Racehorse Issue Spotter

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
echooo23
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:29 pm

Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby echooo23 » Sun May 05, 2013 6:10 pm

I didn't have any last semester, and now I have one for Contracts on Tues. Practice exams are taking 6+ hours to complete, and I only have 3 on exam day. Shit is freaking me the fuck out. Care to share strategies/tips?

User avatar
2014
Posts: 5831
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:53 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby 2014 » Sun May 05, 2013 6:43 pm

You need to focus on getting as much correct information onto the page in a concise readable manner as possible. They are designed to be undoable in the time limit, your goal is just to do better than your class. I would stop allowing yourself 6 hours to try and concoct something perfect and work on improving what you can concoct in 3 hours. (Though if your test is Tuesday idk go see a movie or something because it is what it is at this point)

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

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby AVBucks4239 » Sun May 05, 2013 7:42 pm

My CrimLaw exam was like this. A few things:

First, you need to know the law cold. You should be able to instantly see an issue rather than think "Hmm...let me check this part of my outline." The more time you spend shuffling through your outline, the less time you spend writing and getting points.

If it is open note, I highly recommend creating a new "attack outline" (like right now) of just brief rule statements. Write exactly what you are going to write on the exam for each pertinent issue/rule statement, and make a huge effort to make these as concise as possible ("Despite the lack of consideration and a formal contract, plaintiff might allege a claim for promissory estoppel. Here, the plaintiff must show the following elements: 1-2-3-4. Analysis"). During the exam, make a quick outline of your answer, and all you should need in front of you is your attack sheet.

If it is closed book, do whatever you need to do to make certain that you know the law cold and can write it from a stream of conscious rather than even thinking about it.

Another good idea: know when there is a "red herring" and dismiss it as briefly as possible. For instance, if something in the facts raises a slight but not complicated issue (i.e., you absolutely know that the mailbox rule does not apply but some fact sort of raises the issue), you need to briefly mention it, briefly state the rule, briefly dismiss it, and move on. So often people get bogged down arguing both sides in stupid issues where very little points are allocated.

Probably the most important thing: make sure you answer all the questions thoroughly. Look at the point allocations for each question and allocate your time proportionately. For instance, if it's one huge issue spotter worth 50% and two smaller questions worth 25% each, you should spend 90 minutes on the long one and 45 on each of the short ones.

This sounds like common sense, but during the crunch of exams, a lot of people will ramble and ramble on that first question. You need to have the willpower to know when you have to move on to the next question. When you have ten minutes left and are running out of time, you should literally just write down the remaining issues, write one quick rule statement for each, and draw a quick conclusion for each issue. It's not the greatest analysis, but you'll get a point for spotting the issue, maybe one for spotting the rule, and maybe one for a little bit of analysis. Bottom line: you'll rack up more points acknowledging that you see all the issues than incessantly rambling about something else.

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

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby AVBucks4239 » Sun May 05, 2013 7:48 pm

TL;DR: Law school exams are basically a game to get the most points. When you're looking at a professor's previous exams, you're not trying to "get into his/her head" or any of that BS. You're (1) looking for tendencies in what they test and (2) trying to figure out how to get the most points for that particular type of exam.

You're a bit ahead of the game in knowing that this is a "race-horse" exam. Now you need to take a step back to figure out how to maximize point value.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby 09042014 » Sun May 05, 2013 8:02 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:My CrimLaw exam was like this. A few things:

First, you need to know the law cold. You should be able to instantly see an issue rather than think "Hmm...let me check this part of my outline." The more time you spend shuffling through your outline, the less time you spend writing and getting points.

If it is open note, I highly recommend creating a new "attack outline" (like right now) of just brief rule statements. Write exactly what you are going to write on the exam for each pertinent issue/rule statement, and make a huge effort to make these as concise as possible ("Despite the lack of consideration and a formal contract, plaintiff might allege a claim for promissory estoppel. Here, the plaintiff must show the following elements: 1-2-3-4. Analysis"). During the exam, make a quick outline of your answer, and all you should need in front of you is your attack sheet.

If it is closed book, do whatever you need to do to make certain that you know the law cold and can write it from a stream of conscious rather than even thinking about it.

