classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

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goosey
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classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby goosey » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:50 am

Taking con law, K's and property this semester. K's is closed book. I'm wondering if either of the other two can have pre-written answers. I really wished last semester that I had pre-written answers throughout the semester. I feel like it helped me learn the material and also saved me time on my exam--the down fall was that I did it during exam period and it burned me out and took energy away from my last exam. I'd like to do it throughout the sem and then touch it up at the end when I see the big picture.

I know civ pro was the perfect class for pre-written answers because of all the tests and stuff--any idea about con law or property?

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RVP11
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby RVP11 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:32 am

Unless there's an expected, narrow policy question, you can't really do this. If you're not engaging the facts then you're going to get a crap grade.

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goosey
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby goosey » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:37 am

RVP11 wrote:Unless there's an expected, narrow policy question, you can't really do this. If you're not engaging the facts then you're going to get a crap grade.



i dont mean the entire answer, I mean the "rule" portion which I would then tack analysis onto.

for civil procedure, I typed out the rule and policy behind the rule and then on the exam all I had to do was analysis and conclusion.

Thats what I want to do for property but I am not far enough into the course to determine whether this is even possible

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zanda
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby zanda » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:50 pm

goosey wrote:
RVP11 wrote:Unless there's an expected, narrow policy question, you can't really do this. If you're not engaging the facts then you're going to get a crap grade.



i dont mean the entire answer, I mean the "rule" portion which I would then tack analysis onto.

for civil procedure, I typed out the rule and policy behind the rule and then on the exam all I had to do was analysis and conclusion.

Thats what I want to do for property but I am not far enough into the course to determine whether this is even possible

would seem like this would be largely dependent on how your professor teaches it.

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vamedic03
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:55 pm

As one professor said - the only reason that there is a rule against copying and pasting is paternalism. In other words, it's not a good idea. One of the first rules to taking exams, and this applies to all exams, is to answer the question asked. If you're copying and pasting, you're setting yourself up to fall into the trap of answering the question you want asked.

Also, if you understand the material, there is no advantage to having a prewritten answer. Effective analysis is what differentiates exams.

Alyosha
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby Alyosha » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:03 pm

I've never gotten any points on any exam for reciting the law. If I wasn't applying law to the particular facts given, I was wasting valuable time. Same with "policy justifications" for the rule. If the policy I was discussing didn't specifically relate to the facts (and wasn't specifically applied to those facts) I wasn't getting any points.

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goosey
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby goosey » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:11 pm

vamedic03 wrote:As one professor said - the only reason that there is a rule against copying and pasting is paternalism. In other words, it's not a good idea. One of the first rules to taking exams, and this applies to all exams, is to answer the question asked. If you're copying and pasting, you're setting yourself up to fall into the trap of answering the question you want asked.

Also, if you understand the material, there is no advantage to having a prewritten answer. Effective analysis is what differentiates exams.


its hard to make blanket statements like that--the one class I did this in last semester was my highest grade. The rule will always be the rule no matter what--analysis is where you can throw in exceptions to the general rule, etc. And there is a huge benefit--namely, getting an edge on time...having a break from mental pressure, the security of knowing you have something that you spent 50 hours on preparing to throw down on an exam you only have 3 hours for, etc...if you havent done it, you wont know the obvious benefits. obviously if you cant analyze and all you have are pre-written answers it is worthless, but thats not what I am asking about

I didnt really ask if people recommend pre-written answers--I already know it worked for me and for others in my section who actually did it. I dont need advice on whether I should do it or not--my question is whether any of my courses this semester allow for it. I didnt realize civil procedure would until later in the semester when I got a more complete picture of the course and was hoping for input from others who have taken the courses I am taking this sem so I can get an earlier start.

not to be rude and this is not specifically directed at you but in general for the ppl in here saying how you shouldnt pre-write answers: for all the touting on about how you need to answer the question asked, you sure arent taking your own advice :)

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BarbellDreams
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby BarbellDreams » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:39 pm

Unless you know exactly what a policy question is or something along those lines I think pre-writing exam answers is pointless and that time could be better used by simply doing a practice exam. FWIW, I didn't pre-write anything and the only class where I thought I had guessed the topic (Prof said it would only be 1 long question) and studied that topic for like 16 hours the weekend before the test I was dead wrong on (though to be fair the prof threw out such a curveball that everyone in the class were dead wrong as well.

