Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

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Stylistics
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Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Stylistics » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:40 pm

Some classmates have suggested that the only constant common to high grade exams is that they're all in the 4-5K word range (3 hour exam).

I'm not actively trying to write Hemingway answers but I also spend time thinking about what sentences or paragraphs should go where, so I also spend (or waste) time rewriting sentences, deleting sentences, reinserting them elsewhere.

I have paragraphs that are like "Courts have generally disfavored offensive use of nonmutual collateral estoppel. However, in Parkland the Court ruled that the plaintiff....It would seem that Parkland suggests the plaintiff in the fact pattern can also use nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel, but [reason why not]"

Is that just a waste of time? Don't bother stating generalities, what the rule is, where the rule is from? Just do "[Fact]. Hence, although Parkland held that offensive collateral estoppel is sometimes permissible, the plaintiff in the fact can't use it." Two sentence paragraph

NEXT paragraph about ISSUE 7. Three sentence paragraph.
And so on?

I'm going to nap, then write a sample answer to a question where the time allotted is 60 min. Would people here mind reading some of the CivPro answers I'll write later today? Or is that not kosher?

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Desert Fox
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:41 pm

word count doesn't matter but the amount of content does. You probably should write like hemmingway on an exam. Don't spend time rewritting stuff or deleting.

Stylistics
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Stylistics » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:47 pm

Desert Fox wrote:word count doesn't matter but the amount of content does. You probably should write like hemmingway on an exam. Don't spend time rewritting stuff or deleting.


I've seen some students be as technical as to say you need a WPM typing rate of at least 60-70.
I believed the hype so I just tested myself and clocked in at 85-95. Is that all nonsense?

Is the goal to know the material well enough that you don't have to spend time flipping through books and lengthy outlines? I still don't have my own condensed outline so I've been wasting time going to Emmanuel's table of contents, going to the page #, skimming what I've underlined, etc.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:52 pm

Stylistics wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:word count doesn't matter but the amount of content does. You probably should write like hemmingway on an exam. Don't spend time rewritting stuff or deleting.


I've seen some students be as technical as to say you need a WPM typing rate of at least 60-70.
I believed the hype so I just tested myself and clocked in at 85-95. Is that all nonsense?

Is the goal to know the material well enough that you don't have to spend time flipping through books and lengthy outlines? I still don't have my own condensed outline so I've been wasting time going to Emmanuel's table of contents, going to the page #, skimming what I've underlined, etc.


Typing faster can help, but only if you are typing slower than you are thinking.

Yes, you should essentially know the material well enough to take it without an outline. If you are going to the TOC and that sort of shit, you'll get your shit pushed in on exams.

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FSK
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby FSK » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:13 pm

Going to the outline is for things like "Oh, I see this question is setting me up to discuss a very specific rule I know I have in my outline. Let me look at it to jog my memory to ensure I don't fuck this up."

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Kratos
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Kratos » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:23 pm

Desert Fox wrote:If you are going to the TOC and that sort of shit, you'll get your shit pushed in on exams.

This really isn't true

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hoos89
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby hoos89 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:34 pm

For the record, 4-5k isn't really a high word count for a 3 hour issue spotter. I'd consider that fairly typical/average on most 3 hour exams without word counts. If you're having issues reaching 4k on a 3 hour exam, then you are probably going too slow, missing issues, and/or not sufficiently fleshing out your answers. Also, you shouldn't waste time worrying about style and flow. Don't move sentences and paragraphs around or edit sentences. There isn't time for that, and it will rarely net you any points. You may want to organize your thoughts before each question in a bare-bones outline to help keep you on track, though.

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fats provolone
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby fats provolone » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:45 pm

definitely don't spend time rewording shit

organization and headings are good though

that plus write a lot

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utahraptor
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby utahraptor » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:46 pm

Kratos wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:If you are going to the TOC and that sort of shit, you'll get your shit pushed in on exams.

This really isn't true


fats provolone wrote:definitely don't spend time rewording shit

organization and headings are good though

that plus write a lot

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fats provolone
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby fats provolone » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:49 pm

basically, you have to say everything

and your prof has to notice you said it

they probably don't spend much time reading these so simple, declarative statements with headings. times infinity.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:19 pm

Kratos wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:If you are going to the TOC and that sort of shit, you'll get your shit pushed in on exams.

