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28

Dandelions in the Bluebook Garden: Six Classic Exam Writing Mistakes

The last chapter explored the type of analysis most law professors want to see on first-year law essay exams. It is a skill you can learn, once you recognize what we want. Once you grasp the basic approach, you can continue to improve at it through practice.

This chapter comes at the topic from the other direction: the classic mistakes students make, year after year, in answering essay questions. These mistakes reflect basic misconceptions students have about the nature of legal analysis and the exam process. If you learn to recognize these misconceptions before taking your finals, you will be able to avoid these dandelions, and to focus on the type of analysis we do want, as illustrated in the previous chapter.

Here's a question from one of my old exams, which I will use to illustrate the various dandelions to be rooted out of your exam-taking strategy.

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