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Prof. Randall



The entire section is based on Michael Josepheson, Evaluation and Grading in Law School, AALS Section on Teaching (1984).


The best, and sometimes only, way to arrive at the correct answer is to use a process of elimination. Simply put, you arrive at the correct answer by eliminating from contention those which cannot be correct.

How to eliminate incorrect responses.

bulletIssue-spotting is very important!
bulletSpot the issues in the facts themselves and be sensitive to nuances in responses.
bulletDon't be tempted into believing that you won't need to spot issues. Although you are working with a limited universe, one of the options must identify and resolve a central issue.
bulletYou can use the responses to help identify what the central issue in the problem must be.


Break the options down into their theoretical bases.

bulletIf the option is true, what rule of law does it promote.
bulletBe meticulous in your reading of alternatives/
bulletGlance at the modifier quickly, then study the reasoning and finally the result.
bulletIf the reasoning is not correct than the response cannot be correct.


Dealing with modifiers (common):

bulletBecause, since, as: the answer can only be correct if:
bulletThe reasoning addresses and resolves a central issue or at least a more central issue than the other response
bulletThe facts in the question completely unequivocally satisfy the reasoning
bulletif the reasoning says "because he was drunk", the facts must state or infer unequivocally that he was drunk.
bulletThe result is consistent with the reasoning
bulletif the reasoning states because the statement was an admission by a party opponent than the result must be admissible.


bulletIf, as long as: the answer can only be correct if:
bulletReasoning need only be plausible under the facts
bulletThe reasoning must address a central issue.
bulletThe result and the reasoning must agree.


bulletUnless: the answer can only be correct if:
bulletReasoning is the only way the result cannot occur
bulletIf you think of even one way that the result might come about the response cannot be correct




 Copyright @ 1997,  2002. 
Vernellia Randall. All Rights Reserved