Questions for professors about exams

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zilladilla
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Questions for professors about exams

Postby zilladilla » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:44 pm

I've got a midterm coming up for a class I am taking and would like to know what kinds of questions I should ask (in office hours) my professor regarding his/her exams. For example, I figured questions like, 'Should I cite cases by name' 'Do you want the rule of law always stated' etc. etc. would be helpful. Anything is much appreciated, thanks.

cavalier1138
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:41 am

Do not go to office hours to ask a professor about exam stuff, especially this early in the semester. They'll get irritated by you doing it at any point, but they will be particularly irritated by you doing it now.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:00 am

If your midterm is in the next week or so, then it's fine to go ask. Your prof will probably answer a lot of questions in class as the exam gets closer, so maybe wait to see what they're already going to tell you, then go to office hours to fill in any blanks.

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thesealocust
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby thesealocust » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:38 am

Professors can be really cagey. I had one professor flatly refuse to answer questions about the exam, on the theory that it would give an unfair advantage to give the information to some students and not others. Reasonable, but also obnoxious?

You can ask in class (or before/after) if you want to appear less strivery/gunnery. The best questions are mechanical ones that honestly you shouldn't have to ask: open/closed book, word limits, format (multiple choice vs. short answer vs. essay vs. t/f, etc.).

You can also press for practice questions or old exams. Sometimes professor have them but are reluctant to advertise that fact.

Asking about topics is probably not going to be fruitful, but it can help figure out the boundaries of what to study for a midterm.

You probably won't get any major insights, but the more you hear the professor talk about the exam, the better you can dial in your studying, so it's worthwhile.

zilladilla
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Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:40 pm

Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby zilladilla » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:17 pm

thanks guys I appreciate the advice, and yeah the midterm is in October so I wasn't going to ask right away. I just wanted to know what I should be gearing my focus on in the upcoming weeks.

snowball2
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby snowball2 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:48 pm

If they're general questions that would apply to everybody then class is the best place to ask.

BeeTeeZ
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby BeeTeeZ » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:07 am

(1) When they say things like "strong analysis," or "apply law to fact," as them specifically what that means for them. Answers will vary slightly, but little things make a big difference on a tight curve.

(2) Case citations is a must-ask question; you don't want to spend time memorizing case names or typing them during an exam unless you get points for it, and none of my professors addressed that issue without being directly asked.

(3) Ask if it's worth the effort to spell check your exam before submitting it.

(4) Ask if you will have access to files on your computer, the internet, neither, or both.

(5) Ask if copy/paste will be available.

Once you have those answered, you should tailor your exam prep to the tools you will have at your disposal; e.g., if you can copy/paste, you can prepare full rule statements and save a lot of time.

cavalier1138
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:19 am

BeeTeeZ wrote:(2) Case citations is a must-ask question; you don't want to spend time memorizing case names or typing them during an exam unless you get points for it, and none of my professors addressed that issue without being directly asked.


Have any of your professors ever answered that in the affirmative?

BeeTeeZ
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby BeeTeeZ » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:59 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
BeeTeeZ wrote:(2) Case citations is a must-ask question; you don't want to spend time memorizing case names or typing them during an exam unless you get points for it, and none of my professors addressed that issue without being directly asked.


Have any of your professors ever answered that in the affirmative?


Yes. Some professors gave a point for every citation, others gave no points at all for citations, and the rest indicated that citations "strengthen" the analysis; i.e., they give at least some weight to citations when grading.

Oh, and by "citations," that can mean anything that clearly indicates to the professor the basis for the rule used. My professors that encouraged any use of citations would give equal weight to an abbreviated case name including both parties, only one party, or even just a short parenthetical like "(case where child pulled chair from under sitting woman)", if you couldn't remember the case names.

cavalier1138
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:02 pm

BeeTeeZ wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
BeeTeeZ wrote:(2) Case citations is a must-ask question; you don't want to spend time memorizing case names or typing them during an exam unless you get points for it, and none of my professors addressed that issue without being directly asked.


Have any of your professors ever answered that in the affirmative?


Yes. Some professors gave a point for every citation, others gave no points at all for citations, and the rest indicated that citations "strengthen" the analysis; i.e., they give at least some weight to citations when grading.

Oh, and by "citations," that can mean anything that clearly indicates to the professor the basis for the rule used. My professors that encouraged any use of citations would give equal weight to an abbreviated case name including both parties, only one party, or even just a short parenthetical like "(case where child pulled chair from under sitting woman)", if you couldn't remember the case names.


Ohhhhhhh...

I thought you were talking about professors preferring BB-format citations, which seemed a bit crazy.

BeeTeeZ
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Re: Questions for professors about exams

Postby BeeTeeZ » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:29 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
BeeTeeZ wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
BeeTeeZ wrote:(2) Case citations is a must-ask question; you don't want to spend time memorizing case names or typing them during an exam unless you get points for it, and none of my professors addressed that issue without being directly asked.


Have any of your professors ever answered that in the affirmative?


Yes. Some professors gave a point for every citation, others gave no points at all for citations, and the rest indicated that citations "strengthen" the analysis; i.e., they give at least some weight to citations when grading.

Oh, and by "citations," that can mean anything that clearly indicates to the professor the basis for the rule used. My professors that encouraged any use of citations would give equal weight to an abbreviated case name including both parties, only one party, or even just a short parenthetical like "(case where child pulled chair from under sitting woman)", if you couldn't remember the case names.


Ohhhhhhh...

I thought you were talking about professors preferring BB-format citations, which seemed a bit crazy.


Sorry for the false alarm! No, I have never heard of a professor asking for formal citations outside of Legal Writing; at least during 1L.




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