I think that's a pretty good summary of the basics. Hornbooks are WAY more useful than casebooks. I agree that to have a good grasp of the material, you need to go through both the Hornbooks and the E&E.
But that still misses the overall point. Reading the E&E and the Hornbooks only helps you understand
the material better than your classmates. This won't get you good grades. You have to learn how to get it down on paper to get points for it on the exam. And in that regard, law school exams are a typing race. Write down everything, step by step, even the obvious steps. Don't just skip right to the complex issues or the brilliant arguments. On your Torts exam, if the hypo says someone blatantly punched another guy in the face in a bar fight, don't take it for granted that the punch caused harm. Spend a second explaining how knuckles forcefully directed at a vulnerable area of the body such as the face usually cause bruising, pain, and possibly broken bones, and that you would want to look at medical reports in this case to prove harm. It seems obvious that a punch to the face would cause harm, but on a law exam, you lose points if you don't spell this out using the facts.
It actually helps if the material seems a bit confusing to you, because you're more inclined to spell out your reasoning. If it makes too much sense, you tend to skip over (or process sub-consciously) the small logical steps that lead you to your conclusion. If you do this on law school exams, you miss tons of points. Spell everything out. Don't feel like you are being stupid for making a big deal out of tiny, obvious issues. Don't think you are brilliant for skipping right to the critical issues that would decide the case. The truth is, you get the same amount of points for talking about the obvious issues as you do the more complex ones. In order to get an A, you have to talk about them all. So writing a lot is key. And making that writing effective is the other key.
Don't go into the exam thinking a good answer is going to simplify and sort out the chaos. Your goal is actually to sort of create chaos. If there is something in your outline that is only tangentially relevant to the fact pattern, you will probably get points if you can artfully weave that issue into your analysis using the facts (it has to be somewhat related, though). The more stuff you can talk about that is in any way related to the question, the better. It might not even be a bad idea to talk about things that could
be an issue if you knew more about the case.
How far to stretch things really depends on your professor, though. Some are more prone to having you be focused and relevant in your answers, and some want you to literally apply your entire outline in any way possible to the fact pattern.
The bottom line is: you're training to be a lawyer. Lawyers deal with a somewhat unpredictable bureaucracy. The law is complex, and there are many different conclusions you can come to from reading a fact pattern. Your goal is to talk about them all, even if they seem to be remote or unlikely conclusions. Also, judges can make weird decisions that don't always seem logical or make the most sense, so you have to be prepared to deal with all possible outcomes, even if they don't seem rational. You don't want to leave any stone unturned, because that looks bad to a client, and it leaves an opening for the opposing counsel.
Also, a bit of a cynical view, lawyers don't make money by simplifying things. If you want to milk a case for billable hours, you don't want to make things short and sweet. The incentive isn't necessarily to be efficient. It's to generate a lot of paperwork and be overly thorough...to the point of overkill. Some clients actually prefer it to be this way. They'd rather pay for over-analysis that is somewhat irrelevant than making the mistake of missing some tiny little thing that there is a 99% chance it's not going to matter. When you're working on multi-billion dollar deals, client's aren't going to care if they have to pay for an extra $20K of billable hours spent on an issue that is 99% irrelevant on the off-chance that 1% of the time, it could sink the deal and cost billions of dollars.
Bottom line -- you have to go into the exam with the mentality that you're going to spew everything you know rather than trying to make a clear analysis about only the most important, crucial, and complex issues. You DON'T want to get straight to the point. For example, the Glannon's Torts E&E has some practice exams and answers in the back of the book. But in the model answers, Glannon kind of brushes aside the obvious things and goes right to the critical decision points. This is a BAD EXAMPLE of what to do. Don't use the model answers in the E&Es to guide you. You need to talk about everything. But you also have to keep what you say at least somewhat relevant. Work through all the little details and do your analysis step-by-step, even if the steps seem painfully obvious. And do this for any topic on your outline you possibly can. Don't talk about stuff that's not related to your outline or the course, though...that is the limit of the "talk about everything" rule.
It's hard to describe in words, though. You really just have to go through it. You do have to strike a balance...you don't get points for talking about things that are totally irrelevant, but it's better to err on that side than to narrow your discussion to only the crucial or complex issues. The people I know that did well just sat down and typed a fuckload of stuff, some of which the professor didn't even understand...but you don't lose points for doing this. You do lose time if you talk about totally irrelevant stuff, but you make up that time by typing fast. What you don't want to do is leave points sitting out there not to be covered.
It does take a lot of work, though. The only way you're going to have time to type all this stuff is if you've committed most of it to memory, and you don't have to reference your outline. Your outline should mostly be there for safety's sake. And the way you commit it to memory is to read the material from multiple sources (casebook, hornbook, E&E). Casebook is the least efficient and most confusing way to learn the material, but you still should go through the cases once and pay attention to the principles and rules the judges are using. It actually makes more sense to read the E&E and Hornbook first, and THEN read the cases. And briefing is a waste of time. A huge waste of time. Focus on how the rules, tests, and principles are used.