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Author Topic: Do you answer the question asked on the exam?  (Read 1301 times)

proletariat

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Do you answer the question asked on the exam?
« on: December 12, 2006, 08:21:01 AM »
I've taken two exams so far.  In both cases I've been more concerned with dumping everything I know onto the page instead of formulating my answers to conform to the 'call of the question.'  For example, my contracts test asked us to predict what kind of arguments the parties are likely to make.  I didn't phase my answer like, "so and so will make this argument, and alternately so and so will make that argument."  Hopefully it won't hurt me that much, but I was more worried about showing what I knew than crafting my answer to a particular format.

tenth8sphere

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Re: Do you answer the question asked on the exam?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2006, 09:08:14 AM »
Professors don't generally (from what I know) want you to hemmorage your legal knowledge onto the page. Most exam questions are looking for the same thing, regardless of how they phrase it though - they want the relevant issues between the two parties. If a question has nothing to do with a minor, and you go off for half a page about infancy and necessities, then it might hurt you. If, on the other hand, your explosion of legal knowledge is on the issues brought up by the fact pattern - you're probably doing fine.

Just personally, I like to do the argument - counter - counter-counter, etc. format. It seems to flow easier for me to write it (follow a single trail to its end, then begin again) and I think it reads easier as well.

proletariat

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Re: Do you answer the question asked on the exam?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2006, 10:54:40 AM »
Most exam questions are looking for the same thing, regardless of how they phrase it though - they want the relevant issues between the two parties.

This is why I'm not too concerned.  I addressed the relevant issues, but didn't necessarily phrase them to directly answer the question.

Just personally, I like to do the argument - counter - counter-counter, etc. format. It seems to flow easier for me to write it (follow a single trail to its end, then begin again) and I think it reads easier as well.

I do the same thing.  The only problem with that method is when pressed for time, you may never get some really important issue like promissory estoppel or statute of frauds that usually comes at the end.  In the calculus of grading LS exams, counter arguments probably don't count as much as hitting on every issue.  But only the professor knows for sure.

bella112

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Re: Do you answer the question asked on the exam?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2006, 01:36:30 AM »
I'm only a 1L, but from everything professors have been saying, they have to read a lot of these and don't have a lot of time to do it, so following a format they expect to see will help your grade. I'm not saying you'll do poorly if you reached the issues in a different way than everyone else, but you may do worse than someone who managed to put that same information in the "A would argue this, B would respond that..." format. Then again, if writing that way let you get more of what the prof's looking for on paper than your classmates did, you could be in good shape.

LostMyMonkeys

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Re: Do you answer the question asked on the exam?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2006, 12:43:20 PM »
My professors all stress "ANSWER THE QUESTION ASKED"
Generally the question is one that can be answered in the issue/rule/argument/counter format but make sure you read what the question is asking and answer it...
Nice ass won't get you through your whole life. When you turn 30 you better have a personality

mirror

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Re: Do you answer the question asked on the exam?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2006, 03:58:22 PM »
There are Two Major Issues

1) There is a time crunch, whether intense or merely restrictive.  By not adressing the question, you're wasting time that should be spent on the question

2) Essays are subjective.  Even if you type/think extremely fast and can cover issues not addressed by the question, there's a gestalt quality to an essay.  If you talk about irrelevant issues (and especially if you wrongly analyze irrelevant issues), it stands to reason the prof will either consciously or subconsciously grade the relevant parts worse

3) Profs hate reading extra *&^%.

jacy85

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Re: Do you answer the question asked on the exam?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2006, 07:04:40 PM »
I always answer the question, or at least make an effort to do so.  Professors definitely seem to respond better when you do.  Example: My evidence prof has old exams on reserve.  She put a couple of old answers written by students who receive As as model answers.  EAch and every one of them "answers the question."

slacker

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Re: Do you answer the question asked on the exam?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2006, 02:57:09 AM »
Depends on the professor. I'll agree that most of mine have said "only answer what I've asked." In addition to that, some have added "I'll ignore anything extra" or, the more punitive version "I'll ignore anything extra unless it's wrong, and then I'll take points off."

I have screwed up on essays, such as when given the option to argue for either side, I was supposed to pick one or the other, and I picked both. In that case, I left both and just went on with the rest of the test.

But, in general, when they put in the call of the question, they want that information. If that's what you're providing, then it sounds like you're going about it the right way.