Bar exam panic

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cheesenoodlekugel
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Bar exam panic

Postby cheesenoodlekugel » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:45 pm

All right, I re-wrote the below to actually express what my concern is:

I'm studying with Kaplan PMBR. Because Kaplan puts such a huge emphasis on the MBE, I'm doing decently on the MBE section (scored in the 140's raw on my mid-term, and usually getting 70% or more correct on practice quizzes). But...I'm literally completely failing the state section (i.e. looked at a recent actual exam and didn't even know what several questions were about and hadn't the foggiest how to answer them). I didn't realize how miserably I was doing on the state section until now because Kaplan spends the whole first half of the course on the MBE.

Between now and the bar, I should have about 12 full days of independent study available. I came up with a study plan where I plan to devote one full day of study to each section that I am really doing badly on and to take 2 essays in that subject each day. Does this sound like it will be enough to pass the bar? Does anyone have tips on how to improve my essay score?
Last edited by cheesenoodlekugel on Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:15 am, edited 3 times in total.

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nealric
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby nealric » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:04 pm

Are you doing poorly on barbri scores? Don't worry about those- they purposely grade low to scare people into studying. Stop with the panic- it's called Passachusetts for a reason.

If you are wondering how you will do on the real MBE, buy the NCBEX practice exam. My score on that was within 5 points of my actual scaled score and others seem to have similar experiences.

cheesenoodlekugel
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby cheesenoodlekugel » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:12 pm

Okay, that actually makes me feel a lot better.
Last edited by cheesenoodlekugel on Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sunynp
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby sunynp » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:14 pm

1. Print your answers as much as you can or skip lines between writing if it is allowed. Organize your answers with bullet points or outlines so they are easy to read.

2. Structure your answers just like a typical issue spotter exam. You will get points for hitting the elements of a tort or a crime.

3. Create flashcards with easy to learn abbreviations for the elements of Mass law you don't know. Hit the big areas. Don't freak out if you don't remember everything, freaking out on the exam is the worst thing you can do to your concentration,

4. Use your time carefully so you get to answer each question at least in some fashion.

5. If you do well on the MBE, your essays won't be graded as closely as if you don't do the MBE. In fact in Colorado, I passed just on the MBE and my essays weren't graded at all. In NY, my essays were given only a cursory review because I scored so high on the MBE. Make sure you maximize your MBE points.

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nealric
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby nealric » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:39 pm

In NY, my essays were given only a cursory review because I scored so high on the MBE. Make sure you maximize your MBE points.


There is no way you could know this.

cheesenoodlekugel
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby cheesenoodlekugel » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:58 pm

Okay, thanks everyone for the help. I really appreciate it.

So for the above: I scored in the low 140's (raw score) on my mid-term. I think I can possibly improve that a little because there are certain subjects that I could probably do better on with a little further review and memorization, but I figured that it would make more sense to focus on the state stuff at this point, since that's definitely a much bigger weakness for me. Do you think it's better to continue focusing heavily on the MBE stuff though, since it's more definite/less subjective?

redgreenpaper
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby redgreenpaper » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:44 pm

well because of your stress I can see you easily failing the bar exam. and you probably are going to fail it. just try again next time. hope i helped

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nealric
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby nealric » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:36 am

I scored just over 100 on the barbri practice and scored in the 150s on the real deal.

cheesenoodlekugel
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby cheesenoodlekugel » Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:07 am

All right, I revised the original question to better reflect what I'm worried about and to get advice.

GatorStudent
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby GatorStudent » Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:18 am

cheesenoodlekugel wrote:All right, I re-wrote the below to actually express what my concern is:

I'm studying with Kaplan PMBR. Because Kaplan puts such a huge emphasis on the MBE, I'm doing decently on the MBE section (scored in the 140's raw on my mid-term, and usually getting 70% or more correct on practice quizzes). But...I'm literally completely failing the state section (i.e. looked at a recent actual exam and didn't even know what several questions were about and hadn't the foggiest how to answer them). I didn't realize how miserably I was doing on the state section until now because Kaplan spends the whole first half of the course on the MBE.

Between now and the bar, I should have about 12 full days of independent study available. I came up with a study plan where I plan to devote one full day of study to each section that I am really doing badly on and to take 2 essays in that subject each day. Does this sound like it will be enough to pass the bar? Does anyone have tips on how to improve my essay score?


