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 Post subject: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:09 am 
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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:51 am 
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9000 words would be at 50 words per minute. I'd imagine that some of the slower typers wouldn't even be able to type that at a constant non-stop rate.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:00 am 
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I tend to write long exams, around 22 pages on average. It's worked out well, but I have a friend who generally writes 4-5 pages less than me (or 10 in one case) and still makes about the same grades.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:30 am 
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how in the world does someone write 22 pages in 3 hours?!

gasdfadsf. carpal tunnel syndrome!


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:42 am 
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I wrote between 9,000-10,000 on my 3 1/2-hour torts exam this summer and got an A.

I think what it does is give you a chance to rack up some miscellaneous points even if you don't completely analyze a professor's issue to his or her satisfaction.

People talk a lot about what to do to prepare for 1L in the summer before, from E&E's to LEEWS to whatever else. To me, two things:

1. Brush up on basic economic concepts.
2. Subscribe to the New Yorker (or Time or the Economist or Sports Illustrated or whatever floats your boat) and begin typing the stories as fast as you can. Practice every day until your fingers are absolutely flying over the keyboard.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:37 am 
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VincentChase wrote:
2. Subscribe to the New Yorker (or Time or the Economist or Sports Illustrated or whatever floats your boat) and begin typing the stories as fast as you can. Practice every day until your fingers are absolutely flying over the keyboard.


As much as people tend to have moral revulsion when exposed to the idea that law school performance is based on typing speed, I'm not sure you can get around the fundamental truth that when time constrained the quicker you type the more time you have to A) think and B) write down the product of your thinking. Typing articles word for word may be a bit extreme though :P


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:18 am 
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joshikousei wrote:
how in the world does someone write 22 pages in 3 hours?!

gasdfadsf. carpal tunnel syndrome!


My exams were all 4 hours long.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:37 am 
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WTF. Have none of your profs heard of word limits? Who wants to read 22 pages?


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:41 am 
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My finals over the summer were all 3000-5000 words, and I did very well.

Two keys:
Know your outline. You shouldn't have do to more than glance at it during the exam.
Take as many timed PTs as you have the time and energy for.

You don't have to type all that fast if you know your shit, don't screw around, and already have a good idea how to structure an answer.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:26 am 
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Dick Whitman wrote:
You don't have to type all that fast if you know your shit, don't screw around, and already have a good idea how to structure an answer.


There is nothing wrong with that advice, but even if knew my shit, didn't screw around, and had a good idea how to structure an answer - I'd want to be the person who types 25% faster and can give things a spit-polish at the end. Alas, I am neither likely to know my shit/not screw around nor am I a fast typer :(


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:07 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:39 pm 
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It really depends upon the exam/professor. For a basic issue spotter (some torts classes), it would make sense to produce an answer in the 1600-2200 WPH range. On the other hand, if there's a lot of reading to do and if the professor has emphasized that the test is not meant to be a typing contest, it would make sense to produce an answer in the 800-1600 WPH range. For example, the prompt for my 3.5 hr admin exam was something like 14 pages of detailed statutes and hypos, and the instructions specifically said the exam was not meant to be an "issue spotter." Reading and analysis took up so much of my time that I ended up producing an answer that was slightly south of 2000 words, for which I received an A.

The key, I think, is to be as concise and organized as humanely possible.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:10 pm 
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Random question:
Let's say one of the issues is a battery claim... and say the "harmful contact" is obvious but the intent element may not be... Do you still bring a fact in to support that the contact was harmful? Do you dutifully make out a prima facie case or just talk about the contentious issue, doing something like including "since the contact was harmful"

I recently took a no grade midterm and felt like I definitely did more memo style writing than exam style writing... maybe.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:19 pm 
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betasteve wrote:
Random question:
Let's say one of the issues is a battery claim... and say the "harmful contact" is obvious but the intent element may not be... Do you still bring a fact in to support that the contact was harmful? Do you dutifully make out a prima facie case or just talk about the contentious issue, doing something like including "since the contact was harmful"



Nothing is ever obvious on a law school exam. “Since the contact was harmful” is a conclusion you won’t get any points for. Explain why the contact was harmful, if its obvious then do it quickly, but don’t make assumptions/conclusions without explaining why you came to that assumption/conclusion or your leaving points on the table.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:22 pm 
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Matthies wrote:
betasteve wrote:
Random question:
Let's say one of the issues is a battery claim... and say the "harmful contact" is obvious but the intent element may not be... Do you still bring a fact in to support that the contact was harmful? Do you dutifully make out a prima facie case or just talk about the contentious issue, doing something like including "since the contact was harmful"



Nothing is ever obvious on a law school exam. “Since the contact was harmful” is a conclusion you won’t get any points for. Explain why the contact was harmful, if its obvious then do it quickly, but don’t make assumptions/conclusions without explaining why you came to that assumption/conclusion or your leaving points on the table.

so in a case where the "harmful contact" was a gunshot, something like "since the gunshot was clearly harmful contact..." then if the real issue is intent... go from there...?


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:28 pm 
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betasteve wrote:
Matthies wrote:
betasteve wrote:
Random question:
Let's say one of the issues is a battery claim... and say the "harmful contact" is obvious but the intent element may not be... Do you still bring a fact in to support that the contact was harmful? Do you dutifully make out a prima facie case or just talk about the contentious issue, doing something like including "since the contact was harmful"



Nothing is ever obvious on a law school exam. “Since the contact was harmful” is a conclusion you won’t get any points for. Explain why the contact was harmful, if its obvious then do it quickly, but don’t make assumptions/conclusions without explaining why you came to that assumption/conclusion or your leaving points on the table.

so in a case where the "harmful contact" was a gunshot, something like "since the gunshot was clearly harmful contact..." then if the real issue is intent... go from there...?