Another good idea: know when there is a "red herring" and dismiss it as briefly as possible. For instance, if something in the facts raises a slight but not complicated issue (i.e., you absolutely know that the mailbox rule does not apply but some fact sort of raises the issue), you need to briefly mention it, briefly state the rule, briefly dismiss it, and move on. So often people get bogged down arguing both sides in stupid issues where very little points are allocated.

Probably the most important thing: make sure you answer all the questions thoroughly. Look at the point allocations for each question and allocate your time proportionately. For instance, if it's one huge issue spotter worth 50% and two smaller questions worth 25% each, you should spend 90 minutes on the long one and 45 on each of the short ones.

This sounds like common sense, but during the crunch of exams, a lot of people will ramble and ramble on that first question. You need to have the willpower to know when you have to move on to the next question. When you have ten minutes left and are running out of time, you should literally just write down the remaining issues, write one quick rule statement for each, and draw a quick conclusion for each issue. It's not the greatest analysis, but you'll get a point for spotting the issue, maybe one for spotting the rule, and maybe one for a little bit of analysis. Bottom line: you'll rack up more points acknowledging that you see all the issues than incessantly rambling about something else.


Great post.

You really do have to hit the high value targets and move on. You mailbox is SOOO true. I fell for that trap. Spent 10 minutes discussing both sides, and then didn't get to do remedies.

User avatar
JamMasterJ
Posts: 6688
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:17 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby JamMasterJ » Sun May 05, 2013 8:17 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:My CrimLaw exam was like this. A few things:

First, you need to know the law cold. You should be able to instantly see an issue rather than think "Hmm...let me check this part of my outline." The more time you spend shuffling through your outline, the less time you spend writing and getting points.

If it is open note, I highly recommend creating a new "attack outline" (like right now) of just brief rule statements. Write exactly what you are going to write on the exam for each pertinent issue/rule statement, and make a huge effort to make these as concise as possible ("Despite the lack of consideration and a formal contract, plaintiff might allege a claim for promissory estoppel. Here, the plaintiff must show the following elements: 1-2-3-4. Analysis"). During the exam, make a quick outline of your answer, and all you should need in front of you is your attack sheet.

If it is closed book, do whatever you need to do to make certain that you know the law cold and can write it from a stream of conscious rather than even thinking about it.

Another good idea: know when there is a "red herring" and dismiss it as briefly as possible. For instance, if something in the facts raises a slight but not complicated issue (i.e., you absolutely know that the mailbox rule does not apply but some fact sort of raises the issue), you need to briefly mention it, briefly state the rule, briefly dismiss it, and move on. So often people get bogged down arguing both sides in stupid issues where very little points are allocated.

Probably the most important thing: make sure you answer all the questions thoroughly. Look at the point allocations for each question and allocate your time proportionately. For instance, if it's one huge issue spotter worth 50% and two smaller questions worth 25% each, you should spend 90 minutes on the long one and 45 on each of the short ones.

This sounds like common sense, but during the crunch of exams, a lot of people will ramble and ramble on that first question. You need to have the willpower to know when you have to move on to the next question. When you have ten minutes left and are running out of time, you should literally just write down the remaining issues, write one quick rule statement for each, and draw a quick conclusion for each issue. It's not the greatest analysis, but you'll get a point for spotting the issue, maybe one for spotting the rule, and maybe one for a little bit of analysis. Bottom line: you'll rack up more points acknowledging that you see all the issues than incessantly rambling about something else.

great post

echooo23
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby echooo23 » Mon May 06, 2013 12:13 am

Follow up question: What's the best format for actually writing the exam? Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but IRAC isn't working out, cause issues keep popping up in the middle of my applications and then it just ends up being, "A should argue this, because Rule X" and "B should argue that Rule Y" until that conflict pairing is over.

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

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby AVBucks4239 » Mon May 06, 2013 1:36 am

echooo23 wrote:Follow up question: What's the best format for actually writing the exam? Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but IRAC isn't working out, cause issues keep popping up in the middle of my applications and then it just ends up being, "A should argue this, because Rule X" and "B should argue that Rule Y" until that conflict pairing is over.

Issue
Rule that works for A
Application
Conclusion
However, rule that works for B
Application
Conclusion
Big Conclusion: pick a side, state a reason.

Next.

