How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

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Raiden
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How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby Raiden » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:09 pm

So I have a fun midterm coming up, where the professor has told us that it will strictly be an 800 word, policy question. He previous exams have been of the long-hypo type, so they are not all too helpful (plus, he hasn't revealed them). The style is strict Socratic (he didn't even say hi on the first day, just called on someone and asked for the facts of Baily v. West. It felt like such a cool law student).

When looking at some sample questions he has sent out, I feel like I have an idea as to what the policy reasoning could be, but I don't have much of a systematic approach (which seems to be important when applying rule to fact, but does that same strategy hold in a policy question?).

Any insights would be appreciated, gracias seniors/senioritas.

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cinephile
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby cinephile » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:16 pm

What class is this for? If it's crim, the Dressler supplement explains the various policy justifications pretty well.

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JCougar
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby JCougar » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:06 pm

The same way you prepare for all exams. 1) Find the outline of an upperclassman that nailed the class last year. 2) As soon as the exam begins, copy as fast as you can.

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Raiden
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby Raiden » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:51 pm

The class is contracts, any supplements recommendations (I've been looking at Understanding Contracts lately from the library...)

The sounds like a good idea JCougar, I was able to grab an outline from an upperclassman who aced the class, the only issue is that the midterm is a 1 question 800 word policy question, and the final will be long hypos (the outline prepares for the final, but not the midterm, since this policy question seems to be a new thing for this professor)

swimmer11
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby swimmer11 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:54 pm

JCougar wrote:The same way you prepare for all exams. 1) Find the outline of an upperclassman that nailed the class last year. 2) As soon as the exam begins, copy as fast as you can.


How do you bring this about in conversation? I will find upperclassmen who had the same teachers as me in the same classes, but I have found it difficult to straight up ask them what their grades are. Any suggestions?

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JCougar
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby JCougar » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:47 pm

swimmer11 wrote:How do you bring this about in conversation? I will find upperclassmen who had the same teachers as me in the same classes, but I have found it difficult to straight up ask them what their grades are. Any suggestions?


I just ask them straight up. Like why wouldn't I want an exam? They were all 1Ls once, too, so they understand. If someone gets offended, fuck them.

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Raiden
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby Raiden » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:51 pm

^^ lolcat.

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JCougar
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby JCougar » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:47 am

Another word of caution: don't make the mistake that on policy questions, the professor is looking for your views on what policy should be. This might seem obvious or self-evident to upperclassmen, but as a 1L, it caught me by surprise. It depends on your professor, obviously, but in my experience, it is best to recycle the policy ideas that you went over in class rather than to think independently.

This is why copying from a successful prior student's outline is so important. You can never know what your professor wants you to say exactly, but if you get a successful student's outline, you know that whatever was on there is what will get you a good grade.

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Raiden
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby Raiden » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:00 pm

^^^ that makes sense, though I was checking out parts of "Getting to Maybe" and the authors talk about how there can be multiple correct policy reasons behind certain rules. LEEWS talks about sticking with the conflict pairs and speak of the policies on both sides. But you are right, it depends on the professor, and if I am just dealing with an 800 word essay, its probably best to stick to concise policy arguments.

This is all theoretical right now for me, so I need to do some practicing. Where is a good source of policy hypos?

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Raiden
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby Raiden » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:04 am

Does anyone have any links to policy exams with model answer (preferably for contracts). I've been looking through old archives of various universites have been having a hard time finding many...most are just long hypos, sad face.

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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby NewYorkStork » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:40 pm

I would try to find a copy of Farnsworth's Contracts treatise (think it's in the Aspen book series). It's from 2004 so it might be hard to find/expensive, but you might be able to land a cheap used copy or find one in your library. Contracts law doesn't seem to change very much, so I never hit any hiccups by the fact that it was a bit older. Honestly, I found it to be the best supplement for my professor, and I also found it the most policy-intensive of any supplement I looked at.

