ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

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robertmane
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ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby robertmane » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:00 am

My torts exam is an issue spotter with no word limit. After taking some practice exams from my teacher, and talking to some class mates, I am beginning to realize this is going to be even worse of a shit storm than I originally anticipated. I'm guessing 99% of the class will know all the BLL, so what in the world separates people on the curve?

I found one thing that helps me is to set up all the conflict pairings before I start typing, and I can type like 60-70 WPM, but does anybody have any other advice (besides being really lucky)?

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johansantana21
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby johansantana21 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:03 am

Duno, curious also.

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ph14
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:17 am

robertmane wrote:My torts exam is an issue spotter with no word limit. After taking some practice exams from my teacher, and talking to some class mates, I am beginning to realize this is going to be even worse of a shit storm than I originally anticipated. I'm guessing 99% of the class will know all the BLL, so what in the world separates people on the curve?

I found one thing that helps me is to set up all the conflict pairings before I start typing, and I can type like 60-70 WPM, but does anybody have any other advice (besides being really lucky)?


Depends on your professor. Spot all the issues, dispose of the insignificant ones quickly, do the "heavy lifting" on the important and difficult issues with quality analysis, spot ambiguities/gaps in the law.

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biglaw$
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby biglaw$ » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:18 am

Go talk to your prof man. Youre on the right track though.

bdubs
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby bdubs » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:46 am

Typing speed is key. Also, there is usually an issue or two that are difficult to spot, those will probably be the differentiating factor if otherwise everyone knows the BLL and the exam is not super long.

bartleby
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby bartleby » Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:28 am

I think know B.L.L. cold or be able to flip to it really quickly with all the elements laid out. Always argue both sides. Make a conclusion. Torts seems like the only class where GTM will be helpful.

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jeeptiger09
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby jeeptiger09 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:01 am

1.) Spot issues

2.) Every Claim/Tort: Duty, Breach, Causation, Damages

3.) IRAC (for each claim)

4.) Type fast

5.) Profit. $$$$$

robertmane
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby robertmane » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:12 am

Thanks for the responses. I guess knowing the BLL flat out cold, as in not having to think about it before I type it, is key.

The main problem I am having is that my prof. admits there are more issues than anybody could spot, and yet the issues I do spot have to have good analysis, but not at the cost of not spotting enough issues. When I ask for clarification he just need to manage my time well, which is true, but doesn't really help me. And I realize everybody is in the same boat but I am trying to take the luck factor out as much as I can.

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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby bdubs » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:34 am

robertmane wrote:Thanks for the responses. I guess knowing the BLL flat out cold, as in not having to think about it before I type it, is key.

The main problem I am having is that my prof. admits there are more issues than anybody could spot, and yet the issues I do spot have to have good analysis, but not at the cost of not spotting enough issues. When I ask for clarification he just need to manage my time well, which is true, but doesn't really help me. And I realize everybody is in the same boat but I am trying to take the luck factor out as much as I can.


You have to learn how to balance quantity and substance, that is what practice exams are for.

Realizing that I'm pretty happy with my professors exam writing styles. None of the midterms I took or practice exams I've reviewed has hinged on being a phenomenal typist. For the most part, they seem to value substance over quantity.

forty-two
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby forty-two » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:38 am

robertmane wrote:Thanks for the responses. I guess knowing the BLL flat out cold, as in not having to think about it before I type it, is key.

The main problem I am having is that my prof. admits there are more issues than anybody could spot, and yet the issues I do spot have to have good analysis, but not at the cost of not spotting enough issues. When I ask for clarification he just need to manage my time well, which is true, but doesn't really help me. And I realize everybody is in the same boat but I am trying to take the luck factor out as much as I can.

I'm a slow typist, so timing was an issue for me last year. To help, I'd recommend trying to figure out which issues you'll really need to spend time on to do a thorough analysis of and which one's you can dispose of more easily. Also, does your prof give points for rule statements? If not, you can save time by skipping the rule statement and just apply the rule to the facts/go straight to the analysis.

To help with spotting more issues, I'd suggest making a checklist of all possible issues. Then you can quickly run through it to make sure you didn't miss anything.

Good luck!

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snowpeach06
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby snowpeach06 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:39 am

I wrote out some definitions before my torts exam, so I wouldn't even think of how to describe them. Torts is such that you can pre-write a decent portion of the exam. That might help on time. Do as many sample exams as you can get your paws on (again, helps with time, by the 4th, you get pretty fast), and don't forget analysis.

