Overview of exam workshop

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Exam Preparation
Dr Deborah Nixon
Information used in the
slides is derived partly from
the exam instructions on
ELJ canvas
Take Home
• Overview of exam workshop
• Referencing (you do not need to
use footnotes, but you do need
to reference in-text),and
plagiarism rules apply
• Time management
• Answering the question
• EDITING for : syntax, expression,
grammar, punctuation, spelling ,
on canvas
Time period take home exam is open
• Students will have 6 HOURS to complete
the exam, from 9:30am to 3:30pm on 11
June 2021.
Recommended time to complete
• The examination is designed to be
completed in 2 hours.
• Students are permitted to take longer than
2 hours to complete the examination, but it
is not recommended that students spend
the entire 6-hour period completing the
Read Ask
Students please read the
exam instructions very
carefully-they are posted on
If you do not understand
what you have to do or
have queries about
referencing, ask your
subject tutor
The aim of a law examination is to allow you:
• To demonstrate your understanding of
legal concepts and legal reasoning skills.
• To review and consolidate knowledge
and understanding of key concepts and
problem solving
• To exercise your grasp of the course
• To test your development of an ethical
framework for the practice of law
together with the ability to recognise
ethical questions.
Above all DO NOT PANIC you will not be
examined on unfamiliar material
June 11th
• The exam gives students the
opportunity to demonstrate their
understanding of access to
justice issues and recognise and
respond to ethical questions. The
exam is a take-home exam. It
consists of short answer
ELJ –Take Home Open book Exam
This is a 2-hour OPEN BOOK TAKE HOME examination-you
will have 6 hrs to complete
• You may use any materials from ELJ in the exam
• You MUST not collaborate or discuss answers with
other students (no discussion board comments)
The exam:
• comprises 40% of the subject assessment
• it consists of 5 short answer questions
• you have a choice of 5 out of 7 questions
• each answer should be no more than 400 words in
• use size 12 font; Times New Roman, 1.5 line spacing
• submit as a word file
Six hours – five short answer questions derived from the
seminar questions
Manage your time:
• 5 short-answer questions
• 400 words per answer – this is a strict limit
Some Main Examination instructions
• Structure and content-The exam will cover wks 3-12 more
from wks 7-12 (Main examination instructions)…CJPS will
not be examined
• Failure to attribute references to sources when quoting will
be deemed to be plagiarism
• Do not copy chunks of texts as quotes students are advised
to use their words
• Word limit is a strict maximum 400 word limit-there is NO
10% leeway over 400 words
• You cannot post on the discussion board during the exam
• The exam will cover wks 3-12 more from wks 7-12
(Main examination instructions)
• The exam covers the whole of the subject and is
based on the weekly readings and class questions.
• There are no questions specifically based on the
content of the CJPs.
• There may be general questions about justice.
Can you think of some ?
• The exam tests your ability to write logically,
succinctly and persuasively using appropriate
structure, expression, grammar, spelling and
• While preparing if needed create a glossary of
words you commonly confuse, misuse, or
a take
home open
book exam
Make sure you know the submission procedure and timing for
Make sure to leave time to edit
Make time to read the questions; sketch an outline; write a
draft; then edit
Make your self UNAVAILABLE for the duration of the exam –
switch off social media alerts (on your phone and computer)!
Make sure you have a quiet location to prepare your answers
Do Prepare
for an open book exam:
Time management: when making notes for the
exam don’t copy out slabs of material from the
textbook. It is easy to forget that you have done
that and to think the notes are your own work
to quote directly in answering a question.
• Organise the material –do not waste time
looking up information
• Do not think that prior study is unnecessary
for an open book exam-wrong thinking!
• You are not expected to write full citations
referencing in the exam is simplified -if you
use a specific quote, or paraphrase a
specific text then you must attribute the
source in-text
• DO NOT second guess the questions and
prepare answers in advance
about the
on your
What kind of
feedback did you
receive for your
How can you use it to
improve your writing
in the exam?
is a loop what
can you take
forward from
your essay
• Difficulty seeing the point
of the answer
• Lack of clarity
Absence of a
stated thesis
leads to
• Sets out the argument
• How you intend to prove it
A well
• Poor writing
• Lack of editing
Paper is
difficult to
It is essential that you master the ability
to write well
‘I thought I’d get a better mark!’
• Be VERY mindful of editing your work to avoid
making mistakes
• Be careful with tense consistency, prepositions,
verb subject agreement, use of definite article
‘the’, clause order, consistent capitalisation
and appropriate word use.