I'd have to see the hypo to give you a better answer, but yea if your running down the list of elements of battery in your asnwer, you want to adress each one, but if its obvious you don't need to say to much, so for hamrful conatct elemnt "the gunshot wound to the chest represnts the harmful contact elemnet.." next elemnt of battery. So I, R (each element, obviouse elements sate why and move on) A - focus on your intent issue/elemnt then C. That way you show the prof you know all the elements without just doing a C for harmful conatct and moving on.

So my answer might look something like this:

Is D guilty of battery for shooting P in the leg? A prima facia case of the tort of battery requires establishing (1) Harmful or offensive contact, (2) With the P’s person, (3) Intent, (4) Causation. Here we have harmful contact because the builit struck P in the leg causing him to fall to the ground bleeding. Additionally the builit fired from D’s gun struck P’s person in the leg. However, on the element of intent balh, blah. Then address causation. Then end with “Therefore, given that D;s actions of shooting P in the leg meet all the lements of the tort of battery D is likely to be found liable in this case.”


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:04 pm 
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I would imagine it depends somewhat on your writing style. My 85 minute torts midterm was 2,000 words long, but I followed the condensed style recommended by GTM (and used by my prof in the model answer he wrote to the practice midterm). Instead of stating things like:

Question. (1) Element; (2) Element; (3) Element. (1) Evidence (2) Evidence (3) Evidence; Conclusion(s).

GTM recommends:

Because (1) Element/Evidence; (2) Element/Evidence; (3) Element/Evidence; conclusion(s).

This eliminates a lot of redundancy (repeated words in the element and the evidence for it, repeated words in the question and conclusions regarding it), while keeping the same substance.

We'll see whether this was a good idea when we get grades back, LOL.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:15 pm 
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I typed ~20-25 pages on all of my exams that didn't have word limits. I got A+s on all of them. The profs all said that I got extra points for thoroughness of analysis, hitting secondary issues that other people (including the prof missed,) etc. The only reason I was able to do that is because I typed as much as I did.

Exams with word limits: B+, B+, A-, A. Not bad, but the word limit issue clearly hurt me. (One B+ exam was a "you'll get penalized if you go over the limit, but I will keep reading" exam. I went 2000 words over the word limit. The prof admitted to me when I went to talk to him that he didn't see any way I could have cut out enough to stay under the word limit without losing any substance. I would have pushed the issue, if I didn't have my xfer locked in at that point, since that is something of an absurd result. If you have superfluous stuff, fine. If the prof admits that you would necessarily lose substance by staying under the word limit, that means either 1.) The question was poorly written or 2.) The word limit was too low.)

I don't type very quickly, by the way--I actually never learned how to type, I still have to look at the keyboard, and I only use my pointer finger on my left hand, and three fingers on my right hand while typing. I simply don't waste time outlining my answer and so on, and I start typing as soon as I see issues to talk about. If the organization is off, I can always (and typically do) cut and paste sections around.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:19 pm 
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I'm got ~1400 words on a 75 minute timed, ungraded midterm, but I imagine that if I take a few practice exams with my outlines (and flowcharts?) already made, I'll be used to them by the time I take the actual exam, so that I don't have to spend much time not typing.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:44 pm 
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Quote:
1400 words on a 75 minute timed, ungraded midterm


This is exactly what I ended up doing today. Also was my first timed response and first use of an outline I made this week. Agreed, once the outline is more familiar, should be able to type at least a couple hundred more words in the alloted time.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:59 pm 
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If the prompt of the question is something like "discuss the rights and liabilities of all parties," you have better be pumping out around 1250-1500 words per hour. You need to keep in mind that generally law school exams are graded based on "earning" points. Thus, instead of a normal Ugrad exam in which you start with 100 points and lose points for everything you get wrong, on a law school exam you start with zero points and the goal is to rack up as many points based on issue spotting/policy/secondary issues. If you are only typing 800 words, someone else is going to be spotting more issues and racking up more points.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:56 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:28 pm 
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My 50-min Ks midterm ended up being 1,635 words long. Whether it was any good remains to be seen.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:41 am 
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Cavalier wrote:
I'm got ~1400 words on a 75 minute timed, ungraded midterm, but I imagine that if I take a few practice exams with my outlines (and flowcharts?) already made, I'll be used to them by the time I take the actual exam, so that I don't have to spend much time not typing.


Flowcharts are the shizzel.


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 Post subject: Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:52 am 
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rayiner wrote:
I would imagine it depends somewhat on your writing style. My 85 minute torts midterm was 2,000 words long, but I followed the condensed style recommended by GTM (and used by my prof in the model answer he wrote to the practice midterm). Instead of stating things like:

Question. (1) Element; (2) Element; (3) Element. (1) Evidence (2) Evidence (3) Evidence; Conclusion(s).

GTM recommends:

Because (1) Element/Evidence; (2) Element/Evidence; (3) Element/Evidence; conclusion(s).

This eliminates a lot of redundancy (repeated words in the element and the evidence for it, repeated words in the question and conclusions regarding it), while keeping the same substance.

We'll see whether this was a good idea when we get grades back, LOL.


This is actually pretty much how I wrote most of my exams in law school, element/evidence, then element/evidence, but in bar prep they were like don’t do that do straight IRAC, they made a big deal out of it. Something with the way they write the score sheets that if you mix up you R and A you could lose points or something. I don’t remember what the reason was but man they made a big stink about it ans tore up my pratice exam I wrote like that. So now I’m stuck in the IRAC only mode.


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