answer. My Torts professor pulled her fact patterns out of legal publications and tweaked them a bit - so, no, I knew the BLL cold, kept an open mind, and did my best to creatively apply law to fact. My Property professor generally focused on 5 small snippets of the class, but only one of those issues consistently reappeared on the exam, whereas the others seemed to rotate - so I took a hybrid approach of the above styles of preparation.

But how did I know all of this going in? Ding ding ding! I took every available exam that I could get my hands on, which is the best thing that anyone can do to prepare for law school exams, IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:32 pm 
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seespotrun wrote:
As others have pointed out already, this largely depends on your professor. My Civ Pro professor recycled the same exact issue on each of his exams from 1986-2008 - so, yea, I pre-wrote the shit out of that answer. My Torts professor pulled her fact patterns out of legal publications and tweaked them a bit - so, no, I knew the BLL cold, kept an open mind, and did my best to creatively apply law to fact. My Property professor generally focused on 5 small snippets of the class, but only one of those issues consistently reappeared on the exam, whereas the others seemed to rotate - so I took a hybrid approach of the above styles of preparation.

But how did I know all of this going in? Ding ding ding! I took every available exam that I could get my hands on, which is the best thing that anyone can do to prepare for law school exams, IMO.

please check PM


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:35 pm 
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zeth006 wrote:
It depends. I had a 2L tell me about a past prof who would recycle tests from another school he used to teach at by simply substituting names/places/misc facts. Once he and his group figured out the pattern, they literally drafted a pre-written rubric and applied it to the exam.


Probably doesn't happen often, but worth noting.


I agree with the other posters on here that pre writing an answer wouldn't make sense when you don't know what the facts are.

the only exception, I think, would be where the tests are exactly the same each year. in my Civ Pro the Prof has used the same format for the last 10 year..only changing out the names and situations. I've prewritten an answer and plan on applying it come game day. while I fully know the material, this will just let me be more precise and specific and have fewer writing errors.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:46 pm 
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dougroberts wrote:
Except outlines are usually not full sentences or thoughts, but fragments and short rules. I'm talking about a full paragraph stating the rule from, say, a statute and then a case backing it up. Then, when this topic comes up on the exam (which you know it will if it is an important one), then you just copy/paste it in (or retype it in), then next paragraph would be a more specific rule if there is, and then apply/conclusion.


I don't get why you need a paragraph explaining a rule and where it comes from. The statement of a rule should take a sentence. An exam is won and lost in the application, not in the rule statement. Remember, an exam cares less about the origin of a rule and more about the application of the rule. This isn't a legal brief/memo.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-Written Answers
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:54 pm 
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i'm doing this for one class, in which the professor explicitly asks for doctrinal background and for an evaluation of the current doctrine (and there are less than a dozen broad topics in the class). a good 2L friend of mine had the same professor last year and told me that pre-writing exam answers helped him immensely, but for most classes i think it's probably a waste of time.


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