What is going to be on this exam?
Here are a few hints.
What’s Most Likely to Show Up on the Exam?
The most difficult material. Say you are a 1L and you are taking a property exam this week. You may have studied estates (and the very ominous Rule Against Perpetuities). You keep studying the examples from class and you are doing just fine, until you get to the most difficult one (perhaps an alternative contingent remainder?).
You wonder — will that be on the test? Most likely, yes.
Professors need to put that very difficult material on the test in order to get a curve in the class.
So you absolutely must study the most difficult material covered.
Material they talked about over, and over again. If your professor kept going back to one area of the law or one example during her lectures, it is likely that is going to be on the exam as well.
What you recently studied at the end of the semester. If you are taking torts, what is typically the last topic area covered? Products liability. In my opinion, products liability is one of the most difficult areas in torts. It is something you actually must review and study to understand (well, at least most of us).
Because your professor just reviewed it over the last few weeks, does that mean you are safe from a products liability question? No! In fact, the professor likely knows that many of you were not doing the reading at the end of the semester. So she wants to reward those who were studying and learning the material during the last few weeks.
Because of this, don’t ignore material covered at the end of the semester unless explicitly told it will not be on the exam.
What wasn’t covered on the model answer distributed in class. So the professor may have circulated a model answer for adverse possession (yup, back to property). You have studied it, memorized the attack plan and even refined your rules to match those in your professor’s answer. Is adverse possession likely going to show up on your exam? Sorry folks, probably not.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from it. It is possible that a topic area that is close to adverse possession may pop up. For example, is there a type of easement you reviewed that uses many of the adverse possession elements? Can you apply what you learned from the model answer to that type of easement?
The Bottom Line
Although you can’t predict perfectly what might show up on a law school exam (professors are sneaky like that), keeping these hints in mind will help you be ready for exam day!
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