Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

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quickquestionthanks
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Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby quickquestionthanks » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:37 pm

Hello, I just graduated cum laude from a T-30 law school. I wanted to share an exam method I discovered, sadly, only in my very last semester. Using it, I got an A or A+ on all of my exams. Surely, many people already use a variation of this method and will find this obvious, but I never heard about it in everything I read to prepare. Those who do not use some form of this method will certainly improve their grades by using it.

The method deals with issue-spotting. We all know we are supposed to spot issues, and every law school exam is ultimately about spotting issues. But you must understand the neurological process by which issue spotting works and then take advantage of the way that process works.

Most law students have the experience, after having taken a test, of #1: realizing that they missed an issue, or #2: realizing that they saw an issue, but failed to incorporate it into their answer. Problem #1 is a function of studying. This method deals with #2.

Old method:
1. Exam starts.
2. Turn page.
3. Quickly read through all questions.
4. Determine amount of time for each question (most professors give it to you)
5. Read question 1 again, slowly and carefully, taking notes.
6. Write answer to question 1 based on notes.
7. Revise until time for that question is up.
8. Rinse and repeat.

In the old method, I would focus on the "big picture" first. I wanted to have a comprehensive view of the test before I started it. I thought that reading Question 3 might allow me to see an issue in Question 1 that I might otherwise have missed. Once I got the big picture, I would re-read the question and take notes on the issues.

My discovery was that issue-spotting is not a voluntary process. You are told to learn to "spot" issues. But that implies that there is some active behavior or decision on the part of the test taker. There isn't. The thought that "pops" into your mind is literally a chemical reaction that occurs in your brain in response to the external stimuli, i.e. the words on the test. And like with chemical reactions, they often cannot be repeated with the same material. They become spent or inert. Of course, in order for this chemical reaction to occur at all, your mind must be full of legal knowledge (you must study).

This new method enables you to capture all of the issues as they enter (and before they leave) your brain.

New method:
1. Exam starts.
2. Turn page.
3. DO NOT READ THE QUESTIONS.
4. Determine amount of time for each question (most professors give it to you)
5. Begin reading question 1.
6. When you see first issue, stop. GO NO FURTHER.
7. Circle the word on which you realized there was an issue.
8. In the margin of the test, write down every thought that comes to mind pertaining to that issue. Use short-hand, so you do not waste time writing when you could be thinking of more thoughts that are coming to your mind. Draw an arrow to the circle.
9. Continue reading question.
10. When you "spot" the next issue, repeat 6-9.
11. When done, re-read the whole question, looking at the notes you took.
12. Create an outline/section headers based on the holistic view of the question and the issues.
13. Write your answer, making sure to include every issue and subissue that you wrote down during your first read of the question.

In the new method, you start with the details first, and figure out the big picture later. In this way, your mind is a completely blank slate, allowing all of the issues (that you are prepared to see) to jump out at you. The second time you read the question, or go back to an issue, the chemical reaction is less powerful. And then issues that you did see initially, you fail to include in your answer.

Using this method will ensure that on every test you will have written down every issue and sub-issue that your mind was prepared to see as a function of studying.

Hope this helps!

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buddyt
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby buddyt » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:33 pm

tag

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jrsbaseball5
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby jrsbaseball5 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:42 pm

buddyt wrote:tag

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bumblebeetuna
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby bumblebeetuna » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:47 pm

tag

DorthyMantooth
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby DorthyMantooth » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:50 pm

tagging this

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JXander
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby JXander » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:51 pm

Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

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lhanvt13
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby lhanvt13 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:00 pm

tagtagtag

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:08 pm

This is how I take my tests and literally have seen people freak out if I am doing a practice test in a group setting.

They always say "whoa whoa, what are you doing, finish reading."

9/10 this method is fucking awesome, a couple times however an issue I spent time writing about either got changed significantly later in the prompt or just ended up not being relevant.

I generally prefer reading through the question just to get a feel for the theme of issues I should be looking for. For example a question explicitly stated at the end to ignore potential intentional torts. There were at least two in the prompt that I would have wasted time outlining.

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francesfarmer
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby francesfarmer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:12 pm

tag

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KD35
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby KD35 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:18 pm

francesfarmer wrote:tag


Stop tagging...bookmark this instead.

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CaptainLeela
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby CaptainLeela » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:35 pm

I really appreciate this micro-thoughts from current students. While the TLS guides are an awesome resource they are also broad and sometimes (maybe just to me) a little overwhelming. These targeted suggestions about a specific topic are so helpful (I'm also thinking of Xifeng's CP tutorial and the One Note tutorial at the moment) because they give great structured guidance for a specific problem one may encounter.

I hope more people will contribute these targeted "hacks" going forward, as I'm sure I speak for many people when I say they're an awesome supplement to some of the stickied guides available on TLS. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Legen..waitforit
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby Legen..waitforit » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:52 pm

tag

rad lulz
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Re: Exam tip for 1Ls from recent graduate

Postby rad lulz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:54 pm

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