The Secret to Law School Exams: It’s not always about being “right.”

Grading law school exams, I am frequently struck by the idea that I’d like to impress upon students: you don’t always have to have the right answer. Rather, your goal is often just to give reasoned arguments as to how both sides would resolve the issues.  There may not even be a “right” answer on a law school exam. Think about it, there is usually a “P” and a “D” in every story –often working from the same or similar facts (at least on law essays) and each believing he/she is right.  (Each side may draw different inferences from the facts.)  In a funny way, law essays mirror life –there are often at least two sides to every story.

Bottom line, complete many practice exams as you prepare for finals. Learn the law well, and get the best handle you can on the exam process.  And lift off that burden of having to “know” who is “right.”  It makes being a law student so much easier, and way more fun.

Keep up the hard work.  And, good luck on finals!

Author: Sara J. Berman

Sara J. Berman, a graduate of the UCLA School of Law, is a Professor of Law and Assistant Dean at the Touro Law Center. She formerly served as a Director at the Washington DC-based Center for Legal Education Excellence.

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