• The short answers must have a definite thesis
• Specific claims must be supported with evidence
Managing notes
Create an index for your notes for quick access
Colour code your notes
Paraphrase and
Paraphrase and summarise main points
Tab (with post-it notes) points where specific information is located
Paraphrase material so that you can cut and paste into an answer
References to cases and legislation
• Answers to the exam should use intext referencing. References should
not be in footnotes and do not have
to comply with the AGLC4. Instead,
references should be cited in the
body of the text. Any reference to
cases should be cited with the case
name and date in brackets (e.g.
Ryan (1967)).
• References to legislation should be
made clear and can then be
abbreviated (e.g. Law Enforcement
(Powers and Responsibilities) Act
2002 (NSW) (‘LEPRA’)).
Use of sources
(adapted from exam information ELJ)
What can you use :
• Students are permitted to consult and make use of any sources of information available
to them during the examination, including internet sources, provided the sources used
are appropriately attributed and referenced.
Quotation marks :
• Quotations from any sources, including internet sources, must appear in quotation
marks and, in the case of extended quotation, must be indented. The failure on the
part of students appropriately to attribute and reference any of the sources used by
them, or to use quotation marks when quoting, will be deemed to be plagiarism (which
is dealt with under the heading ‘Collusion and student misconduct’ below).
• Quotations from internet or other sources are, and must be, included in the word
count of any answer in which they appear.
Cutting and pasting :
• Students will not receive ……. credit for cutting and pasting into their answers,
passages from internet sources, or for quoting extensively from other sources, even if
appropriate use of quotation marks and referencing has been made. Students are
advised that use of their own words is almost always preferable to extended quotation
since students’ use of their own words allows markers more easily to assess the extent
of their knowledge and to give credit where relevant knowledge is displayed.
When to use a citation
The questions require you to take a position and articulate an
argument (agree or disagree) or critically analyse a statement or
question You must substantiate your claims with evidence
derived from course material
• Use a citation to support a key idea or point in your argument
• Do not reference every sentence you write and every point
you make
• You MUST reference every source or piece of evidence you
• Plagiarism rules apply
I have to reference but HOW?
Referencing in the exam
Answers to the exam should use in-text referencing.
• References should not be in footnotes and do not have to
comply with the AGLC4.
• References should be cited in the body of the text. Any
reference to cases should be cited with the case name and date,
and brackets may be used e.g, Ryan (1967) argues that….
• References to legislation should be made clear and can then be
abbreviated (e.g. Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities)
Act 2002 (NSW)) (‘LEPRA’).
Question re citing a case
from a textbook
A student asked the following:
If citing a case from the textbook
(eg Littrich and Murray) should the
student cite the case or the
The answer is the citation should
be for the textbook
Why? Because that is the place
where the case was found so the
citation should be for the
IN week 12 you will have an opportunity to
from p.52
The Exam Questions
Short answers – must be structured, and grammatically correct.
There is no restriction on which of the 7 questions you can choose
your 5 from.
Sample questions
1. Do you think Crown Prosecutors should be able to speak to the media? Consider
their Duty to the Law and the tradition of Crown Prosecutor impartiality.
2. It is difficult to remove or discipline a judge in Australia at the state or federal
superior court levels.
Is this a positive or negative element of the Australian legal system?
3. “The ‘cab rank rule’ is outdated and too difficult to enforce. It should therefore
be scrapped.”
Do you agree? Critically analyse this statement.
4. “Duty to a colleague is a nice ideal, but the competitiveness of legal practice
means it is a duty that is likely to often be disregarded.”
Critically analyse this statement
Questions may also ask for a response to factual scenarios.
See sample
questions on
p. 52 of your
Sample ELJ exam question
Do you think Crown Prosecutors should be able to speak to the media?
Consider their Duty to the law and the tradition of Crown Prosecutor
This is not a simple yes/no answer.
• You will need to use evidence to support your answer.
• A good way to see how much you can write in, for example, 24 minutes is
to have a try .
• You could practice writing responses to the examples in the seminar
materials (week 12)
There are NO precedent exams in the library.
• Sample exam questions are in Seminar Materials.
• In the final seminar (week 12) you will spend time on exam preparation .
Answering the sample questions
Sample question:
“The ‘cab rank rule’ is outdated and too difficult to enforce. It
should therefore be scrapped.”
Do you agree? Critically analyse this statement.
• Make your position clear.
• What aspects of the problem would you consider?
• Use evidence to support your claims.
• What sources of evidence would you use?
Task verbs
a Short
A good answer would commence with an
introductory sentence or two providing context
and setting out the direction of your answer
followed by :
• the body of your answer making 3-5 salient
points that constitute your position (supported
with evidence from the readings etc)
• conclude with a final sentence or two.
