Advice > How to write a bad jurisprudence essay





1. Don't answer the question: regurgitate your tutorial essay on a related topic instead. If you do plan to answer the question, the following may help ...

2. Try to think that there is only 'one right answer' to the question and that you have found it. This will make you sound duly presumptuous and give you an excuse not to justify your claims. Alternatively, try to think that there is only 'one right answer' to the question and that you haven't found it. This will make you sound duly insecure. Instructions below, for either case (they are not so different).

3. Be woolly. Say things like 'many have argued' rather than saying who argued and why. Use 'seems to be' as a shorthand for 'it is perhaps the case, but I have not made the effort of checking it, which will hopefully not matter to my examiner'.

4. Use 'thus' ('therefore', 'hence'…) whenever you prefer the examiner to work out why your next sentence follows from the previous.

5. Don't tell the reader in your first paragraph what and how you're going to argue. It's much more exciting if she needs to gradually work her way through scattered bits and pieces that guide her to the unwritten conclusion (a 'Grund-conclusion' or a 'conclusion of recognition'). It's called jurisprudential Scavenger Hunt. They love it. (Note: This rule doesn't guarantee you a bad essay unless you combine it with rule 8. Don't take risks!)

6. Write a conclusion that summarises what you should have said rather than what you did say.

7. Reassure the examiner that she did a good job setting your exam question by insisting that the question is 'difficult' and 'important' and that the authors concerned are 'famous'.

8. Make sure you give no hint about what a particular paragraph is supposed to show and how it is supposed to contribute to answering the question. If possible, make unconnected claims within the paragraph as well.

9. Be pompous. Spend at least four sentences, or ideally many more, repeating the question and promising that you will answer it 'fully', 'exhaustively', 'properly' or 'rigorously'. (Else the examiner has no way of finding out how well you've answered the question.)

10. After you have set out the background of the question – i.e. explained what various people in your reading-list said – be sure to stop. Just to avoid misunderstandings, remind the examiner, in case she had forgotten, that the actual essay-question is so difficult that it cannot be solved without a 'detailed study'. Don't forget to add the tag 'which lies beyond the scope of this essay'.



The most efficient ways to flunk as compiled by Maris Köpcke Tinturé (based on an idea by Timothy Endicott