How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

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thesealocust
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:19 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
legends159 wrote:wtf 24 page fact pattern?

How do you keep track of all that information? and what subject is this?


It would've been Contracts, all 1Ls here had Contracts finals today. My fact pattern was only 5 pages (but 7 questions).


Choice quotes from our professor include the following:

1) Students used to complain about the length of my fact patterns, saying that it caused exams to be a reading test. So I instituted a mandatory reading period at the beginning of the exam. Now my exams are a typing test.

2) (after a discussion on policy). Wasn't that fun? Isn't it nice to be able to argue anything you want? Wouldn't that be great on an exam? Too bad. It won't happen.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:20 pm

thesealocust wrote:Choice quotes from our professor include the following:

1) Students used to complain about the length of my fact patterns, saying that it caused exams to be a reading test. So I instituted a mandatory reading period at the beginning of the exam. Now they are a typing test.

2) (after a discussion on policy). Wasn't that fun? Isn't it nice to be able to argue anything you want? Wouldn't that be great on an exam? Too bad. It won't happen.


Ouch. Goddamn. So glad I'm not in your section.

Did he really implement a "mandatory reading period" at the start?

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CE2JD
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby CE2JD » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:31 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
thesealocust wrote:Choice quotes from our professor include the following:

1) Students used to complain about the length of my fact patterns, saying that it caused exams to be a reading test. So I instituted a mandatory reading period at the beginning of the exam. Now they are a typing test.

2) (after a discussion on policy). Wasn't that fun? Isn't it nice to be able to argue anything you want? Wouldn't that be great on an exam? Too bad. It won't happen.


Ouch. Goddamn. So glad I'm not in your section.

Did he really implement a "mandatory reading period" at the start?


Yes. It was 30 minutes long and I didn't finish reading the whole fact pattern by the time the 30 minutes were up because I was spotting/identifying in the margin/underlining so many issues. It was pretty intense.

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thesealocust
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:35 pm

CE2JD wrote:Yes. It was 30 minutes long and I didn't finish reading the whole fact pattern by the time the 30 minutes were up because I was spotting/identifying in the margin/underlining so many issues. It was pretty intense.


20 years from now, when our Yachts meet up somewhere in the Atlantic, we'll reminisce about our first time in the trenches...

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CE2JD
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby CE2JD » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:35 pm

thesealocust wrote:
CE2JD wrote:Yes. It was 30 minutes long and I didn't finish reading the whole fact pattern by the time the 30 minutes were up because I was spotting/identifying in the margin/underlining so many issues. It was pretty intense.


20 years from now, when our Yachts meet up somewhere in the Atlantic, we'll reminisce about our first time in the trenches...


God dammit, now you got me thinking about admiralty and the TJ Hooper.

...back to studying.

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thesealocust
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:38 pm

CE2JD wrote:God dammit, now you got me thinking about admiralty and the TJ Hooper.


Just remember that Palsgraf is the law of the sea and you'll be fine.

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Kohinoor
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:38 pm

I only hit 2400 words on my final. I hope everyone ITT dies in a fire. No, really.

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98234872348
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby 98234872348 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:40 pm

Kohinoor wrote:I only hit 2400 words on my final. I hope everyone ITT dies in a fire. No, really.

If you were me, you would have exceeded the word limit on all but one of my finals... :evil:

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vanwinkle
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:45 pm

Kohinoor wrote:I only hit 2400 words on my final. I hope everyone ITT dies in a fire. No, really.


Well, the good news about my long response is I studied hard and was able to do it easily. The bad news is I studied hard for Contracts and have neglected all my other classes so far. You might still outdo me in Torts...

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:50 pm

CE2JD wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:I can say from personal experience (at least based on UoC's practice exams): the fact patterns are more dense here than they were at Wisconsin; furthermore, the model answers catch more of them, and the questions themselves give fewer hints as to what the "real" issues are.

Also, lol@6000+ words being concise. There's nothing wrong with writing that much--I would be concerned if I didn't have that much on an issue-spotter that doesn't have the "right/wrong" answers involved in statutory application courses--but don't try to pretend you're being concise!


Dude... it was a 24-page fact pattern. I'm not trying to pretend I was being concise. I really felt like I was being concise.


Holy hell. :shock:

Also, policy questions aren't "argue whatever you want." :roll: They are "apply the various policy arguments/issues we have discussed in class to this particular problem I'm giving you, and maybe draw your own conclusions in the last sentence or two."

Your prof is evil.

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Cavalier
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby Cavalier » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:52 pm

I only got 1248 words in four hours. Fortunately, the word limit was 1250.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:52 pm

Cavalier wrote:I only got 1248 words in four hours. Fortunately, the word limit was 1250.


Holy jesus. I take it you wrote for an hour and then edited down for three?

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CE2JD
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby CE2JD » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:54 pm

How did I draw all of the professors who don't have word limits?

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vanwinkle
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:55 pm

How come we're all on TLS instead of studying? Crim final in 3 days...

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Cavalier
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby Cavalier » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:57 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Cavalier wrote:I only got 1248 words in four hours. Fortunately, the word limit was 1250.


Holy jesus. I take it you wrote for an hour and then edited down for three?

I actually didn't have to condense too much, somehow. It took a while to actually hit the limit because the question was hard to resolve.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:03 pm

CE2JD wrote:How did I draw all of the professors who don't have word limits?


If you know the material better than your classmates, the word limit is a curse. It really limits how much you can differentiate yourself, in my opinion, because it limits the depth of your analysis and the number of issues you can talk about.