Geist13
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby Geist13 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:42 am

More than any other 1L course, torts is about typing speed. The concepts are pretty simple, and unless my torts class was way out there, there's just way less material to learn than your other courses. Everyone will know the BLL because there's not much to it. Maybe some people will be masters at some of the policy stuff that comes up, but most won't. For this one, it's primarily about who can crank out 8-10k in 4 hours in a reasonably coherent manner.

Shit I'll even give you a breakdown of the curve: 5K-7K words --> 50% of the class, B+. 8k-10k 25% of the class, difference between A and A- is likely just a function of how well you write on the fly and if you have anything particularly clever to say.

Full disclosure: b+ in torts, 7k words.

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johansantana21
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby johansantana21 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:07 am

Ask your prof.

My torts professor explicitly told us that no one who wrote over 15 pages got above median.

The average was around 10 which is where most median people and above median ended up.

Low end he said was around 6 which he said were almost all below median.

TooOld4This
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:00 am

More than any other exam, torts requires good organization. Make and use headings liberally!!!! As you go through the fact pattern mark it up. Underline, number, whatever. Then type an outline. Break it out by pairings. Then break out the pairings by cause of action. Then go back and fill in the details. If you think of another cause of action or pairing as you are writing, add it to the outline. Ideally, a professor should be able to scan your headings and know how you did on the exam. This approach also guards against running out of time (which happens in just about every torts exam). You might not get full points for explaining everything, but you will have at least identified issues. Also, if you have everything outlined, it is easier to pace yourself and know when you need to move on. Finally, don't repeat yourself (unless your prof wants you to). Use abbreviations for names and if you have stated a rule, refer back to it rather than retype.

nightoffire
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby nightoffire » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:24 am

snowpeach06 wrote:I wrote out some definitions before my torts exam, so I wouldn't even think of how to describe them. Torts is such that you can pre-write a decent portion of the exam. That might help on time.


I think that this is helpful; I think it is on one of the guides here as well. I did this with my mid-term and it definitely saved me some time by simply copying my pre-written definitions, and you can be sure beforehand that everything is written accurately (if your professor specifically defined it a certain way just copy it). You will then have more time to focus on the analysis.

03121202698008
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:20 am

Look for analogous arguements. E.g. Relationships that may impose an affirmative duty to act, circumstances that may permit a negligence per se instruction, etc.

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Extension_Cord
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby Extension_Cord » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:19 pm

On a written exam when Im discussing an intentional tort, do you plan to discuss Intent seperately or will you say something like the following for the rule,

"Battery occurs when an actor acts with the purpose or substantial certainty that they will cause a harmful or offensive contact to a person or something closely connected to a person and such contact does occur."

or something like,

"A battery is a intentional act that causes a harmful or offensive contact with a person or something closely connected to a person and such contact does occur."

The former is more percise, but the latter flows more.

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ph14
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:24 pm

Extension_Cord wrote:On a written exam when Im discussing an intentional tort, do you plan to discuss Intent seperately or will you say something like the following for the rule,

"Battery occurs when an actor acts with the purpose or substantial certainty that they will cause a harmful or offensive contact to a person or something closely connected to a person and such contact does occur."

or something like,

"A battery is a intentional act that causes a harmful or offensive contact with a person or something closely connected to a person and such contact does occur."

The former is more percise, but the latter flows more.


I'd do the 2nd one and then when you get to intent you can get more into that.

morris248
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby morris248 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:32 am

Be sure that you read the call of the question and answer what the professor has asked. There may be a lot of other issues but you will simply waste your time and not get any points.

Use abbreviations for names and if you have stated a rule, refer back to it rather than retype.
Use supra.

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$peppercorn
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby $peppercorn » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:40 am

ph14 wrote:
Extension_Cord wrote:On a written exam when Im discussing an intentional tort, do you plan to discuss Intent seperately or will you say something like the following for the rule,

"Battery occurs when an actor acts with the purpose or substantial certainty that they will cause a harmful or offensive contact to a person or something closely connected to a person and such contact does occur."

or something like,

"A battery is a intentional act that causes a harmful or offensive contact with a person or something closely connected to a person and such contact does occur."

The former is more percise, but the latter flows more.


I'd do the 2nd one and then when you get to intent you can get more into that.

+1

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Extension_Cord
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby Extension_Cord » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:50 am

ph14 wrote:
Extension_Cord wrote:On a written exam when Im discussing an intentional tort, do you plan to discuss Intent seperately or will you say something like the following for the rule,

"Battery occurs when an actor acts with the purpose or substantial certainty that they will cause a harmful or offensive contact to a person or something closely connected to a person and such contact does occur."

or something like,

"A battery is a intentional act that causes a harmful or offensive contact with a person or something closely connected to a person and such contact does occur."

