March 4, 2006
Practice the Right Things
We tell our students to prepare for exams by taking practice exams throughout the semester, and well we should. The fly in the ointment, however, is that too many students, even after having taken several law school exams, are still unclear about what constitutes a good exam answer; so they dutifully practice the very strategies that undermine the effectiveness of their answers.
To help them spot and avoid some of those ineffective strategies, you might want to direct them to John H. Langbein's excellent essay, "Writing Law Examinations." Professor Langbein spells out the most common pitfalls students face in writing exam answers and gives concise, practical advice on how to avoid those mistakes. Students would find the essay a powerful guide for critiquing and refining their exam-taking strategies as they prepare for the next battery of finals.
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