I think you'll probably be fine doing that. Getting a 140 on the raw score on the mid-term puts you in good shape for the MBE portion, assuming that Massachusett's passing requirements are similar to FL's (I'm taking the FL bar exam.). Kaplan said it's reasonable to shoot for 95-110, and you're way above that. They also said that you could add about 5 points and that would be a rough approximation of your actual MBE score. Because you're doing well on the MBE portion, I'd recommend "only" doing 33 MBE questions per day and spend the rest of the time learning the Massachusetts distinctions/areas of law unique to Massachusetts. In my experience (of course, my experience is with the FL bar, so take it for what it's worth), the MBE questions are more about resolving conflicts/knowing the nuances to the rules, while the state questions are more straightforward applications of the rules as they apply to the state's laws. As a result, it's easier to pick up than the MBE section.

I've done similarly to you on the mid-term and on the practice quizzes, and my study plan is very similar to yours. Don't fret so much--just keep working hard!

GatorStudent
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby GatorStudent » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:58 am

Also, does a great score on the MBE portion mean you don't have to score as highly on the state portion? In FL, we must get an AVERAGE scaled score of 136 on each section--so if you do really well on one section, you don't have to do as well on the other section....

cheesenoodlekugel
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby cheesenoodlekugel » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:14 am

Gatorstudent-- Thanks for the advice.

Yes, MA just requires you to reach a certain total, so if you do well on the MBE, you don't need to do as well on the essays. I'm just really nervous because I had felt pretty good about the bar up until now because I had been doing well on Kaplan's MBE quizzes and state checkpoint quizzes. But when I started really trying more essays and looking at past exams, I realized that I just didn't absorb the material at all and would not be able to answer a lot of the questions on real past bar exams-- I just figured out how to answer Kaplan's multiple choice questions. But I guess I just need to calm down and do some targeted study in those areas.

GatorStudent
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby GatorStudent » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:54 am

cheesenoodlekugel wrote:Gatorstudent-- Thanks for the advice.

Yes, MA just requires you to reach a certain total, so if you do well on the MBE, you don't need to do as well on the essays. I'm just really nervous because I had felt pretty good about the bar up until now because I had been doing well on Kaplan's MBE quizzes and state checkpoint quizzes. But when I started really trying more essays and looking at past exams, I realized that I just didn't absorb the material at all and would not be able to answer a lot of the questions on real past bar exams-- I just figured out how to answer Kaplan's multiple choice questions. But I guess I just need to calm down and do some targeted study in those areas.


You're welcome.

Good. Since MA and FL are similar in that respect, then I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm in the same boat. I actually do even better on the state checkpoint quizzes than I do on the MBE questions (I'm around 70% for the MBE questions and 80% for the FL quizzes.) But the essays, at least in FL, test the very basic things. They're not asking you to delve too deeply into minutia. If you're doing really well on the rest, then you just need to hit the main points. And you can learn that fairly quickly!

My recommendation is not to fully write out all the essays, especially once you've written on a topic. After seeing a few essays on a particular topic, you'll start to see patterns that clue you in on what is heavily tested in a specific subject matter. (For example, punitive damages is tested frequently in FL. So is the separation of powers clause of the FL Constitution.) That'll help you more than writing out entire answers, in my humble opinion.

logflume
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby logflume » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:59 pm

I got a 139 on the 3-day and emailed one of the lecturers at Kaplan and he said to spend most of the next 11 days on the essays, primarily. I pray that the rumor that NY will only give your essays cursory review if you rock the MBE is true - cause like you, I've spent way more time focusing on the MBE.

areyouinsane
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby areyouinsane » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:09 pm

I feel sorry for you guys now that Kaplan owns PMBR. Back when I took it, a dood named Robert Feinberg owned it and he was the absolute bomb. His questions were real MBE questions because he hired a squad of people to fly around the country every Feb and July taking bar exams for the sole purpose of memorizing MBE's or transcribing them in shorthand.

Bob himself got in a shitload of trouble back in '06 or '07 for trying to sneak out of the Alaska bar with the MBE question pack down his pants. That dood really went to bat for his pupils, and I believe was pressured into selling the company not long afterwards. He was always getting sued for copyright/intellectual property theft by the NCBEX (National Conf. of Bar Examiners), and I guess it wasn't worth the hassle anymore.

