MCQ Approach
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MCQ Approach

MCQ Approach

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) were the bane of my existence in 1L.  I would always get to a point where I could identify one of the right answers but I never chose the best answer.  I beat my head against the wall for many months until I was enlightened.

There is a specific way to approach an MCQ and even more specifically there is a way to approach a Torts MCQ, a Criminal Law MCQ, and a Contract MCQ.  The approach for all three is very similar but also very different.  But, no matter what subject you are in you always start at the call of the question.

The Call

We have all heard it a million times, “Go to the call of the question”!  What we aren’t told is why to go to the call first, what we should be looking for in the call, and why.  The answers to these questions are the key to nailing an MCQ every time.  I wont lie, the call in Torts and Criminal Law MCQ’s initially appear more clear cut but after some practice the enlightenment will  happen with Contract calls as well.

When beginning to work on MCQ’s I always suggest you start in Torts.  Torts provides you with an easy starting point to really get your method down and to begin to see how the call of the question, the question, and the answer choices match up.

Take a stab at this:

A hog farmer preferred to mix feed for his hogs according to his own formula instead of using commercially available mixes. In order to make his own hog mix, he purchased a sealed 100 pound package of hog feed from the dealer, who was in the business of selling hog feed for hog farmers.  The dealer had bought the sealed package from the wholesaler of hog grain.  Because of negligence at the wholesaler’s plant, the grain in the package was poisonous.  The hog farmer fed the grain to several of his hogs, which died as a result.  If the hog farmer brings an action in strict liability against the wholesaler for the value of the hogs that died, a court is most likely to find for:

  1. The hog farmer, because the poisonous nature of the grain was a defect.
  2. The hog farmer, because it was reasonable for the dealer to resell the grain without inspection.
  3. The wholesaler, since the wholesaler had no contractual relationship with the hog farmer.
  4. The wholesaler, because the hog farmer will be unable to recover damages from the dealer.

Identify with surgical precision what the call is asking of you!

Where did you start?  Did you go to the call? What did you see in the call?  If you look at the call you will see “If the hog farmer brings an action in strict liability against the wholesaler for the value of the hogs that died, a court is most likely to find for”.  The key to the call of this question is that it specifically asks you to look for strict liability.  This means the grader doesn’t care about the negligence liability or the intentional tort liability; he wants to know specifically about the strict liability.

Did you read the fact pattern with the elements of strict liability in your mind?  Did you read the fact pattern with the theories of strict liability in the main focus?  Clearly, there are no dangerous animals, there are no ultra-hazardous activities, this leaves us with strict product liability.   In strict product liability we look for: defective product, chain of commerce, proper parties, etc.

What did you get; don’t cheat, watch the video below for a full explanation and the answers.

Lets try another:

A 15 year old boy overheard two other boys talking about killing the victim by hiding his diabetes medicine. The boy hoped that the other boys plan would succeed.  He decided to help them without saying anything about it.  Going into the victim’s room, the boy searched until he found the medicine.  Then he put it on a night table so that the other boys would be sure to find it.  One of the two boys decided not to go through with the plan and ran away.  However, the other boy went into the room and threw away the medicine.  The victim had a diabetic attack and died.  A statute in the jurisdiction provides that persons over the age of 13 are adults for the purpose of criminal liability.  If the boy is charged with conspiracy a court will probably find him:

  1. Guilty, because he knowingly aided and abetted in the commission of a crime
  2. Guilty, because he committed an overt act in furtherance of an agreement to throw away the victim’s medicine
  3. Not guilty, because he did not agree to commit a crime
  4. Not guilty, because one of the boys effectively withdrew from any conspiracy that existed.

Where did you start?  Did you go to the call? What did you see in the call?  If you look at the call you will see “If the boy is charged with conspiracy a court will probably find him”.  The key to the call of this question is that it specifically asks you to look for conspiracy.  This means the grader doesn’t care about solicitation, accomplice liability, etc. The grader wants to know if you know the rules for conspiracy.

Did you read the fact pattern with the elements of conspiracy in your mind?  Did you look for an agreement between two or more persons with the intent to achieve an unlawful purpose?  Did you remember what was required for agreement?

What did you get; don’t cheat, watch the video below for a full explanation and the answers.

Lets give Contracts a try now!

On July 1st, after hearing that the buyer was going to attend medical school, the seller sent the buyer a letter offering to sell his old medical books. The buyer wrote back on July 8th and told the seller he would buy the medical books for $100 if the seller delivered them to his condo on September 1.  On August 1st, the buyer decided that he did not want to go to medical school after all and was going to go to law school instead and wrote the seller a note telling him that he was no longer interested in buying the medical books.  He was about to go to the post office to mail it when the seller knocked on his door, the seller said, “I’ll bring you those medical books tomorrow.  I’ll just have to borrow a friend’s station wagon to transport them.”  The buyer said, “Never mind.  I don’t want them,” and handed the seller the note that he had written but not mailed.  The sellers statement on August 1st that “I’ll be bringing you those medical books tomorrow,” was probably:

  1. An offer
  2. A ratification of the acceptance that was mailed on July 8th but was never delivered to the buyer
  3. An acceptance
  4. Commencement of performance

Where did you start?  Did you go to the call? What did you see in the call?  If you look at the call you will see “The sellers statement on August 1st that “I’ll be bringing you those medical books tomorrow,” was probably”.  The key to the call of this question is that it specifically asks you to look for the statement on August 1st.  Contracts is a bit different from Torts and Criminal law because there is only one way to approach Contracts.  Before you can even discuss damages you have to show that you have a valid enforceable agreement.  So, we always start in Formation with offer, acceptance, and consideration.

Since we have to find an offer before we find acceptance did you look at each interaction to identify where the offer was before moving on to the acceptance?

 

 

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