1 HOW TO STUDY FOR AN EXAM IN LAW SCHOOL In most instances, your grade in a course will depend entirely on one law school exam. If that sounds like a lot of pressure, well, quite frankly, it is, but there's good news! Some people in your class have to get A's, so you might as well be one of them.

The following five steps will help you ace any law school exam: Difficulty: Hard Time Required: Three months Here's How:

1. Study all semester long.

Be a diligent student throughout the semester by doing all the assigned reading, taking great notes, reviewing them after each week, and participating in class discussions. Law professors love to talk about seeing the forest for the trees; at this point you should focus on those trees, the main concepts your professor is covering. You can place them in the forest later. 2. Join a study group.

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A great way to be sure you're understanding key concepts throughout the semester is to go over the readings and lectures with other law students. Through study groups, you can prepare for future classes by discussing assignments and fill in gaps in your notes from past lectures. It may take you a little while to find fellow students you click with, but it's worth the effort. Not only will you be more prepared for the exam, you'll also get used to talking out loud about cases and concepts-particularly great if your professor uses the Socratic Method. 3. Outline.

Leading up to the reading period, you should have a good grasp of major concepts, so now it's time to pull them all together into the "forest," if you will, in course outlines. Organize your outline based on the syllabus or your casebook's table of contents and fill in blanks with information from your notes. If you don't want to leave this until just before the exam, do it gradually throughout the semester; start a document with the major concepts, leaving large blank areas that you can fill in with information as you review it from your notes at the end of each week. 4. Use past exams of professors to prepare.

Many professors put past exams (sometimes with model answers) on file in the library; if your professor does so, be sure to take advantage. Past exams tell you what your professor considers the most important concepts in the course, and if a sample answer is included, be sure to study the format and copy it as best you can when you attempt other practice questions. If your professor offers review sessions or office hours, be sure to come prepared with a good understanding of past exams, which are also great for study group discussion. 5. Improve your test-taking skills by learning from your past exams.

If you've already been through a semester or more of law school exams, one of the best ways to improve your performance is by studying your past performances. If you can get copies of your exams, look at your answers and the model answers carefully. Note where you lost points, where you did the best, and also think back to how and when you prepared--what worked and what may have been a waste of hannamapandi | Error! No text of specified style in document. 2

your time. Also be sure to analyze your exam-taking techniques as well, for example, did you use your time wisely during the test?

What You Need:

* Casebook * Notes * Outline * Time

2 PERFORMING WELL IN LAW SCHOOL EXAMS Performing well on law school exams is essential to success in law school. Law school exam writing is a specialized art that takes skill and practice. You will need to demonstrate both a substantive knowledge of the subject matter and superior writing skills. Below are five tips for crafting a successful law school exam response.

1. Plan Your Response. Given the time pressures of every law school exam, it may be tempting to begin writing immediately. However, taking time to plan and outline your response is usually time well-spent. Planning before you write will help you organize your thoughts, spot additional issues, stay on track, address every point and draft a clear, concise response. 2. Craft a well-organized essay. The ability to write clearly and concisely will gain you points even if you fail to spot all of the issues. Include an introduction stating the rule of law, draft supporting paragraphs that apply and analyze the rule and discuss counter-arguments (this is a step many students skip). Guide the reader – your professor – through your response with headings, introductory sentences, transitional phrases and concluding sentences. By crafting a well-organized essay, you will make the professor’s job easier and will earn more points. 3. Remember IRAC. The “Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion” formula for law school exam writing is usually a successful approach. While spotting the issues is important, you should state the rule of law, apply it to the specific fact pattern presented and then analyze and resolve each issue. Don’t forget to include a conclusion summarizing each argument and explaining how you arrived at your

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conclusion. If there is no clear answer, you may want to list several alternative conclusions and explain why each conclusion is logical. 4. Review past exams. Many professors maintain a file of exams they have given in past years. Professors frequently include the same or similar questions on exams year after year. Although past exams won’t include the answers, you can brainstorm responses with other students. Taking the professor’s past exams will also give you a flavor of his exam style and format. Some professors may even be kind enough to critique your answers or give you advice on how to best respond to the question. 5. Budget your time. Some law school exam questions will be quite difficult to answer. A professor may plant such questions in an exam to test the student’s ability to manage his time. Do not get hung up on challenging questions. In the interest of time, it may be better to skip a difficult question to spend more time on other questions. Remember, the goal is not to draft the perfect exam answer - that may be impossible in the time provided. The goal is to draft an essay that is better than that of your peers. You are competing against your fellow students and the best essays – even if flawed or incomplete – will earn the top grades.

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