The following is from Starting Off Right in Torts by Carolyn Nygren which was published in the spring of 1998.

USING PROFESSORS' OLD EXAMS TO PREPARE

     Although many law schools provide some access to old exams, few provide answers to them. I find it dangerous to use these exams to test yourself. You have no way of knowing whether you have found the issues your professor intended for you to find. You also have no way of knowing whether you have understood the issues correctly. However, you can use these exams effectively if you can find a few people who are willing to work with you to prepare.

     I think the most helpful method is to assign the same question to everyone in your group. All will prepare a list of the legal theories they spot in the question. Under each legal theory, they should write a rule for the theory and the words from the fact pattern they used to decide which legal theories were applicable. When the group meets, you can share your insights. What one person doesn't find, another will. When you have agreed on a list of issues, send everyone home to write out an answer. When everyone has a written answer, meet again to share. You can compare the organization of your answers and discuss the problems you had in writing.

     As you near exam time, practice under timed conditions. If the question you choose to work on is an hour question, give everyone a half hour to prepare their notes for an answer. Then meet and share notes. Next everyone should take a half hour to write the answer. If you have written answers to one-issue fact patterns throughout the semester and have started your exam preparation by practicing with the multi-issue questions, you should be prepared. You should be able to spot the issues in a long fact pattern, know which words are in it for what purpose, and have a workable format for an answer. At this point in your exam preparation your major concern should be the organization of the answers to your professor's complex questions.

     This method works just as well for policy questions for which this book cannot prepare you. You and your classmates should be able to list the professor's favorite "buzz" words and figure out how to use them to answer a question.Your undergraduate essay and paper writing have probably prepared you adequately for this type of question once you have determined just what your professor is after.

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