Regulation College Essay Exams – What to Memorize

Law college students inquire, “Is not legislation school about extra than just memorizing? The reply is crystal clear: Certainly!

But will have to law learners memorize? The response is just as crystal clear: Totally!

Some professors erroneously notify pupils that “law university is not about memorization.” I say “erroneously” due to the fact regulation college IS about memorization… and so substantially more. But for the minute, let’s just concentrate on grades – and for most programs, that indicates focusing on examinations.

In order to write a higher-scoring essay test respond to, a college student wants to make use of lots of abilities and approaches. Cogent presentation, superior degree analysis, sophisticated authorized reasoning… yes, these are critical capabilities when it will come to earning “A” grades.

But 1 cannot earn an “A”… or a “B”… without the need of currently being able to place the challenges that the professor expects to see analyzed. In get to come across challenges, 1 ought to “know” the legislation. In the deeper sense, to “know” the legislation is to recognize its track record, versions, nuances, subtleties, and so on. And, certainly, that perception of figuring out is extremely vital. But in the fundamental perception, to “know” the regulation (in the context of test-answering) is to be in a position to create a rule assertion without the need of actively wondering to “know it by heart.”

Ahead of going for walks in to a Torts remaining exam, a scholar committed to earning the best grade he or she is able of earning should to have figured out “by coronary heart” at least every of the following:

  • As to each and every tort, a assertion of each “rule” – indicating a sentence or extra that features each individual component that will have to be proven to result in a perseverance that the tort has been dedicated.

  • As to each affirmative defense, a statement of each individual “rule” – indicating a sentence or far more that contains each ingredient that have to be established to consequence in a perseverance that the protection is feasible.

  • A definition of every single element, including “assessments” to decide if that aspect can be confirmed.

A schematic template for developing an essay is, fundamentally, integrated in just these 3 classes. Here is a partial case in point:

  • To confirm negligence, a plaintiff need to show that the defendant owed a obligation to all foreseeable plaintiffs, that the defendant breached this obligation by not performing in accord with the normal of care, and that this breach triggered the personal injury to plaintiff.

  • Obligation. A plaintiff ought to prove that the defendant owed a duty to all foreseeable plaintiffs, that the defendant breached this responsibility by not acting in accord with the standard of care, and that this breach prompted the injury to plaintiff.

  • Regular of care. The standard of treatment is the diploma of prudence and warning necessary of an person who is less than a responsibility of care.

  • Breach of duty. A breach situation can be looked at from (at minimum) two unique angles…

  • Balancing take a look at. Liability turns on whether or not the load of ample precautions is less than the probability of hurt multiplied by the gravity of the ensuing damage. B
  • Negligence per se. The three essential criteria include: that plaintiff is a member of the class intended to be protected by the statute, that the type of injury which occurred is the type the statute was enacted to guard against, and the violation was not excused.

But a student need not memorize these 214 words. This works:

  • Negligence – duty, breach, standard of care, cause, damage.

  • Breach – balance, per se. (…and so on…)

Should a student “memorize by rote”? Ideally, no. It’s unnecessary if a student has adequately prepared for each class, produced a personal course summary (outline), and answered dozens of short-answer (and longer) practice questions. The repetitive use of the fundamental rules to resolve tough problems embeds the elements into the memory for most. But not all. That’s why memory tools are important to many law students. (More about that later.)

Another helpful item to add to the bullet-point list above (what to memorize) is this: a list of every issue studied. This provides an excellent checklist for the student to quickly run through during the pre-writing stage of composing the essay answer. How much rote memorization does this entail? Not much. (For an example of a Criminal Law checklist, go to this link, then scroll down to Criminal Law, Checklist.)

Students must remember that the “memorization” part – the learning by heart part – is only a small part of what must be done to score high on exams. But if a student is not able to run through the elements of each intentional tort (for example) quickly, without pausing to try to recall specifics, issues will be missed. Don’t let that happen!

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