This really isn't true


For everything? Yes.

victortsoi
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby victortsoi » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:09 am

This is really interesting. I also think that classes like torts, civ pro is all about the word count. I'm an upperclassman now and am taking an advanced civ pro class (e-disc) and the professor, who is a 1l civ pro prof, gave us an absurdly low (about 1600 words) word limit for the final. So, seems he is more interested in clear and to the point law than outline bombing.

Stylistics
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Stylistics » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:08 pm

OK I'm not dwelling on past exams anymore but I think I should know this going forward to my next exams:

OK so maybe I'm fundamentally misunderstanding what a CivPro answer calls for, but it just doesn't make sense for an exam answer to look like:
"Hmmmmmm, let's join everyone"
"Join X. No reason given"
"Flood counterclaims against X"

What I did on my exam was more like, when a case sets out factors to consider, I compared the facts of that case and the case at hand.

So for example, Asahi/Burger King gives us these 5 factors. Asahi found offense to fair play and substantial justice because:
1. burden on D, but here the burden on D is minimal because he already...
2. plaintiff interest/State's interest were slim in Asahi, but here plaintiff/forum definitely have an interest because __ reason
3. and so on

Is that just wasting my time? I thought I'd distinguish myself by depth of analysis, but is it more productive to just go "I recognize Asahi controls here. Formulaic recitation of Asahi factors. They don't cut against Plaintiff here because (2 reasons why)"

Then transition to something else immediately?

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fats provolone
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby fats provolone » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:09 pm

latter

but no arbitrary cap on fact application. apply every relevant fact

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sublime
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby sublime » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:11 pm

..

Stylistics
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Stylistics » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:17 pm

fats provolone wrote:latter

but no arbitrary cap on fact application. apply every relevant fact


So going in depth with:
1. In Asahi [fact], but fact here is different
2. In Asahi fact relevant to factor 2, but here fact different

Is just chasing points in an issue-to-be-spotted (Asahi) that's already maxed out?

Instead, don't list the factors. Just do everything at once by saying:
"Case where Rule is from, list all 5 factors at once, say on balance the case at hand passes Asahi because 2 facts"

"OK I'm done with those 4 sentences on Asahi. Moving onto next issue"

This is all foreign to me because 1. Glannon and GTM both disfavor IRAC (at least wrt Civ Pro) and 2. Glannon says "hmmm there could be an Asahi issue here because [fact]...NEXT" is a mediocre answer.

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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Stylistics » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:19 pm

sublime wrote:
victortsoi wrote:This is really interesting. I also think that classes like torts, civ pro is all about the word count. I'm an upperclassman now and am taking an advanced civ pro class (e-disc) and the professor, who is a 1l civ pro prof, gave us an absurdly low (about 1600 words) word limit for the final. So, seems he is more interested in clear and to the point law than outline bombing.



It seems he is most interested in not having to spend much time grading.

Yea I thought about the fact that he has a million exams to grade so if he awards points immediately upon seeing Asahi, then cognitive ease favors the
"Asahi, 2 sentence application to facts"
"NEXT"
approach.

So going in-depth like the way GTM and LRW recommend...is just straining the prof?

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sublime
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby sublime » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:26 pm

..

Stylistics
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Stylistics » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:29 pm

OK so in exams with no word limit, wouldn't "ugh I have a million of these to grade" still favor the

ASAHI, 2 sentence application, NEXT approach
over
"Asahi laid out 1 2 3 4 5
1. Asahi said, but here facts different
2. Asahi said, but here facts different
and so on
sublime wrote:
Stylistics wrote:
sublime wrote:
victortsoi wrote:This is really interesting. I also think that classes like torts, civ pro is all about the word count. I'm an upperclassman now and am taking an advanced civ pro class (e-disc) and the professor, who is a 1l civ pro prof, gave us an absurdly low (about 1600 words) word limit for the final. So, seems he is more interested in clear and to the point law than outline bombing.



It seems he is most interested in not having to spend much time grading.

