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Author Topic: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?  (Read 1182 times)

Cicero

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does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« on: June 10, 2010, 01:33:34 PM »
I just finished my 1L year, and am near the top of my class, partly because I tend to do well on the multiple choice questions on the exams. My essays are near the top, but they are definitely not the best. Part of why I've done well on the essays is the amount of practice I have done. We were lucky enough to have mid-terms, and I did not do very well on the essays for those tests, so I have done many practice essays. I have done the practice essays given by our professors and asked them for their advice on my answers whenever possible. I have also done some of the essays available from our academic success department. Finally, I have looked at the LEEWS book (but I haven't taken the class). I am attempting to transfer and am worried that essays may count more on the finals at other schools. I also genuinely want to improve my essays.

1.) At my school, the exams are generally 1/2 essay and 1/2 multiple choice in terms of the allotted points. Are exams at most law schools like that?
2.) Are there any good books or other resources out there to help with essay exam writing?


cvtheis

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2010, 11:03:59 AM »
Study the profs prior exams and model answers.  Have a concise and well organized answer -- most profs accept outline form (tied together with coherent narrative) understanding that the raw basic information is provided and that there generally is no time for flowery prose.  ID the point of law being sought, outline dump relevent points of law, then analyze the outline dump.  PROVIDE A CONCISE CONCLUSION based on your analysis.

Profs have a key of elements and key points they are looking for - make them easy for the prof to find. 

cooleylawstudent

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2010, 01:30:29 PM »
IRAC, pretty simple.

Plus if you are "top" why post here? Easy answer, your full of shitt. If not, then just replicate what you did before einstein.  :P

Cicero

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2010, 03:33:17 AM »
Cvtheis, thank you for your comments and advice. I attempted to find exams from past years for my 1L profs, but there weren't any available. I will keep looking this next year.

Numitor, I guess I should have expected as much based on your previous posts I've read. Lol.  :P My point was that I'm doing well, but (1) it is partly because I study my butt off and do well on the multiple choice (so there is definitely room for improvement on the essays) and (2) I get the basic points of the essay writing but was hoping to find a resource to make it better/fine tune--books, online, etc. Besides, there is always room for improvement. It isn't about singing my own praises. I posted on here because there are many people on this site who are currently in law school or have graduated who may have advice about good resources they have used to improve their essays in law school. Please feel free to comment if you have helpful advice on how to improve them.

cooleylawstudent

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2010, 02:17:10 PM »
Always room for improvment, can't argue with that. I may be a jackass, but I know when somone makes a good point, and that is one. I agree. Keep up the hard work. Don't be a quitter like a lot of the "should I drop" people out there.  ;)

Cicero

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2010, 03:29:04 PM »
Thank you.  :)

kenpostudent

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2010, 02:34:13 AM »
Use every fact in the fact pattern. It's probably there for a reason. Facts generate legal issues. If someting happens in a fact pattern, there is probably an issue that your professor wants you discuss. Argue both sides of every issue, where reasonable and as time permits. Make sure you link each fact back up to the rule you stated. Don't be conclusory. Show how the facts lead to a particular legal result and weave the policy objectives into your answer to justify your conclusion.

REALITY

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 01:53:25 PM »
Each prof grades a little different, try to get ahold of exams from talent banks, etc and look at those.

Although, those don't show the Profs personal notes, and those are what gives you an edge. The only real way to secure an A in their class(short of being an overall badass and knowing it all, and tofukinhell with that) is to take their level1 class, do your best(be prepared to live with a B, you will survive) and then see how they grade based on their notes to you in your graded exam. Then take their level2 class and above, if you don't know how to Ace that, then you need to drop out and work as a waitor.

2013JD

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2010, 05:19:38 PM »
Hello Cicero, how are you?

I have a great tutor which helped me but I'm at Cooley so not sue if you want to catch up with him but he teaches a variety of techniques that helped.

Not sure where you go to school but at Cooley we are heavy on MC.
I have friends from Temple and Villanova who never have seen a multiple choice question and essays are the key.

Professor Palmer used to tell us to make every fact come alive so that is one way.
IRAC is the traditional sense and you can't really get hurt with that.

Also, you really want to look at "Student's" model answers.
Traditionally, the Profs. will place an answer key online which is not all that helpful.
see if any of your peers I.E. Upper classmen or graduates have posted model answers.

 

Denny Shore

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Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2010, 02:43:49 PM »
IRAC is a good start.
You could invest in LEEWS - some find that helps too.
A simple outline of your answers prior to writing your actual answer help - that way you don't skip something or jump around.  Also, if you can't find an exam by YOUR professor, try taking one from another professor that IS on file.  It will help you to practice while testing your knowledge.
And test vary at my school.  Some are 50/50 MC and essay, some are straight essay, some are short answer/essay, etc.  My Con Law I final was 5 essay questions and the prof said that he doesn't expect anyone to answer all of them (he intimated that anyone who did so would get extra points, provided they were legitimate attempts).  I managed to answer all of them, but I was alone.
Essay exams are all about issue spotting.  If you miss the issue, you cannot properly answer - so practice issue spotting.