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Author Topic: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?  (Read 6424 times)

cesco

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2008, 10:25:23 PM »
Is it possible that I wrote too much? Example, Torts, one of the essay questions was a pretty straightforward negligence question, which was half of the exam. It had to do with a retailer stacking bottles negligently on a high shelf and one of them fell. Pretty straightforward.

I had a great intro, talked about all elements of negligence (of course), I threw in a few sentences on negligence per se (even though there was no indication of a statute on point), had a few sentences on vicarious liability (for the worker who stacked the retailer's bottles), discussed evidence such as direct evidence and RIL, hit on the history of proximate cause and how it evolved through the wagon mound cases, polemis, and the palsgraf andrews/cardozo opinions etc. and how each one would have resolved the proximate cause dispute, made sure to discuss factual cause/legal cause, all defenses applicable (comparative negligence, etc.) and joint tortfeasors, etc. I even threw in an alternate cause of action under strict liability for an abnormally dangerous activity and indicated it was weak. Talked about both sides and what they would argue on everything relevant, etc. and policies behind everything such as the hand formula, proximate cause, damages (and what types of damages can be awarded in neg. cases). I even littered the whole thing with case names when they applied.

I think that anything that we had talked about I threw in there if it was a possibility at all. Perhaps I talked too much, although it's not like I threw in professional malpractice or anything absurd that couldn't have been an issue. It's pretty clear from reading though, it definitely doesn't sound rambling.

Sounds like you may have hit on your problem.  I believe the general consensus on how to answer an exam Q is to actually answer the question, not just spew out everything you know.  Your teacher likely had no interest in your version of the history of proximate cause; rather, he/she simply wanted to see how you could APPLY all of that knowledge to a specific hypo.

2L

resipsaloquitur

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2008, 10:36:40 PM »
Is it possible that I wrote too much? Example, Torts, one of the essay questions was a pretty straightforward negligence question, which was half of the exam. It had to do with a retailer stacking bottles negligently on a high shelf and one of them fell. Pretty straightforward.

What was the question?  Are you sure you stuck to answering what was asked?

Sounds like you were throwing in several things that were not relevant.

jacy85

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2008, 10:38:32 PM »
Is it possible that I wrote too much? Example, Torts, one of the essay questions was a pretty straightforward negligence question, which was half of the exam. It had to do with a retailer stacking bottles negligently on a high shelf and one of them fell. Pretty straightforward.

I had a great intro, talked about all elements of negligence (of course), I threw in a few sentences on negligence per se (even though there was no indication of a statute on point), had a few sentences on vicarious liability (for the worker who stacked the retailer's bottles), discussed evidence such as direct evidence and RIL, hit on the history of proximate cause and how it evolved through the wagon mound cases, polemis, and the palsgraf andrews/cardozo opinions etc. and how each one would have resolved the proximate cause dispute, made sure to discuss factual cause/legal cause, all defenses applicable (comparative negligence, etc.) and joint tortfeasors, etc. I even threw in an alternate cause of action under strict liability for an abnormally dangerous activity and indicated it was weak. Talked about both sides and what they would argue on everything relevant, etc. and policies behind everything such as the hand formula, proximate cause, damages (and what types of damages can be awarded in neg. cases). I even littered the whole thing with case names when they applied.

I think that anything that we had talked about I threw in there if it was a possibility at all. Perhaps I talked too much, although it's not like I threw in professional malpractice or anything absurd that couldn't have been an issue. It's pretty clear from reading though, it definitely doesn't sound rambling.

If you had "time" to write all of this crap, then you lost a TON of points by not talking about the issues that were actually relevant.  While you spent 1/3 of your time writing about negligence, and 2/3 of your time vomiting up your every rule or doctrine that is even tangentially related to negligence, the A-exam writers were spending 100% of their time on negligence. 

