Exam strategy advice

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First Offense
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Exam strategy advice

Postby First Offense » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:28 pm

Hi all. I am curious. I have a couple of mid-terms this week (ungraded, thankfully!), and was wondering what you all think is the preferred method for tackling exams? Do you see the question and just start typing? Do you make a little outline of the issues you see and attack it that way? Any other hints for the physical taking of the test?

I know it seems early, but with my mid-terms coming up, I'm very much interested in "practicing how I play". Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also: assume it's a fairly standard issue-spotter type. Not a 8 hour or 24 hour take home, and open book/open note. I have my outline ready (I think it is appropriately concise... not too long by any stretch), and am just wondering about the strategy for the exams itself.

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Nova
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby Nova » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:34 pm

Read the LEEWS primer if you haven't.

I would usually read the question, read the entire prompt, and then go back through the prompt sentence by sentence and discuss each issue as it came up.

Be sure to take enough practice exams to work out kinks. I got the feeling many of my classmates didn't take enough PTs.

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thesealocust
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby thesealocust » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:45 pm

I've found one handy strategy, especially the first few times around, is to create a 1-page checklist of issues. After reading the fact pattern and prompt, try as hard as you can to spot each issue in the facts. It'll help avoid moving so fast you miss obvious ones, and can encourage creative (but not totally far-fetched) arguments that might not have sprung to mind had you not tried to fit the pegs of the facts into whatever holes you were given.

Some measure of planning/organizing your response can be helpful, but there's no need to think it's mandatory to rope off a large portion of time for planning and organizing. Both help, but you'll likely be too strapped for time to view them as sine qua non.

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kalvano
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:22 pm

I did better on exams where I did quick outline of issues as I read the questions. Sometimes you get so into writing an answer that you forget to address an issue you spotted. So having a quick outline to go back and check through helps you address everything.

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AlanShore
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby AlanShore » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:46 pm

this is a great thread. thanks op. (1L so i dont have any advice)

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bsktbll28082
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby bsktbll28082 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:15 pm

thesealocust wrote:I've found one handy strategy, especially the first few times around, is to create a 1-page checklist of issues. After reading the fact pattern and prompt, try as hard as you can to spot each issue in the facts. It'll help avoid moving so fast you miss obvious ones, and can encourage creative (but not totally far-fetched) arguments that might not have sprung to mind had you not tried to fit the pegs of the facts into whatever holes you were given.

Some measure of planning/organizing your response can be helpful, but there's no need to think it's mandatory to rope off a large portion of time for planning and organizing. Both help, but you'll likely be too strapped for time to view them as sine qua non.


By checklist do you mean:

Intentional Torts:
Battery
Assault
False Imprisonment
etc.

Defenses to Intentional Torts:
Consent
Self Defense
etc.

Or more detail?

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thesealocust
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby thesealocust » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:33 pm

That more or less. Every major arguable issue/rule. I think I found 20-40 per class, enough to fit in a crowded fashion with some organization onto one sheet of paper. not an exact science though.

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kalvano
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby kalvano » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:39 pm

You should buy this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Eight-Secrets-Exa ... hool+exams

Well worth the $10.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:43 pm

kalvano wrote:You should buy this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Eight-Secrets-Exa ... hool+exams

Well worth the $10.


This is TCR 100000%. Literally the one resource to which I attribute my law school success.

And as other people noted - take what you learn from that book, then make a 1 page, hand-written outline with ALL the major issues listed and ALL the major elements you need to know. Use mnemonic devices to memorize each section. So like one device for the major issues (Ex: All Intentional Torts). Then seperate devices under each sub-issue (Ex: Elements of Battery; ELements of Assult, etc.) so that you have every element of the causes of actions / defenses (or whatever) right there.

Then PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE writting that outline down by hand FROM MEMORY. Do it over and over and over. Then over again. Then goto sleep. Then wake up and do it over and over again. As you stand in line for the exam, go over the mnemonic devices in your head while looking at your hand written outline. When the exam begins, immediatley draw your one page outline on a blank sheet of paper. You'll have written it over and over so many times that you'll know - just by looking at a blank sheet of paper - what needs to be where. You won't panic. It will be automatic.


This is critical not only as a crutch if you forget something, but it will also show you issues likely to arise even if you don't see them at first.

Then read the call of the question first, and outline your ENTIRE ANSWER, using your outline you just wrote as your guide. Then take your answer outline and flush it out. Don't be creative. Just say

The first issue is Battery. The elements of battery are BLAH BLAH. Here, the defendant BLAH, which is (this element), therefore the elements of battery are met.

The second issue is whether self-defense applies to excuse the battery. The elements of self-defense are Blah Blah. Here, the defendant did not BLAH, which is a requirement for self-defense, thus was not entitled to act in self-defense.

Rinse, repeat, A.

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AlanShore
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Re: Exam strategy advice

Postby AlanShore » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:09 pm

thanks. very helpful.




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