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Preparing for Multiple Choice Law Exams November 20, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Preparing for Multiple Choice Law Exams November 20, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparing for Multiple Choice Law Exams November 20, 2006

2 Agenda Structure of a multiple choice question Recognizing distracters Tips on approaching questions Developing a game plan Getting the right answer Conjunctions Application

3 Structure of a Multiple Choice Question based on ‘the finz Multistate Method’* Part that sets up what to answer or complete. Options The possible choices that answer or complete the stem-- One option fits best. Facts or story of the question * Published by Aspen Publishers Problem Call of the Question

4 The Problem Congress passes a law providing that no one who has been a member of an organization which uses unlawful means to deprive any group of persons of their rights under the US Constitution is eligible for employment by the federal government. Facts or story of the question

5 The call of the question If the constitutionality of that law is challenged, it should be held... "Call of Question" or part that sets up what to answer or complete.

6 Options The possible choices that answer or complete the call of the question. One option fits best. A. unconstitutional because it is an ex post facto law B. unconstitutional because it prohibits members of certain organizations from holding public office whether or not they knew the purpose of the organizations. C. constitutional because employment by the federal government is not a right but a privilege. D. Constitutional because the federal government has the right to protect itself by not employing persons who hold views in consistent with the US constitution.

7 DISTRACT0RS & FOILS

8 MORE DISTRACT0RS & FOILS

9 Playing the Right Role JUDGE TYPICAL STEM: IF MARY SUES TED FOR TRESPASS, THE COURT SHOULD FIND IN FAVOR OF ACCURATE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE FACTS AND LAW 2. FACTS AND LAW CONSISTENT WITH CONCLUSION 3. USE LEGAL TESTS TO DISCERN RIGHT ANSWER

10 Basic Game Plan READ Call of Question 4 Read stem more carefully. Deal with the call and one option at a time. Examine options carefully and refer back to facts to Clarify as needed. Read call and option, then mark option with "T" if true and "F" if false for each option. Read problem (facts) Read options

11 Selecting the Correct Option COMPLEX OPTIONS:MOST OF THE TIME, AN OPTION WILL CONSIST OF TWO PARTS: A CONCLUSION AND A REASON OR CONDITION GIVING RISE TO THE CONCLUSION. THE STRATEGY DEPENDS UPON THE CONJUNCTION WHICH JOINS ITS PARTS.

12 Critical Conjunctions "BECAUSE" OR "SINCE"couples a conclusion with a reason for the conclusion. An option of this kind actually makes two statements. Is reason given based on an accurate statement? Paulsen was eating in a restaurant when he began to choke on a piece of food that had lodged in his throat. Dow, a physician who was dining at a nearby table, did not wish to become involved and did not render any assistance, although prompt medical attention would have been effective in removing the obstruction from Paulsen’s throat. Because of the failure to obtain prompt medical attention, Paulsen suffered severe brain injury from lack of oxygen. If Paulsen asserts a claim against Dow for his injuries, the court should find for A.Dow, because Dow did not cause the piece of food to lodge in Paulsen’s throat. B.Paulsen, if a reasonably prudent person with Dow’s experience, training, and knowledge would have assisted Paulsen. C.Paulsen, but only if the jurisdiction has a statute which relieves physicians of malpractice liability for emergency first aid. D.Dow, unless Dow knew that the Paulsen was substantially certain to sustain serious injury. A.Dow, because Dow did not cause the piece of food to lodge in Paulsen’s throat.

