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How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams Paperback – November 1, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0960851454 ISBN-10: 0960851453 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: John Delaney; Revised edition (November 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0960851453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0960851454
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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). 




More About the Author


A law professor for thirty years, John Delaney taught Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Law, Comparative Criminal Law, International Criminal Law and other subjects to law school students and students in masters and doctoral degree programs at the New York University School of Law. He then taught Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Law, the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, Jurisprudence, a First-Year Seminar and other subjects at the City University of New York Law School. Learning Legal Reasoning emerged from these many years of teaching and reflecting.

Now retired, Professor Delaney is also the author of law review articles. His First Amendment article, "Police Power Absolutism and Nullifying the Free Exercise Clause: A Critique of Oregon v. Smith," 25 Ind. L. Rev. 71 (1991), has been cited in more than thirty law review articles and by many courts including the Supreme Court of California and the Supreme Court of Texas. His books additionally include How To Do Your Best on Law School Exams and Learning Criminal Law as Advocacy Argument: Complete with Exam Problems and Answers. He was also the General Editor of nine other books, mostly about comparative law, in the American Series of Foreign Penal Codes.

Prior to teaching, Professor Delaney conducted approximately one thousand trials and he prepared more than one hundred and fifty appeals. He lives with his wife Pat and daughter Clare in the beautiful Catskill region of New York and communicates with students by e-mail.

Customer Reviews

The book also provides excellent practice essay exams with answers.
Clovis
I also highly recommend Delaney's Learning Legal Reasoning (which is a wonderful complement to How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams).
Ana Hurtado
I may go back to GTM in the future, but for now, I think that Delaney's book is, and will be, sufficient.
Devon C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Clovis on January 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, I should begin by saying what has turned out to be true. Law school is tough. It is extremely challenging, the amount of information is overwhelming, and the in-class atmosphere is unnerving. It is, I believe, more different and difficult than most undergrad and grad students realize.

Second, your time constraints will be intense. If you undertake an earnest effort to read your cases, properly brief, use resources such as hornbooks and outline, you will probably not have enough time to develop the skills necessary to write an effective exam-answer during law school.

Last, it is why this book is so important to read and prior to entering law school: difficulty of exams, complexity of material, vast amounts of information and reading, intense time constraints, and most importantly, your grade will be determined by your final exam performance.

SOME COMMENTARY ON LAW EXAMS & SOCRATIC METHOD (*WARNING*)
I would be disingenuous and perhaps remiss if I did not seize a good opportunity to complain about law school to those considering attending law school. Do not fret, I will try to be brief. I think after the first or second semester of law school, you acquire the analytical skills, discipline, and ability to read and understand complex material at a maximum level. I am skeptical that a second year of law school is necessary, let alone a third year. The second-year should consist of skills development, job-training, and some classroom work. The third-year should be eliminated or optional for those that want more education or specialization (such as an LLM). Most (all?) countries do not have law schools in the way the United States does; instead, students study law as undergrads or earn a master's in law.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By TDM on June 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book contains everything you need to know to succeed at law school exams. After reviewing several exam writing guides on the market including "Getting to Maybe" and "The 8 Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School" I stumbled across Prof. Delaney's book and subsequently never read anything else. It provides you with instructions on day to day preparation, outlining and multiple methods of exam writing depending on the test question (whereas other books try to use one formula to apply to all tests, which is ridiculous). This will absolutely change the performance of every first year law student. Just before exams I was studying very hard, but I had little idea about how to put my knowledge down on paper as applied to a fact pattern. I ordered Delaney's book just weeks before exams and it was still very helpful, and even more so when I used it in Spring semester. I finished my first year in the top 20% of a top 20 law school. Nothing will substitute hard work and stict class attendance in law school, but this book will put you above and beyond the grade curve during exams.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By jesse kasowitz on February 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am a retired New York University School of Law Professor. There I had the good fortune to work with Professor Delaney who was then the Department Chief of the School's Criminal Law Education and Research Department. In my view, Professor Delaney's "How to Do your Best on Law Schoool Exams" book is unique among a multitude of law exam technique books. It is appropriate for beginning and advanced students. The new edition is supplemented by a dynamic website that elaborates on points that are explained in the book. The website also updates in accordance with new testing trends, e.g. multiple choice questions. Prof. Delaney offers refreshing criticism of most law school pedagogy, and its failure to prepare students for their exams. He has a good description of the practice of mystifying and obfuscating legal principles. His methods are effective for students from their first year to the bar examination. I would recommend the book without hesitation.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Delaney on January 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
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 pegagogy.

Many first-year students do not know that college-exam skills and LSAT skills are definitely not the skills you need to excel on law-school exams, and are also unaware that you are not systematically taught the latter skills in most law schools. In addition, many beginning students also 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 if their grades are mediocre or worse.

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. FAQ and parts of the Book are availale on my website.

All three books emerge from thirty years of law school teaching at two law schools (N.Y.U. and CUNY).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was invaluable to me. I was able to work throughout the semester in anticiaption of the exams and was very prepared for what I faced at exam time. It is tru that professors DO NOT prepare you in class for the exams and than I credit my good grades with the very concrete and incvaluable advice from Professor Delaney in his book.
It is NOT out of print and is available at johndelaneypub.com.
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