The former is more percise, but the latter flows more.


Use Supra for definition of intent or write out, act with purpose or substantial certainty that the consequences will result?

I'd do the 2nd one and then when you get to intent you can get more into that.

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Bronte
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby Bronte » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:15 am

Torts was my worst class 1L. The reason it's difficult is because it has by far the easiest blackletter law of any of the 1L classes. In the areas where the blackletter law actually becomes difficult and nuanced, it's rarely tested. This makes the grades very random relative to other classes. This is especially true where the test is a classic issue spotter with no word limit.

I don't have a good solution. One thing you can do is not underemphasize the non-negligence doctrine. In my class, we spent 95% of the semester on negligence, but intentional torts constituted a larger part of the test. Also, issue spotting is huge. When taking practice tests, I would tend to see issues but forget to write about them. I'm sure I made the same mistake on the real exam. I think it's worth it to develop some system of noting all the issues you see when reading the fact pattern, and then being really careful to allocate your time evenly between all of them.

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johansantana21
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby johansantana21 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:20 am

Bronte wrote:Torts was my worst class 1L. The reason it's difficult is because it has by far the easiest blackletter law of any of the 1L classes. In the areas where the blackletter law actually becomes difficult and nuanced, it's rarely tested. This makes the grades very random relative to other classes. This is especially true where the test is a classic issue spotter with no word limit.

I don't have a good solution. One thing you can do is not underemphasize the non-negligence doctrine. In my class, we spent 95% of the semester on negligence, but intentional torts constituted a larger part of the test. Also, issue spotting is huge. When taking practice tests, I would tend to see issues but forget to write about them. I'm sure I made the same mistake on the real exam. I think it's worth it to develop some system of noting all the issues you see when reading the fact pattern, and then being really careful to allocate your time evenly between all of them.


I found black letter law easier in contracts and about the same in conlaw vs. torts...

robertmane
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby robertmane » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:22 am

Bronte wrote:Torts was my worst class 1L. The reason it's difficult is because it has by far the easiest blackletter law of any of the 1L classes. In the areas where the blackletter law actually becomes difficult and nuanced, it's rarely tested. This makes the grades very random relative to other classes. This is especially true where the test is a classic issue spotter with no word limit.

I don't have a good solution. One thing you can do is not underemphasize the non-negligence doctrine. In my class, we spent 95% of the semester on negligence, but intentional torts constituted a larger part of the test. Also, issue spotting is huge. When taking practice tests, I would tend to see issues but forget to write about them. I'm sure I made the same mistake on the real exam. I think it's worth it to develop some system of noting all the issues you see when reading the fact pattern, and then being really careful to allocate your time evenly between all of them.


Yeah I think one thing I've been working on that has helped is to spend more time planning and less time typing. Torts is weird/ frustrating b/c for most of my other classes spotting all the issues isn't that bad, and it is the analysis that counts. For torts I am trying to read it a few times and make sure I get all the conflict pairings typed before I start analyzing anything.

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Bronte
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Re: ITT You Explain to me how to do well on a torts exam

Postby Bronte » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:27 am

johansantana21 wrote:
Bronte wrote:Torts was my worst class 1L. The reason it's difficult is because it has by far the easiest blackletter law of any of the 1L classes. In the areas where the blackletter law actually becomes difficult and nuanced, it's rarely tested. This makes the grades very random relative to other classes. This is especially true where the test is a classic issue spotter with no word limit.

I don't have a good solution. One thing you can do is not underemphasize the non-negligence doctrine. In my class, we spent 95% of the semester on negligence, but intentional torts constituted a larger part of the test. Also, issue spotting is huge. When taking practice tests, I would tend to see issues but forget to write about them. I'm sure I made the same mistake on the real exam. I think it's worth it to develop some system of noting all the issues you see when reading the fact pattern, and then being really careful to allocate your time evenly between all of them.


I found black letter law easier in contracts and about the same in conlaw vs. torts...


I'm sure it depends on the professor and curriculum between contracts and torts. But con law? Con law barely has anything that can be construed as blackletter law. It's hard to imagine it being much different at any school.

Edit: To say it a little differently, con law can actually be distilled into a number of "blackletter" doctrines, but the problem is that they lack real applicability. They're just words that don't draw the lines they purport to draw. The class is all nuance. It also requires a much more sophisticated background knowledge of governmental structure than torts does.




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