There are a couple of very simple ways to ace 1L (and maybe 2L & 3L) and this is for all those who don't realize they can seek this info out from older students, whatever:
1. ISSUE SPOTTING: I date a professor (not law) and she hates long-winded answers because it takes away from her downtime which currently consists of the gym and watching episodes of Frazier (no joke, its all an illusion, they are all just humans of course and in law some have barely spent time in actual legal practice). In 1L I basically wrote memos for every issue I spotted and it slowed me down. You can ask a prof for a sample of what they think are good exam answers and hope they help you out. I know one of my profs had a exam template in the library including ideal answers/format. I learned that after the end of the course of course. Instead of BLAH BLAH BLAH, it was: this occurred which resulted in this and according to this, this is the likely outcome....Brief and right on point. Check, you're a legal genius and someday will be on the Supreme Court because of your superior intellect. Nevermind you couldn't do better than a C in Intro to Organic Chemistry, no matter how hard you tried.
2. CANNED ANSWERS: There are only so many policy related issues discussed during a course and they become obvious at some point. The prof may tell you there will be a policy related question on the exam. So, write prepared answers. I learned about this after one exam in 1L. At the end of the exam I asked someone what they wrote for the policy question. The response: "I had a canned answer." It was at that point I realized it was going to be B's and not B+'s and for 1L I was just an average joe and not big law material.