Of Commercial Study Aides and Exams

Something I don’t understand is using commercial study aides during open book exams.  During my con law exam, one guy had one book open in his lap and another open on the desk.  A girl was flipping through one of those laminated fold up study guides.  I recognize commercial study aides have a role in preparation, but I have to side with my old torts professor about using them during an exam.  As she put it: they’re the kiss of death.  I would think especially for something like con law.

It’s such a broad topic and we covered such a relatively little slice of it.  The Barbri outline for the class is 149 pages.  When I flipped through it, I saw we had covered about ten of those pages.  Property was a little better, but I’m sure we covered less than half of what Barbri thinks is important.  I’ve got to think that’s relatively typical of many first year courses.

What good is a study aid when most of it isn’t even game to be on the exam?  And what actually will be on the exam is likely only a fraction of what was covered in class.  So lots of times the relationship between the exam content and a commercial study aid is a fraction of a fraction.

Plus, a commercial study aid is written as the author sees things.  True, the basic ideas of any law school class ought to be the same, but every professor has their opinion as to what is important and how it should be approached.  That’s lost when a commercial study aid is leaned on too heavily.

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