Other than reading supplements, which typically have good policy insights into why the law is the way it is, I would just go over the rules you've learned in class (at this point, I assume things like mailbox rule, general rules regarding offer/acceptance, etc.) and think about why the rules are the way they are. Imagine if they were different-- would any "injustices" result? Draw up different hypos and see what the results would be if the rules were different, and give that some thought.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask your professor his or herself. They likely would point you in a good direction of what sort of things you can reflect on or study. Good luck!

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vanwinkle
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:06 pm

JCougar wrote:Another word of caution: don't make the mistake that on policy questions, the professor is looking for your views on what policy should be. This might seem obvious or self-evident to upperclassmen, but as a 1L, it caught me by surprise. It depends on your professor, obviously, but in my experience, it is best to recycle the policy ideas that you went over in class rather than to think independently.

This. They're not looking for you to invent the best policy possible for the question. They're testing you on what you were taught. You can (and should) reach an opinion on which policy reason "wins" in a given scenario, but be able to explain why from the course materials, not from your own personal beliefs.

If you can take the policy issues you learned in class (or from the readings) and apply them to the question, you'll do fine.

Bree99
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby Bree99 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:57 pm

What about for torts? Any recommendations/readings for preparing for policy Qs on a tort exam?

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MarcusAurelius
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby MarcusAurelius » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:00 pm

buy Getting to Maybe and read the chapter entitled "Czars of the Universe"

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Raiden
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby Raiden » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:30 pm

NewYorkStork wrote:I would try to find a copy of Farnsworth's Contracts treatise (think it's in the Aspen book series). It's from 2004 so it might be hard to find/expensive, but you might be able to land a cheap used copy or find one in your library. Contracts law doesn't seem to change very much, so I never hit any hiccups by the fact that it was a bit older. Honestly, I found it to be the best supplement for my professor, and I also found it the most policy-intensive of any supplement I looked at.

Other than reading supplements, which typically have good policy insights into why the law is the way it is, I would just go over the rules you've learned in class (at this point, I assume things like mailbox rule, general rules regarding offer/acceptance, etc.) and think about why the rules are the way they are. Imagine if they were different-- would any "injustices" result? Draw up different hypos and see what the results would be if the rules were different, and give that some thought.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask your professor his or herself. They likely would point you in a good direction of what sort of things you can reflect on or study. Good luck!


Thanks, that is super helpful, and I will check out that supplement! So far I've been just going through the EE's, which has been pretty good in looking at the minute details.


vanwinkle wrote:
JCougar wrote:Another word of caution: don't make the mistake that on policy questions, the professor is looking for your views on what policy should be. This might seem obvious or self-evident to upperclassmen, but as a 1L, it caught me by surprise. It depends on your professor, obviously, but in my experience, it is best to recycle the policy ideas that you went over in class rather than to think independently.

This. They're not looking for you to invent the best policy possible for the question. They're testing you on what you were taught. You can (and should) reach an opinion on which policy reason "wins" in a given scenario, but be able to explain why from the course materials, not from your own personal beliefs.

If you can take the policy issues you learned in class (or from the readings) and apply them to the question, you'll do fine.


This is where I am a bit more hesitant. The professor has told us that he is not looking for the "T" on policy, but rather what we think. While it seems like the best arguments are what the judges come up with, doing GTM's discussion on Shaping, Administrative, Fairness, and paradox would seem to provide a more robust policy answer.

But even after writing out an answer to, say, is consideration good, I am not sure if my answer is the best (it feels so subjective...). Policy questions seem to be focused on understanding the over-arching themes and seeing if a certain policy reaches those themes. Most of these themes seem to be a conflict between economic and social ones...(lol, I think I answered my own question just through talking this through)

swimmer11
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Re: How do you prepare for Policy oriented exams?

Postby swimmer11 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:31 am

Bree99 wrote:What about for torts? Any recommendations/readings for preparing for policy Qs on a tort exam?


I also would like to know if anyone has any thoughts on this.




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