How to practice and improve on analysis?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar
LAWYER2
Posts: 576
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:15 pm

How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby LAWYER2 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:02 pm

I know each Professors IRAC'ing expectations vary. But I seem to be consistently falling short in the analysis area. Some require rule/fact/rule/fact leaving the reader to draw their own inferences, and some professors require you to spell it out as if you were explaining it to lay person.
Any tips on polishing analytical skills?

Seminole_305
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:11 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby Seminole_305 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:12 pm

I need some help with this as well.

User avatar
Detrox
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:58 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby Detrox » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:25 pm

When it comes to analyzing a given test question, I'd say it involves two steps in itself. First of all is simply the "lay person" description. What is the rule? How does it work/apply? If there are any other rules or relevant information, discuss these as well. The second part is far more important. This part involves identifying any conflicts or borderline areas. Test questions generally present borderline issues that are great opportunities to demonstrate to professors that you know the arguments for both sides and the reasons behind any tensions (straight forward issues are there too, but these are generally satisfied fully by the first part of analysis). In completing answers here, try to answer the following: How does the specific fact pattern or given situation affect the issue you are talking about? What cases use the same or similar facts? WHY do THESE facts (and not random others) affect the issue? Finally, if you are given a side to take (i.e. being counsel rather then being a hypothetical judicial clerk), make sure to point out which facts create strengths for your side or weaknesses for the other side, and similarly try to distinguish any facts that hurt your argument from cases on point (if your distinguishing troubling facts in a question from cases on point, you're generally doing a good job).

Not sure if this is the answer you're looking for though, hope it helps. I personally didn't strictly use the IRAC system, but analysis of the issues should come up regardless of the test taking method adopted.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11720
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby kalvano » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:58 am

Simple answer, but write out some model answers to an old exam and go see the professor and go over them. Every class I did this, I got higher grades.

random5483
Posts: 684
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:17 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby random5483 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:43 pm

LAWYER2 wrote:I know each Professors IRAC'ing expectations vary. But I seem to be consistently falling short in the analysis area. Some require rule/fact/rule/fact leaving the reader to draw their own inferences, and some professors require you to spell it out as if you were explaining it to lay person.
Any tips on polishing analytical skills?



No professor I have had requires rule fact, rule fact, etc. Some require lighter analysis than others, but all of them wanted a conclusion. The bulk of the points generally come from issue spotting and analysis, but conclusions are generally important. You have to tie the facts to the rule and make some sort of a conclusion.

User avatar
AlexanderSupertramp
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby AlexanderSupertramp » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:27 pm

If you're not using a lot of whens, becauses, and sinces you're probably doing it wrong.

User avatar
AVBucks4239
Posts: 870
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:33 pm

I posted this in another thread but figured the question was applicable here. I also think what I suggest might be a tip for the OP, so here it goes...

How thoroughly should you approach the CALI and E&E hypotheticals? Should I be approaching them like an exam to help my analysis skills? For instance, for the assault hypos in the E&E, should I be walking through the elements, arguing both sides, and throwing in policy arguments for each of them? It seems like that would be time consuming, but would help my analysis a lot. Is there a balance you'd recommend? Thanks.

lalala21
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:17 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby lalala21 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:56 pm

AlexanderSupertramp wrote:If you're not using a lot of whens, becauses, and sinces you're probably doing it wrong.



could you expand a little bit..?

User avatar
YourCaptain
Posts: 719
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:26 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby YourCaptain » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:09 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:I posted this in another thread but figured the question was applicable here. I also think what I suggest might be a tip for the OP, so here it goes...

How thoroughly should you approach the CALI and E&E hypotheticals? Should I be approaching them like an exam to help my analysis skills? For instance, for the assault hypos in the E&E, should I be walking through the elements, arguing both sides, and throwing in policy arguments for each of them? It seems like that would be time consuming, but would help my analysis a lot. Is there a balance you'd recommend? Thanks.


