Thursday, December 7, 2006

9780314162816 Suzanne Darrow Kleinhaus of the Touro Law Center has just published Mastering the Law School Exam, which should be in university bookstores this week.  The book is designed as a resource for both law teachers and law students, and it looks like a wonderful addition to the world of academic support.  Below are ways law teachers can use the book and some of the benefits the book brings to student readers.

If You Are a Law Teacher:

 To supplement individual student meetings with detailed explanations of the most common questions regarding such law school basics as note-taking, outlining, and exam preparation.

 As a source for additional hypotheticals with evaluation sheets so students can practice their exam-writing skills and get immediate feedback.

 To provide opportunities for students to direct their own learning through examples with detailed explanations of “how to write it right.”

 To provide illustrations of correct and incorrect essay answers so students can learn to see for themselves the difference between the two.

 To help students cultivate the skills of active reading and self-awareness by developing their “thought monitor.”

 To explain the conceptual path from note-taking -to outlining-to exam writing.

 To provide detailed step-by-step guidelines for answering multiple choice questions.

 To help students learn to organize their writing through IRAC diagramming.

If You Are a Law Student:

 Provides a knowledgeable, reasonable, and rational voice to navigate the intricacies of law school exams and impart a practical strategy for success.

 Walks you through the entire law school learning process, showing you how to integrate case readings, class discussions, and secondary source materials to achieve a working knowledge and understanding of the required materials. 

 Fills the gap between what the professor refers to as learning to “think like a lawyer” and the practical means for doing so.

 Shows you how to tailor an individualized study program that works from the your strengths while accounting for weaknesses. 

 Dispels the misconception that the skills needed for success in one subject are somehow different for another.

 Identifies the basic skills that exams seek to test and the precise manner in which they are tested.

 Examines each type of law school exam through examples and detailed analysis of sample answers.

 Provides instruction in the precise use of language and, in particular, guidance in the use of specific “signal” language in the writing of issues, statements of the rule, and analysis of the facts. 

 Explains what a “disorganized exam” really means and how to correct it.

 Provides practical applications in the context of the substantive law. (dbw)

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