Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

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swc65
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Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby swc65 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:29 pm

I have heard of some people spewing out 9K words and others hitting a high of 3K. I know quantity does not necessarily equal quality. But, what's a good word count?

Also, none of your shenanigans Helm.

dakatz
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby dakatz » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:33 pm

I typically hit between 5K and 6K on my civ pro exams. Hit about 6,200 on my actual exam today. I have friends who write 3K to 4K yet their answers honestly sound just as good. Much of the time, I'm just typing to type and to keep the train of thought going.

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Emma.
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby Emma. » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:35 pm

Quite a few of the model answers for my CivPro prof's 3 hour exam hit 8k words. :shock:

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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby dakatz » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:38 pm

Emma. wrote:Quite a few of the model answers for my CivPro prof's 3 hour exam hit 8k words. :shock:


Wow. I mean, I def could have hit 8K if I typed nonstop and had everything set before I started, and didn't really need to stop and think about anything.

solidsnake
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby solidsnake » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:38 pm

just enough to demonstrate solid legal analysis and argumentation.

1L year definitely noticed an inverse correlation between high word counts and top grades. A-quality answers shouldn't have any extraneous or frivolous material. Be concise.

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vamedic03
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:41 pm

swc65 wrote:I have heard of some people spewing out 9K words and others hitting a high of 3K. I know quantity does not necessarily equal quality. But, what's a good word count?

Also, none of your shenanigans Helm.


Enough to answer the question. Not being snarky, but, there's no ideal word count. I tend to write less than my peers.

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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby missinglink » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:41 pm

solidsnake wrote:just enough to demonstrate solid legal analysis and argumentation.

1L year definitely noticed an inverse correlation between high word counts and top grades. A-quality answers shouldn't have any extraneous or frivolous material. Be concise.

Unless it's a pure issue spotter. Then you just need to hit all your bases. Some of the top grades last year in the class I was taking went to people who just put out a ream of material. Not all of it right, but enough to get points. At least in this class, you don't lose points if you talk about extraneous bs.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby Helmholtz » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:36 am

swc65 wrote:Also, none of your shenanigans Helm.


You talkin ta me?

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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby OperaSoprano » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:49 am

vamedic03 wrote:
swc65 wrote:I have heard of some people spewing out 9K words and others hitting a high of 3K. I know quantity does not necessarily equal quality. But, what's a good word count?

Also, none of your shenanigans Helm.


Enough to answer the question. Not being snarky, but, there's no ideal word count. I tend to write less than my peers.


This. And to the person fretting about the model answers, these are model answers. I know someone who broke 10k words on a 4 hour (I believe) exam. One person, though. It's an unmatched feat AFAIK, and I know a decent number of law students attending schools across the rankings. Needless to say, you do not need to do this to get an A. I hit 3,800 words in torts (my longest exam ever) and that was sufficient. I wrote even less than that in crim. These were my best two classes. Huge word count can be helpful, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient (god help me!)

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swc65
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby swc65 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:21 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
swc65 wrote:Also, none of your shenanigans Helm.


You talkin ta me?



Lo:L. Yes!!! I saw one of your posts claiming that <7K= fail or something like that.

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swc65
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby swc65 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:22 pm

OperaSoprano wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
swc65 wrote:I have heard of some people spewing out 9K words and others hitting a high of 3K. I know quantity does not necessarily equal quality. But, what's a good word count?

Also, none of your shenanigans Helm.


Enough to answer the question. Not being snarky, but, there's no ideal word count. I tend to write less than my peers.


This. And to the person fretting about the model answers, these are model answers. I know someone who broke 10k words on a 4 hour (I believe) exam. One person, though. It's an unmatched feat AFAIK, and I know a decent number of law students attending schools across the rankings. Needless to say, you do not need to do this to get an A. I hit 3,800 words in torts (my longest exam ever) and that was sufficient. I wrote even less than that in crim. These were my best two classes. Huge word count can be helpful, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient (god help me!)



Thanks. I mean this should probably be common sense. But, we all know what happens to common sense during your first 1L finals week month.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby Helmholtz » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:41 pm

swc65 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
swc65 wrote:Also, none of your shenanigans Helm.


You talkin ta me?



Lo:L. Yes!!! I saw one of your posts claiming that <7K= fail or something like that.


Oh no no no.

I said something about my torts professor releasing A exams and them falling in the 6000-7000 word range. It's a very limited sample (both in the fact that I certainly can't see every/the majority of the A papers written and that we're talking about one torts professor at one school); looking at them, I can definitely see some filler material that probably didn't earn the students any points.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:56 pm

Shoot for 5000/hr. Hopefully, your professor will get tired of reading it and just give you a B+/A-.

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thexfactor
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby thexfactor » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:38 pm

i had a 3 hr exam yesterday. Hit 5600 words.
I remember last year on a 3.5 hr exam i hit 9 pages single spaced. Not sure about wordcount.

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swc65
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby swc65 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:47 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
swc65 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
swc65 wrote:Also, none of your shenanigans Helm.


You talkin ta me?



Lo:L. Yes!!! I saw one of your posts claiming that <7K= fail or something like that.


Oh no no no.

