How much outlining do you do on your exam?

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Anomaly
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How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby Anomaly » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:22 pm

Say you get a long stream-of-commerce hypo in civpro. The question is whether the judge properly denied motions to dismiss for PJ/SMJ/Venue. Do you outline? Dive right into PJ? Curious to hear your approach.

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Cupidity
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby Cupidity » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:27 pm

If your exam is not word limited, just start writing. I usually make notes in the margins while reading through the exam first time and just start going for it. There is a strong correlation between word count and grade.

VincentChase
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby VincentChase » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:32 pm

Cupidity wrote:If your exam is not word limited, just start writing. I usually make notes in the margins while reading through the exam first time and just start going for it. There is a strong correlation between word count and grade.


+1

I have probably never outlined an exam answer. Time is too precious. I just make margin notes while I read the question, and then I just start writing. I'm sure I probably lose some points for disorganization at times, but I think I more than make up for them with the amount of analysis I'm able to get onto the page. I'll probably never be the top grade in the class because I just don't organize my answer well enough, but I'm well above the median at a T6 and will probably graduate with honors. We all have to know our limitations, and I'm just not good enough to outline and write an answer with enough analysis in it. For me, something has to give.

I'm jealous of the people who can do both. They are the ones who will be clerking on the Supreme Court and so forth!

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:37 pm

Cupidity wrote:If your exam is not word limited, just start writing. I usually make notes in the margins while reading through the exam first time and just start going for it. There is a strong correlation between word count and grade.


+1. Write issues in the margin and underline/circle/draw lines or arrows to facts that pertain to those issues. Careful with this method, however, because some professors write exams with fact patterns that have isolated issues (e.g. one paragraph and all its facts pertain to one issue, the second paragraph does the same but for another issue, etc.). On those, the margin method is best.

OTOH, if the fact-pattern is a monster with interlocking issues (e.g. facts in beginning pertain to issues raised later) on a class like torts, property, etc., then you might want to make a running chart of parties, issues, claims, etc. Some behemoth issue spotters can contain like 9 different party-combinations claiming/counterclaiming against each other. Break 'em down, associate issues raised by the facts, analyze facts with the rules raised by the issues, make arguments and counterarguments, highlight ambiguity, etc. This way, you hit more issues than any of your classmates, get one of the top 5 grades, etc.

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kalvano
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby kalvano » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:01 pm

I found it very helpful in exams to sketch out a quick "party versus party" to help me remember claims to be addressed.

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ph14
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby ph14 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:08 pm

In Civ pro, I find it very, very helpful to diagram the entire action.

shock259
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby shock259 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:20 pm

If it's a huge wide open problem (like a 2 hour torts problem), I'll sketch a quick party vs. party. I just do it on paper itself. If it is a narrower issue, I'll just start writing (and prof gives like 20 minute to answer). I'll let you know how this goes in like a month when I get grades back.

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piccolittle
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby piccolittle » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:38 pm

Thanks all for this. I've been trying to do a detailed outline on my practice tests and I wind up with a huge time sink and 50-60% of the question complete. Good to know it's not just because I have no idea what I'm doing (though I'm sure that's part of it) lol

morris248
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby morris248 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:48 pm

There is a strong correlation between word count and grade.


That is total BS.

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dailygrind
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby dailygrind » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:52 pm

morris248 wrote:
There is a strong correlation between word count and grade.


That is total BS.


+1.

I can spend up to a third of my time outlining. It depends a lot on the exam and how complicated the fact pattern is. Less complicated fact patterns obviously need a whole lot less outlining. Different strokes for different folks, though. I'm sure there are others who don't outline much and do pretty damn well.

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Grizz
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby Grizz » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:54 pm

kalvano wrote:I found it very helpful in exams to sketch out a quick "party versus party" to help me remember claims to be addressed.

If it's a torts style issue run and gun, I make a party vs party list, with the general claims on it. Anything I think they could bring. Then I look at the facts and just write as I think. I could go on for a whole paragraph saying why a claim won't work. But that's points.

If it's something like property though, I find it helpful to diagram the whole stages of property ownership and the parties.

Depends on the exam.

09042014
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby 09042014 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:55 pm

dailygrind wrote:
morris248 wrote:
There is a strong correlation between word count and grade.


That is total BS.


+1.

I can spend up to a third of my time outlining. It depends a lot on the exam and how complicated the fact pattern is. Less complicated fact patterns obviously need a whole lot less outlining. Different strokes for different folks, though. I'm sure there are others who don't outline much and do pretty damn well.


Even if there is a strong correlation between word count and grade, there is a much stronger one between hitting every major issue. Which outlining helps to do.

The correlation between length and grade is really just correlation between # of issues hit and grade.

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dailygrind
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby dailygrind » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:57 pm

^^pretty much.

FordhamBrah
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby FordhamBrah » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:51 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
dailygrind wrote:
morris248 wrote:
There is a strong correlation between word count and grade.


That is total BS.


+1.

I can spend up to a third of my time outlining. It depends a lot on the exam and how complicated the fact pattern is. Less complicated fact patterns obviously need a whole lot less outlining. Different strokes for different folks, though. I'm sure there are others who don't outline much and do pretty damn well.


Even if there is a strong correlation between word count and grade, there is a much stronger one between hitting every major issue. Which outlining helps to do.

The correlation between length and grade is really just correlation between # of issues hit and grade.


I have to outline my answer, once I have a solid groundwork and I kind of know where the major ambiguities are and the major sections being covered, I can then just type up an answer with warp speed. However, if I try wasting time just going for writing, not only will I miss issues easily but I will also be sitting there seconds at a time thinking of what to write next and how to approach it whereas with my outlined organization I can just not worry about anything except typing a book away.

random5483
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby random5483 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:19 am

Outlining or not outlining really depends on you. Some people don't need to outline, others do.


I usually make a mini outline for all my answers. I note the issues and make brief comments. This helps me not lose focus of the points I need to address.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: How much outlining do you do on your exam?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:37 am

I have found that for big issue spotter exams in classes that you don't really know that well, you have a decent shot at outperforming your knowledge by just vomiting as many terms as you can that you remember from the semester. I'm looking at you torts and crim.

Otherwise, however long it takes to read through the question, I'd spend about that much time x2 picking out issues and organizing.

Actually now that I think about it, the best approach has been to type out a heading for each major issue, type a few major issues in need of application under each (tests, big case names). That way when you get started it's all organized into however many digestible chunks.




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