Saturday, October 10, 2009

CLEP Business Law Exam

I'm a Canadian but I wrote the CLEP Business Law examination and passed it largely because of prior learning in high school about English common law theory. For the same reason that students with legal backgrounds from common law countries have a good chance of passing this exam, students without knowledge of the common law will surely fail.

Knowledge of the principles of contracts and torts and the ability to apply those principles in every day circumstances is necessary for success in this exam. Additional information, such as knowledge of the principles of the criminal law, is also necessary. Understand all of the Latin legal terms: actus reus, mens rea, stare decisis, caveat emptor, ultra vires, intra vires, etc. Wikipedia offers a good list of legal Latin terms.

As far as getting a firm knowledge of common law goes, I highly recommend buying or borrowing the Sum & Substance audio lecture series in Contracts, Torts, and, if you can get it, Crimes. These lectures are favoured amongst first-year law students in English common law countries all over the world, and will go a long way in helping you to understand how to analyze and apply the law in a given set of circumstances. If you can't borrow the CDs, you can buy them at these links:

If you want to learn how law is applied but can only afford one of these, I suggest the "Torts" lectures. Stephen Finz is probably one of the least dry law professors you will ever listen to. You'll know what I mean when you hear him sing his chicken bone song.

I also recommend reading a book on commercial law. I brushed up on my legal skills before writing the exam by using a common commercial law textbook in Canada, Managing the Law: The Legal Aspects of Doing Business. However, if you can't borrow a copy of Managing the Law and are looking to buy something which won't cost an arm and a leg, I have also read good reviews about Barron's Business Law.

In addition to understanding traditional English contracts and torts, you should also read up about the Uniform Commercial Code and the different kinds of bankruptcy. A bit of constitutional law and knowledge of the different levels of courts is also relevant. Here are some relevant links:

You should also know what contracts are covered by the Statute of Frauds.

You might also visit the website of an Internet lawyer, as they usually have good free articles on contract law, fraud, etc.

CollegeBoard's description of the CLEP Business Law exam can be found here.

When you're done studying for and writing the CLEP exam, try challenging the DSST Business Law II exam.

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