Any recomendations for attacking a 2-day con law exam?

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SeymourShowz
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Any recomendations for attacking a 2-day con law exam?

Postby SeymourShowz » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:24 am

Our prof just told us that the final exam will be a 2-day open-book exam, with a limited library that I assume will include at least the casebook and out own notes. There will 3 questions, probably one policy type and two hypos. To make things really challenging, the exam will have a 3000 word limit.

Does anyone have an recommendations for preparing for this type of exam?

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UnitarySpace
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Re: Any recomendations for attacking a 2-day con law exam?

Postby UnitarySpace » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:27 am

Good god. I pray for your soul

dougroberts
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Re: Any recomendations for attacking a 2-day con law exam?

Postby dougroberts » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:41 am

I had a 5-day take home exam, open everything, last year.

The best thing you can do is set 1 full day out to work on it, making it a 24-hour exam. Generally, you should be able to get it done in this 1 day period. Then use Day 2 to proofread once more and turn it in. By proofreading once more again on Day 2, you will probably catch some grammar issues since you will be looking at the exam with a fresh mind. Of course, you should proofread it Day 1 as well, but just use Day 2 as one final proofread. For longer-time take homes, professors generally expect better analysis and no grammar issues.

By setting an ultimatum of 1 day to work on it, you don't waste time working on it because at some point, you will hit the point of diminishing returns. You do not want to spend so much time on the exam that it takes up studying time from other exams.

wcl2013
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Re: Any recomendations for attacking a 2-day con law exam?

Postby wcl2013 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:52 am

SeymourShowz wrote:Our prof just told us that the final exam will be a 2-day open-book exam, with a limited library that I assume will include at least the casebook and out own notes. There will 3 questions, probably one policy type and two hypos. To make things really challenging, the exam will have a 3000 word limit.

Does anyone have an recommendations for preparing for this type of exam?



I had a 24-hour take-home final with a word limit. I ended up w/ an A. My advice:

1) Consider what time of day to start it. I started around 1PM so that I could have a lot of time working before going to bed, but also have time to look it over in the morning before time was up. I ended up working on it for 20 hours, so the whole going to bed thing never really happened. Still, I hit a wall at 4AM, slept for 4 hours, and then had time to look it over. I do not see a need to pull near all-nighters for a two-day exam, however. But if you like to look things over right before sending it in, take that into consideration. Also, I was dead after this exam. As a result, I lost about a half-day that I planned to use for studying for my last final. If you can, try to get as much sleep as possible so that after you turn it in, you can switch gears and move onto the next exam's studying. Or, take it last (that wasn't a possibility for me).

2) Regarding the word limit - take advantage of citations. If there was a point I wanted to expand on, but didn't want to take up as many words, I would reference another case, quote in the casebook, etc. and hope that the professor made the connection between my textual sentence and the extra citations. I wanted to hit all the issues, but wanted to get them in-depth. This was the best way for me to achieve both and not go over the word-limit.

Good luck!

Edit: Also, in terms of preparing through the semester. I did do an outline for this class; obviously, it doesn't have to be as detailed because you have the luxury of time to check your sources. I had a lot of references in my outline (See casebook pg XX, etc.) Looking back, I booked-brief more in this class than others, because I knew when I was tested, I could reread the case if I wanted to.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Any recomendations for attacking a 2-day con law exam?

Postby prezidentv8 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:03 am

My best exam in law school so far was one of these word-limited marathons. My pro tips:
[*]Throw time at it, try to fit as much relevant info in as possible (sub-part 1: hit issues FAST (i.e., not a lot of words) in issue spotters then move on)
[*]If possible, make acronyms out of everything possible (e.g. "SDP" = "substantive due process," SS = "strict scrutiny," etc)
[*]Use all of the time. As previous posters have indicated, make use of the full two days. First day and night should be outlining and writing the thing, and the second day should be rereading both your test and the questions and fact patterns to scan for other issues, ways to tighten your analysis, grammar, etc.
[*]Regarding word-limited tests - grammar is not that big of a deal. Disregard this tip if prof has indicated grammar-naziness.
[*]Prepare your workspace, meals, and materials in advance. Saves time and stress.
[*]Headers and subheaders if they can help you avoid intro sentences and such and save space. Also, avoid intro sentences.
[*]Practice tests. Really important, at least in addressing the word limit issue. And also...

Finally, realize that because the word limit and time combination will inevitably lead to a lot of similar looking exams, the prof is probably likely to throw a massive clusterf**k problem at you to create a curve. Thus, practice tests.




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