December 6, 2003

With 2004 only a few weeks away, one large hurdle (or 5 medium-sized hurdles) remains for this year: exams.

For years, law students have written exams in the dreaded bluebooks. This year, Brooklyn has joined the computerized exam party. While ExamSoft is not quite as bad as Diebold e-voting software, it has some key flaws of its own. Most important, ExamSoft is proprietary Windows software and will not run on Mac OS X. Slightly less important, but annoying, is the lack of on-the-fly spellcheck. The dotted red underlines are a friendly safety blanket, which I rely on for catching typos (on the Mac, it is a feature of the OS and is available in all applications, including Safari, Mail, iChat.)

Since I type much faster and neater than I write, I will be typing exams on computer. Subjecting professors to unnecessarily reading pages of my handwriting could be considered cruel and unusual form of punishment. Since this is the first time in law school that using a Mac has been inconvenient, I needed to find a Windows laptop to use for writing exams. Fortunately, my grandfather lent me his old computer, a PII-vintage Dell. This computer dwarfs the iBook:



As an exam-computer, not as an everyday computer, the Dell is good. The price was right and the keyboard on the Dell is an improvement over Apple's. Still, no computer keyboard, especially on a notebook is as good as the old IBM keyboards. Of course, those weigh more than my entire computer. A bluetooth version of that would kick ass.

And here's my advice on how to do well on exams: Write a song about the subject. Seriously. What course did I get my best grade in last year? The one I wrote a song as a study aid. A limerick or poem might be useful, too. Or just read Getting to Maybe. And don't blog, outline. Maybe I should follow that advice...

Actually, one real piece of advice (though it may be too late):Don't bother with third-party materials. Remember that you're being tested on the subject as taught by your particular professor. Unless, of course, your professor wrote the hornbook. Law review articles that your professor has written about the particular subject may be useful. Or not.

Jeremy offers exam advice, Exam Survivor challenege, well-intentioned exam advice

Scheherazade has actually useful study advice.

Posted by Andrew Raff at December 6, 2003 03:28 PM
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Tracked: January 11, 2004 10:20 AM

You can actually buy the IBM keyboards, brand new. A bunch of IBMers went off, bought the IP and started making the keyboards again. I'm typing on one right now, and it's devilishly loud. ;) The only difference is that it's branded "UNICOMP" instead of IBM, as that's what they're calling themselves these days. It's not a replica though, it's actually "the real thing."

You should be able to find them at pckeyboard.com.

Posted by: Tony on December 8, 2003 01:45 AM

The problem with those keyboards is that they can only be used with old-style connectors only. No USB, no bluetooth. (Though I can't imagine how heavy it would be with batteries for bluetooth.)

Posted by: Andrew on December 8, 2003 05:55 PM