Taking practice exams is a proven way to improve performance on exams. Applying legal rules to a new set of facts will help you learn those rules, even if you have not yet had time to review them. This exercise also helps to identify complexities and nuances that you might not catch when passively reading through your notes or outline. And, finally, writing out answers to practice questions forces you to practice the other skill that is being tested: legal analysis.
The practice question does not need to be from your current professor; any exam in the same format will work just fine. Write out answers to hypos and practice exam questions early and often–even if you have not yet finished (or started!) reviewing and outlining. If you need help getting started, check out this short guide: Practice Questions: Why, When, and How.
Here are some resources for finding hypos and practices questions:
Law Library Exam Database
The law library maintains a database of past exams for you to use for practice. You can find those exams here. You can ask your professors if they plan to release old exams or hypos, but know that many reuse questions and so do not release them. If you have a sample answer (or a friend’s answer), consider using this worksheet to assess your performance and drill down on your analysis.
Commercial Study Aids
Full-length exam questions. Use full-length exam questions later in the semester to practice issue-spotting and time management as well as legal analysis. In addition to the Law Library’s exam database, you also can use the Siegel’s and the Emanuel study aids. Siegel’s is not available online, but there are hard copies on reserve in the Library or you can buy it. It has sample exam questions (issue-spotter and multiple-choice) along with sample answers. Emmanuel CrunchTime and Emanuel’s First Year Questions and Answers similarly have sample essay questions and answers. They are both available for free online. Click this link and then search for Emanuel (there’s one for each first-year subject). Quimbee and CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction) also offer sample exam questions and answers. If you have trouble registering for Quimbee or CALI, please contact the Law Library. As always, if the sample answer explains the law in a different way than your professor, it is a helpful exercise to think about how you would rewrite the answer using the framework you learned in class.
Quimbee and CALI both offer a tutorial in addition to practice multiple-choice questions. The Siegel’s and Emanuel CrunchTime study aids include multiple-choice questions and answers. Siegel’s is not available online, but we have it on reserve in the Library and you can also buy it in the bookstore or online. Emanuel CrunchTime is available for free online. Click this link and then search for Emanuel (there’s one for each first-year subject). As always, if the sample answer explains the law in a different way than your professor, defer to your professor.