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Exam Study Guide   Tags: 1-l, exam, law, law library, law library policies, law school study aids  

Did you know the Law Library can help you prepare for law school exams? Consult this guide for our exam preparation resources.
Last Updated: Dec 3, 2014 URL: http://guides.libraries.uc.edu/examstudy Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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CALI Lessons & Podcasts

The following are CALI lessons and podcasts. For an explanation of CALI lessons and how you access them, see the CALI box under the First Year Study Aids in the Library tab of this guide.

  • William R. Andersen, Writing Better Law School Exams: The Importance of Structure
    This CALI lesson is written by Professor William Anderson, Judson Falknor Professor of Law Emeritus at University of Washington School of Law. The program begins with an explicit discussion of legal writing its structural implications. Within that specific context, the program goes on to discuss the tasks to be performed, the tools used in performing those tasks, and methods of sharpening those tools. The program concludes with some interactive opportunities to try the techniques described.
  • Ron Eades, John Farago & Patrick Wiseman, Exam Taking Skills, Outlines, and Advice for Law Students: Panel 1 (podcast).

    CALI's Director of Curriculum Development, Deb Quentel, spoke with six law professors about outlines, studying for class, preparing for exams, time management, and how professors grade exams. The conversations were recorded as podcasts. While these podcasts are not intended to take the place of a conversation with your professor, the professors hope that these podcasts give law students additional insight into the exam process.
  • Ronald Brown & Joseph Grohman, Exam Taking Skills, Outlines, and Advice for Law Students: Panel 2 (podcast).
    CALI's Director of Curriculum Development, Deb Quentel, spoke with six law professors about outlines, studying for class, preparing for exams, time management, and how professors grade exams. The conversations were recorded as podcasts. While these podcasts are not intended to take the place of a conversation with your professor, the professors hope that these podcasts give law students additional insight into the exam process.
  • Daryl Wilson, Exam Taking Skills, Outlines, and Advice for Law Students: Panel 3 (podcast).
    CALI's Director of Curriculum Development, Deb Quentel, spoke with six law professors about outlines, studying for class, preparing for exams, time management, and how professors grade exams. The conversations were recorded as podcasts. While these podcasts are not intended to take the place of a conversation with your professor, the professors hope that these podcasts give law students additional insight into the exam process.
  • Scott Burnham, Tips for Multiple Choice Exams in Law School (podcast).
    Prof. Burnham, provides students with advice on multiple choice exam questions. Prof. Burnham goes into the different aspects of a multiple choice question: the stimulus, options, key, and distracters. Additionally, Prof. Burnham discusses the different types of multiple choice questions such as questions that test a student’s ability to recall information, those that draw on materials discussed in class, and those that require analysis. Students are taught how to respond to the call of a question, apply IRAC to multiple choice questions, as well as different tactics for eliminating options in a question. At the end of this lesson students will know how to decipher what type of question is being asked, how to spot the specific issue in the question, and how to eliminate the other choices.
  • Jennifer Martin, Top 10 Tips for Successfully Writing a Law School Essay (podcast).
    In this podcast, Prof. Martin discusses the top ten mistakes law students make in law school examinations. These are poor issue spotting, poor issue spotting, poor knowledge and understanding of the law, poor application of the law to the facts, giving only conclusory answers, lack of organization, errors in the facts, failure to understand the role you are given in the examination, padding, fact inventing, and question begging. Included in this discussion is guidance on spotting the issues, avoiding being bottom line oriented, how to use the facts, how to approach a question, and using words efficiently. Prof. Martin also discusses the hallmarks of a good essay answer. These answers are lawyerlike, responsive to the question asked, logical, thought out, well organized, fact and issue centered, and use cogent reasoning and good rule application.

YouTube Videos on Studying and Taking Exams

Professors from various law schools give advice on taking exams.

 

Books on Studying and Taking Exams

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Law School Success in a Nutshell: A Guide to Studying Law and Taking Law School Exams - Ann M. Burkart; Robert A. Stein
Call Number: Law Reserves KF283 .B871 2008
ISBN: 9780314167798
Publication Date: 2008
This product answers questions you may have as you begin your legal studies. It also explains and gives examples of the best methods for studying and for taking exams, providing questions and model answers from actual law school exams. It describes the opportunities that will be available to you during your second and third years of law school, such as law journals, law clinics, internships, joint degree programs, and study abroad. It also provides information about the types of legal practice that are available to you when you graduate.

Cover Art
Mastering the Law School Exam: A Practical Blueprint for Preparing and Taking Law School Exams - Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus
Call Number: Law Reserves KF283 .D37 2007
ISBN: 9780314162816
Publication Date: 2007
This publication is designed to provide students with a knowledgeable, reasonable, and rational voice to navigate the intricacies of law school exams. It offers a practical rather than theoretical approach, by including detailed examples that show students precisely "how to do it" and "how to write it." It has numerous illustrations in the context of substantive law, to help students learn to: fill the gap between what the professor refers to as learning to "think like a lawyer" and the actual means for doing so; create a successful path from note-taking, to outlining, to exam writing; and much more.

