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Getting To Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams Paperback – May 26 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Carolina Academic Press (May 26 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890897603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890897607
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Getting To Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 27 2002
Format: Paperback
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 By papaphilly on May 20 2004
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.

Overall, the book does a good job lining out several formulas for successful exam writing. It provides useful examples to the reader that will probably result in better exam scores for those who understand what is expected of them on their first actual law school exams. However, past those first exams, readers will gain little from the content of this book. Like other readers and fellow "lawschoolers", it is my experience that at least half of your professors will discuss with you what they expect on their exams, and a few may even choose to outline the "sacred" IRAC method in class or on demand. Most students pick up what is expected of them from those teachings or by searching out past exams. Even reading case law may help students understand how they should answer an issue by demonstrating how learned judges apply their own ideas and argument to legal issues.

Most law students know after the first few trials what method works. After that, it is all about your work ethic and that thing located between your ears. The hardest working students are the ones who get the best grades, usually by preparing better than most others. Believe it or not, the problem of knowing how to write a law school exam disappears very quickly for those hardworking enough to search out the resources available to have meaningful, practical repetitions. Reading a book isn't likely to make you a better exam writer. You'll have to dig your hands into the clay before you can master the potter's wheel.

Save your time and money.
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By A Customer on Oct. 19 2003
Format: Paperback
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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