yet another Question About Law School Exams

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yet another Question About Law School Exams

Postby manbearwig » Tue May 25, 2010 3:25 pm

For both my last two semesters in college, I took a law class offered by a judge (Juvenile Justice and Criminal Procedures). The judge said he dumbed down the material a lot compared to law school, but I was just wondering how similiar the tests he gave us were a generic law school exam.

We basically went through a list of cases throughout each half semester (15-30), and then for the exam, he gave us multiple scenarios. Basically the case facts. We had to use specific cases to say how we would rule in each situation (usually it had to do with allowing evidence or not). The "hardest" part was memorizing the case facts with the name. All told, though, it was pretty easy, not hard to get an A at all.

I know that exams in law school will be no where near these were in the difficulty factor, that they will be insanely hard compared. But, how similiar/different in general are law school exams to this? Do you have to memorize case names or just the reasoning behind them? I'm going to guess that in law school, the exams will be written to try and trip you up, unlike in these classes where the judge told us he wasn't out to trick us.

Thank you!

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Re: yet another Question About Law School Exams

Postby Paichka » Tue May 25, 2010 4:43 pm

Have you looked in the Forum for Law School Students? There's a sticky there that links to exam banks. American University has a pretty extensive list, IIRC. Go there. Look at the exams in the banks. That's a law school exam.

My professors all gave a moderate length fact pattern, and then the last line was: "Analyze the torts here" or "What claims do each of the parties have, and how would you argue for and against them?" Something like that. Doesn't sound all that similar to what you're describing.

And others may disagree with me, but I don't think exams are written specifically to trip you up. My professors were all pretty fair, both semesters. The exams are written to highlight ambiguities -- professors what you to identify the issues (IE, the crimes, the torts, the broken contracts, whatever) but they also want you to discuss thoroughly how the case law that you've learned over the semester applies to the facts given. So in a criminal law exam, you might identify a crime that requires a certain mens rea (state of mind) in order to find the defendant guilty, and the defendant was intoxicated/mentally retarded/sleepwalking at the time. In your answer, you'd want to discuss how the defendant's intoxication/whatever will impact any finding of criminal liability, and argue both for and against finding him guilty.

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