I said something about my torts professor releasing A exams and them falling in the 6000-7000 word range. It's a very limited sample (both in the fact that I certainly can't see every/the majority of the A papers written and that we're talking about one torts professor at one school); looking at them, I can definitely see some filler material that probably didn't earn the students any points.



Then please accept my apologies!

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swc65
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby swc65 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:47 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:Shoot for 5000/hr. Hopefully, your professor will get tired of reading it and just give you a B+/A-.



Unless it's just gibberish and she gives me a C-.

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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby keg411 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:36 pm

My Torts exam had a 3500 word count, which I hit (I could have said everything a lot more concisely, and I was fixing that slowly, but then I ran out of time). Would have liked to go less, but it was an issue spotter and I was going to talk about every possibility wherever I could. Did organize my exam the way my prof likes, so at least it's not that all over the place (headings, etc.).

CivPro has no limits, thank god. As much as I love to be concise (which I think is really preferable to rambling on and on), I just can't do it as well under extreme time pressure.

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swc65
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby swc65 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:46 pm

Yeah my contracts exam has a 3K word limit, and we have 8 hours! It's really only CivPro I was worried about because there is just so much shit and so many crazy arguments you can make even if they're completely off the wall.

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Ty Webb
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby Ty Webb » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:38 pm

I got 8800 words today on my Torts final. It as 2.5 hours, and included 6 questions. (note, there was a 30-min organization period mandated where no typing could take place, and I'm not including that in the 2.5 hours).

That was 44 pages. I thought it gave me the ability to hit every single angle and hit it hard, including making policy arguments (which my prof. loves) where appropriate. I would imagine this is probably some kind of record, and I'm hoping for the best.

Note: My prof handed back model answers from last year in the 1800 range for 45 minutes, so it's clear he's a fan of a lot of words as long as they're on point.

Note #2: I spent a year as a freelance writer where my work was based mostly on quantity writing, so I got very good at letting things flow from my brain to my fingers without too much time between.

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thexfactor
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby thexfactor » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:17 pm

Ty Webb wrote:I got 8800 words today on my Torts final. It as 2.5 hours, and included 6 questions. (note, there was a 30-min organization period mandated where no typing could take place, and I'm not including that in the 2.5 hours).

That was 44 pages. I thought it gave me the ability to hit every single angle and hit it hard, including making policy arguments (which my prof. loves) where appropriate. I would imagine this is probably some kind of record, and I'm hoping for the best.

Note: My prof handed back model answers from last year in the 1800 range for 45 minutes, so it's clear he's a fan of a lot of words as long as they're on point.

Note #2: I spent a year as a freelance writer where my work was based mostly on quantity writing, so I got very good at letting things flow from my brain to my fingers without too much time between.


wow that is amazing. I had a 3 hr exam today. Typed 7100 words.

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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby savagecheater » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:45 pm

Ty Webb wrote:I got 8800 words today on my Torts final. It as 2.5 hours, and included 6 questions.
Note: My prof handed back model answers from last year in the 1800 range for 45 minutes, so it's clear he's a fan of a lot of words as long as they're on point.


hahaha, DING.

You do realize that you wrote effectively 2x the wc of the model answer right?

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Ty Webb
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby Ty Webb » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:49 pm

Not really. The model answer, extrapolated, would have checked in at 6000 words. 8800 =/= 2 x 6000

I would imagine my exam was almost twice as long as anyone in the class, though. Hopefully the analysis matches the length.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:02 pm

You all realize that grades correlate linearly with word count right? Gawd, that's like standard 2L/3L knowledge. 0Ls/1Ls, if you can't type quickly, you might want to reconsider lol school.

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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby Bankhead » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:33 pm

solidsnake wrote:just enough to demonstrate solid legal analysis and argumentation.

1L year definitely noticed an inverse correlation between high word counts and top grades. A-quality answers shouldn't have any extraneous or frivolous material. Be concise.


Careful, most 1Ls do not know and won't be able to figure out what concise is. More than one professor told me that there is a correlation (non-inverse) between high word count and better grades, though the former is by no means essential for the latter.

While there are a few students who will no doubt be able to write excellent exams with a modest word count, for the majority -- a lot of slop > a little bit of slop, especially when the prof. is just grading by way of a checklist.

For example, a student who gets a B+ by writing 7k words likely won't be able to improve by writing 5k words instead -- he/she will probably just hit less issues and come out with a worse grade.

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Re: Four hour exams, what's a good word count?

Postby solidsnake » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:46 pm

Bankhead wrote:
solidsnake wrote:just enough to demonstrate solid legal analysis and argumentation.

1L year definitely noticed an inverse correlation between high word counts and top grades. A-quality answers shouldn't have any extraneous or frivolous material. Be concise.


For example, a student who gets a B+ by writing 7k words likely won't be able to improve by writing 5k words instead -- he/she will probably just hit less issues and come out with a worse grade.


I said "just enough" -- lowering word count for the sake of lowering word count has little to do with writing "just enough to demonstrate solid legal analysis and argumentation." The point, in large part, of law exams is to demonstrate good judgment, persuasive ability, and technical mastery of the material (while remaining "objective."). So giving a hard number like OP is requesting is meaningless without analyzing the substance of the fact pattern.




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