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capitalttruth

How to improve on exams

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I just got my fall grades back and overall I did well. My lowest grade so far has been a B in Criminal Law. It was the criminal law exam I wanted to ask about.

I got a B on the exam. My prof said that, while I had alot of good analysis, a lot of my analysis was muddled by irrelevant information. She also said that I am not precise in my writing, and sometimes it is difficult to determine what specific elements of the issue/problem I am trying to arrive at. I scheduled an official feedback session with her. Would there be anything anyone here could advise me on in terms of how to be more precise on exams, and filter out irrelevant information? Has anyone else had this problem?

I will say that I panicked on this exam and did not think, at one point, that I was going to write anything at all. So during the exam I started writing and then did not have a lot of time to edit once I finished. I also believe that a B is a perfectly good grade considering my other grades were higher, but I would personally like to get a B+ in this course, considering the class average is a B/B+.

Edited by capitalttruth

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From my experience, I improved my grades drastically when I stopped implementing "boiler plate" statements of the law into my exams. If you are doing any pre-writes beforehand, I would recommend stopping, and instead focus the majority of your space (80%+) on analysis of the facts. 

Additionally, ensure that you are showing both sides of every argument - avoid words like "clearly", "obviously" - if it was clear or obvious in the professor's mind, it probably wouldn't be on the exam.

To address the clarity element your professor is referring to, I would recommend using lots of headings and sub-headings to divide the issues, so your prof knows specifically which you are speaking to. 

If you aren't doing these things already and are able to implement them, you should definitely see some improvement! 

Edited by WesternLaw543
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4 hours ago, WesternLaw543 said:

From my experience, I improved my grades drastically when I stopped implementing "boiler plate" statements of the law into my exams. If you are doing any pre-writes beforehand, I would recommend stopping, and instead focus the majority of your space (80%+) on analysis of the facts. 

Absolutely agree with this. Profs generally make fact patterns that are similar to cases you've studied but with important differences that mean the law doesn't apply perfectly. Often they'll have some elements that look like a case that went one way, and some elements that look like a case that went the other way. Try to get into those facts, say why the law diverges there, and why it should go one way or the other here. Profs often like when you can compare facts from their fact pattern to other cases you've studied. The more academically oriented ones especially like to see if you can identify how the law has been evolving through the jurisprudence in recent years and how the facts in the exam could play into that progression.

A contracts prof doesn't want you to do a paragraph on what acceptance is. They want you to explain why this case may or may not constitute acceptance, how it compares to cases that have gone either way, and come to a resolution. If you can do that well, you'll get a lot of A's.

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