He was a real playa too- I took PMBE live in NYC with da man himself. He was all decked out in Bruno Magli's and loud ass bling shirts from Thomas Pink. During the cigarette breaks he'd come out and mac on all the hot chicks from NYLS and offer them "private" sessions. What a card he was.

Don't sweat the bar'zam OP, you wouldn't believe how many borderline retarded, mouth-breathing morons pass this thing. It's a complete joke. I went to a TTT and passed NY/NJ together on my first try w/ a 167 scaled on the MBE. The real test is a LOT easier than the practice questions.

GatorStudent
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby GatorStudent » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:01 pm

logflume wrote:I got a 139 on the 3-day and emailed one of the lecturers at Kaplan and he said to spend most of the next 11 days on the essays, primarily. I pray that the rumor that NY will only give your essays cursory review if you rock the MBE is true - cause like you, I've spent way more time focusing on the MBE.


Yeah, you probably should concentrate on the essays. I'm in your boat--I scored in the low 140's, so we're both probably in the 99th percentile for the exam (since 90th percentile was a 120). Kaplan's 3-day is designed to be very hard--the actual bar exam has around 25 "free"/easy questions, whereas Kaplan takes those out in the 3 day. Unless you have a disaster on the day of the exam, you should do very well on the real thing.

I can't talk about NY's essays, but I was surprised about Florida's that you don't need to score many points on them. Kaplan told us to look for 50/100 points on the essays. That's not bad at all. At the same time, I do recall that NY requires you to know many more subjects.

logflume
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby logflume » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:28 pm

GatorStudent wrote:
logflume wrote:I got a 139 on the 3-day and emailed one of the lecturers at Kaplan and he said to spend most of the next 11 days on the essays, primarily. I pray that the rumor that NY will only give your essays cursory review if you rock the MBE is true - cause like you, I've spent way more time focusing on the MBE.


Yeah, you probably should concentrate on the essays. I'm in your boat--I scored in the low 140's, so we're both probably in the 99th percentile for the exam (since 90th percentile was a 120). Kaplan's 3-day is designed to be very hard--the actual bar exam has around 25 "free"/easy questions, whereas Kaplan takes those out in the 3 day. Unless you have a disaster on the day of the exam, you should do very well on the real thing.

I can't talk about NY's essays, but I was surprised about Florida's that you don't need to score many points on them. Kaplan told us to look for 50/100 points on the essays. That's not bad at all. At the same time, I do recall that NY requires you to know many more subjects.


Low-140's. That's fantastic! I don't know anyone whose gotten a higher score than that (actually, of all the people I talked to, I don't know anyone that got over 130), so you should feel pretty good. But, I still don't feel uber-confident b/c even though I did well, I did guess on an awful lot of questions. I'd love to have gotten that score because I knew my shit. But maybe that's just the way it is on the bar. Oh, I also ran out of time - just barely - on both sections of the MBE. Had to bubble like 3 in on each of the AM and PM sessions. I am hoping that's just b/c of the length and difficulty of the Kaplan questions. I've never run out of time on Qbank, questions, but timing was my bugaboo on the LSAT.

Anyhow, best of luck with your final 10 days! Sounds like you will pass with flying colors.

GatorStudent
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby GatorStudent » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:09 pm

logflume wrote:Low-140's. That's fantastic! I don't know anyone whose gotten a higher score than that (actually, of all the people I talked to, I don't know anyone that got over 130), so you should feel pretty good. But, I still don't feel uber-confident b/c even though I did well, I did guess on an awful lot of questions. I'd love to have gotten that score because I knew my shit. But maybe that's just the way it is on the bar. Oh, I also ran out of time - just barely - on both sections of the MBE. Had to bubble like 3 in on each of the AM and PM sessions. I am hoping that's just b/c of the length and difficulty of the Kaplan questions. I've never run out of time on Qbank, questions, but timing was my bugaboo on the LSAT.

Anyhow, best of luck with your final 10 days! Sounds like you will pass with flying colors.


Thanks. Surprisingly, I scored lower on the mid-term (low 130's) than the 3 day test, because I finished it an hour early and missed around 10 questions because of reading comprehension. I won't do that again!

