Thank you for buying this book. It's a big book. But don't panic—the book has lots of special features that you can decide to use or not, depending on how much time you have. I think the special features that are part of this edition will help you a lot. These include:
Capsule Summary—I've boiled the black-letter law of Contracts down to about 95 pages. I've designed this Capsule Summary to be read in the last week or so (maybe even the last night) before your exam. If you want to know more about a topic, cross-references in the Capsule point you to the pages in the main text that cover the topic more thoroughly.
Casebook Correlation Chart—This chart, located just after this Preface, correlates each section of the Outline with the pages covering the same topic in the leading Contracts casebooks.
Exam Tips—I've compiled these by reviewing dozens of actual past essay questions, and hundreds of multiple-choice questions, asked in past law-school and bar exams. The Exam Tips are at the end of each chapter.
Quiz Yourself questions—I've adapted these short-answer questions from the Law in a Flash flash-card deck on Contracts. (I've re-written most answers, to better mesh with the outline's approach). You'll find these distributed within each chapter, usually at the end of a roman-numeraled section. Each “pod” of Quiz Yourself questions can easily be located by using the Table of Contents.
Flow Charts, Issue Checklists and Tables—I've distilled many of the legal principles in this book into special visual aids that help you see how the pieces fit together. These include Flow Charts, Issue Checklists, Recap Tables, and the like. You'll find them at various places in most chapters, usually after the full treatment of the material in question. There is a Table of these visual aids on p. xxxiii, after the Table of Contents.
I intend for you to use this book both throughout the semester and for exam preparation. Here are some suggestions about how to use it:1 1. During the semester, use the book in preparing each night for the next day's class. To do this, first read your casebook. Then, use the Casebook Correlation Chart at the front of the outline to get an idea of what part of the outline to read. Reading the outline will give you a sense of how the particular cases you've just read in your casebook fit into the overall structure of the subject. You may want to use a yellow highlighter to mark key portions of the Emanuel. 2. If you make your own outline for the course, use the Emanuel to give you a structure, and to supply black letter principles. You may want to rely especially on the Capsule Summary for this pur pose. You are hereby authorized to copy small portions of the Emanuel into your own outline, provided that your outline will be used only by you or your study group, and provided that you are the owner of the Emanuel. 3. When you first start studying for exams, read the Capsule Summary to get an overview. Also, review the Flow Charts, Issue Checklists and Tables. These two tasks will probably take you all or part of two days. 4. Either during exam study or earlier in the semester, do some or all of the Quiz Yourself short-answer questions. When you do these questions: (1) record your short “answer” in the book after the question, but also: (2) try to write out a “mini essay” on a separate piece of paper. Remember that the only way to get good at writing essays is to write essays. 5. A couple of days before the exam, review the Exam Tips that appear at the end of each chapter. You may want to combine this step with step (4), so that you use the Tips to help you spot the issues in the short-answer questions. You'll also probably want to follow up from many of the Tips to the main outline's discussion of the topic. 6. Some time during the week or so before the exam, do some or all of the full-scale essay exams at the back of the book. Write out a full essay answer under exam-like conditions (e.g., closed-book if your exam will be closed book). If you can, exchange papers with a classmate and critique each other's answer. 7. The night before the exam: (1) do some Quiz Yourself questions, just to get your writing juices flowing; and (2) re-read the various Exam Tips sections (you should be able to do this in 1-2 hours). Good luck in your Contracts course. If you'd like any other publication from Aspen, you can find it at your bookstore or at www.wolterskluwerlb.com.