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© Updated as of 2019
Survive Law

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The (Horror) Story of my First Ever Law Exam


Allow me to share with you the story of my first ever law school exam: the torts exam of a thousand (slow and painful) deaths.

I was a young nineteen-ish year old with the world at my feet and the wind in my hair. Life was good. My first semester of law was almost over and I wasn’t too worried about exams. I mean I was a great student. I got in to LAW for crying out loud. I was the smartest kid that ever left my high school. Possibly the smartest kid that ever left any high school. So yeah. Not worried at all.

Before the exam we were told that it would be a choice of two out of three questions, and that at least one of them had to be a problem-solving question. Each problem-solving question would be divided into two parts; Part A and Part B. Somehow, and I’m not exactly sure how this happened, we were of the understanding that Part A and Part B would be related. Perhaps Part B would ask what the case would be if the action were brought twelve years later, or something similar.

But no.

Oh no.

Filing in to the exam, everyone was abuzz with excitement. First law exam EVER. We were gonna ace it. Every single one of us was the smartest kid that ever left high school. And we knew it. Our fingers itched for the exam paper as we took our seats and the invigilator’s pre-exam speech seemed to take years. But finally we were allowed to open our exam books and peruse.

I don’t know if the years have affected my memory or if this really happened, but at this point I seem to remember the lecturers and invigilators cackling and rubbing their hands together gleefully.

Question one. Part A was a page long scenario that had about twelve different legal issues arising from it. Part B was another page long question but was completely unrelated in any way, shape or form to Part A. Question two was the same. Question three had something to do with something and law reform was mentioned and it was an essay and it was so hard and ugly and WHAT WAS IT EVEN ABOUT?!

And then reading time was over. I read the first question, wrote a few possibly relevant cases and then scribbled them all out angrily. At this point I allowed my pen to vomit all over my exam paper. I listed every single case I could think of that had any relevance. I listed a lot that didn’t. Just in case. I threw IRAC out the window. Quite frankly, there was no time for proper answer structure. Or for proper sentence structure. One hour in I realised I was badly running out of time and started dot-pointing EVERYTHING.

Needless to say, I didn’t do too crash hot. But it’s okay. And by okay I mean that I got a neat little ‘pass’ and didn’t have to re-do the entire subject. Win for me.

Since this horrific experience (actually the worst thing that has happened to me since my little sister gave me a Twilight book to read), I’ve realised that unfortunately, it takes more than stunning good looks and fantastic grades in senior legal studies to get through a law exam.

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