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2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:55 pm
by Giro423
1L here. I work with hypos during the week for the topics we cover in my classes, but I'm wondering what strategies people took regarding full length practice tests. Advice on this seems a bit scattered throughout TLS. Where I can find it, the consensus seems to be wait until your outline is finished (or close to it), but that probably wouldn't be until the last couple weeks. Did you find that was enough time? How many did you take for each class? I outline each weekend, so I don't expect to sink too much time in that come November, other than for memorizing and consolidating.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:05 pm
by WalkingContradiction
Giro423 wrote:1L here. I work with hypos during the week for the topics we cover in my classes, but I'm wondering what strategies people took regarding full length practice tests. Advice on this seems a bit scattered throughout TLS. Where I can find it, the consensus seems to be wait until your outline is finished (or close to it), but that probably wouldn't be until the last couple weeks. Did you find that was enough time? How many did you take for each class? I outline each weekend, so I don't expect to sink too much time in that come November, other than for memorizing and consolidating.


After Thanksgiving. Like that Sunday or so. It was plenty of time. Professors only have so many old exams that you can use.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:12 pm
by cavalier1138
After Thanksgiving at the earliest. I have yet to meet a professor that doesn't include topics from the last week of class on the exam, which means that if you take practice exams too early, you're wasting a practice session on an issue that you haven't learned how to analyze yet.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:20 pm
by agnes_bean
cavalier1138 wrote:After Thanksgiving at the earliest. I have yet to meet a professor that doesn't include topics from the last week of class on the exam, which means that if you take practice exams too early, you're wasting a practice session on an issue that you haven't learned how to analyze yet.


Seconding this, and also WalkingContradiction's point that you will probably only have a limited number of exams per professor to work with, and you'll want to take full advantage. My 1L year I think I only had 3-4 exams for most professors. Didn't start taking them until about a week (maybe in some cases a week and a half) before each exam. They are essential to doing well, but IMO they should mostly be the final step in your study process, where you work out the kinks in your understanding and figure out exactly how the prof wants the material applied. You'll probably end up adjusting your outline in response to your practice tests, but it is definitely useful to have the outline mostly done before you start taking them. (I sometimes did practice tests before my outline was done because that was when my study group was doing them, and I uniformly found it a total waste of time for the topics I hadn't already gone over in my personal studying.)

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:50 pm
by carsondalywashere
Would doing hypos from E&Es be a good way to at least practice the skill set of applying law to fact?

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:02 pm
by typicalsplitter
Counterpoint: in almost every one of my law school classes, I wish I had started taking practice tests earlier. IMO learning the law is learning how it applies to facts. You don't get that from an outline.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:43 pm
by cavalier1138
typicalsplitter wrote:Counterpoint: in almost every one of my law school classes, I wish I had started taking practice tests earlier. IMO learning the law is learning how it applies to facts. You don't get that from an outline.


But you can get it from E&Es and practice problems. If you started taking practice exams around this time in 1L, I guarantee it would have been wasted effort. You simply wouldn't have covered all the doctrines that would be likely to appear on exams.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:43 pm
by yyyuppp
carsondalywashere wrote:Would doing hypos from E&Es be a good way to at least practice the skill set of applying law to fact?


i did that and thought it was good. just be aware that E&Es are comprehensive and stuff may show up in the hypos or answers your teacher hasn't or won't teach you (by this i mean even in a rule/topic you have been taught). don't worry about that if it happens. i think e&e's are great for getting comfortable with confronting a fact pattern, analyzing it, and then spewing out an answer. then make sure you didn't miss anything you shouldn't have. if anything, just going through mechanics of what answering a real question will be like is valuable.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:44 pm
by carsondalywashere
yyyuppp wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:Would doing hypos from E&Es be a good way to at least practice the skill set of applying law to fact?


i did that and thought it was good. just be aware that E&Es are comprehensive and stuff may show up in the hypos or answers your teacher hasn't or won't teach you (by this i mean even in a rule/topic you have been taught). don't worry about that if it happens. i think e&e's are great for getting comfortable with confronting a fact pattern, analyzing it, and then spewing out an answer. then make sure you didn't miss anything you shouldn't have. if anything, just going through mechanics of what answering a real question will be like is valuable.

Great, thank you!