Yea I thought about the fact that he has a million exams to grade so if he awards points immediately upon seeing Asahi, then cognitive ease favors the
"Asahi, 2 sentence application to facts"
"NEXT"
approach.

So going in-depth like the way GTM and LRW recommend...is just straining the prof?



Naw, that was specifically to profs who have exams with like 1600 word limits.

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lawhopeful10
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby lawhopeful10 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:32 pm

Typing fast can help but as others have said thinking quickly and having very little downtime where you aren't typing is probably most important to reaching a high word count. More content generally means more points although obviously not if it's like an outline dump. And yea, 4-5k words for three hours isn't reallt a lot. I think for some of my 1L exams I was pushing near the 8k range for exams around 3 hours.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:45 pm

Word count is a bad way of thinking about it. I know a guy who 2X'd my word count in every single exam. Always did worse. gotta be pithy.

Stylistics
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Stylistics » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:08 pm

I suppose you can say I was pithy, but there are two ways I could have gone about a given topic:

1. Asahi controls, here are Asahi's 5 factors, on balance Asahi favors finding fair play because [fact 1] [fact 2]. (Then I'm done discussing Asahi and I'm moving on)

2. Asahi controls, here are Asahi's 5 facto, and I'm gonna go factor/analysis for each one
1. Factor 1, [Asahi fact], but [fact here]
2. Factor 2, [Asahi fact], but [fact here]
3, 4, and 5.

Obviously option 2 takes up more words for that issue, but leaves me less time overall to discuss everything else, which decreases my overall word count.

I figured that on an open-book exam, anybody with a copy of the FRCP could identify an issue, say 1 case on topic, 1 sentence application, and go down the list. So if someone discussed FRCP Rules 1-25, and another discussed FRCP 1-30, then yes the 2nd person discuss more rules and could be said to have "spotted more issues."

I thought where I'd separate myself, instead of racing to throw every potentially relevant rule and upping my word count. I'd offer deeper analysis on the really important ones, even if that means discussing only 29 FRCPs instead of the 30th one.

Is that the wrong way to think about it?


Desert Fox wrote:Word count is a bad way of thinking about it. I know a guy who 2X'd my word count in every single exam. Always did worse. gotta be pithy.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:32 pm

How your exam gets graded will depend on your prof. A lot of profs will give more points for getting 30 issues than 29, even if you go in more depth on the 29. Some profs won't. We don't know what your prof will do. Generally, I think it's better to flag as many issues as you can, even if you spend less time on each one. But that's based on my own experience with my profs.

Stylistics
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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby Stylistics » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:12 am

Well yea but then that would mean the best approach to an exam is:
1. FRCP 1, [Case], [fact in pattern]. (3 sentences)
2. FRCP 2 [Case], [fact in pattern]]
repeat

Why would I bother writing formal prose or saying any more than 1 sentence on each topic?

If there's no penalty for saying irrelevant things and wasting the prof's time, then why not just write 3 sentences on each FRCP, 180 sentences all of the same structure?

A. Nony Mouse wrote:How your exam gets graded will depend on your prof. A lot of profs will give more points for getting 30 issues than 29, even if you go in more depth on the 29. Some profs won't. We don't know what your prof will do. Generally, I think it's better to flag as many issues as you can, even if you spend less time on each one. But that's based on my own experience with my profs.

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Re: Is Civ Pro essentially a race to a word count?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:28 am

You wouldn't write 3 sentences on each of the rules because (presumably) you will have a specific question that asks you to consider only specific things (a question asking about discovery is probably not also asking about issue preclusion). But if you have a genuinely wide open fact pattern that does plausibly raise an issue about every single FRCP (I don't think this is remotely possible, but for the sake of argument), yes, you could in theory write 3 sentences on each of the rules. I say in theory because it's not like there's just one case on a given rule, and it's also not like each rule just implicates one simple concept, so a mechanical three sentence rule doesn't make any sense.

Otherwise, if you really do throw in the kitchen sink where it's not relevant, some profs will mark you down; other profs won't, but you won't have time to address the issues that are actually there.

But there are plenty of profs who won't care if you write formal prose or write more than 1 sentence on each topic (depending on how you define topic). You need to know what your prof wants.




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