Trouble spotting issues HELP!

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Trouble spotting issues HELP!

Postby commoner » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:16 am

So I listened in class took notes etc. but I can't seem to spot issues well on the practice tests. This makes my test taking abilities very weak. Any advice is appreciated.

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Re: Trouble spotting issues HELP!

Postby ph14 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:14 pm

commoner wrote:So I listened in class took notes etc. but I can't seem to spot issues well on the practice tests. This makes my test taking abilities very weak. Any advice is appreciated.

Don't just sit there reactively and spot. Think about the big issues in class and look for where they fit in. And you should know that there will be a negligence issue on your torts exam, a personal jurisdiction issue on your civ pro exam, etc. Go skim the table of contents of your casebook and then consider that your "menu" of options to spot.


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Re: Trouble spotting issues HELP!

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:49 pm

Read 8 Secrets to Top Law School Exam Performance by Prof. Whitebread (title may be off but that's close). Do it now. What PH14 said is correct, but that book will reinforce and expand upon the notion. At a basic level, it really is that simple - look at your table of contents for the sections you covered. Those ARE the issues that will come up. But Whitebread will tell you how to gameplan for an issue spotter - trust me, that book is gold.

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Re: Trouble spotting issues HELP!

Postby Carlo Von Sexron » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:29 pm

How good is the OP's on-the-spot recall of the various rules? Maybe the problem is just that she hasn't adequately committed the stuff to memory. Once you do that, reading a fact pattern becomes like running through a series of trip wires.

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Re: Trouble spotting issues HELP!

Postby Jsa725 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:41 pm

Last edited by Jsa725 on Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trouble spotting issues HELP!

Postby thesealocust » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:41 pm

Consider using an issue check list (literally, a check-the-box checklist) for after you've read the fact pattern.


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Re: Trouble spotting issues HELP!

Postby owlofminerva » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:27 pm

As others have said, much of spotting issues comes with knowing the law as much as possible once you have synthesized the information from the course as you outline and develop a sense for how the doctriens you've learned are interconnected with each other. Some more specific points:

1. Know when there branches in the law, such as a majority and minority rule on a certain point, or there is a circuit split, or where one doctrine only applies in certain factual circumstances and another doctrine applies in others. These are ripe for testing to see if you can recognize these branches and when they apply.

2. Don't forget the obvious issues. Some things may be so completely obvious that you feel it isn't worth mentioning. Case in point--the fact pattern is about a negligence case and there are clearly physical injuries sustained by the victim. In that case, you might feel like the professor doesn't want you to discuss the injury element of a negligence cause of action. While they won't expect you to discuss it in detail, you should have a sentence like, "In every negligence action, the plaintiff must show an injury--here that is met because ...." and then move on to the more complicated things.

3. When reading a fact pattern, you should always ask yourself "why is this fact here?" Most of the time--though there are exceptions for professors who try to be trickier than others (from my experience, only a minority of them)--every fact in a test fact pattern has bearing on an issue and you should be comfortable taking a fact, asking why it is there, and recognizing a potential issue from that. For instance, in a civ pro exam, a fact might say "X is a student at a school in California, but plans to return to Kentucky to help run the family business once school is over." This seemingly inoccuous fact should cause you to think about domicile because he lives in one place but hasn't intended to actually move there.

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