Studying Sample Answers May Save Time
Many state bar associations post former bar exam essay questions and sample answers on their websites. These model answers are valuable for studying for both the bar and final exams. It is also easy to search online for sample law exam answers as most samples are available for free. Studying sample answers may save some precious time studying, allowing you to utilize it for other test preparation.
Of course, this involves working with sample questions and makes the question and what it specifically asks also a very important component of this process. When working with sample answers and questions, it is useful to attempt writing a response to a practice question, then comparing this response to the model answer. Some bar exam questions require the application of state law (e.g., California criminal law), and may not be on point if the exam requires knowledge of federal law. Read the question carefully.
While many students may have trouble preparing for law exams, in part because perhaps their law school does not emphasize test preparation, the CDTA offers weekly live and online workshops tailored to help students prepare for and succeed on law exams, including the bar exam.
When studying sample answers, it is good to ask the following questions when comparing your answer:
- Did I spot the same issues that the writer of the sample answer spotted?
- Did I miss important issues? Which ones? How will I avoid this in the future?
- Did I include issues that the sample answer did not include? If so, are these issues relevant?
- Did I clearly lay out all the rules and elements of law for each issue?
- Did I discuss laws that weren’t relevant? How can I avoid this in the future?
- Did I make arguments on behalf of each party (where applicable)?
- Did I analyze the problem as in-depth as the sample answer did?
- Did I spend too much time analyzing an issue that should obviously turn out in one party’s favor?
- Did I know enough law to fully analyze the question or do I need to review my outline more?
- Was my conclusion too vague? Was it too strongly worded?
- Was my conclusion correct (or at least arguably correct)?
- Did I spend too much time restating facts or conclusions?
- Did I answer the exam in the appropriate amount of time?
- What are my strengths?
- How can I capitalize on my strengths and make them even better?
- What do I need to practice more?
Once you get an idea of a good sample test answer, you still have to practice answering exam questions. If you were trying to get good at playing the guitar, reading books about guitar playing all day would not be enough as you would actually have to practice playing the guitar! And it is the same with answering exam questions, regardless of what you study, you still have to practice your test-taking skills.
The California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) helps students assimilate to the practice of law better than most traditional law schools. We’re on the cutting edge of modern, progressive 21st Century legal education. The CDTA has implemented new, innovative ways of teaching students how to be attorney-advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.