Tips and Resources for Students

Course Paper

General Preparation for Open Book Exams

The best thing to do in preparation for our open book exam is to stay on top of the readings and pay attention to lectures.  But this should be obvious. Beyond that, there are a few things that might help.

1. Prepare topical outlines. See below for more guidance on this.

2. Review the questions in our casebook. If you can answer all of them confidently, then you are ahead of the game!

3. Remember that for this class, there will generally be two types of questions. Some questions will be about the nature and substance of international law. The others will come from a social science perspective on international law.

International Law-Type Question:

“A state that has been coerced, by military threat, into ratifying a bilateral agreement with another state that permits a military occupation has a valid excuse to terminate such a treaty if it so wishes. This is why Iraq can force U.S. troops to withdraw from that country at any time.”

Indicate whether you agree with the statement in whole or in part and indicate why in a few short sentences. You will not receive credit for a response that does not come with an explanation and preferably a reference to relevant authority (e.g. treaty, court decision).

Social science-type question:

Briefly state the argument for how “reputation” may lead to compliance. What are two cases that may be used to support such a view? Are there any weaknesses in this reputational theory?

Outlining for Exams

Here are some general tips:

  • The outline should be the PRIMARY document you consult during the exam.
  • Use our course syllabus to help organize your outline. (Note that the course syllabus also largely follows the structure of our key text.)
  • Your outline should probably include (but is not limited to) the following information
    • Issues
    • Rules
    • Brief Case Descriptions, including analysis of how rules have been applied
    • The significance of the above for political scientists
  • It is completely acceptable to work with your colleagues in creating these outlines.
  • If you write your outline in MS Word, note that there is a way to create a table of contents or index. This could be useful.

Additional Resources – Exams

Additional Resources – Links

International Law
ASIL Electronic Resources
UCLA IL Research Guide
NYU GlobalLex
Cornell LII
Yale IL Resources
Conventions and Treaties
Collection of Multilateral Treaties – Fletcher School (Tufts)
UN Charter
The European Union
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
International Organizations
United Nations
International Court of Justice
International Monetary Fund
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
World Bank
World Trade Organization
World Health Organization (WHO)
International Criminal Court
News Resources
BBC News
The Economist
Financial Times