Cover Art
A Practical Guide to Writing Law School Essay Exams - John C. Dernbach
Call Number: Law Reserves KF283 .D47 2001
ISBN: 0837731275
Publication Date: 2001-01-01
Students who do well in law school tend to write their exams in a particular way. The purpose of this book is to introduce students to this method. Chapters teach the law student the purpose of an essay exam, the process of getting started, the basic steps in writing the essay, principles for explaining your answer, as well as basic organizational,signposting, and writing rules. An appendix contains two actual exam questions, including a "model" answer.

Cover Art
Getting to Maybe - Richard Michael Fischl; Jeremy Paul
Call Number: Law Reserves KF283 .F47 1999
ISBN: 0890897603
Publication Date: 1999-05-01
Getting to Maybe teaches how to excel on law school exams by showing the reader how legal analysis can be brought to bear on examination problems. The book contains hints on studying and preparation that go well beyond conventional advice. The authors also illustrate how to argue both sides of a legal issue without appearing indecisive. Above all, the book explains why exam questions may generate feelings of uncertainty or doubt about correct legal outcomes and how the student can turn these feelings to his or her advantage.

Cover Art
Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success - Helene Shapo; Marshall Shapo
Call Number: Law KF240 .S52 2009
ISBN: 9781599414195
Publication Date: 2009
This concise, plain-spoken book is an indispensable guide for beginning law students. Field-tested by students all over the country for more than a dozen years for its practicality and its psychological realism, it has proved an invaluable introduction to cutting through the fog of case analysis; minimizing the bewilderment of the Socratic method; studying law; writing for law school; preparing for exams and exam writing; managing precious time; and coping with the emotional stress of law study.

Cover Art
The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School: An Easy-To-Use, Step-By-Step Approach for Achieving Great Grades - Charles H. Whitebread
Call Number: Law Reserves KF283 .W48 2008
ISBN: 9780314183583
Publication Date: 2008
This work teaches the eight secrets that will add points to every exam answer you write. You will learn the three keys to handling any essay exam, how to use time to your advantage, issue spotting, how to organize your answer, and the hidden traps of the IRAC method. Once you have mastered these skills, you can put your knowledge to the test with sample exam questions and check your answers against those provided. A special section on how to do well on other types of exams, such as open-book, multiple-choice, or policy exams, is also included.

 

Articles on Studying and Taking Exams

  • Jack A. Hiller, How Not to Write Answer to Law Examinations, 12 Stetson L. Rev. 691 (1982) Available on HeinOnline (must be on-campus or UC students can authenticate using their Central Login credentials or through VPN). 

  • Amy L. Jarmon, If Exams Could Talk:  Insights from Last Semester, Student Lawyer, Jan. 2009, at 11.  Available on HeinOnline (must be on-campus or UC students can authenticate using their Central Login credentials or through VPN).

  • Rosemary LaPuma, Don’t Stress Over Exams, Student Lawyer, Nov. 2005, at 20. Available on HeinOnline (must be on-campus or UC students can authenticate using their Central Login credentials or VPN).

  • Jerry J. Phillips, Thirteen Rules for Taking Law Exams, 72 TENN. L. REV. 797 (2005). Available on HeinOnline (must be on-campus or UC students can authenticate using their Central Login credentials or VPN).

  • John H. Scheid, De MInimis Curat Lex: Secrets to Success for 1st year Law Students, 37 Cap.U.L. Rev 631 (2008). Available on HeinOnline (must be on-campus or UC students can authenticate using their Central Login credentials or VPN).

  • Dennis Tonsin, A Plan for Your Exams, Student Lawyer, March 2005, at 32.  Available on HeinOnline (must be on-campus or UC students can authenticate using their Central Login credentials or VPN).

  • Patrick Wiseman, "When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It," and Other Sage Advice for First-Time Law School Exam Takers, 22 GA. ST. U. L. REV. 653 (2006). Available on HeinOnline (must be on-campus or UC students can authenticate using their Central Login credentials or VPN).

Associate Director of Public & Research Services

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Susan Boland
Contact Info
Robert S. Marx Law Library
University of Cincinnati College of Law
PO Box 210040
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0040

513-556-4407
315 (office)
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Subjects:
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Webpages on Studying and Taking Exams

  • Vikram David Amar, Tips for Students Taking Law School Exams: Why Students Tend Not to Be Able To Demonstrate the Full Extent of Their Knowledge, and How They Might Do Better (Dec. 08, 2006), http://writ.news.findlaw.com/amar/20061208.html.
    • Vikram David Amar is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at University of California Davis.

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