Wednesday, January 6, 2010
8 - Common Mistakes On Law Essay Exams By Students
COMMON MISTAKES ON LAW ESSAY EXAMS BY STUDENTS
1. Combining issues, parties and rules instead of dealing with them one at a time. If you do this, you are not following the IRAC model. You would be following the "GIBERISH" model! If you remember high school algebra, you will remember following the formula. If you just take all of those x's and y's and +'s and –'s and ='s and smash them all together, no one will know what the beans you are talking about. It would be like taking your favorite written work (that would be a book, article or poem for those of you from the east coast -- :-) -- lighten up! I'm just kidding) and explaining it as:
2. Starting with your conclusion or making a recitation of the facts. IRAC starts with "I!" So YOU should start with "I!" I = Issue. If you start with your conclusion and then a recitation of facts, you are NOT following the IRAC model. Your model would be "CFFFFFFFF." And your grade will most likely not be higher than a 60! You can't reach a responsible conclusion until you have first identified the issue, stated the rule of law and analyzed the facts as they pertain to that specific rule and that specific issue. Otherwise, you have the ole cart flying down the hill dragging the poor ole horse along behind!
3. Listing all of the rules in one place. If you do this, you are NOT following the IRAC model. Your model would be "RRRRRRRRRR." And you will most likely not get a grade higher than a 60!
4. Believing that you know more than all of the legal scholars who have put this all together and that you can merely make things up. You can certainly give this a try, but the 55 that you will get on your essay will not be nearly as good as others who decide not to invent a new legal system.
5. Not beginning your exam by reading the call of the question. If you will start with the call of the question, then, when you begin reading the essay facts, you will know more about for what you are looking.
I hope this is helpful.
Professor Doug Holden
© 2009 Douglas S. Holden. All rights reserved.