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Monday, December 2, 2013

Boyd Faculty and Staff Share Exam Tips

It's final exam time for William S. Boyd School of Law students. Below are some exam tips from faculty and staff members.

Budget your time wisely -- time management (read: judgment) is one of the skills that we are evaluating.
- Professor/Dean Thomas Main

Get plenty of sleep before the exam, as the benefits of having your wits fully about you will far outweigh the benefits of a little bit more information stuffed into your brain at the last minute.
- Professor Jean Sternlight

A thorough understanding of big picture rules and a careful, organized analysis of how the facts apply to those rules is almost always more important than mastering doctrinal minutiae (this is especially true for first-year courses).
- Professor Addie Rolnick

As you read each hypo, figure out a way to use each fact at least once in your answer; only if you're sure that the fact is irrelevant should you skip using it.
- Professor Nancy Rapoport

To paraphrase a woodworkers' mantra: Think twice, write (or type) once.
- Professor Keith Rowley

Take every opportunity offered to you to practice answering exam hypotheticals, and then sit down with your professor to review your answer so that you understand how he or she grades. 
- Professor Sylvia Lazos

When your exam is over, resist the urge to review the issue(s) you were unsure about because you don't want to stress about what impact your answer of the issue(s) may have on your grade in the class.
- DeShun Harris

A two-part sentence: (1) Come to every class, participate, and take notes; (2) Write out the "rule" section beforehand for issues you suspect will appear on the test--then spend your exam time applying that rule to the particular facts given.
- Professor Ian Bartrum

Outline your answer before you start writing; spend about 1/3 of your time reading, thinking, and outlining, and the remaining 2/3 writing.
- Professor Sara Gordon

- Professor Jennifer Carr

Imagine that you are writing to an intelligent reader who has not taken the course and who therefore will need your thorough explanation of each point.
- Professor Linda Edwards

In answering essay questions, avoid making conclusory statements without the supporting analysis; in other words, "show your work."
- Professor Kay Kindred

Numbers are not your enemy, but your friends. Use them as you would use any facts in a problem to facilitate/fine-tune your issue spotting, rule statements, analysis and conclusions (IRAC).
- Professor Francine Lipman

Now is a good time to start practicing the lawyer's art of listening to your gut: if you feel a little tickle or hear a little voice telling you that a fact is important, or a rule is implicated by an essay question, don't ignore it!
- Professor Elizabeth MacDowell

Laptop/SofTest Users... Make sure you check your SofTest program and do a mock exam to verify the computer and program are operating correctly; also remember to have your exam template files downloaded at least 48 hours prior to the exam, to bring your power cord, and to show up to the exam 15 minutes prior to the posted start time (NOTE: Exam template files will be available over the Thanksgiving weekend).
- Don Castle

Answer the question asked.
- Professor Rebecca Scharf

Don't overthink, especially on multiple choice questions; stick with your first choice unless you're ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you were wrong.
- Professor Mary Berkheiser

Do practice tests, do a million of them, do them before you're ready, and then do some more.
- Professor Terrill Pollman

You have to know the material, of course, but you prove it by how you apply it by resolving the problem.
- Professor Christopher Blakesley

Try to use the vast majority of the facts given in the fact pattern in your answers.
- Professor Ann McGinley

Don't try to learn anything new on the day of the exam, just review and remain calm.
- Professor Lori Johnson

Get a really good night's sleep the evening before the exam, and treat yourself when you're done!
- Professor Stacey Tovino

Think ahead of time about what the professor is likely to ask and map your responses accordingly before you get to the exam.
- Professor/Dean Ngai Pindell

Avoid writing things that are untrue; remember that overstating what the facts support or being inaccurate in your writing is a recipe for misrepresentations and misleading statements.
- Professor Rachel Anderson

Do not create needless anxiety for yourself (and others) by standing around yapping about an exam after it's over -- hand in your exam, leave the room, walk directly to your car, drive directly home, watch at least one rerun of "Modern Family."
- Dean Frank Durand