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Law examination tips for problem questions
Justin A Santiago
These again are not an invitation for candidates to write all they know about a particular subject. So, the first three pages of your answer should NOT consist of a potted summary of the law on, for example, secret trusts. The examiner will simply get out a red pen and score through this part of your answer. What you should instead do is identify the broad area of the question ('This is a question on secret trusts') and then the specific issues it raises ('There is a problem as to the timing of the communication of the terms of the half-secret trust'; 'there is a problem as to the lack of written evidence concerning the alleged declaration of trust respecting Blackacre'; 'there is a problem in that the communication was made to only one of two trustees'; etc, etc'). Not only have you now got a structure for your answer, but you also have a checklist to which you can refer to ensure that you've not omitted anything important from your answer. There's nothing worse than coming out of the exam room and saying to yourself, 'Oh, I forgot to mention the communication point'. Detailing the issues at the start helps prevent this. Moreover, it demonstrates to the examiner that you are someone who knows what they are talking about.