Tuesday, April 26, 2005

One of the myths...

One of the "myths" (and of course that is simply my perspective) of law school grading is that there is a super-secret technique to it. My personal experience went something like this. When I concentrated on learning just the law, I did very well. When I switched to trying fancy stuff, I went off the rails. I even hired a writing teacher. The smartest thing I ever did was fire him and go back to what worked from day one; that is, studying hard enough to learn the core of every subject. Guess what? It worked.

Here's an excerpt from the below link from Washington;


This very prevalent student myth is probably heard most frequently early in the second semester of law school, after the students have received their very first set of law school grades. This belief is not entirely myth; there are, indeed, some students whose initial exam grades in law school are artificially low because of some problem in exam-taking technique rather than because of deficiencies in their substantive knowledge. Furthermore, students as a group probably become more adept at taking exams as they take more of them. However, how many students can legitimately expect that their exam technique will significantly improve over time relative to their peers, whose exam techniques are also presumably improving with experience?

I am convinced that such "technique-deficient" students are the exception rather than the rule. When students come to me after receiving their exam grade to ask how they can write a better exam, I first re-read their exam closely to see if I can discern any problems of style or approach. Typically, however, my response to the student after re-reading the exam is the same: Know the subject matter better and be able to apply the law to the facts of the exam.


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