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Law School Exam Writing Guide

You’ve survived an entire semester. You made it through the cold calls, the mountains of reading, and the endless case briefing. Your outline is perfect. You’ve studied until you know the material like the back of your hand. If you cut yourself right now, you’d bleed black letter law. Only one thing remains: writing the exam.

The law school exam is a unique animal, most likely very different from any exam you’ve ever taken before. The theory goes that in your practice as an attorney, you’ll encounter something like this: A client will come in and tell you what happened. You’ll be expected to listen to the client’s story, spot the potential legal issues, identify the relevant law, and apply the law to your client’s case. The law school exam is supposed to simulate that experience to some degree.

Scared? Don’t be. Writing a law school exam is a skill, and just like any other skill, it can be mastered with practice. If you’re looking for an esoteric discussion of the theoretical underpinnings of law school exams, this isn’t the guide for you. Our goal is to give you the lowdown on how to score maximum points on your exam.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • the typical format of a law school exam
  • exactly what law school exams are designed to test
  • how to attack a law school exam
  • how to budget your time during an exam
  • how to read an exam question
  • the best way to construct an exam answer
  • some helpful tips for maximizing your score