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EXAM-TAKING TIPS: Outline of Presentation

EXAM-TAKING TIPS: Outline of Presentation

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EXAM-TAKING TIPS: Outline of Presentation

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  1. EXAM-TAKING TIPS:Outline of Presentation I. Job Description II. Before You Write III. While You Write IV. Efficient Use Of Time V. Exam Preparation VI. Afterward

  2. Metaphors for Seven Common Exam Errors Wrapping Paper Cabbage Pinball Machine Wine Tasting Sports Ticker Mobius Strip Socket Wrenches

  3. SO YOU CAN LISTEN … POWER POINT SLIDES WILL BE POSTED ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT WEBSITE

  4. IMPORTANTBACKGROUND RULE KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN BY ONE OF YOUR PROFS RE THAT PROF’S EXAM OVERRULE MY GENERAL ADVICE

  5. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(A) Generally (B) Respond to Prof’s Qs (C) Issue-Spotting Qs

  6. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(A) Generally • Common for Undergrad Exam: Show How Much You Know From Course • NOT the task on Law School Exam

  7. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(A) Generally • Common for Undergrad Exam: Show How Much You Know From Course • NOT the task on Law School Exam • Clients don’t care how much you know; they want you to address their problems

  8. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(A) Generally • NOT to show how much you know • Use what you know from course to address new legal problems • Problems likely not exactly what you’ve seen • Address using tools from course (cases, statutes, const. provisions, policy, theory) • Show you know which tools are useful (& which not) for particular problem

  9. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(B) Respond to Prof’s Qs • Law Profs = Precursors of Reality TV • Exam Qs = Challenges • Peculiar Components • Seemingly Random Restrictions • Unrealistic Time Constraints

  10. Contestants, today you will construct a tree house in five hours for twin 11-year old tomboys using 6 folding chairs, 8 wicker baskets, 12 boxes of Captain Crunch, 3 rolls of duct tape, and no metal at all. Good Luck !

  11. Students, today you will have 75 minutes to discuss what the result would be in Rocsalt v. PepperCoif the case took place in the future and involved a Rocket to Mars instead of a Stagecoach. Ignore any tort issues you see and just discuss the contract. Good Luck !

  12. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(B) Respond to Prof’s Qs • Most Common Faculty Complaint: • “Students Didn’t Respond to My Q!” • = “You Didn’t Do the Challenge” • Maybe Didn’t Incorporate Key Component (“Where’s the Turnip?”) • Maybe Didn’t Follow the Rules or Restrictions

  13. WRAPPING PAPER

  14. WRAPPING PAPER • Found on the outside of a box.

  15. WRAPPING PAPER • Found on the outside of a box. • If the Professor gives you limits on the scope of the question, stay within the boxyou are given to work with. • Purposes of Limits: • Focus Student Answers • Make Q manageable in time allotted

  16. WRAPPING PAPER • Found on the outside of a box. • If the Professor gives you limits on the scope of the question, stay within the boxyou are given to work with. • Wrapping paper is all too easy to dispose of!

  17. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(B) Respond to Prof’s Qs • Follow Instructions/Address Qs Given • Qs can take different forms, so read carefully • Most common form: Issue-Spotter (I’ll Address Specifically at Length) • Look for Limitations on Scope of Q

  18. *COMMON LIMITATIONS* • Apply particular case or rule • Play particular role • Use law from particular jurisdiction • Do not discuss … • Assume certain facts

  19. EXAMPLE: CRIMINAL LAW • You are Prosecutor • Under the facts above, • which characters would you try to charge, • with what crimes, • how likely are you to convict?

  20. EXAMPLE: CRIMINAL LAW • You are Prosecutor • Under the facts above, • which characters would you try to charge, • with what crimes, • how likely are you to convict? “I SUE DEAD PEOPLE”

  21. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(C) Issue-Spotting Qs DRAFT OF ANALYSIS SECTION OF LEGAL MEMO

  22. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(C) Issue-Spotting Qs • Draft of ANALYSIS SECTION • No elaborate Introductions/Conclusions • No separate Fact Section or Questions Presented or Brief Answer • (Treat My Problem as Fact Section)

  23. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(C) Issue-Spotting Qs • DRAFT of Analysis Section • Imperfect sentences OK (for most Profs) • Getting ideas on paper more important than style or rhetoric

  24. I. JOB DESCRIPTION(C) Issue-Spotting Qs • Equivalent Law Firm Task: Quick Preliminary Briefing • Best You Can Do in Available Time • Informal Presentation • Key Characteristics: Clear, Concise, & Organized

  25. II. BEFORE YOU WRITE(A) Read Carefully(B) Identify Most Important Topics(C) Roughly Organize Your Answer

  26. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(A) Read Carefully • Read/Follow General Instructions • Look at “Call of the Question” First • Read Text of Q More Than Once • If You See a Problem . . .

