Saying "affirmative action is a nuanced issue in need or serious overhaul, not to be destroyed or continued completely," still shows you taking a strong, defendable stance.
How you outline an answer differs with each course. In a Contracts exam, you usually write about events chronologically. Timing about what was said when is usually an important factor in Contracts, thus the best way to analyze is chronologically. In contracts, Torts exam are usually organized according to parties. In Torts, the big question is who is liable for what harm? Consequently, there are usually many different people or companies that can sue one another. You can make the best sense of a Torts question by outlining according to the party.
The most conscientious professors will read the exams three times. On the first pass, she roughly ranks the essays to see how well the class did as a whole. This gives her a benchmark against which to grade each exam. On the second pass, the professor actually scores the exam. On the last pass she just flips through the exams to make sure that she got it right.
Many students have programmed themselves to write a completely thorough answer the minute they spot an issue. However, sometimes the professor may provide enough facts to do a complete analysis but really only want you to answer a specific question about the case. Be sure to note that one of the things professors like to test is whether you can follow directions.
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Obviously, if a copy-editor could be a successful writer, he would not be a copy-editor. This is not an occupation that can be accused of attracting more than its fair share of literary talent. However, the issue is not even whether the editor or the author is a better writer. “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Committee-written works are seldom noted for their clarity or consistency, much less for grace and charm.
As a U.S. civil rights policy, affirmative action commonly denotes race-conscious and result-oriented efforts by private and public officials to correct the unequal distribution of economic opportunity and education attributed to slavery, segregation, poverty and racism. Opponents argue that affirmative action (1) violates ideals of color-blind public policies, offending moral principles of fairness and constitutional principles of equality and due process; (2) has proven to be socially and politically divisive; (3) has not made things better; (4) mainly benefits middle-class, wealthy and foreign-born blacks; (4) stigmatizes its beneficiaries; and (5) compromises the self-esteem and self-respect of beneficiaries who know that they have been awarded preferential treatment. By way of a thought experiment, imagine that after decades of public policy and experimentation, the United States public finally came to agree: affirmative action is morally and legally wrong. Employing such a thought experiment, this essay by a beneficiary of affirmative action—written in response to James Sterba’s Affirmative Action for the Future (2009)—examines duties of moral repair and the possibility that the past beneficiaries of affirmative action owe apologies, compensation or some other highly personal form of corrective accountability. Beneficiaries of affirmative action have experienced woundedness and moral insecurity. Indeed, the practice of affirmative action comes with a psychology, a set of psychological benefits and burdens whose moral logic those of us who believe in our own fallibility—as much as we believe in the justice of what we have received and conferred on others—should address.
Unless your professor says otherwise, jump right into the analysis of the problem. Don't recite the facts of the hypothetical as you would for a case memorandum in a legal writing class. It's a common mistake for first year students to apply the techniques of their legal research and writing course to exam writing. It's natural to think that there should be only one way to write in the legal field and to adopt those techniques for the exam. However, the exam tests different skills. The professor doesn't require that you repeat the facts. After all, she wrote up the hypothetical. However, this doesn't mean that you don't mention the facts. Use the facts to prove or disprove the rule. (See below.)
A pseudo-footnote is more than a lapse in good form. It is a betrayal of the reader that casts in doubt everything else that the writer says. Who, after all, can check up on every other statement the writer makes, even when these have legitimate footnotes? The pseudo-footnote, however, can be a valuable clue to the character of the writer. After all, you don’t need to eat a whole egg to know that it is rotten.
Instead of trying to be someone that you are not, be the best at what you are. My own writing practices are the direct opposite of that followed by these prolific and renowned writers. I write only when I have something to say. The big disadvantage of this is that it can mean a lot of down time. There are manuscripts of mine that sat around gathering dust for years without a word being added to them. How then have I managed to write more than 20 books within the Biblical threescore and ten years?
Even the mechanics or logistics of writing can be a challenge to figure out. Some of the most productive writers have followed the disciplined practice of sitting down at fixed times each day and turning out the words. Anthony Trollope followed this regimen in the nineteenth century and Paul Johnson with equal (or greater) success in the twentieth century. Alas, however, human beings differ and some of us are never going to be Anthony Trollope or Paul Johnson, in this respect or any other.