Law School Exams Question

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memoryl0ss
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Law School Exams Question

Postby memoryl0ss » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:25 am

I will be heading to law school this coming August. I have been attempting to wrap my head around what exactly a law school exam entails. I understand fact patterns, and the IRAC way of writing. I plan on reading "Getting to Maybe" and working through the LEEWS system.

My question is during exams, when you apply law to fact, are professors (for the most part as I know this can vary) concerned with the case law that created the law? Or is simply knowing the law and how to apply it the facts sufficient to be successful on an exam?

Finally, the law is ever evolving. Do you need to explain on an exam what would be your analysis under an old common law rule as well as a newer rule?

Forgive my ignorance. Simply trying to be prepared as possible as it pertains to law school exams

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solotee
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby solotee » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:40 am

These are good questions, and one's that I had going into this as well.

1) Yes, you learn the law from case law. Different jurisdictions have different approaches: some cases adopt law from the restatement, other's follow the common law. Also, the restatement does not become law until a jurisdiction adopts it. For most classes, you don't need to know the case names, just the rule/law from the case. For the most part, your professor will tell you whether something is a majority rule, or minority rule.

2) This depends on your professor. Some professors just want the current law. Other professors will want both.

Btw, you'll have plenty of time to learn how to take a law school exam during your first semester. Your knowledge will increase exponentially once you begin playing with the material.

Good luck.

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Heartford
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby Heartford » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:49 am

solotee wrote:
Btw, you'll have plenty of time to learn how to take a law school exam during your first semester. Your knowledge will increase exponentially once you begin playing with the material.


This. I understand why you're worried about exams, but there's really no reason to be thinking about them yet. If you pay attention to your reading and to what's going on in class, you should have no problem understanding exactly what your professors are looking for when December comes around.

memoryl0ss
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby memoryl0ss » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:06 pm

Thank you for both of your help. One more questions.

I have seen people say typos and other such errors are not important and will not affect your grade, or at least only minutely. So is typing speed more important than getting every word correct?

dakatz
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby dakatz » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:08 pm

memoryl0ss wrote:Thank you for both of your help. One more questions.

I have seen people say typos and other such errors are not important and will not affect your grade, or at least only minutely. So is typing speed more important than getting every word correct?


I would say yes in 99.99% of situations. None of my professors cared about typos. They said that they would only take off points for typos if the exam was incomprehensible.

TigerBeer
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby TigerBeer » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:17 pm

memoryl0ss wrote:Thank you for both of your help. One more questions.

I have seen people say typos and other such errors are not important and will not affect your grade, or at least only minutely. So is typing speed more important than getting every word correct?


i think typing speed is more important

but i disagree with people that say typos are not important. overall presentation, making your exam easier to read, structuring your answer, etc makes a difference. don't forget that professors have a very hard time differentiating exams at the margin. although an A and a B exam are easy to tell apart, a high B+ and a low A- are virtually indistinguishable. at the margins, the little things matter. in all of my classes this semester, the professors have said that participation in class can affect your grade at the borders. why? it's because the exams at the margins are similar enough that they have to look at things outside the substantive content itself to determine whether it's your exam, or your classmate's, that gets the bump from a B+ to an A-.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:23 pm

All professors that I had said they think case law is just an example and don't care whether you use it in your exam or not. When I started 1 L I went to each professor's office hours with a simple question: "Can I get an A on your exam without citing a single case?" They all said I could. They just care that you understand the concept and the BLL, not that you remember some analogous case from the notes 10 weeks ago.

memoryl0ss
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby memoryl0ss » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:55 pm

Thank you again for all of your help.

And Tigerbeer, I thought most law schools had a blind grading system?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:58 pm

TigerBeer wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote:Thank you for both of your help. One more questions.

I have seen people say typos and other such errors are not important and will not affect your grade, or at least only minutely. So is typing speed more important than getting every word correct?


i think typing speed is more important

but i disagree with people that say typos are not important. overall presentation, making your exam easier to read, structuring your answer, etc makes a difference. don't forget that professors have a very hard time differentiating exams at the margin. although an A and a B exam are easy to tell apart, a high B+ and a low A- are virtually indistinguishable. at the margins, the little things matter. in all of my classes this semester, the professors have said that participation in class can affect your grade at the borders. why? it's because the exams at the margins are similar enough that they have to look at things outside the substantive content itself to determine whether it's your exam, or your classmate's, that gets the bump from a B+ to an A-.

This. Typing speed is important because it lets you get things down quicker, giving you more time to proofread and format your answer before time is called. Having a well-presented answer does make a difference in a lot of cases.