I wouldn't worry too much about guessing on many of the questions, if you're narrowing it down to two choices. I didn't realize I did so well until I scored the 3 day, and I can tell you that I felt the same way as you did--it's a close call between two answer choices about 75% of the time. (And, the Kaplan lecturer said that this is the case on the actual MBE for about 150 questions.) But most of them you can get via reading carefully, if you know the law.

I've also never run out of time on the QBank questions, although I've been close if they're the long-winded property or contracts questions. Kaplan has VERY long questions, which helps us for the MBE, which normally have shorter prompts. Don't feel bad about feeling rushed on the 3 day test--I normally finished standardized tests very fast (as I stated before, I finished the mid-term MBE in 5 hours), and I "only" finished about 15 minutes early on the morning session, and 10 minutes early on the afternoon session. I certainly felt rushed.

Good luck!

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:08 pm

Just posting in here to point out that I am going to fail the bar exam, because I cannot memorize things and the essays are going to destroy me as a result. Doooom.

GatorStudent
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby GatorStudent » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:39 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Just posting in here to point out that I am going to fail the bar exam, because I cannot memorize things and the essays are going to destroy me as a result. Doooom.


Dude, I'm not a great memorizer either. You can do it!!!

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Arrow
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby Arrow » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:09 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Just posting in here to point out that I am going to fail the bar exam, because I cannot memorize things and the essays are going to destroy me as a result. Doooom.


I honestly feel the same way. Memorizing for one class was not so bad. Here, it feels like you have to do that but times 18. Either that, or BarBri just does a really good job of scaring us with hard questions to motivate us.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:12 pm

Arrow wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:Just posting in here to point out that I am going to fail the bar exam, because I cannot memorize things and the essays are going to destroy me as a result. Doooom.


I honestly feel the same way. Memorizing for one class was not so bad. Here, it feels like you have to do that but times 18. Either that, or BarBri just does a really good job of scaring us with hard questions to motivate us.


I never really memorized for any classes, just kind of winged it. Can't do that here:/

MorgolKing
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby MorgolKing » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:43 pm

Anybody else taking Kaplan PMBR? I feel prepared for the MBE, but completely screwed for the essay portion of the bar.

I've poured over countless old essays from past bar exams and even though I'm a couple days away from the exam I still have essays where I'm like "???? when did we learn that rule?!"

I feel completely overwhelmed trying to learn the law for the essay portion right now. Any bar exam passers with insight or advice?

GatorStudent
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby GatorStudent » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:09 pm

MorgolKing wrote:Anybody else taking Kaplan PMBR? I feel prepared for the MBE, but completely screwed for the essay portion of the bar.

I've poured over countless old essays from past bar exams and even though I'm a couple days away from the exam I still have essays where I'm like "???? when did we learn that rule?!"

I feel completely overwhelmed trying to learn the law for the essay portion right now. Any bar exam passers with insight or advice?


I'm taking Kaplan PMBR. I agree--no worries about the MBE portion, but the essays still seem to be somewhat-hard. However, in FL, you "only" need about 50 percent of the essay points to pass. I've started to do a solid job at issue-spotting and coming up with the rule. But yes, you're going to miss issues and rules--it's to be expected, so don't fret. They put some ridiculous hypos with rules most people aren't going to get.

transferguy
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Re: Bar exam panic

Postby transferguy » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:52 am

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Just posting in here to point out that I am going to fail the bar exam, because I cannot memorize things and the essays are going to destroy me as a result. Doooom.


I feel the same way. I think most people feel the same way. I read these barbri practice essay question answers and it kinda freaks me out when they go through all the little elements of non-major exceptions and what not. I usually can remember the applicable exception because the question itself prompts me to remember it, but I'm really bad at doing the whole "Generally, if X falls under any of (1), (2), (3), or (4), the general rule will not apply." Usually I can remember the applicable one of those 4, but I just find it impossible to remember all of them (at least the non-major ones) and subsequently list all of them. To be fair, I'm assuming the chunk of the points come from identifying the exception at large and giving the correct category as to why it's an exception, but it's annoying to know I'm losing points because I wasn't able to list all the other obviously unnecessary exceptions.

It's sad that a profession that requires heavy and thorough research has an exam that places so much emphasis on memorization. IMO, the test should try to be more like the MPT.




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