“In just one short hour, Professor Cooper alleviated our exam writing anxieties.” That is how Janmari Hueso 2L described Adjunct Professor Jennifer Cooper’s Essay Exam Writing Workshop, sponsored by Phi Alpha Delta, that took place on April 25.
“You can always improve your exam writing skills. That is why we are here” Hueso explains. “We want to succeed on our exams and ultimately on the bar.”
The Essay Exam Writing Workshop addresses the need for practicing essay exam writing and focuses on common mistakes. “Essay exam writing is a skill that requires practice,” Professor Cooper says. “Students often underestimate the importance of practice and mistakenly over-rely on memorization alone.”
“We had the chance to do a prewriting exercise where Professor Cooper had us create our own issue checklist and then we read the facts and made an outline of how to apply the facts to the law, in this case adverse possession.”
During the workshop, Professor Cooper enforces the fact that every law student from first semester 1L’s to graduating 3L’s can benefit from more practice essay exam writing and some basic techniques “like reading the call of the question first, using an issue checklist to avoid missing issues, using headings to break up the issues, and using mini-IRAC sections for individual elements and sub-issues.”
Hueso says Professor Cooper’s advice is priceless and something that she will incorporate from now on every time she takes an exam.
“Professor Cooper suggested we approach exam writing like our audience isn't just our professor who knows the law, but rather a hypothetical client who we need to properly inform so that they can make an informed decision.”
Professor Cooper says it is important to incorporate exercises in each of the Writing Lab Workshops so students immediately apply the principles they are learning. “Hopefully, the students will continue to use these techniques in their own practice as well as on the exams.”
The workshop was recorded and will be available on the Writing Lab's TWEN page in addition to the other previous workshops in the Spring 2012 Writing Lab Workshop series.
There are no more Exam Writing Workshops this semester, but Professor Cooper encourages students to watch the recordings on TWEN and to make individual appointments for exam writing assistance through the Writing Lab’s TWEN page.