Approaching Law School Exams

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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

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Approaching Law School Exams

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1. Approaching Law School Exams Professor Michael Seigel Levin College of Law

2. WARNING!! 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 Review checklist

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 Start writing

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 Spot complexities Be precise 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? Case references? “Right” answers? 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!

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