  27. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(A) Read Carefully • Read/Follow General Instructions • There for a Reason • E.g. Separate Bluebooks • Sometimes Available in Advance

  28. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(A) Read Carefully 2) Look at “Call of the Question” First • Understand Task/Challenge Before Reading Body Of Q • Avoid “Wrapping Paper”

  29. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(A) Read Carefully 3) Read Text of Q More Than Once • Don’t Miss Important Facts/Parallels to Cases • Student Who Starts Writing 3 Minutes Into Test is Helping Everyone Else

  30. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(A) Read Carefully 4) If You See a Problem . . . • E.g., Changing Character Names or No Call of the Q • E.g., “Saturday Night Special” & “Sheet Music”

  31. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(A) Read Carefully 4) If You See a Problem . . . • OK to send Q to Prof via Proctor • OK to note problem in answer & state any assumptions you make

  32. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(B) Identify the Most Important Topics • Usually too much to discuss thoroughly in time you’ll have • Need to identify & prioritize topics most worth your time

  33. CABBAGE

  34. CABBAGE • In Fill-the-Grocery-Cart Game, Cabbage takes up lots of space, not worth very much.

  35. CABBAGE • Takes up lots of space, not worth very much • To maximize score, focus on issues lawyers will fight about • Hard-to-Resolve Issues yield most points • Reject Undergrad Tendency to Avoid Unknown; If Result is Unclear, Go For It • Look for Lots of Facts in Problem

  36. CABBAGE • Takes up lots of space, not worth very much • To maximize score, focus on issues lawyers will fight about • Cabbage = Issues nobody would contest • Duty in tort case where operating MD harms patient • Pers. J. in case where D works/lives in state • Spend little time on; if focus on cabbage: even if everything you say is correct & relevant, you get C

  37. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(C) Roughly Organize Your Answer • Clear Organization … • Helps ME Understand Your Arguments • Helps YOU Keep Track of What Points You’ve Already Made

  38. PINBALL MACHINE

  39. PINBALL MACHINE • When operating a pinball machine, you try to score as many points as possible without worrying about the order in which you hit them.

  40. PINBALL MACHINE • When operating a pinball machine, you try to score as many points as possible without worrying about the order in which you hit them. • When writing an exam… • Make your points in a logical order • Make that order visibleto the reader

  41. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(C) Roughly Organize Your Answer • Brief Outline = List of Major Topics • Maybe Some Reminder Notes Under Each Topic • Choose Order in Which You’ll Discuss Them

  42. Sample Outline: Torts • P v. Driver (2) • Viol of Statute • Prx. Cause?? BIG Q • Contrib Negl (Comparative?) • P v. Carco (1) • Duty to P • Design Defect (GM case??) • P v. Hosp. (3) • Res ipsa L BIG Q • Like Allegheny Hosp.

  43. Sample Outline: Property(Adverse Possession) • Continuous (2) • Statute of Lim = 7 • Seasonal Use OK Here? (Howard case) BIG Q • Like Ord Owner? Enough Notice? • Open/Not: Easy (Exclusive = Same) (If Time) • Actual (1) • Enough Cultivation (Gardens? Cf. Lutz) BIG Q • Like Ord Owner? • State of Mind = Ev of Bad Faith (Ok in juris?) (3)

  44. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(C) Roughly Organize Your Answer Possible Organizational Schemes • Chronology • Major Causes of Action (by Character) • Elements/Factors from Causes of Action • Decision Trees • Most Complex First

  45. II. BEFOREYOU WRITE(C) Roughly Organize Your Answer • Starting to Write More Important Than Exact Order • Don’t spend 30 minutes doing detailed outline of 60 minute Q • Roughly weight complexity of issues to help allocate time

  46. Wine Tasting

  47. WINE TASTING • Wine Tasting = One roughly equal taste of each wine offered

  48. WINE TASTING • Wine Tasting = One roughly equal taste of each wine offered • All Issues Are Not Created Equal • Treating all alike is a recipe for C+/B- • “Drink More Deeply” of Complex Issues • “Higher Degree of Difficulty” Merits More Time; Yields Richer Results

  49. WINE TASTING • Wine Tasting = One roughly equal taste of each wine offered • All Issues Are Not Equal • Boss in a Quick Preliminary Briefing Wants Sense of Relative Complexity of Issues

  50. III. WHILEYOU WRITE(A) Discuss One Topic at a Time(B) How to Discuss a Single Topic