Law School Discussion

typing exams?


typing exams?
« on: March 03, 2003, 02:10:42 AM »
To type or not to type?  My school requires that we use a typewriter if we want to type our exams.  I'm a much faster typer than I am a writer, but I don't know if the noise of the typewriter and the bulk (harder to think because the test question is way off to the side) would reduce any advantage gained by my speed.  Any thoughts?

I've heard from friends at other schools that a lot of schools are allowing people to take exams on computers.  This seems to be the best strategy, no noise, smaller size.  Has anyone had any experice with this?  Any problems?  What if your computer crashes in the middle of the exam?


Re: typing exams?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2003, 09:02:27 AM »
I am finishing my second year, and I have used a laptop for every single one of my exams since I started lawschool.  Its a huge advantage.  And I guarantee you the teacher, whether consciously or not, favors the typed exams.  Your hands never get tired, and you can edit your answers to your hearts content.  

The school makes you install a program that locks your hard drive during the exam so that you cant access notes.  If your computer crashes, your in trouble.  It has never happened at our school.  The software company says that its software cant cause crashes.

As far as using an actual typwriter.  I would do it.  You said you were concerned about not having the exam directly in front of you.  Thoroughly read the exam and outline your answer ahead of time.  Then all you need to do is glance at it here and there to make sure your on track.  

Re: typing exams?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2003, 01:24:05 PM »
Typing exams on computer is practically required for us.  No one can possibly write fast enough to keep up with the typers.  Every year somebody's computer crashes, and they just have to pick up a paper booklet and start writing.  Or they could just restart the computer, assuming they remember to save often.  I don't know what that wacky program for locking the hard drive is.  We're on the honor system here.

In sum: typing is a huge advantage over writing.  If you're on a curve, and most of the people write, and you have the opportunity to type, I say type.  You'll clean house.


Re: typing exams?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2003, 09:26:23 AM »
Where is it that has the honor system? I'm very interested in not having to use ExamSoft, and while I'm already going somewhere that uses it, I'd like to try to make a case to get it eliminated.


Re: typing exams?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2003, 12:48:02 PM »
I typed this semester for the first time, and I must say, I sure finished my exams a heck of a lot quicker than last semester... and I can still feel my fingers.

One word of caution if you have to use a manual typerwriter as I did: it's a lot different than taking notes on your laptop!  I experienced a certain level of disconnect between what I was thinking and what was actually coming out on the page. I think it's a result of not being able to see the screen as I type.  It wasn't much of a problem after my 2nd exam, but I wish I had practiced on that silly machine more than I did before exams began.  So that's all to say: Practice!


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Re: typing exams?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2003, 07:50:32 AM »
At Ohio State we do not have to use the exam software, although the faculty has considered it.  It was rejected for a variety of reasons including the fact that it was not compatible with Macintosh operating systems, and that using a software program when we supposedly have an honor code completely undermines the honor code.  

Professors have a wide range of views on typing exams.  Some don't allow it at all, some require that the student bring a printer and print it out in the classroom during the allotted time, and most follow the faculty rules that give students one hour after the exam is completed to print a copy (having turned in a disk earlier).

I have had several friends who have had computer crashes during exams and have not been able to fully recover their work.  The situations I have seen have convinced me to hand write my exams.  It just isn't worth the extra stress.


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Re: typing exams?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2003, 10:40:25 AM »
What a relief.  I'm glad there are still people out there making the case against using a computer to take law school exams.  I hope that the majority of my classmates feel the same over the next few years as I complete my law degree.  I just completed my first semester of law school, and I opted to use my laptop with ExamSoft for the exams.  Unfortunately I believe I had a tremendous advantage over my classmates that wrote the exams.  For this I am truly guilt-ridden.  Within seconds of the start of the exam, I was able to begin outlining my answers on computer instead of using a piece of scratch paper that never gets graded.  I could then build my outlines into complete answers by effortlessly constructing, modifying, and rearranging the elements of my arguments as I went. I moved and refined words, phrases and paragraphs and corrected grammar and spelling until my masterpiece was complete.  At no time did I have to cross anything out, or worry about the legibility of my writing.  Sadly, even though I feel terrible about my obvious distinct advantage over my classmates, I know I'll probably continue to use ExamSoft.  But I do feel better getting all this off my chest. Thanks for the forum.;)