This article will help you learn the answer writing technique, which will give an edge to your answers over others. All the parts discussed in this article when put together will make a complete answer, which will help a law student to score good marks.
By: Anshika Singh, LLB Hons., 3rd year, Department of Law, PIMR.
Every student opting to study law walks through this dilemma. Law, unlike other professions, is not only theory-based but also requires practical application of mind. When a student takes admission in a law school, his/her nervousness hikes during the examination because the generic answer writing pattern is not followed here. In general, one should keep it crisp, clean, to the point, and make sure the subject matter of the answer should be exhaustive yet the examiner needs to know that u know the concept without having to read through the entire number of pages.
Ideally, a good law examination tests how well a student has mastered the course material, and the ability to apply this knowledge to new situations. There are, however, some recurrent mistakes, oversights, and unwise practices that prevent students from doing as well as they might. If you are alert to avoiding these pitfalls, you will improve your examination results.
So, to understand this topic better, the answer writing technique, to give the edge to your answers over others is divided into three parts. All these parts put together, makes a complete answer, which may help a law student to score good marks.
1. First part: Synopsis
For a good answer writing, one must figure out the broad outline for the topics to be covered. You must know exactly what the question is asked about, because if you are confused about the definite answer then it will be very difficult to frame the synopsis accordingly. Generally, the synopsis consists of
- Introduction to the topic
- The main body of the answer
- Case Laws related
Preparing synopsis help you to remain on the track, about the main question. By not preparing synopsis, a student, usually goes into the flow of writing and moves out of the topic.
Thus, it is very important to frame the answer and then start writing about it, so that you must know what to write and how much to write next.
The Introduction is the first and the foremost thing to be included in your answer. The introduction is the part where you just beat around the bush, that means in this part you just give a prologue to your answer and it shall include the content where you let the lecturer or the Examiner know what the answer is all about in the precise form.
In the introduction you do not put the entire answer but you just have to give a general information about the topic on which you would be writing in the coming heads in your answer. Also, if you want to, you can give a brief answer to your question and leave the important part of the answer such as ingredients, provisions, issues, etc. for the coming heads.
2. Second part: Answer the Question asked
To stand out from the crowd the most helpful and Strategic skill is to directly or specifically answer the question without moulding the important information of the topic. The examiner or the checker would directly get the necessary answer of the question asked and he would surely give the good marks for this thing.
The ‘explanation of the concept’, is the heart and soul of the answer. It has a serious impact of maximum scoring of marks. This part consists of the explanation about the topic asked. The explanation must include a legal-understanding of the topic, proper application of sections and the rules, applicability of law. It is not necessary to write the bare act or bookish language, as it is, the answer must be understandable and must consist of proper reasoning. One must have a deep knowledge of major sections/law/articles/codes, etc. also, you can write you answer in points, and explain them accordingly, if the question is of lesser marks. Answering in points helps the examiner to know, that you have the knowledge of this particular topic or not. Highlighting the important keywords is also a good idea to catch attention on the relevant part.
The explanation is depended upon what is asked, for example, if you are asked about a question on, say, Explain Murder and culpable Homicide, so first, you will write about the sections and where are they covered in IPC, after that you’ll explain the essential ingredients of the sections, which will be followed by illustrations, and finally the difference between the two.
3. Third part: Concluding the answer
The third part must consist of case laws and conclusion. It is correct, and also if feasible, to include case laws in explanation part also. It is up to you, wherever you find it relevant, to put up the case law or the landmark judgements of the concerned topic. The conclusion must summarize the answer and include factual explanation of the answer.
A general understanding on the topic can also be stated in the concluding part.
The above stated, is a common way of writing an answer in law school exams. But some questions, such as case study, does not require this approach to write answers. A case-study is a scenario created for the application of mind in a legal way. It requires a slightly different format to frame the answer. A general format for writing case-study is:
- Facts of the case
- Issues involved in the case
- Principle applied
The facts of the case must be presented in a precise form. After that, you must derive the issue involved from that particular case.
The issues are usually asked in the question itself, so you just have to mention them, in this part. The judgement contains a very concise statement of what the actual decision is, so it must be kept short and one-lined.
The ‘principle applied’ part is the most important part, as you have to give the main reasoning for the answer here. The laws applied, precedents stated, and the reasons for arriving to the judgement is mentioned under this part. It must be proper and quality-contained. It can be stated in points, if required. Later, the last part must be complied of the conclusion derived.