It’s early May, and you open your Crim final exam. You read the first hypo and — shockingly enough — there’s a dead body.
What do you do?
Do You Have a Solid Attack Plan?
Hopefully, you’ve got a pretty clear answer to this question:
“First I’ll think about whether there’s a potential first degree murder charge. The elements of first degree murder are…” and so on.
Unfortunately, many students won’t have worked through this analysis in advance in any real detail. Sure, their outline (and hopefully their brain) contains legal trivia about first degree murder, second degree murder, manslaughter, and so on. But that’s only step one!
Knowing how you’re going to use this information is far more valuable. To do that, it’s critical to think through common scenarios that are likely to appear, so you know exactly what questions to ask in your analysis. (Looking at old exams is a great way to see what scenarios show up again and again. Clearly, these are the ones you want to spend much of your prep time on. Here are a few other tips for figuring out what will be on a law school exam.)
My Crim Law Flowchart
To get you started, here’s an example I did for Crim, where my “scenario” was “the potential defendant is arguably incapacitated from drugs or alcohol”:
Hopefully that gives you some fresh ideas for scenario-based studying. (Or just for entertaining yourself with colored pencils.)
Best of luck on exams!
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And check out these helpful posts:
- What’s Your Excuse? Start Taking Practice Exams
- You’re Totally Unprepared for a Law School Exam! How to Avoid Disaster
- The Three Most Important Things You Can Do as Exams Approach
- Flashcards or Flowcharts: What’s Best?
Image by Penny Matthews.
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