Law schools make a huge production out of exams. Seriously huge. I don’t remember anything, including National Boards or Specialty Exams that were this much of a production. Of course, those were also in the paper/pencil days and did not include essays.
Law schools LOVE essays.
Option one – Download Exam4 software on your computer and type your essay. This has good and bad points. On the good side, there is ease in grading for the professor as there are no issues with handwriting. For students, there is a built in spellchecker and the ability to cut and paste. The last is significant it terms of reorganizing a several page answer. On the downside – there is the significant issue of installing someone else’s software on my computer and I really think a higher expectation on the part of the faculty member as far as organization and extent of answer. There is also the “baffle them with bs” that many of us tend toward when. we run out of something useful to say. It is oh, so easy to do this with a word processor. You also have to be extremely familiar with the software in order to have it function properly.
Option two – hand write in blue books. The downsides are obvious: you have to be organized, coherent, and have decent handwriting. On the plus side, if you do it properly, you can write less. You also don’t have to deal with a software program that wants to do strange things while you are writing. No worries about losing one’s answers or not having it upload properly
It might not make sense to you, but I will always pick blue book (handwritten) over a computer generated exam. My handwriting is not that bad and I want concentrate on the content of what I am writing and not on the form of the exam (making it look pretty on the paper). The blue book rules are one side and every other line. I can work within those parameters. And yes, I have been dealing with computers since 1968. That doesn’t mean that I have to use them – they are a tool – and so is a pen.
This particular professor set a word limit for the essay. The total exam is 3 hours – there are going to be 20 multiple choice questions and then an essay for the last two hours. Word limit is 3000, and page limit for blue book is 27 (assuming about 110/words/page). This particular version of WordPress provides a word count for each post as well as autosave and update on a regular basis. To this point I am at ~ 440 words. Slighly more than 10% of what would be allowed for a 2 hour essay. Frankly, that is a lot of words in a relatively short time. More than I would want to generate. More that I honestly could generate.
(update, my blue book answer certainly didn’t use 27 pages. At 12 usable pages per blue book, I finished before the end of the second. It would have helped if I had used a simpler outline and remembered to place all the points in the correct order so I wouldn’t have had to back track/fill in. Next time….)