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goosey
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby goosey » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:00 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:Unless you know exactly what a policy question is or something along those lines I think pre-writing exam answers is pointless and that time could be better used by simply doing a practice exam. FWIW, I didn't pre-write anything and the only class where I thought I had guessed the topic (Prof said it would only be 1 long question) and studied that topic for like 16 hours the weekend before the test I was dead wrong on (though to be fair the prof threw out such a curveball that everyone in the class were dead wrong as well.


again..not asking about the value of doing it. its not pointless for everyone--there are plenty of people both on this board and at school that benefitted from it. This doesnt mean you "guess" the topic--it means you look at your professor's old A exams and see how they are organized [for example rule followed by policy, etc] and take every topic you covered and write out the rule and policy as you would on the exam--for some people [like me] writing out the rule in a coherent sentence is time consumming on an exam because I proof read it 10 times, no matter how much I know I shouldnt. Further, it helped me learn the bll reallllly well. When I met with my professor to go over my exam, he said "whatever you did to learn the law in this class, do it for all your classes"

what i did: pre wrote all my answers, took practice tests using the pre-written answers the same way I planned on using them during the exam, condensed and re-condensed my outline, did practice MC questions. I can honestly say I went into that exam knowing every nuance our professor taught. I did not go into my other exams with such a thorough understanding of the law. so to say something is pointless is very relative--it may be pointless for you, but i know plenty of people that it was very useful for, myself included

edit- my professor also told me one thing I did better than anyone else in the section was throwing in extra things on the exam--like making connections between topics we studies--and I know for a fact the only reason I could do that is because I had sat there for days typing up answers and as I typed about topic B, I realized it could also be mentioned while discussin topic A--so I went back and edited topic A to include something about topic B. Theres no way I would have thought of that under timed conditions--further, every topic we discussed in class was not on the exam...so if B was not an issue on the exam, I would never even have had the chance to mentally make the connection to A. So basically..it helped me connect things ahead of time.

nifer327
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby nifer327 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:17 pm

3L here. I've done something similar on every one of my exams. It's usually a few sentences stating the rule and the elements, and maybe a very short explanation of why the rule is what it is. Of course they can't be used for every single exam question conceived - but they are helpful on many of them.

They won't necessarily be helpful for everyone, but I use them because it's a quick way to get over the hump of starting to write. On exam day, I'm usually nervous and have trouble (a) getting started and (b) being succinct. Instead of taking 10 minutes to word the rule and the elements in a good, short way, using "pre-written" material is very useful for me.

Goosey - to answer your question, I used "pre-written" answers in all of the classes you are taking this semester.

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Cupidity
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby Cupidity » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:19 pm

Civ pro is the only class where it works

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vanwinkle
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:24 pm

Cupidity wrote:Civ pro is the only class where it works

This is probably one reason it was my only closed-book class during 1L.

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edcrane
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby edcrane » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:16 pm

I pre-wrote a fair number of rules and policy points for my property class and found this to be a viable (and helpful) strategy for the exam. In property, there are a lot of nuanced multi-factor conjunctive tests, which means pre-writing can help ensure you don’t mistakenly omit a factor or inartfully articulate a particular rule. There are also a lot of subtle variations in doctrine that are conducive to pre-written discussion and policy analysis.

As to the viability of pre-writing in general, I would say its utility varies greatly by person. If you’re the sort of person who can effortlessly articulate rules and arguments in an artful manner, pre-writing is a waste of time. On the other hand, if you like to give some thought to word choice and find yourself doing a lot of self-editing on exams, pre-writing can be worthwhile, particularly when it comes to policy.

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vamedic03
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:19 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Cupidity wrote:Civ pro is the only class where it works

This is probably one reason it was my only closed-book class during 1L.


It's worth noting that if you have a jurisdiction/federalism oriented Civ Prof class it would be hard to develop prewritten answers.

As to OP, here's a more direct answer to your question:

Many of us on here will counsel against pre-written answers because in our experience, which encompasses 13+ exams, it's not a valuable experience and, I'm sure many will agree, your time is better spent before an exam taking practice exams.

That said, all 1L classes are the same. They are all common law classes that, at a certain conceptual level, can all be approached in the same manner. What differs about every class is the professor - what the professor focuses on, what the professors tests on, and how the professor expects you to approach problems.

If you believe that pre-written exam answers were effective for you first semester and since there is nothing different conceptually about those classes, you can make the same prewritten answers for this semesters classes.

CLS2011
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby CLS2011 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:15 am

You could conceivably have some useful prewritten legal rules for property.

For Con Law there are too many distinct topics (and too many seemingly conflicting decisions within those topics) for it to be possible. You will want some sort of guide to the major cases on each topic so you can cite them on your exam, but Con Law is a very analysis heavy class. Not really possible there in my opinion.

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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby jkay » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:37 pm

For CrimLaw (different class than CrimPro here), every final has a fact pattern and then asks you to make all the chargings you can think of. Prime time for pre-writes, you still have to apply the facts, but it would be madness to not have a template with act, mental state, etc for every crime studied.

Closed book CivPro this semester, FML.

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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby spondee » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:01 pm

edcrane wrote:I pre-wrote a fair number of rules and policy points for my property class and found this to be a viable (and helpful) strategy for the exam. In property, there are a lot of nuanced multi-factor conjunctive tests, which means pre-writing can help ensure you don’t mistakenly omit a factor or inartfully articulate a particular rule. There are also a lot of subtle variations in doctrine that are conducive to pre-written discussion and policy analysis.

As to the viability of pre-writing in general, I would say its utility varies greatly by person. If you’re the sort of person who can effortlessly articulate rules and arguments in an artful manner, pre-writing is a waste of time. On the other hand, if you like to give some thought to word choice and find yourself doing a lot of self-editing on exams, pre-writing can be worthwhile, particularly when it comes to policy.


