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Exam Horror Stories

I'm sure everyone has a law school exam horror story.  RawLaw tells us about hers here.  Tell me about yours in the comments section.

I have two exam stories.  My first comes from my last semester of law school, where I overstudied for Taxation of Business Entities.  My brain would not allow me to analyze fact patterns I had deftly dealt with the day before.  Thus, a very bad grade.  Which was a real bummer because I had done well with the same professor in Business Planning and Corporations.  My second story is also horrible, but at least it has a happening ending.

I was 2 hours and 40 minutes into my 3-hour con law exam when I realized that I was done.  Smugly, I chuckled to myself, "I bet no one saw the hidden Ex parte Young issue.  And who knows Chadha the way I do?"  I went back through to embolden my subject headings and to proofread the answer.  I refined a few rule statements and cited decisions.  Ten minutes to go.

"Do I get up and leave, or look at it once more," I asked myself.  "Sure, just read the facts once more, to make sure that you used all of them in your answer."  I skimmed through them an saw an administrative regulation that I had not scratched out.  (My exam method was to cross off every fact I used in the exam hypo, to make sure I incorporated every fact into my final answer).  Gasp!

"Oh shoot, this regulation is screaming, 'preemption!'"  I hurriedly typed everything I knew about preemption for the next ten minutes, and was sweating as the proctor called, "Time!"

That preemption issue I almost missed was worth 30 of 100 possible points.  I would have received a 72 had I not stuck around for those last ten minutes.

I never left an exam - or any project - early after that.  And I quit being cocky.  Ten minutes separated me from a C- and the much better grade I received.  Who can be arrogant when the big difference in the grades was determined by such a small amount of time?  I think life is a lot like that.  The difference between poverty and wealth might be one mere accident of birth.  Or one bad choice.  Or ten minutes pondering one decision.

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