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« Oklahoma City -- 10 years later | Main | New online Harvard law journal »

April 20, 2005

Comments

Rich

From one student's perspective, I think that is a good idea. As much as I always force myself to outline my answer, I end up moving on to my blue book after 20-25 minutes (maybe 10-15 minutes of is just reading the fact pattern). I know I should spend at least 20 minutes on outlining (on top of the 10-15 minutes just reading the exam)

From another student's perspective, I disagree. Law School is about competition, we are graded on a curve, so we are competing against each other, not just ourselves. One of the reasons I do well on exams is that I can write a well reasoned essay without outlining 1st, and since I don't outline I get further faster, include more issues & facts, and get the A. The students that need to outline get started later, and in some cases fall behind. When you give me 1/2 an hour that I can't use on graded material, it is totally wasted. I'm not going to make an outline, because I won't use it and it's just a waste of energy, so I spend 25 minutes just reading the question over and over. The extra time gives an advantage to the outliners (who would take the time to do it anyway), and takes away from those of us who have worked out an exam strategy that is competitive in a timed environment. I know because my lowest grade in law school to date is one where the teacher used this philosophy. It's not because I didn't know the material, it's because I have mastered the playing field of typical law school exams, and then got my "home court advantage" taken away at the last minute. Just my 9 or 10 cents!

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