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Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:11 pm
by smiley
Hey guys, I'm looking for some advice. Last semester, I followed much of the advice laid out on these boards. I read all the cases, read the hornbooks and the E&Es, made compact outlines as the semester progressed, and importantly (at least in my mind) I practiced exams regularly. I was satisfied with my exam performance and finished with a solid GPA.

However, this semester is throwing me a bit of a curve ball. None of my professors have past published exams. One is teaching for the first time, one is teaching this subject for the first time (although he has published past exams for the subject he usually teaches), and two don't publish exams at all. Of course, I can ask the professors what their exams will be like in terms of format, but what about the practice? Would you practice other professors' exams? Focus on the E&Es? Study the material harder and hope that makes up for the difference?

I'm concerned because I don't know what portion of my relative exam success can be attributed to each study technique, how much of it was luck, and how important the practice was. Any advice you have to offer would be great :)

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:27 pm
by missinglink
Well, everyone else in your class will be struggling with the same problem, so in terms of relative performance you shouldn't be too handicapped.

I would focus on practicing the concepts as discretely as possible. That is, work through general published practice problems in the E&Es and maybe Siegals or something like that. Try to match the issues your professor has covered with specific problem areas. My property class doesn't have a whole lot in the old exam area, but working on problems related to future interests, or finders of lost property, as discrete "problem areas" has helped so far (in the "practice question" supplements). Typically, it seems like most of the question supplements break up the problems in a similar logical fashion. You might also check out the CALI sections related to your course.

Also make a habit of going to the professor's office hours as the semester progresses and see what they want you to focus on. When it gets closer to finals you can sharpen your questions to focus on the exam itself, as they will be in process of writing it. I've found professors, while speaking generally about the exam, will drop hints here or there related to the exam. Not enough people take advantage of that resource.

Other than that, just pay attention and do what you've been doing.

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:54 pm
by Nicholas Nickleby
If your professor does hypos in class figure out how he goes through each problem. Then, write your own questions based on these style of questions for other major subjects/doctrines of the class. Answer these questions then go ask your professor if your analysis is "correct" (according to your professor).

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:45 am
by lawloser22

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:01 pm
by Vronsky
(1) If the course is a regular class like Civ Pro or Contracts, use the E&E. Write out paragraph length answers to the various questions AS IF it were a practice exam, then compare your answer to the Explanation. Compare with class notes and be sure to note any differences between Glannon's focus and your Prof.

(2) Pay particular attention in class. There should be several hints throughout the semester of what your Prof. wants. Obviously the syllabus is your first big clue. But also listen for any clues as to the topics that "set the curve."

(3) You might have a sample midterm or practice test given to you later in the semester.

(4) Sometimes the casebooks will feature Problem questions or something like that. If your professor focuses on these in class, you should try typing them up just like (1). You might even get some feedback if you email your answer to the professor and ask.

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:56 pm
by Borhas
find another professor of the same class and take his or her past exams

you can ask who's will be more similar to who's but I doubt those responses will be useful... just go with your gut and take the ones that seem to be relevant

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:35 pm
by A'nold
I don't understand why you seem so shocked here op. I've now been to two different schools and I'd say that at least half of my prof's didn't have past exams to practice with.

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:47 pm
by smiley
I'm not shocked. I'm a 1L. Last semester there were published exams for all my professors. This semester there are not. Simply asking for advice, perhaps from people like you who have been in this situation before.

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:10 pm
by Borhas
If you want to go the extra mile, figure out if your visiting prof had published exams at the school he's visitingfrom.

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:14 pm
by Cupidity
Ask 2ls who had him

Re: Advice for someone with NO past published exams?

Posted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:03 am
by smiley
Thanks for the good advice everyone, I'll give it a shot :)