1. COME IN PREPARED AND CONFIDENT: Prepare as well as you can. That means that you not only have a good understanding of the law, but also that you’ve practiced repeatedly in a timed setting. Once you sit down to take the exam, take deep breaths. No matter what happens, keep your cool. Being flustered does not facilitate a good performance.
2. ANSWER THE CALL OF THE QUESTION: Do not come in with preconceived ideas about what will be tested. Identify the question and make sure you answer it thoroughly. This is not a time to just show off what you’ve learned.
3. CONSTRUCT OUTLINE: Spend about 1/4 of the time allotted for the exam reading the exam, thinking about it, and preparing an outline for your answer. An outline is not a list- it’s an arrangement of the issues on the exam set out chronologically. Use details that will help you thoroughly analyze the question.
4. START WRITING AND USE HEADINGS: Follow your outline to make sure your format is organized. Use headings!! As you write, briefly explain how each issue you discuss is relevant to the question.
5. EFFECTIVELY IRAC: Issue, Rule, Application/Analysis, Conclusion. You do not need to use the headings “issue”, “rule” etc— just use the structure! Separate each part of IRAC with its own paragraph.
6. IF AND WHEN APPLICABLE, CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE THEORIES:If your analysis leaves a conclusion open ended- apply other theories that could be applied as well. (Ex: You conclude there was no valid offer because he was joking. If this issue was at all close, you must go on “But if the court finds that he was not joking, then the court would consider whether A did not make a valid offer because A’s proposed terms were too uncertain, etc”)
Portions adapted from by Professor Myron Moskovitz