Rule Statements on Exams that Get Top Grades

Hand writing word rules, for rule statements

There are ways to write rule statements on exams that get top grades.  Many students don’t know how to do this, even though it’s not a difficult skill to master. Specifically, students fail to provide thorough rule statements. A thorough rule statement is one that accurately defines the primary issue, each relevant word in the issue, and any related issues. Fact Pattern Example Brad and Bella are in the same high school math class. One day before class, Brad thinks it would be funny to pull the chair from under Bella as she is sitting down.  He quietly goes to Bella’s chair,...

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The Rule Dump: #1 Law School Exam Mistake

Wrong way sign

The rule dump is the number one mistake students make on their law school exams. This is when the student throws out as much information from the course that they can remember, hoping that some of it will stick. Usually the rule dump, also called a brain dump, occurs all on the first page of the essay. Let me explain why professors hate it and why it is hurting your grade. College Exams In college, the best grades go to student answers that have lots of information.  This is because most college professors test students on knowledge retention. In other words, if...

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Nested IRAC

Eggs in nest.

Most students know about the IRAC method, but few know about Nested IRAC. The IRAC method is where you identify the issue, state the rule, provide some analysis, and then state the conclusion. But nested IRAC involves creating a separate IRAC for each issue and sub-issue on the exam. Battery Example Let me demonstrate this through a tortious battery example. If you don't recall the elements to battery, you may want to watch my video on battery first. Derek and John are in the same high school math class. One morning, Derek decides it will be funny to pull out John’s chair just...

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10 Exam Day Tips

Don't panic sign for exam day tips post

Looking for exam day tips? It’s the end of the semester and most of you are preparing for final exams. DON’T PANIC! By following these 10 exam day tips you can improve your grades. The principle behind these exam day tips is simple: calm students outperform nervous and tired students every single time. Let me tell you about John (name has been changed), one of my friends at the elite law school we attended. John is very intelligent but he had one problem: he got overly nervous before exams. On the first morning of the bar exam I noticed that he...

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Answer an Essay Question Before You See it!

Word test on chalk board.

Would you like to answer an essay question before you see it!  Want to have more time on exam day to think through your answer? You can have 60% of your essay exam complete before exam day with this preparation method. Ideally, you should already have three sets of notes, as I mentioned in my episode called “Three Sets of Notes Method.”  In addition, you need to create a fourth set of notes, which I call your Exam Answer outline. This is an organizational tool that will allow you to move quickly during the final. Also, you will write a much...

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How to Make a Law School Outline

Coffee and notepad for making a law school outline

Do you need to learn how to make a law school outline? Your outline is, nothing more and nothing less, than your blueprint for doing well on the exam. This means understanding law school exam grading, which I cover in detail in the episode called Law School Exam Grading. First, let’s discuss what you should NOT do when creating a law school outline. A mistake that many law students make is to take their class notes, rearrange them a bit, and then place them into their outline. That is not an outline, but rather a rearranged set of notes. Also, do NOT...

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Black Letter Law

Black letter law with know the rules on chalkboard

What do professors mean when they say you need to know black letter law, or hornbook law? Black letter laws are the legal rules and principles that are so well accepted across the country that there is no longer any basic disagreement as to what they are. But keep in mind many states have slight variations on how they articulate the rules. Also, states may define certain key terms slightly differently. So when you become a lawyer, or if a professor asks for a certain state’s rule, make sure that you use the variation in your state. With that slight caveat,...

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Law School Exam Myth: Art and Science

Student taking law school exam

So you get back your first law school exam and you did not do as well as you were hoping. You go to the professor and ask what you could do to improve on the final exam. At some point during your meeting with the professor, he or she says that exam writing is part art and part science. Even I used to say garbage like that when I was a new professor. What the professor is really telling you is that you really can’t improve and there is really nothing that he or she can do to help you....

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Memorization Issues: Try Leitner Boxes (Flash Cards)!

Law books. Use Leitner boxes to learn law.

If you have worked hard to prepare for classes all semester, you probably get frustrated when you have trouble remembering information for final exams. The method we learn in today’s blog post will help you move that information from your short-term memory to long-term memory....

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Steps to Take After a Law School Final Exam: Part 1

Professor at desk with a book

Part of being a successful person is to learn from your mistakes and to take steps on improving. Unless you got the highest grade on an exam, you should find out how you could have done better. This means going to your professor and asking for advice on how you could have done better on your law school essay exam....

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