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International LL.M. and Graduate Students Guide

Some Advice

U.S. law exams might be unlike anything you have encountered.  Here are some tips that may prove helpful:

  • REFER to the relevant HORNBOOK or CONCISE HORNBOOK to help clarify a specific topic in a field of law.  
    • For core 1L fields of law, you can find the relevant HORNBOOKS at the One-L Toolkit.
  • Review by WRITING YOUR OWN OUTLINE each week.  This will force you to digest what you have learned! 
    • Organize your outline systematically by specific doctrinal topics.
    • Under each topic, articulate accurate black-letter rules that comprise every element.
    • Summarize the determinative facts of each case that the court has found to fulfill or not fulfill each element.
    • Understand the public policy decisions behind the judgment.
    • Consider your professor's scholarly articles when studying policy issues.
    • If your professor has put his/her past exams on reserve at the library desk or on Blackboard, consult these samples.
    • After taking an old exam, review to see what you have missed.

Outlining and Exam Preparation

Outlining is a classic way to prepare for law school exams.  The resources below discuss different ways to outline and otherwise prepare for exams.  For signup information for West Academic and Quimbee, please see Law Library Services for Online Learning and Teaching/Study resources.

  • Getting to Maybe:  How to Excel on Law School Exams (Temple Law Library Reserves, KF283.F57 1999)
    One of the most widely recommended books for new US law students, Getting to Maybe gives practical and detailed advice on studying for and taking law school exams.
  • Mastering the Law School Exam (Temple Law access via West Academic)
    Mastering the Law School Exam discusses all aspects of preparing for and taking law school exams, from outlining to writing the exam essay.
  • Law School Secrets: Outlining for Exam Success (Temple Law access via West Academic)
    Contrary to its name, this title includes tips on all aspects of law school exam preparation and taking.
  • Quimbee Model Outlines (Temple Law access)
    Quimbee's model outlines are generic outlines not keyed to a specific casebook.  As a result, they may be useful to get a sense of what topics are covered in a particular subject's outline, and a way to discuss them, but they should not be considered a model or substitute for making your own outline based on the materials used and discussed in your course.
  • Quimbee Exam Answers (Temple Law access)
    Quimbee's practice exams give you the opportunity to try writing your own exam and compare it to a model answer.  Keep in mind that the prompts may not reflect your professor's exam style, so use you professor's previous exams for practice where possible.  Also, unlike an actual law school exam answer, Quimbee's model answers do not cite to case law, so keep that in mind when practicing with them.

Law School Exams