I'm a heavy self-editor, and I agree with all this. For me, pre-writing helps most with fuzzy standards and multi-prong balancing tests, where underlying policy concerns will drive decision outcomes. I do it for as much of and as many classes as I can make find the time.

Goosey, I'd trust your instincts and do it where you think it'll most help you.

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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby christmas mouse » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:51 pm

Hey Goosey,

Like you said K's is closed book so thats a no.

Property im not so sure about. Ive looked at some of his exams and there are 20 multiple choice and i believe 2 long essay questions. The essay questions from his past 3 or 4 exams seriously differ in what the crux of the discussion should be. I'm sure it wouldnt hurt to pre write rules for i dunno lets say the doctrine of adverse possession, but the thing I'm not sure about it is how we should treat differences in jurisdiction. ie. For the adverse/hostile claim of right element I believe most jurisdictions use the objective test, but if you noticed in the cases we read the jurisdictions ranged from the good faith test to the aggressive trespass and the objective test. I imagine he doesnt want us to spend 15 minutes playing what if on the exam and analyzing the issue under each test. Actually I think I'll be paying him a visit for office hours after this brief is due.

Con Law - Pre written answers could help, he has a ton of tests online and I have noticed some similarities throughout the years in the questions he asks. There is a very tight word limit for most of the short answers (like 200), so I would be careful not to "answer the question you want to answer," but I think pre written would probably help if you use them right. How were you planning on pre writing your answers, because my plan was to take all of his tests then compare the different years and see how many times he asked the same question (meaning how many times I answered a question similarly ie. If I find that every year he asks a question about equal protection I will probably have a pre written statement about the level of scrutiny). I'm thinking it might be a waste of time to try to pre write answers for everything, especially if he has never asked a question about a particular topic. The thing is to narrow it down this way would involve taking the practice exams anyway. What were you thinking?

missinglink
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby missinglink » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:21 pm

Your K's test is closed book, so this is of little help.

But, I used pre-written rule statements on my K's final. The prof had said repeatedly going into the exam that what a lot of people failed to do was to succinctly state the rule; rather they would go right into analysis. With that in mind, I had succinct rule statements for all the issues one could expect to see. I don't know if they helped, but I did get an A.

Find out which professors you have really want to see a rule statement. I did something similar for Civpro. I think it's fairly easy to predict what issues you'll see on most of these exams. I'm undecided as to whether I'll do the same this time.

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romothesavior
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby romothesavior » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:27 pm

nifer327 wrote:It's usually a few sentences stating the rule and the elements, and maybe a very short explanation of why the rule is what it is.

None of my professors would have given any points for any of this last semester, and as far as I can tell, my profs this semester won't either.

Seems like a huge waste of valuable time to me.

missinglink
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby missinglink » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:33 pm

romothesavior wrote:
nifer327 wrote:It's usually a few sentences stating the rule and the elements, and maybe a very short explanation of why the rule is what it is.

None of my professors would have given any points for any of this last semester, and as far as I can tell, my profs this semester won't either.

Seems like a huge waste of valuable time to me.


Professor dependent I think.

It wasn't huge, but a few point here and there for stating the rule. At least for organization, it also grounded the analysis, which may have helped me stay focused on what's important.

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kalvano
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby kalvano » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:45 pm

Didn't you freak about this last semester goosey?

It's a bad idea.

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edcrane
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby edcrane » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:25 pm

romothesavior wrote:
nifer327 wrote:It's usually a few sentences stating the rule and the elements, and maybe a very short explanation of why the rule is what it is.

None of my professors would have given any points for any of this last semester, and as far as I can tell, my profs this semester won't either.

Seems like a huge waste of valuable time to me.


It may be professor dependent, but it's standard practice, and at least some professors expect you to concisely state the rule(s) that apply. See, e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go3kvC3weMM; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=292yC4kJhbY.

christmas mouse
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby christmas mouse » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:25 pm

romothesavior wrote:
nifer327 wrote:It's usually a few sentences stating the rule and the elements, and maybe a very short explanation of why the rule is what it is.

None of my professors would have given any points for any of this last semester, and as far as I can tell, my profs this semester won't either.

Seems like a huge waste of valuable time to me.


Yea that statement is way too general. For my crim midterm last semester during my prof's midterm review (midterm didnt count, just graded practice) he was adamant about the first thing to do is to concisely state the statute, explain it, if necessary compare the language to the MPC/NY Penal code (the two codes we studied) to approximate what it means, and then apply it. I did that and my grade showed that he wasn't BS'ing, he actually meant it.

What you're saying isnt wrong though, I'm sure there are profs (like it seems yours) who don't want that at all, but that isn't an all inclusive exam taking tip.

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Bosque
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Re: classes Where Pre-Written Exam Answers Are Possible

Postby Bosque » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:07 am

Aren't pre written answers a violation of the honor code? Unless your schools are substantially different than mine, I think you all just admitted to cheating.




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