LSAT vs. Bar Exam
Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:11 am
This is a question for all of you who have taken both the LSAT and State Bar. Would you say that the major difference between the two is that the Bar tests your ability to recall concrete information that you have previously studied and learned? Ex. Who was the first Pres. of the U.S. Answer: G. Washington. I am asking this because I am not a particularly good standardized test taker and didn't do too hot on the LSAT. I am wondering if I should get discouraged by this when I take the Bar. Considering I am most likely going to take it in California (among the hardest in the country), I just want to know what I'm up against. I am still an undergrad student by the way. My GPA in school has always been high because tests were course-specific and usually only involved memorization, whereas you cannot answer LSAT questions because you know facts that you memorized beforehand. Can anyone help me in answering this? Thanks and I greatly appreciate your feedback in advance.
Re: LSAT vs. Bar Exam
Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:26 pm
Well, I guess you'll enjoy the bar exam more than the LSAT. Yes, the bar is about memorization and recollection of law, but there's also a problem-solving aspect to it. Here's an example multi-state bar exam (MBE) question:
X, the father of Y and Z, dies leaving a will. The will granted "the house to Y for life, then to Z." Y and Z are both alive when X dies. Z then dies, leaving behind child A. Y dies, leaving behind child B. A and B live in the house when Y dies. A neighbor, N, asks B whether he could use the driveway of the house to park his car while N's driveway is being repaved. B gives N permission to use their driveway. Does N have a legal easement to use the driveway?
A. Yes, because B gave permission
B. Yes, because an easement was created by necessity
C. No, because A did not give permission
D. No, because an easement can only be created by X
In order to properly answer this question, you need to go through the following steps:
1. This is an real property question (there are six areas of law that are tested on the MBE; questions appear in random order... so it's not like the first 33 are Constitutional and the next 33 are criminal, etc.)
2. The portion of the will granting the house is valid (no rule against perpetuities violation)
3. Y has a life estate in the house. As soon as Y dies, it passes to Z, no matter if Y has a child.
4. Z has a vested remainder in fee simple, therefore if Z dies (even before Y dies) then the house goes to Z's heirs (i.e. A) when Y dies.
5. Since A is the lawful owner of the house now, B has no property rights in the house and cannot grant an easement. C is the correct answer.
As can be seen, the MBE questions can involve a lot of intermediary problem-solving steps that utilize your knowledge of the law. So in some ways it is like the LSAT (logical analysis) and in some ways it is memorization. Also, some questions have answers that are technically correct but not as correct as the real answer. Fun stuff. Note that this is only for the MBE, which most states require in addition to their own state exams.
The CA bar is the hardest bar in the US. It takes a whopping three days (2 for the state bar, one for the MBE). A very smart friend of mine failed on her first attempt. Don't take it lightly, but don't get discouraged at this point, before you're even in law school. You're still a long way out from the bar. Focus on law school first.