Responding to problem questions in an exam

A step-by-step guide of how to tackle a problem question in an exam. Problem questions usually consist of a factual scenario that requires the application of international legal rules, principles and theories to the given set of facts.

It is very normal for students to be concerned about how to ‘read’ and respond to international law. After all, there is a dizzying array not only in quantitative terms, but also in respect of the wildly diverging methods of absorbing the vast materials available for students. Because of the specific nature of international law as intimately related to political and historical developments, in addition to very significant contestation of its ideological underpinnings, international law students sometimes struggle with addressing the relevant materials, and making sense of what they are asked to do.

For this reason, we have prepared the following ‘critical thinking frameworks’ to encourage student reflection as to how to deal with four important scenarios they may face during their university studies.

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