User avatar
Danger Zone
Posts: 7305
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby Danger Zone » Mon May 06, 2013 4:35 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:
echooo23 wrote:Follow up question: What's the best format for actually writing the exam? Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but IRAC isn't working out, cause issues keep popping up in the middle of my applications and then it just ends up being, "A should argue this, because Rule X" and "B should argue that Rule Y" until that conflict pairing is over.

Issue
Rule that works for A
Application
Conclusion
However, rule that works for B
Application
Conclusion
Big Conclusion: pick a side, state a reason.

Next.

Absolutely, unequivocally TCR. Every prof I've talked to has said that this is what separates the A's from the B's.

shock259
Posts: 1737
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby shock259 » Mon May 06, 2013 7:44 pm

Yep. Above is good.

For things with multiple elements, I usually break it up like this:

Issue:
Element 1:
-What would side A argue?
-What would side B argue?
-Conclusion?
Element 2:
-What would side A argue?
-What would side B argue?
-Conclusion?

etc

Some elements aren't in play. Just say the element and say it's established easily. Where you should spend the most time is where there things that can go either way. Step into their shoes, argue, rinse, repeat.

echooo23
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby echooo23 » Mon May 06, 2013 11:26 pm

What's the consensus on outlining? I've heard most people say it's necessary and a few say it takes up too much time. I found that in the 1 practice test I did without outlining I was at least able to finish in the allotted time (no idea whether the content was good though). I mean, if I type 80+ words per minute and can save an hour not outlining, that's a whole lot of words I can get down...

User avatar
Danger Zone
Posts: 7305
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby Danger Zone » Mon May 06, 2013 11:30 pm

If it helps, great. If not, skip it.

User avatar
ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby ph14 » Mon May 06, 2013 11:33 pm

echooo23 wrote:What's the consensus on outlining? I've heard most people say it's necessary and a few say it takes up too much time. I found that in the 1 practice test I did without outlining I was at least able to finish in the allotted time (no idea whether the content was good though). I mean, if I type 80+ words per minute and can save an hour not outlining, that's a whole lot of words I can get down...


Outlining on a three hour exam is not a good idea. It's just not worth it. Maybe spend a minute or two jotting down a couple thoughts on the big picture on the back of your exam if you want, but I think once you have finished reading (and as you go through you should flag issues), then you should start typing.

echooo23
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby echooo23 » Tue May 07, 2013 10:17 am

Solid advice, everyone. Thank you! Let's hope my inevitably shitty answer is the least shitty answer in the class!

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

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby AVBucks4239 » Tue May 07, 2013 8:12 pm

ph14 wrote:
echooo23 wrote:What's the consensus on outlining? I've heard most people say it's necessary and a few say it takes up too much time. I found that in the 1 practice test I did without outlining I was at least able to finish in the allotted time (no idea whether the content was good though). I mean, if I type 80+ words per minute and can save an hour not outlining, that's a whole lot of words I can get down...


Outlining on a three hour exam is not a good idea. It's just not worth it. Maybe spend a minute or two jotting down a couple thoughts on the big picture on the back of your exam if you want, but I think once you have finished reading (and as you go through you should flag issues), then you should start typing.

I disagree with this. Spending 5 minutes to organize avoids the "oh fuck what the fuck am I typing this is a bunch of nonsense" that you can feel if you just jump right into it. I've heard horror stories of people deleting 3-4 paragraphs because what they were writing didn't make any sense.

Plus, an organized answer emanates with "this guy/girl knows what he/she's talking about it." Sometimes that can be more beneficial than vomiting all of your keyboard.

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

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby AVBucks4239 » Tue May 07, 2013 8:16 pm

If anything, you should be thinking about organization of the issues beforehand. There shouldn't be a surprise question/issue on the exam--you should know, relatively speaking, what's coming. Before the exam, you should think of each of the types of questions/issues that might be asked, and then you should already have an organizational structure (somewhat subject to change) before you even take the exam.

In other words, you should know, "If promissory estoppel comes up on the exam, how am I going to organize it?" That shouldn't be something you're figuring out during the exam.

When the exam comes, all your "outline" should be is the order in which you're going to organize the issues and the causes of action. That shouldn't take you more than 2 minutes.

User avatar
ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby ph14 » Tue May 07, 2013 8:17 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:
ph14 wrote:
echooo23 wrote:What's the consensus on outlining? I've heard most people say it's necessary and a few say it takes up too much time. I found that in the 1 practice test I did without outlining I was at least able to finish in the allotted time (no idea whether the content was good though). I mean, if I type 80+ words per minute and can save an hour not outlining, that's a whole lot of words I can get down...


