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The key to writing a successful answer to a tax question (as with any law exam) is to locate the relevant issues and to analyze them by interrelating applicable legal principles with the basic facts of the question. This determination of relevant issues must be tied to the facts presented in the question.

The first step in question analysis is to read the facts closely and note each element in the facts that is relevant to issues you have studied in the subject being tested since it is likely that the examiner intended that those issues be discussed. Before starting to write, the student should review the issues thus identified to assess their relative importance and to satisfy himself that he has not missed a major issue. The ranking of issues is a most important judgment to be made by the student because the student's answer should devote more attention to the more significant issues, and of course the less significant issues should be given brief treatment.


Reproduced by permission of Thomson Reuters. Originally published in Ballantine's Problems in Law for Law School and Bar Examination Review. 5th ed., edited by W. E. Burby. St. Paul, Minn.: West, 1975.