Examiners’ report 2013 1 Examiners’ report 2013 LA3005 Jurisprudence and legal theory – Zone A Introduction As in past years, the quality of answers varied greatly, from fails to strong first class scripts. Those who did well showed that they had taken the subject seriously, with answers that engaged with the actual questions so that knowledge of the subject was applied in a thoughtful manner. There remains the ongoing problem of candidates who simply fail to address the actual question set. There follows some general guidance (essentially repeating the advice given in past years Examiner’s reports). 1. Read the questions carefully before answering. There are no ‘trick’ questions, but on the other hand certain questions are quite specific about what they wish candidates to address, so make sure you try to figure out what that is. 2. If you cannot make sense of the question, do not answer it. Choose another question. 3. If you think the question can be addressed in different ways, begin your answer by explaining what you think the questions is asking for, and stating how you intend to address it. This is not advice to ‘top and tail’ your essay by having an introductory paragraph (the ‘top’) which purports to address the question but really just serves to say that you will address the question by continuing with a memorised essay you have prepared in advance, and then producing a conclusion (the ‘tail’), which claims to show that you have answered the question even though you actually haven’t. This tactic is familiar to Examiners and is easily spotted by them and usually results in a failing answer. 4. Think. Try to understand what parts of the subject, which theorists’ views, which intellectual position(s), the question wants you to address, and plan your answer as if you were engaging in an intellectual discussion of that question. Thinking and responding thoughtfully and articulately to such a question is the skill we are examining. 5. Have confidence in your own intellectual capability. In order to sit the examination in this subject you must have successfully passed the first two years of the degree. That indicates that you are capable of addressing the material in this subject and thinking about it to a level consonant with passing the examination. In order to do so you do not have to be a natural philosopher or theorist. None of the Examiners expect you to revolutionise the subject by presenting strikingly original and productive thoughts on the topics the questions raise. What they demand of you is that you take the subject seriously enough to have engaged with it in the right spirit.