So, we know the importance of outlining. Now, let’s see how to make a good one.
1) Read the call of the question
You’ll get an idea of what subject is being tested.
2) Do a brief read-through of the actual essay once or twice
This read-through allows you to get an idea of what the essay is about and what topics and issues are present.
3) Write down the issues you find on your outline (on a separate sheet of paper)
Issue spotting should come from your own memory, practice, and an issue checklist for each subject.
4) Underneath each issue, write down the applicable factors
5) Go back through the essay and read each fact. Ask ‘why why why is this fact here and what rule of law does it apply to?’
For example, here’s a short fact pattern:
A is mad at B for not paying back his lunch money. A wants to get back at B. In the parking lot after school, A got his BB gun and shot at B’s car. He misfired, and the ball grazed B’s head. B thought a wind gust had flown by. B finds out later and sues A.
And our outline:
Granted, not all outlines will be as neatly organized as a torts battery issue; however, you can use this as a base for attacking any subject matter. Spend a few minutes to plan before, and you’ll save time later. With a good outline, you can easily plug the rules, factors, and facts straight into your essay.
Best of luck on your bar exam prep!
“This name appears on the pass list”