13 Critical Conjunctions "IF"couples a conclusion with a condition requiring that conclusion. We do not need to determine whether the "if" is an accurate statement. Paulsen was eating in a restaurant when he began to choke on a piece of food that had lodged in his throat. Dow, a physician who was dining at a nearby table, did not wish to become involved and did not render any assistance, although prompt medical attention would have been effective in removing the obstruction from Paulsen’s throat. Because of the failure to obtain prompt medical attention, Paulsen suffered severe brain injury from lack of oxygen. If Paulsen asserts a claim against Dow for his injuries, the court should find for A.Dow, because Dow did not cause the piece of food to lodge in Paulsen’s throat. B.Paulsen, if a reasonably prudent person with Dow’s experience, training, and knowledge would have assisted Paulsen. C.Paulsen, but only if the jurisdiction has a statute which relieves physicians of malpractice liability for emergency first aid. D.Dow, unless Dow knew that the Paulsen was substantially certain to sustain serious injury. B. Paulsen, if a reasonably prudent person with Dow’s experience, training, and knowledge would have assisted Paulsen.

14 Critical Conjunctions "ONLY IF"couples a conclusion with an exclusive condition. We must ask whether this is the only situation or condition that would justify the statement. Paulsen was eating in a restaurant when he began to choke on a piece of food that had lodged in his throat. Dow, a physician who was dining at a nearby table, did not wish to become involved and did not render any assistance, although prompt medical attention would have been effective in removing the obstruction from Paulsen’s throat. Because of the failure to obtain prompt medical attention, Paulsen suffered severe brain injury from lack of oxygen. If Paulsen asserts a claim against Dow for his injuries, the court should find for A.Dow, because Dow did not cause the piece of food to lodge in Paulsen’s throat. B.Paulsen, if a reasonably prudent person with Dow’s experience, training, and knowledge would have assisted Paulsen. C.Paulsen, but only if the jurisdiction has a statute which relieves physicians of malpractice liability for emergency first aid. D.Dow, unless Dow knew that the Paulsen was substantially certain to sustain serious injury. C. Paulsen, but only if the jurisdiction has a statute which relieves physicians of malpractice liability for emergency first aid.

15 Critical Conjunctions "UNLESS" couples a conclusion with a still different kind of condition -- a negative exclusive condition. We must accept the "unless"-condition as stated and decide whether it is the only condition in the world which would make the conclusion false. Paulsen was eating in a restaurant when he began to choke on a piece of food that had lodged in his throat. Dow, a physician who was dining at a nearby table, did not wish to become involved and did not render any assistance, although prompt medical attention would have been effective in removing the obstruction from Paulsen’s throat. Because of the failure to obtain prompt medical attention, Paulsen suffered severe brain injury from lack of oxygen. If Paulsen asserts a claim against Dow for his injuries, the court should find for A.Dow, because Dow did not cause the piece of food to lodge in Paulsen’s throat. B.Paulsen, if a reasonably prudent person with Dow’s experience, training, and knowledge would have assisted Paulsen. C.Paulsen, but only if the jurisdiction has a statute which relieves physicians of malpractice liability for emergency first aid. D.Dow, unless Dow knew that the Paulsen was substantially certain to sustain serious injury.

16 Common Errors Making Assumptions Read slowly so as not to fall prey to this mistake by making assumptions about the fact pattern Read slowly to ensure you are answering the question that is being asked Don’t disregard an answer simply because it is too simple Avoid filling in the blanks to achieve your answer as opposed to the actual answer to the question. Getting distracted by a option that tracks a case Some options may be correct statements but not the best answer. Be sure to check that the option is the best answer for the question being asked.

17 Common Errors Disagreeing with the question being asked When you find yourself thinking a question is impractical, don’t disregard it. Focus on answering the question asked not what you think should have been asked. Answering as a Lay Person Look for the appropriate legal test not what you believe is the “just” or “right” result that does not track the legal rule. Not Reading all the options We are conditioned to work quickly but avoid skipping options once you’ve seen what you think is the correct answer. Be sure to read all options carefully.

18 Applications 1.Create some multiple choice questions and trade with study partners to increase your understanding of common constructions of questions. 2.Write reasons each wrong option is not the best answer.

19 In Preparing for Exams: Try to vary study methods. Make your studying active by doing problems and/or multiple choice questions. Be sure to do something for fun every day. Come back refreshed. Remember, exams are a marathon, not a sprint! Take care of yourself! Ps. After an exam – GO SEE A MOVIE!


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