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Heartford
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby Heartford » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:12 pm

memoryl0ss wrote:Thank you again for all of your help.

And Tigerbeer, I thought most law schools had a blind grading system?


The grading system is blind for the exam, which usually counts for the majority of your grade. Professors often reserve the right to bump your grade up or down for class participation or effort. The bump takes place after your exam is graded. So although the majority of your grade is based entirely upon your exam performance as it stands in relation to that of your classmates, some small percentage is sometimes based upon other factors (again, in relation to your classmates). Whether these other factors are also "blindly" calculated seems to vary. You can search through TLS to find lots of threads on the topic, or you can just not worry about it right now and do your best when you get to law school. I recommend the latter.

TigerBeer
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby TigerBeer » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:24 pm

Heartford wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote:Thank you again for all of your help.

And Tigerbeer, I thought most law schools had a blind grading system?


The grading system is blind for the exam, which usually counts for the majority of your grade. Professors often reserve the right to bump your grade up or down for class participation or effort. The bump takes place after your exam is graded. So although the majority of your grade is based entirely upon your exam performance as it stands in relation to that of your classmates, some small percentage is sometimes based upon other factors (again, in relation to your classmates). Whether these other factors are also "blindly" calculated seems to vary. You can search through TLS to find lots of threads on the topic, or you can just not worry about it right now and do your best when you get to law school. I recommend the latter.


yeah, this. my law school has a blind grading system, but professors are still allowed to give bumps or drops at their discretion. i believe that their initial reading of the exam must be done blind, but after they give their preliminary grades they're allowed to fudge things.

to be honest i'm not sure that blind grading really means all that much. it prevents really big abuses of discretion but it still allows for small (ab)uses of discretion. better than a non-blind grading system though, i guess.

it's best not to worry about it too much. there is sooo much about your grade that is outside your control. just do your best at the parts that are within your control

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NoleinNY
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby NoleinNY » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:36 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
TigerBeer wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote:Thank you for both of your help. One more questions.

I have seen people say typos and other such errors are not important and will not affect your grade, or at least only minutely. So is typing speed more important than getting every word correct?


i think typing speed is more important

but i disagree with people that say typos are not important. overall presentation, making your exam easier to read, structuring your answer, etc makes a difference. don't forget that professors have a very hard time differentiating exams at the margin. although an A and a B exam are easy to tell apart, a high B+ and a low A- are virtually indistinguishable. at the margins, the little things matter. in all of my classes this semester, the professors have said that participation in class can affect your grade at the borders. why? it's because the exams at the margins are similar enough that they have to look at things outside the substantive content itself to determine whether it's your exam, or your classmate's, that gets the bump from a B+ to an A-.

This. Typing speed is important because it lets you get things down quicker, giving you more time to proofread and format your answer before time is called. Having a well-presented answer does make a difference in a lot of cases.


Definitely agree with the first part. I would add (even though it is already implied) that it can allow you to get more substance into your answer too. Format definitely helps (a professor told me my formatting helped bump my grade up); however, if you can't cover all the issues and get analysis on "paper," then those are points you are missing out on.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:39 pm

Image
They're starting this year!

adude
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby adude » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:09 am

memoryl0ss wrote:I have seen people say typos and other such errors are not important and will not affect your grade, or at least only minutely. So is typing speed more important than getting every word correct?


I was very worried about one exam where the professor told us that grammar and spelling count. I did not have any time to proofread my responses. Somehow, I got the top grade in the class. Recently, I looked through the exam: just as I had thought, there were a ton of misspelled words and grammatical errors. In the end, it was all about how many issues you could spot.

At least from my experience, the number of points you will gain from spotting a few more issues dwarfs the number you could gain from correcting your grammar or spelling.

goodolgil
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby goodolgil » Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:20 pm

One exception for the case law thing is Con Law. You pretty much have to know the cases there.

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goosey
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby goosey » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:14 pm

these post made me feel nostalgic. I remember being totally lost as to what an exam would be like.

I would suggest doing leews because it helped me at least get a little bit of an understanding.

Also, the importance of cases depends on the professor---some like analogies. others could care less.

overall though, if I were you I would look at your professor's A exams within the first two weeks of school so you have some kind of guideline as to how you should approach the class.

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Heartford
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Re: Law School Exams Question

Postby Heartford » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:18 pm

goosey wrote: I would look at your professor's A exams within the first two weeks of school


It's shocking to me that these are available at some schools. Many professors here don't even share prior exam questions, let alone "A exams". Weird how different schools can be.




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