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:47 pm
by proteinshake
carsondalywashere wrote:
yyyuppp wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:Would doing hypos from E&Es be a good way to at least practice the skill set of applying law to fact?


i did that and thought it was good. just be aware that E&Es are comprehensive and stuff may show up in the hypos or answers your teacher hasn't or won't teach you (by this i mean even in a rule/topic you have been taught). don't worry about that if it happens. i think e&e's are great for getting comfortable with confronting a fact pattern, analyzing it, and then spewing out an answer. then make sure you didn't miss anything you shouldn't have. if anything, just going through mechanics of what answering a real question will be like is valuable.

Great, thank you!

currently going through the Civ Pro EE and I LOVE it. its been matching up with what my professor has been teaching pretty much exactly, though I'm not that far into it (still in jurisdiction).

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:51 pm
by typicalsplitter
cavalier1138 wrote:
typicalsplitter wrote:Counterpoint: in almost every one of my law school classes, I wish I had started taking practice tests earlier. IMO learning the law is learning how it applies to facts. You don't get that from an outline.


But you can get it from E&Es and practice problems. If you started taking practice exams around this time in 1L, I guarantee it would have been wasted effort. You simply wouldn't have covered all the doctrines that would be likely to appear on exams.

I think now is too early but reading week is too late. E&Es and practice problems are imperfect because they're not tailored to the typical factual ambiguities that your professor is interested in (unless they wrote the practice problems, in which case great).

I guess I don't see the harm in "wasting" a practice test by taking it too early and potentially not having covered every bit of law on the test. To me, the value of the test is not in simulating the exam experience (although I can see how that's helpful for peace of mind)--it's in becoming familiar with your professor's approach to the subject.

As with all law school advice, ymmv. Ultimately, study habits and strategies that have worked in the past will probably continue to work in law school. I just wanted to offer another viewpoint.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:17 pm
by The_Lorax
carsondalywashere wrote:Would doing hypos from E&Es be a good way to at least practice the skill set of applying law to fact?

Absolutely positively.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:18 pm
by The_Lorax
typicalsplitter wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
typicalsplitter wrote:Counterpoint: in almost every one of my law school classes, I wish I had started taking practice tests earlier. IMO learning the law is learning how it applies to facts. You don't get that from an outline.


I guess I don't see the harm in "wasting" a practice test by taking it too early and potentially not having covered every bit of law on the test. To me, the value of the test is not in simulating the exam experience (although I can see how that's helpful for peace of mind)--it's in becoming familiar with your professor's approach to the subject.

As with all law school advice, ymmv. Ultimately, study habits and strategies that have worked in the past will probably continue to work in law school. I just wanted to offer another viewpoint.

If the professor provides enough tests, the more the merrier! At a certain point I think you're right it's just a judgment call whether you "have enough" to be able to burn one early.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:42 pm
by Giro423
carsondalywashere wrote:Would doing hypos from E&Es be a good way to at least practice the skill set of applying law to fact?


I’ve been finding them helpful, but I’ve also noticed there’s a big difference between doing an e&e hypo that pertains to a certain issue (where you already know what to look for), and working through an exam hypo where anything could pop up. E&e problems can lead to a false sense of security.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:55 pm
by RCSOB657
Never. Although, I guess my tort and property 1 midterms could be considered practice tests.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:15 pm
by carsondalywashere
Giro423 wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:Would doing hypos from E&Es be a good way to at least practice the skill set of applying law to fact?


I’ve been finding them helpful, but I’ve also noticed there’s a big difference between doing an e&e hypo that pertains to a certain issue (where you already know what to look for), and working through an exam hypo where anything could pop up. E&e problems can lead to a false sense of security.

That makes a lot of sense

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:47 pm
by Giro423
Bringing this back from the dead to ask another question: My profs have only posted one or two old exams. Has anyone found there to be a risk in taking exams from other professors, or taking tests that don't have a sample answer?

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:05 pm
by cavalier1138
Giro423 wrote:Bringing this back from the dead to ask another question: My profs have only posted one or two old exams. Has anyone found there to be a risk in taking exams from other professors, or taking tests that don't have a sample answer?


No risk in taking an exam without a model answer. Minor-to-moderate risk in taking another prof's exam, but you absolutely should not review model answers picked by that professor.

Re: 2Ls and 3Ls: How and when did you start taking PTs?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:07 pm
by carsondalywashere
Giro423 wrote:Bringing this back from the dead to ask another question: My profs have only posted one or two old exams. Has anyone found there to be a risk in taking exams from other professors, or taking tests that don't have a sample answer?

I've found it to be not as big of a deal for Crim, but the fact patterns for all of my other classes vary considerably. Get a good feel of what your professor tests and then search for other exams which are at least somewhat similar.