If you're even more discerning, you read a fact pattern and know that it's not only a negligence issue, but primarily a duty problem.  So you spend 2/3 of your time discussing duty, and the other 1/3 covering the other negligence elements.  Writing a good exam isn't about vomiting up everything you know.  It's being able to spot the issues, and then being able to hone in on the exact elements that the issue will turn upon, and THEN being able to articulate the arguments available to each party (both legal and then factual interpretations), making a conclusion based on your analysis, and finally followed up by acknowledging what the outcome would be if the court or jury decided differently than your conclusion.

jimmyjohn

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2008, 10:41:16 PM »
Your first problem is that you think your answer was great.  Obviously you did not answer the question the way the prof wanted or you would not have received poor grades.  You need to get over thinking that you did a good job but simply did not get rewarded with a good grade.  If you keep this mindset, nothing will improve.  You should probably scrap your strategy and start over with a new focus on how to write an exam answer.

LEEWS might help, talking to your profs might help, but ultimately you need to figure out what you did wrong.  Sitting around and talking about how you had it figured out before you got to law school and that you knew everything throughout the semester and on the exam isn't going to get you anywhere because all that matters is the grade that you get on the exam. 

lalalander

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2008, 10:51:19 PM »
Good points all around, thanks.

I'm pretty certain that I applied everything in an orderly fashion, but perhaps I didn't spend enough space applying the stuff.

Thanks a lot for the advice.

jacy85

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2008, 11:03:29 PM »
Good points all around, thanks.

I'm pretty certain that I applied everything in an orderly fashion, but perhaps I didn't spend enough space applying the stuff.

Thanks a lot for the advice.

It doesn't matter how "orderly" it was.  If you threw in a bunch of irrelevant issues, then you got absolutely zero points for the time you spent writing about them.  If there was NO negligence per se issue in the problem, the professor has zero points to allocate for anything you wrote about it!  Time = points, and wasted time for no points means a lower exam grade.

I suggest you go see your professor, and then do LEEWS.

gershonw

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2008, 11:21:44 PM »
i definitely agree with a lot of the points being made here..particularly orderliness doesn't matter...

when i looked at model A answers the profs gave afterward (basically actual answers students gave with the typos corrected) they were terribly disorganized..but it didn't matter as long as they had the right info in there..

i would also agree not to spend any time on elements that obviously arn't there..points definitely do equal time on lots of tests.

my problem was i thought i could take a four hour exam on no sleep..you cant really do that and do well..i thought i had said things that when i looked later were just not on the page...half finished paragraphs really..such as...X case was different because of Y...without contrasting that to the fact pattern..thought i had done so...but it gets really muddled on no sleep and you loose track of whats in your head and whats on paper.


resipsaloquitur

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2008, 11:32:19 PM »
Good points all around, thanks.

I'm pretty certain that I applied everything in an orderly fashion, but perhaps I didn't spend enough space applying the stuff.

Thanks a lot for the advice.

It doesn't matter how orderly or coherent you are if you don't answer the question.  Don't throw things in for the sake of throwing them in.  You're not going to get points for inventing issues where they don't exist (e.g. negligence per se when a statute isn't hinted it, RIL when it cannot factor in).  I am not sure how you fit the history of proximate cause in there. What did the evolution of proximate cause have to do with the exam question? 

You really should see your professor about this.  That is your best resource for understanding where you went wrong.

McLovin

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2008, 11:42:45 PM »
www.leews.com

I'm not sure why more people don't take advantage of this.

lalalander

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Re: Can someone please help me figure out what I did wrong?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2008, 11:54:28 PM »
Good points all around, thanks.

I'm pretty certain that I applied everything in an orderly fashion, but perhaps I didn't spend enough space applying the stuff.

Thanks a lot for the advice.

It doesn't matter how orderly or coherent you are if you don't answer the question.  Don't throw things in for the sake of throwing them in.  You're not going to get points for inventing issues where they don't exist (e.g. negligence per se when a statute isn't hinted it, RIL when it cannot factor in).  I am not sure how you fit the history of proximate cause in there. What did the evolution of proximate cause have to do with the exam question? 

You really should see your professor about this.  That is your best resource for understanding where you went wrong.

Yeah, I emailed my prof, unfortunately he hasn't responded and is on sabbatical.

As for the history thing, it was something that the prof spent A LOT of time on. He discussed negligence and proximate cause and the differences between the wagon mound approach, and the contrasting palsgraf approaches. Because he had focused and spent so much time on this issue, I was pretty sure that he wanted to hear how the issue may be resolved depending on whether it was looked at through, say, Cardozo's view/ Andrews's view/Wagon Mound approaches. I simply put those discussions in chronological order.