Most law schools offer some sort of “pre-law course” on criminal law, but this isn’t a satisfactory substitute for a real legal education in the field. There’s no teacher who can explain why a particular decision might make sense in the context of a criminal case. In fact, there’s no teacher who will explain what a statute’s intended purpose is in the context of a criminal context. You have to figure this out on your own, and there’s no guidebook to do it.
Fortunately, preparing for the LSAT or Law School Admission Test isn’t all that hard. There are plenty of excellent guides and books available, and a lot of studying tips on the internet. In fact, many aspiring lawyers started their education by finding some good prepared question types on the internet. Criminal examination questions are no exception and taking a look at them can really prepare you for the test.
There are a few main types of criminal law questions. For instance, most law enforcement exams require you to demonstrate your knowledge of state and local criminal law. You need to be able to show that you understand the elements of each criminal law case and that you can articulate a theory of how a case should be handled. The types of questions about criminal law that you will likely face on the LSAT or law school entrance exam include:
First, you need to understand what criminal law is not. While the U.S. Constitution and federal laws give you broad powers of investigation and prosecution, they do not give you the authority to act in a way that goes against the Constitution or federal laws. Additionally, state criminal law varies, so you will also need to understand the differences between state law and federal law. Some examples include: if an act is carried out with the aid of another person (known as entrapment), is used against a peace officer, carried out against a private individual who has a reasonable expectation of privacy, or is committed within a prison, it may be an act charged with a crime.
Second, you need to have good memorization skills. Criminal law exam questions are written in a very specific way, so a good attorney can help you get through the section easily. This means that good memorization skills, both in terms of rules and exceptions, will be particularly important. If you’re looking for good study strategies, you should consider purchasing or downloading practice tests from the Internet, which allow you to see how attorneys might answer similar questions under typical circumstances.
Third, be prepared to spend some time on the law bookshelf, looking up specific legal information that is relevant to your application. While this may seem like a waste of time at first, criminal law exam questions are based on real life situations, so spending a few minutes now will pay off big time down the road. Also, be prepared to spend time researching criminal law databases. These can be accessed online for a fee. If you spend some time looking through these databases, you may be able to find out about important upcoming trials, and can prepare for the test beforehand.
Finally, keep your wits about you. While criminal law is among the easiest branches of law to master, it is not a branch that you can simply breeze through. Law school will take a great deal of hard work, and you will need to be ready to take the time to learn just what you need to know. Even if you think you know everything, you never know when you’ll forget something important, so do your best to have an organized study plan and take everything one step at a time.