Outlining on a three hour exam is not a good idea. It's just not worth it. Maybe spend a minute or two jotting down a couple thoughts on the big picture on the back of your exam if you want, but I think once you have finished reading (and as you go through you should flag issues), then you should start typing.

I disagree with this. Spending 5 minutes to organize avoids the "oh fuck what the fuck am I typing this is a bunch of nonsense" that you can feel if you just jump right into it. I've heard horror stories of people deleting 3-4 paragraphs because what they were writing didn't make any sense.

Plus, an organized answer emanates with "this guy/girl knows what he/she's talking about it." Sometimes that can be more beneficial than vomiting all of your keyboard.


2 minutes...5 minutes...that's pretty marginal and not too different than what I said. But FWIW, i've done very well in law school and i've never spent more than maybe a minute after I finish reading jotting down an outline (and even that only once or twice). Generally speaking the way the course is organized should be your outline or temporally based on causes of action. If you have a negligence problem you are doing duty, causation, proximate cause, etc.

Plus I often find once I get started my original thoughts have evolved and changed significantly, so there's no point spending a lot of time up front.

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby Clearly » Sat May 11, 2013 3:04 am

This thread is awesome

Sincerely,
0L

Randomnumbers
Posts: 356
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:26 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby Randomnumbers » Sat May 11, 2013 3:19 am

The only outlining I ever do is, at most, a list of the major issues in the order in which they come up - which is normally they should be the order they should be addressed in. You don't need to outline because everything is super-formulaic, and it should be pretty obvious how you go about responding to everything. It's not really that complicated - you spot an issue, you run through all the elements in order, then you run through any affirmative defenses.

I suppose it might make sense that, instead of just putting the list of major issues, you right down the issues in header form - "Did L. materially breach the contract", etc and use those as your headers, so that at least the 'outlining' is still somethign that is in your final product.

Legen..waitforit
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu May 02, 2013 7:03 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby Legen..waitforit » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:33 am

tagged

echooo23
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby echooo23 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:48 am

Since someone revived it, thought I'd express my gratitude to everyone here again. Copped that A thanks to advice in this thread. Much appreciated, TLS.

User avatar
lhanvt13
Posts: 2379
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:59 am

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby lhanvt13 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:23 am

echooo23 wrote:Since someone revived it, thought I'd express my gratitude to everyone here again. Copped that A thanks to advice in this thread. Much appreciated, TLS.

Awesome haha congrats. What do you think you did was most helpful ? (0L here)

User avatar
Danger Zone
Posts: 7305
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:35 am

lhanvt13 wrote:
echooo23 wrote:Since someone revived it, thought I'd express my gratitude to everyone here again. Copped that A thanks to advice in this thread. Much appreciated, TLS.

Awesome haha congrats. What do you think you did was most helpful ? (0L here)

Everything AVBucks said.

User avatar
lhanvt13
Posts: 2379
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:59 am

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby lhanvt13 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:09 pm

Danger Zone wrote:
lhanvt13 wrote:
echooo23 wrote:Since someone revived it, thought I'd express my gratitude to everyone here again. Copped that A thanks to advice in this thread. Much appreciated, TLS.

Awesome haha congrats. What do you think you did was most helpful ? (0L here)

Everything AVBucks said.

Haha, sounds about right to me . :)

Silverback
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:15 pm

Re: Racehorse Issue Spotter

Postby Silverback » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:33 pm

It depends on the professor, but in my experience, it is better to have quality over quantity. This means that you should try to be thorough with your analysis of each issue you spot, but not to the point where you are rambling about subissues that are not relevant. For my torts exam first year, we had about tendifferent torts on the exam. The professor gave the best grades to students who only discussed about three torts but did so thoroughly, leading the professor to believe that the student exhibited an ability to spot and explain any tort well.

Anyway, it is kind of hard to have a brightline rule, but it is best to weigh quality of application versus the quantity of issues discussed. You often don't have time to write a textbook on a single issue, but at the same time, you do not want to spot the issue, briefly state the rule, and fail adequately apply the facts to the law or raise relevant defenses or counterclaims.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: LawHammer, mjb447 and 14 guests