My personal experience with policy questions:

Policy is the weakest form of argument out there; economic and logical arguments (inherent in legal rules) should take place first. Furthermore, policy is really easy to see, and so if you can make a policy argument that easily chances are your classmates can as well.

I made a straight policy argument only once on my 1L exams - it was in Ks and the policy argument (in one line) was that at-will employment contracts shouldn't be used so casually when people are placed into situations where fulfilling the demands of their employment can violate religious beliefs that they are very serious about.

It worked there but it was basically a passing reference that came "and finally, [X] could very persuasively argue that ..."

morris248
Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:30 am

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby morris248 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:40 pm

Go to your library and check out
How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams
By John Delaney

adonai
Posts: 1033
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:09 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby adonai » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:24 pm

Is it true that on most law school exams no one will be able to have time to do analysis of all the issues? Took some midterms and it just seems impossible to cover/hit on everything and still do all that analysis for each issue. Now I know why everyone on here stresses WPM. It is just nuts. A couple hours flies by in like 10 minutes and I don't think I've ever typed so fast in my life. I'm a ~70 WPM typer and I still couldn't find enough time to cover as much as I wanted.

User avatar
Detrox
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:58 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby Detrox » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:34 pm

adonai wrote:Is it true that on most law school exams no one will be able to have time to do analysis of all the issues? Took some midterms and it just seems impossible to cover/hit on everything and still do all that analysis for each issue. Now I know why everyone on here stresses WPM. It is just nuts. A couple hours flies by in like 10 minutes and I don't think I've ever typed so fast in my life. I'm a ~70 WPM typer and I still couldn't find enough time to cover as much as I wanted.



Yes. A lot of issue spotting exams are designed so that you aren't able to catch everything possible. The key is not only catching more then your classmates, but also identifying the key factors that affect the conclusions of the major issues. Don't worry about getting everything, just do well on as many things as you can get and especially make sure you aren't getting any issues flatly wrong.

User avatar
Yvonnella
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 12:53 am

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby Yvonnella » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:57 am

If you cannot spot the issues and write intelligently about all of them in the time allowed, it's because you don't know the law and its analysis well enough. Or, you're just slow. Professors design exams to test how many issues out of X you can write intelligently about in the time allowed. How would they establish a standard for grading papers otherwise? Your professors have all written thorough answers themselves under equivalent time constraints to their own tests — producing the model answer. They know what they expect you to see and say before the school administers their exams. Every exam carries a finite number of issues in your professor's eyes. But it is delusional to ever tell yourself that your professor cannot expect her students to identify and describe all of the issues intelligently in the time given. She expects you to see them all. If you're an average student, it may seem daunting. But an A student will deliver.

User avatar
Detrox
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:58 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby Detrox » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:31 am

Yvonnella wrote:If you cannot spot the issues and write intelligently about all of them in the time allowed, it's because you don't know the law and its analysis well enough. Or, you're just slow. Professors design exams to test how many issues out of X you can write intelligently about in the time allowed. How would they establish a standard for grading papers otherwise? Your professors have all written thorough answers themselves under equivalent time constraints to their own tests — producing the model answer. They know what they expect you to see and say before the school administers their exams. Every exam carries a finite number of issues in your professor's eyes. But it is delusional to ever tell yourself that your professor cannot expect her students to identify and describe all of the issues intelligently in the time given. She expects you to see them all. If you're an average student, it may seem daunting. But an A student will deliver.


