The law school exam universe is filled with outlandish hypotheticals, but even the most unrealistic scenario is still designed to allow for legal analysis.
A military defense contractor uses a taser on an eggshell extraterrestrial in Antarctica.
While far-fetched, this hypothetical is packed with potential legal issues, such as:
- Constitutional Law: state action doctrine, due process, extraterritorial jurisdiction, standing
- Criminal Law: assault/battery, self-defense, intent
- Torts: negligence, intentional torts, infliction of emotional distress, respondeat superior, damages
- Civil Procedure: personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, venue, service of process, expert witnesses
- Contracts: breach of contract, disclaimers and releases, scope of contractual liability to third parties
Along with course outlines, law school practice exams are a great tool for any law student. They not only acquaint you with the dark recesses of your professor's mind but also, more importantly, their grading methods. When used throughout the duration of a course, practice exams can also serve as helpful learning aids for complicated legal concepts. And the more practice you get, the less distracted you'll be by the creative license your professor might take.
Where Can I Find Law SchoolPractice Exams?
Ideally, you'll want to use past exams and model answers from your professors, as these can better prepare you for their final exam. However, if none are available, you can always search for practice questions from professors who teach the same class. If all else fails, general practice exams and sample answers are available online.
Many law schools maintain an exam archive for their students' use, sometimes through the law library and sometimes on a professor's personal website. Some law schools post old exams online for public use, such as those listed below:
If you choose to invest in a bar preparation course while still in law school, some exam prep programs also offer practice exams and other study aids for while you're still in law school.
Of course, make sure you use practice exams that match the type of exam your professor uses for the class. There's no point in writing out practice Civ Pro essays if your exam will be all multiple-choice questions.
Getting the Most From Law School Practice Exams
A law school practice exam aims to help you understand testable concepts and hone your answering skills. You'll likely take a legal research and writing course during your first year to learn writing skills and tips. But when it comes to exam preparation, it's important to focus on the fundamentals.
The key to any exam is knowing what to write about. Becoming a master issue spotter is half the battle.
Professors are careful with the words they use, and there's usually a reason why they include certain facts in any question. When reading through a practice exam, it's always helpful to note the issues as you see them in the facts. Flag the issues in the margins, then check them off as you address them.
One of many four-letter words you'll use in law school, IRAC (Issue-Rule-Analysis-Conclusion) is the best way to structure your writing. It's also a good way to think about legal issues. Getting into the habit of singling out issues and relevant rules, then applying them together and drawing a conclusion will pay dividends during law school and the bar exam, as well as down the road as a practicing attorney.
Because, Because, Because
One thing that can irritate law professors reading through exam answers is when students make unsupported assertions such as, "the extraterrestrial in Antarctica lacks standing to sue the federal government." One way to force yourself to support your statements is to use the word "because" at the end of an assertion like the one above. If you can't write anything after "because," then that's a good time to review the facts and reevaluate your argument.
What's Next for You?
As you make your way through law school, sometimes you may feel more like the tortoise than the hare. But even though it may feel like a slow process, you'll later look back as an attorney and be amazed at how quickly the time passed. Explore FindLaw for Law Students for more tips and tricks that can help you thrive in law school.