I like telling this story:

I had an exam with a word limit. The instructions and prof indicated that if you went over the word limit, you would be penalized, BUT everything after the word limit would still be considered full credit. In other words, going over the word limit resulted in a straight deduction for your grade, say from an A- to a B+.

So, I decided to take the "over the word limit" penalty to give myself the room I needed to discuss all the issues I saw and analyze them thoroughly. I went 2,000 words over the word limit on that exam, got a B+.

When I went to talk about the exam with the prof, I asked him what I should have cut out in order to get under the word limit without losing points from substance. (I struggle with word limited exams in general, so I was trying to figure out what I do wrong in them.) After reading through my answer, he said, and I quote, "anything you would have cut would have resulted in losing points on substance."

That is just idiotic, and it demonstrates the major weakness of word-limited exams.

The fact that exams without word limits have a "typing exam" element to them is true. That said, I MIGHT type 70 WPM if I'm typing words that I have significant muscle memory with. That said, I still only use a few fingers when I'm typing, I often get my hands tangled up, and I have to look down at the keyboard every third word or so or I'll get off by a set of keys. I do not win the fast typing aspect of things.

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Cavalier
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby Cavalier » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:05 pm

I'm definitely not a fan of word limits. It basically turns the exam into a guessing game - there's not enough room to include all the potential issues, so you basically have to guess which issues are worth points and which issues are not, and leave those out. If your professor disagrees without you about which issues were worth discussing, too bad.

Snooker
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby Snooker » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:07 pm

CE2JD wrote:
Snooker wrote:What do you get points for on these exams anyway? I've figured out a few things:

1) Recognizing the issue
2) finding each relevant rule and stating it
3) Identifying supporting facts that support either side and explaining why
4) Noting relevant policy issues
5) Stating which side will probably prevail

The exams I've seen don't really seem to lend themselves to gigantic 25-page sprawls. What is accounting for the mega bloat of some of these exams? Are some people rambling on and on about the rule and the case, or stating the same rule repeatedly, or what? I don't see myself writing 25 pages, even if every single word in the entire thing is discussed as an issue and every single possible rule that could be applied is on there. (but I am not taking torts)


A couple of things I've noticed:

1) Fact patterns are about 300x denser in the practice exams I've taken from UVA than from American University and other lower-ranked law schools. This makes sense because better quality students are, on average, better and faster at spotting issues. So I think the school of origin might have an impact on how many issues are in an exam.

2) I'm not sure if you're a law student or not, but I've noticed that as the semester has gone on, I've started interrelating things much more which has an exponential effect on the length of my exam answers.


I am a law student at one of the top 15 schools as well. I haven't compared fact patterns to different schools, but the density of our fact patterns varies by professors. The first one has several issues per sentence over many pages. The other one is a bit sparser, but uses the same amount of space. I am sure I could re-write her exams to increase the density, but her exams are not based so much on issue spotting as making lawyerly arguments. If you make a really good, solid, lawyerly arguments on the exam you will rack up points as if you'd spotted more issues. The third is a nightmare, she is a top-5 professor in one of the biggest fields, and she's probably read every relevant case in the registers - the 4-hour fact pattern will run 50+ pages for which there will only be 30 or so issues. Slogging through one of these god damn things is a real chore; you can't just take down notes of everything that happens and ask what issues these facts create, nor is there any needle in the haystack. Each little issue is drawn from a fragmentation of facts strewn across the giant hypo pattern and you have to be able to figure them out when they are there. The test should be illegal imo...

I like the dense fact pattern more but I think the sparser ones are more challenging because you aren't firing a machine gun at an endless wave of zerg issues to the theme song from Rambo. Where there's fewer issues and you are called on to make creative arguments, well thinking of what arguments supports each side so much can be difficult because there will be arguments even the professor didn't think of, that really would work in court.

I am seeing a lot of interrelatedness too. I can see 6,000 words in 3 hours being reasonable, but 20+ pages seems a bit bloated.

Inygma
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby Inygma » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:53 pm

tag

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napolnic
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby napolnic » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:53 pm

CE2JD wrote:How did I draw all of the professors who don't have word limits?

The only limit I have is a limit of 5000 words on one basically because the professor doesn't want to read a bunch of treatises and he would rather we don't focus on rote things that we all know (or have written right in front of us).

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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby Brucewaynegretzky » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:07 pm

So I just wrote 5100 for a 3.5 hour crim pro exam and I feel like I bombed. I feel like I missed things and I wasn't thorough enough. I repeated myself and I may very well have been incoherent at times.... damnit I hate this. I never reached a page limit before in my life and now I'm rambling endlessly without a point. This sucks.

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CE2JD
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby CE2JD » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:45 pm

Meh, rambling a little bit on an issue spotter is okay as long as you don't repeat yourself too much.

5100 is a lot of repeating yourself for you to be thinking you did poorly though.

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Llewellyn
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby Llewellyn » Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:48 am

So...4 hr K exam, wrote like 5500 words, felt like I was missing some issues and analysis here and there, and probably suffered from some degree of verbosity. :?

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vanwinkle
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:55 am

I had a 3.5 hour Crim exam yesterday and produced 6400 words. I was fairly proud of that one, too.

Torts is going to be the bane of my existence though.

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CE2JD
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Re: How many words (on average) do you write for exam answer?

Postby CE2JD » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:56 am

vanwinkle wrote:I had a 3.5 hour Crim exam yesterday and produced 6400 words. I was fairly proud of that one, too.

Torts is going to be the bane of my existence though.


Ummm... that's and absolutely bat-shit insane number of words assuming you took the same Crim test that I did. I was hovering around the 5,000 word mark and I felt like I didn't have anymore facts to talk about. At the end I was pretty much just making shit up.




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