This is demonstrably untrue as I have talked to several profs who put more issues on a test then they expect even an A student to answer. Often, since the fact patterns can be so complex, students may even see something in an exam that a professor did not intend or notice at first, but acknowledges is there. Obviously some exams are limited to the number of issues they have and expect a more thorough analysis of those issues. But as an "A" student in several courses, I can state for fact that at least some professors create tests in which even those with A's do not hit every issue presented. The key is to hit as many as possible with solid analysis for the major ones.

adonai
Posts: 1033
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:09 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby adonai » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:20 am

Detrox wrote:
Yvonnella wrote:If you cannot spot the issues and write intelligently about all of them in the time allowed, it's because you don't know the law and its analysis well enough. Or, you're just slow. Professors design exams to test how many issues out of X you can write intelligently about in the time allowed. How would they establish a standard for grading papers otherwise? Your professors have all written thorough answers themselves under equivalent time constraints to their own tests — producing the model answer. They know what they expect you to see and say before the school administers their exams. Every exam carries a finite number of issues in your professor's eyes. But it is delusional to ever tell yourself that your professor cannot expect her students to identify and describe all of the issues intelligently in the time given. She expects you to see them all. If you're an average student, it may seem daunting. But an A student will deliver.


This is demonstrably untrue as I have talked to several profs who put more issues on a test then they expect even an A student to answer. Often, since the fact patterns can be so complex, students may even see something in an exam that a professor did not intend or notice at first, but acknowledges is there. Obviously some exams are limited to the number of issues they have and expect a more thorough analysis of those issues. But as an "A" student in several courses, I can state for fact that at least some professors create tests in which even those with A's do not hit every issue presented. The key is to hit as many as possible with solid analysis for the major ones.

The general consensus from my professors is that the model answer is simply just that--a "model answer." It is the perfect answer revealing all possible issues and foreseeable/expected treatment of those issues in one's analysis. However, it doesn't even seem to be expected to touch on all of them in the allotted time. One professor also went as far as saying that it is arrogant to even think that you could get close to the model answer. I was just wondering how much analysis one must do on the issues and if it was even possible to do "enough" analysis for all of the issues. For all I know, for even a few of the issues it seemed like one could milk the analysis for the whole entire allotted time. I guess it really depends on how every student did on the exam. An A+ student could get 87/200 points. In that case, presumably that student might not have been able to spot more than half of the issues.

User avatar
Detrox
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:58 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby Detrox » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:54 am

The above poster seems to have it about right. The most common pre-final question 1L year seemed to be "Which do you prefer (Professor), should we list as many issues as possible or stick with fewer issues and give more detailed analysis?" Every prof. responded the same way: "Both." There's no silver bullet here, so just do your best.

morris248
Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:30 am

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby morris248 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:00 am

You can't analyze the issues if you can't spot them. Go through the question and identify the issues and conflict pairs in an outline, then go back and fill in the analysis. You will get points even if you don't get to finish the analysis. You need to practice taking timed tests. Once you run out of time on one question quit and move on. If you have time left you can always go back.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11720
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby kalvano » Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:03 pm

Yvonnella wrote:If you cannot spot the issues and write intelligently about all of them in the time allowed, it's because you don't know the law and its analysis well enough. Or, you're just slow. Professors design exams to test how many issues out of X you can write intelligently about in the time allowed. How would they establish a standard for grading papers otherwise? Your professors have all written thorough answers themselves under equivalent time constraints to their own tests — producing the model answer. They know what they expect you to see and say before the school administers their exams. Every exam carries a finite number of issues in your professor's eyes. But it is delusional to ever tell yourself that your professor cannot expect her students to identify and describe all of the issues intelligently in the time given. She expects you to see them all. If you're an average student, it may seem daunting. But an A student will deliver.



Absolutely false. In fact, a couple of my professors openly acknowledged during class that, under the time constraints in an exam, spotting all the issues was impossible.

User avatar
LAWYER2
Posts: 576
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:15 pm

Re: How to practice and improve on analysis?

Postby LAWYER2 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:38 pm

I've had a professor design exams that she acknowledged no one would realistically be able to complete. What more could you do to torture a class full of Type A personalities!

I have trouble applying the rules to the facts when the facts are really, really short. Like a few words at the most. Ex.) "A brushes past B as she stormed out." How in depth of an analysis should one go into?
From those facts I would possibly argue:
Battery
Assault
Crowded world Theory

Would you dissect every single word to see what sticks?




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: burritoface and 8 guests