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Getting To Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams [Paperback]

Richard Michael Fischl Jeremy Paul
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avoid Commercial Outlines and Study Groups Oct. 27 2002
Having graduated with high honors from one of the top five law schools, I relied on several of these books to identify the appropriate approach to taking law school exams. I applied the approach as follows: (1) read only those assignments provided by the professor (ignore commercial outlines, etc.); (2) take extensive notes of everything the professor says in class (and do not write down any student comments or student answers to Socratic questions); (3) organize your notes of the professor's lectures into your own outline; (4) read the professor's prior exam files, including any student answers selected by the professor as "model answers"; and (5) practice taking the professor's old exams in the few days leading up to exam day. The rationale is that your professor will be looking for you to spot those issues that he or she views as important. The more of these issues you spot, the higher your exam grade will be. Ditch those commercial outlines and study group meetings. In addition to Getting to Maybe, you should also prepare for law school by conditioning yourself to what its competition will feel like. Two excellent books that accomplish this goal are Scott Turow's One L (Harvard in the 1970s) and Scott Gaille's The Law Review (2002 book about competition at The University of Chicago Law School).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way to pass the law school exam. May 20 2004
This book saved my law school carreer. law school tests are notoriously ambigous. There are no right answers. Unfortunatly, there seems to be no help for students. One of the proscribed methods is the IRAC method (when you get to school you will learn this and this is not the time to write about it). This book gives you a different way of acheving success in the test. The book does criticize IRAC and offers its own way of handling the testing questions. "Getting To Maybe" is written by law professors and who would know more about passing their tests as well as how a professor thinks? The book is a well written philosophy on the test and the mistakes. The authors spend a great deal of time explaining their philosophy and it is helpfull for the second half of the book. The book shows the common test question mistakes and how to fix them. The book also provides sample tests with sample answers and explanations of why they are good answers. This is the best part of the book, a side by side comparison of good and bad answers which makes this book invaluable. Highly reccommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Rhetoric for Law School Exams Oct. 19 2003
By A Customer
A very thorough, explicit, step-by-step guide to what law school professors want to see on your written exams. Very lucid, sometimes even witty. Most law schools still adhere to the Socratic, sink-or-swim method, in which students are kept in the dark about what's expected of them. As a result, many students are totally flummoxed and panic-stricken when exam time rolls around. Be sure to read this book just before you head off to law school; then read it again a couple of weeks before your first exam. If you follow the authors' advice, you are practically guaranteed good grades. Hey, you might even make the Law Review. It worked for me.
Other good books to read before heading off to law school:
Law 101, by Jay Feinman
Introduction to U.S. Legal System, by William Burnham
Planet Law School, by "Atticus Falcon"
The first two give a nice overview of the whole subject and will help you tie everything together. The last is an overcynical but very amusing description of the kind of mind games you're likely to encounter; it also contains the best study tips I've seen.
Also: If you have the time and money, enroll in an intensive paralegal training course before law school. I did, and it really saved my ass during 1L.
Last but definitely not least: Spend at least six months prepping HARD for the LSAT. Work your way through a good logic textbook (I recommend Copi's), study a good prep book (e.g., Jeff Kolby's), and practice on as many real LSATs as you can, under time-pressured conditions. It really pays off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive rigor July 18 2002
The aim of this book is to help current law students perform well on law school exams. Law school exams are famously ambiguous; hence the title of the book.
The title of the book is a play on the title of a classic book about the art of negotiation, called _Getting to Yes_. Implicit in _Getting to Maybe_ is that, unlike a negotiation, performance on law school exams does not require an exact answer or resolution.
The method by which these law professors explain this concept is especially interesting. In connection with their academic research, they propose to break down law school exams into small components, and thoroughly analyze those components. The result is a very substantial and comprehensive analysis of the structure of law school exams and the skills required to do well on these exams.
You may be asking how the professors purport to explain _all_ law school exams, for surely there are professors for whose exams these methods will not work. These professors make the interesting point that in the United States, law education is fairly uniform, and, therefore, the skills required to perform well on law school exams are fairly uniform, as well.
I read this book prior to starting law school. I found it useful primarily because I have read a number of other books about legal reasoning and the study of law and the law school experience that are more basic than the material in this book. If this is your first book regarding the study of law or peformance in law school, I would advise putting it aside in favor of a book offering a broader overview of law, its study, and law school.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners, but not great value
I first bought this book before law school but thought I would comment on this book now after going through a year and a half of law school and taking several exams. Read more
Published 8 months ago by eager reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Never received it!!
Never received this book and it was supposed to be a Christmas present..very mad. Putting in a formal complaint to amazon
Published on Jan. 3 2012 by Melissa
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!!
I got the book in perfect condition, still in its original wrapping. And overall my experience with this seller was great! :) Very happy with this purchase.
Published on Aug. 21 2011 by ladyinred
1.0 out of 5 stars AWFUL
read before first year law school. Now having completed two years, I feel as though I gained nothing from this book. It is entirely unapplicable.
Published on June 7 2011 by noahky
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study aid
Great book. Very helpful as a first year law student! I'd recommend it to anyone looking to improve their test results.
Published on Feb. 18 2010 by Courtney J. MacQuarrie
5.0 out of 5 stars a second chance
This book is in no small measure the reason that I am still in law school. I bombed the first year exams. Read more
Published on April 14 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blessing
Who better to get advice on law exams from than two law professors, who also graduated at the top of Harvard Law's class? Read more
Published on March 26 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe may not be enough
I gave this book two stars for its discussion on addressing policy issues on the exam--this was helpful, indeed. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth your time
I am a student at a top 5 law school. This book does not outline a specific system for taking exams, so if that is what you are looking for, look else where. Read more
Published on Dec 21 2003 by Ryan Mack
5.0 out of 5 stars High GPA: All you need to hear to READ THIS BOOK
I'm a 1L and our first semester grades came out today. I am thanking Getting To Maybe, along with my hard work, for my GPA. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2003 by aow
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