An Excellent Text on Preparing for and Taking Law School Exams
Professor John Delany's How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams is an excellent resource for both law students and ASP professionals. A longtime criminal law professor, Delaney provides an insightful and detailed approach to semester-long exam preparation, as well as practical strategies for answering the exam questions themselves in ways that demonstrate the analytical skills that law professors are trying to assess. One of the most powerful aspects of the book is Professor Delaney's ability to tie exam preparation to the analytical skills that lie at the heart of a proper legal education. Through thoughtful explanations of effective learning strategies and multiple practical illustrations and sample problems and answers, Professor Delaney demystifies much of both the study of law and the keys to success on law school assessments. Any student who wonders why in the world we test the way we do should read this book. Any student who wants to transform exam preparation into deep learning and powerful analytical skill development should read it and then reread it several times. -- Professor Daniel Weddle, Director of Academic Support and Clinical Professor University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law-- July 12, 2007
Law school professor Delaney places the Rosetta Stone of test-taking technique within the reach of every law student, and he does so with precise yet profuse, illustration ... But the book's primary achievement is a series of sample problems with carefully annotated answers ranging in quality from excellent to poor. This enables students to focus on what their professors are looking for and to sharpen their skills accordingly. While high school and college teachers generally expected little more than a `sophisticated regurgitation' of their lectures, law professors are harder to impress. -- The National Law Journal
Probably the most valuable contribution Professor Delaney makes ... is his courageous foray into the exam room itself.... Professor Delaney guides the reader through the exam itself, providing detailed instructions on how to outline the answer, how to spot issues, and to tell relevant facts from irrelevant ones. Probably the most valuable contribution Professor Delaney makes ... is his courageous foray into the exam room itself.... Professor Delaney guides the reader through the exam itself, providing detailed instructions on how to outline the answer, how to spot issues, and to tell relevant facts from irrelevant ones. -- Stanford Law School Journal
You can write a perfect answer to a question that wasn't asked - and fail. Or, if you prefer, you can fail by writing a poor answer to a question that was asked. Better yet, read this book and learn, step-by-step, how to write a very good answer to the question that was asked. -- Professor Robert A. Pugsley, Southwestern School of Law
From the Author
I'm Professor John Delaney, the author of this Exam book as well as Learning Legal Reasoning and Learning Criminal Law As Advocacy Argument. I wrote all three books to aid in piercing the obscurity, mystification and the "hide-the-ball" teaching that is still practiced in so much of legal pedagogy.
Many first-year students do not know that law schools do not give college-type exams and therefore that college exam skills and LSAT skills are definitely not the skills you need to excel on law-school exams. They are also unaware that you are not systematically taught exam-taking skills in most law schools. In addition, many beginning students do not know that law exams do not flow directly from the assigned materials and classroom discussion. They are therefore surprised and in many instances dismayed when their grades are mediocre or worse.
Look at the article in the `Amapedia' section for my essay about law school exams. The "Inside the Book" section also includes Chapter One from this Exam book as well as its "Detailed Table of Contents." In addition, I have posted my responses to nine commonly asked questions about the challenging law school classroom and sixteen questions about preparing for the different and difficult law school exams in the Amapedia section of the Learning Legal Reasoning Amazon page. This Exam book helps students to learn and practice the two key skills you need to excel on these exams: issue-spotting and then the writing of succinct legal arguments to resolve each spotted issue. All three books emerge from thirty years of law school teaching at two law schools (N.Y.U. and CUNY).