WARNING!!. Whatever your individual professors have told you is controlling! If something I say is different or does not apply, ignore me!. Before Walking In. Have outline completed and material
1. Approaching Law School Exams Professor Michael Seigel
Levin College of Law
Whatever your individual professors have told you is controlling! If something I say is different or does not apply, ignore me!
3. Before Walking In Have outline completed and material “mastered” to high level of detail
Have “checklist” completed
Utilize practice exams
Know professor’s exam style – hopefully know the exam “rules” before walking in
Get a good night’s sleep
4. At the exam room . . . Get there early, settle in, space out
5. When exam is handed out . . . Place your exam number on the places indicated
[Closed book – quickly recreate checklist on blank paper]
Read the rules carefully!!
READ THE (FIRST) FACT PATTERN COMPLETELY THROUGH – DO NOT START WRITING!!!
Annotate fact pattern
6. Then . . . THINK!!
Essay Question: Sketch outline to answer, as complete as possible; typically approaching facts chronologically is easiest
Use checklist to make sure outline is complete
7. Do’s and Don’ts (essays) Do (essays):
IRAC: issue, rule, analysis, conclusion
Capture and write down every step of analysis, even “obvious” points, space permitting
Argue both sides when necessary (not at every stage of decision tree if not warranted)
Answer the specific question asked
Use common sense/good judgment
Keep track of time
8. Don’t . . . Change facts or assume facts that do not appear in fact pattern; if not sure, state assumption
Use legal terms as every-day descriptors
“Throw around” legal terms in inexact way
Waste time on fancy introductions or reiterative conclusions
Discuss issues that don’t really apply
Try to be excessively creative
Try to be humorous
9. Do: (multiple choice/short answer) Read each answer carefully before selecting correct one
Use your experience to employ strategies that have worked for you in the past
10. Know Professor’s Preferences Should you cite to cases and statutes or rules?
How important are conclusions?
Breadth versus depth?
Creativity versus strict accuracy?
11. Remember . . . Walking out feeling miserable is probably good sign!
Grading curve is 3.05-3.15 – that means majority likely to get B or better
12. Let’s Try Exercise
14. Questions? Good luck!