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The Analysis

When writing the analysis – always use the word “BECAUSE”

How you set up the rule now drives the structure of the analysis. Your statement of the rule provides a blueprint to follow for your discussion of the facts. Work from your articulation of the rule to guide your application of the facts. Match up each element/factor you’ve identified in the rule with a fact, using the word “because” to make the connection between rule and fact. This ensures that you write facts “plus” the significance of those facts. Think of writing the application portion of your analysis in this formula:


Application = Rule + Fact,

Where “+” is “because”

(A = F + R)


EXAMPLE: The Defendant purposely availed himself of the benefits of State A (rule) because (+) he advertised in State A and sold 50% of his magazines in State A (facts).

Our Chief Dog Officer, Toothless Johnny, Looking Analytical at cluttered desk

Our Chief Dog Officer, Toothless Johnny, Looking Analytical

One of the primary purposes of taking practice exams is to make the process of reading and answering questions so routine that you’ll follow it instinctively on exam day. Aside from allowing you to focus on substance, having a plan saves time and prevents panic because you know exactly what to do.

PLEASE NOTE: When you first start working with essays in preparation for the bar exam, you will not be timing yourself. At this point, your goal is gaining familiarity with the structure and content of the questions and using them to help you learn the law in the context in which it is tested. Only in the last few weeks before the bar exam should you time your responses.


The Conclusion

When writing the conclusion: be definitive. If the call-of-the-question asks for a specific answer, then be definitive. State your conclusion as to that issue. If there are multiple issues, then once you’ve completed your analysis of one issue, move on to the next.

A short conclusion can consist of “Thus, Jess will be guilty of common law murder,” or “In conclusion, the search of the trunk of the automobile was not proper.”


Next, in Part VI, we will start putting it all together.

This article is Part Five of a six-part series. Here is where you can find  Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four, and Part Six.


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