• There is a 400-word limit for the short answer
questions so you will not be writing a full
paragraph introduction or conclusion.
• You are expected to reference in the exam
however you may use a short hand in text style.
For cases it is acceptable to just state the case
name not the full citation or, if one of the
names is distinctive, just that main name would
be sufficient.
• See pp 73 and 75 of the Faculty Guide to
Written Communication 2019
time to
• Sentence structure-clear unequivocal
meaning – does your writing make
• Grammar-tense, verb subject
agreement, active v passive voice,
reduce first person ‘I’
• Choice of vocabulary do not abuse
adjectives L short answers should not
be wasted in flowery
emotional language
• Spelling check the form and that you
have used the right word (affect v effect,
council v counsel, practice v practise)
Revisit the slides from workshop 1 for
material regarding all of the above
• Applies knowledge and
understanding of the principles
and values of justice to ethical
questions (SLO1;GA 2)
• Discusses relevant ethical issues
and applies ethical reasoning and
frameworks (SLO2; GA 2)
• Demonstrates judgment and
professional responsibility in
ethical contexts (SLO2; GA 2)
• Clearly and concisely written,
with correct grammar, spelling
and referencing (SLO3; GA 5)
Feedback from law
• Stress the importance of answering the
question and taking a position.
• In the essays a number of students confused
writing being formal with it being convoluted
and involving lots of big words.
• Please reinforce that we are aiming for clear
and simple sentences!
check in
Use the following
slides to remind
yourself of possible
pitfalls in grammar:
• Sentence structure and
use of precedent
• Active v passive
• Spelling
• Apostrophes
Unclear subject or ambiguous pronoun:
• Laura has a letter for Diane, but couldn’t deliver it
because she was blocking her way.
• Who was blocking whose way?
Run on sentences
• The attorney encouraged her client to settle the
case out of court the client refused because he
wanted to go to trial.
• The attorney encouraged her client to settle the
case out of court. The client refused because he
wanted to go to trial.
Dangling modifiers
• Researching the issue, it became clear the courts
had not addressed the question.
(This is a classic dangler because the person doing
the research
is not named anywhere in the sentence)
Passive vs active voice
Active : when the subject of the sentence is the doer of
the action
Passive : when the subject has the action done to it
The rule Is are was were being been+ the past participle of
the verb.
The verb to be indicates the tense of the sentence.
Is argued… was studied … will be discovered …
• Maria served the affidavit on the defendant.
• The affidavit was served on the defendant by Maria.
• The judge calls the court to order.
• The court is called to order by the judge.
The apostrophe has two main uses:
• To form possessives of nouns – Jane’s
book …
• To show the omission of letters – I can’t
stand it.
It’s = indicates a contraction = it is
• It’s really hot today.
Its = is possessive, but does not take an
• The dog had a swim and now its fur is all
If in doubt ask yourself whether you
want to say ‘it is’ (it’s) or not.
• You do not need to use an apostrophe
when referring to a decade eg 1980’s
Some common errors
Use the right word
• Effect (noun) = result Effect (verb) = to cause a change Affect (verb) = to influence
• Legal practice (noun)= a business, Practise (verb)= to do something
• Counsel (noun) = advice or as a verb = to offer advice, council (noun) = a public body
• Advice (noun) Advise (verb)
• Incident (noun)an event or happening
• Incidence (noun) a rate or trend- it does not have a plural form incidences
• Legislation is an uncountable noun – it has no plural form legislations
Get the spelling right
• Proffession Profession; definately definitely; concensus consensus Accomodate
accommodate embarresment embarrass; cemetary cemetery
Just plain WRONG
should of should have
Use the right preposition
• Emigrate from
• Immigrate to
They’re ( they are ) there (place) their (possessive
Your (possessive) you’re (you are)
Its (possessive) it’s (it is)
Effect (noun) affect (verb)
judgement or
Judgement also, judgment.
Usage: Although the general
community is roughly divided
on the preferred spelling, with
a slight tendency
towards judgement rather
than judgment, there is a
convention in the legal
community to use
the judgment spelling.
Macquarie Dictionary online:
Take away tips
• Make sure to read the exam instructions very
• If you have questions about the exam , ask
your tutor or put them in the discussion
board before the exam
• In preparation try writing within the time and
word limit
• Do NOT try to guess or prepare answers
before the exam
• Do prepare a good set of notes and tab
information you think will be useful
• Take deep breaths and make sure you have
switched off your social media and that
people know you cannot be disturbed
• Answer every part of the question
It’s your time to shine

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