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Monday, June 03, 2019

Amar on exam-writing

Vik Amar at Above the Law offers some thoughts about writing good exam/assessment questions. He hits on four ideas: Offering more and different assessment opportunities; having a balance of open- and closed-book assessments (the latter to account for the need to prep for the Bar); using real cases or events (good idea, but be careful how you write it); and proper notice of the rules. Interestingly, on the third point, Amar does not warn about students being upset, offended, or traumatized by the real-world situations.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 3, 2019 at 08:30 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink


Thanks for sharing this interesting article!

Posted by: Linn | Nov 30, 2020 1:33:41 PM

"Interestingly, on the third point, Amar does not warn about students being upset, offended, or traumatized by the real-world situations."

Good! A lawyer who can't hander a case because her panties are in a wad due to her emotional response is a failure of a lawyer. Better to flunk that person, than to let her get out into the real world, and screw up some client's cases because of her patent unfitness

Posted by: Greg Q | Jun 4, 2019 10:42:25 AM

Just clarification:

Typically, when we say the " real world " in law, we refer to news, to headlines, big and hot stories on news. But the real world, is rather, those behind the news stories, reaching courts, almost no publication concerns them. And concerning the latter, well, you can throw one rusty cent through the balcony, and reach such amazing cases ( legally amazing). So, not to confuse, big news, with " legal news".


Posted by: El roam | Jun 4, 2019 5:12:56 AM

Interesting, but it is not so simple as an apple. What counts is the essence. Not whether the book is closed or opened, but in light of the nature of the issue or subject of learning,whether opened or closed . Sometimes, one lawyer must use his oral and improvised and spontaneous capacity ( like in a phone call, video conference, explaining in gross modo the case to one client and so forth ). So, all depends on the situation one lawyer confronts. When writing a motion, he must work with opened books indeed, and verify every world written.

The same goes for cases in the real world. The content of the course should match actually the real world. Then there is no issue typically. This is the best preparation and learning. Otherwise, they would face significant difficulties in the real world. It would take much more time, until the would practice it. Greater chance also to fail down the road. This is also the best way to learn and memorize thinks. So, one should find or trace, those cases in the real world, that would match, the theoretical learning ( if not, to construct them, through imaginary cases, but typically, the real world, would bear every issue almost that needs to be learned ).


Posted by: El roam | Jun 4, 2019 5:06:38 AM

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