**Note: The submission time for the Evidence and Proof Exam may be different from the times included in the below table. You should consult with your teacher and/or Reading Guide for the correct time**

In many ways, preparing for take home exams is similar to preparing for a regular exam – you do the readings beforehand, prepare notes for the subject, and have a look at some practice exams. The extended timeframe in which you have to actually write a take-home does not mean that you will have time to teach yourself the course. Nevertheless, a few points should be noted.

  • It is unnecessary for your notes to be as detailed as they would be for a sit-in exam. Although developing some sort of structure, or schema, for your notes will improve your understanding of the subject and ability to recall rules and cases, you should have time to look over your notes or textbook if necessary.
  • Due to the length of take-home exams, it is often not feasible to attempt a practice exam. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to look at exams from previous years to get an idea of what will be expected of you. You should attempt to spot the issues in these exams, and try writing a brief outline of how you would write your answer.

Preparing for take-home exams is crucial. Before the exam begins, you need to think about:

  • Where you will work
  • What materials you will need for the exam – think about whether you will need alternative textbooks, websites, or other resources during the exam
  • What you are going to need to eat and drink during the exam
  • How you will manage your other responsibilities, for example, are you going to take the weekend off work?

Remember that when it comes to take-home exams, technology is your friend. All of your notes should be digitised and searchable. Any legislation or other materials that you are likely to need should be downloaded, highlighted and annotated (if possible), so that you can easily search for what you need during the exam. You should aim to have everything on hand, just in case – in 2014 there was a storm over the weekend of the Criminal law exam, meaning that several people lost power and their internet connection for several hours.

Finally, setting a rough schedule will ensure that you stay on track during the assessment. Break down the various tasks that you need to perform in order to complete the assessment, and give yourself a reasonable amount of time for each task. Your lecturer may offer clues as to how long you should spend on each component of the exam, otherwise, the number of marks allocated to each question will be a useful indicator. An example schedule might look like this:

An example schedule for a take-home exam
An example schedule for a take-home exam

Further Resources

Part 9.4 of the Guide to Academic Success features further resources relating to take-home exams.

For more guidance on writing exams in law, see:

  • Michael Hunter Schwartz, Expert Learning for Law Students (Carolina Academic Press, 2nd ed, 2008).
  • Herbert N Ramy, Succeeding in Law School(2nd ed, Carolina Academic Press, 2010)
  • The Assessment page of this website

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