Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

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Garinold
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Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby Garinold » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:03 pm

So I have submitted 3 essays so far to Kaplan for grading. One essay met the standard, two didn't. I can't for the life of me understand WTF these people are talking about or what is important to succeed on a bar exam essay. I look at the model answers and it seems like they want you to hit on every issue, but hit on them in a very light and unexacting way. The grading system seems to depend on how many issues you hit on as well. Yet in the Kaplan essay writing workshop, the lecturer talked about how important it was to have a very thorough analysis on the issues and to hit both sides. So which one is more important for writing a bar exam essay: hitting on every issue in every conceivable way or having a very thorough analysis? Honestly don't believe that 45 minutes is enough time to do both and the model answers seem to bare that out.

And these graders are out of their fucking minds with this IRAC shit. I mean jesus christ, I discussed the issue, then the particular rule, and then went into the analysis. Do they actually want to to write the word "issue" before discussing the issue, and rule before discussing the rule? Are we that fucking stupid in how we read these things now?

And on another note, I see no material or tangible difference between the torts essay that got a passing grade and the torts essay that got the failing grade......no difference whatsoever in my organization, accuracy in applying the right rules, or depth of analysis or anything.


Sorry about the raving rant, but I just had to do. It is Sunday and I have no idea WTF these people expect.

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby I.P. Daly » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:59 pm

I'm not sure what bar exam you're taking, but in New York, apparently IRAC is highly recommended. The model answers posted on the BOLE site all seem to roughly conform to the IRAC format.

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joobacca
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby joobacca » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:13 am

i think nowadays that retard/retarded is as inappropriate as a racial or homophobic slur. or it's getting close to that level. i know, it's ridiculous. but don't go against the pc police. they will destroy you.

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wiseowl
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby wiseowl » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:45 am

The Barbri guy explicitly said NOT to hit both sides. You'll look equivocal. In a lot of cases, you can get almost as many (if not exactly the same) number of points coming to the wrong conclusion with one flaw and having solid reasoning to back it up.

There have been numerous essay questions from my state in past years where both "answers" were correct and got full credit. You just have to pick one.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:30 pm

Garinold wrote:Do they actually want to to write the word "issue" before discussing the issue, and rule before discussing the rule?


YES, that is a GREAT idea. You know who grades these in real life come exam time? Under employed lawyers, and they read a shit-load of these. Lay it out with simple headings, and you've done more than 75% of your peers. Their subconcious may like your essay more. I'm serious.

Bar exam essays are almost pure issue spotters. Frankly, I'm not sure how important knowing the exact "rule" really is. I think what is more imporant is being able to say "The issue is felony murder," or "the issue is transfered intent battery." Its great if you remember the rule, but first things first - identify what the problem is, the issue. I couldn't tell you a succinct rule for transfered intent battery right now, but I could recognize a fact pattern on it.

Consider what a Bar Exam essay is really testing. You want to be a lawyer. A client walks into your office, has no legal knowledge. Client tells you a story, wants your help. Your job is to be able to SPOT the issue - then you go, do your research, nail down the controlling law, and run your analysis. You can do the rest using your legal knowledge and tools, but all those tools are useless if you don't even recognize what issues need to be addressed. Step one is recognizing the nature of the problem. And you don't need to know the rule for that.

BarBri told us in all seriousness, if you blank on an exam question, just makeup a rule and analyze according to your rule. You might be closer than you think, and at least it'll demonstrate you can write logically.

I'll just add that I did probably 10% of the amount of essay prep as BarBri recommended - I don't think I ever sent in an essay for grading, and my essays were fine.

I think your better essay prep option is to simply OUTLINE sample answers and compare to the model. Don't write out the whole thing - what a waste of time! You can cover a lot more ground that way and it will make it more clear what issues you are missing. Miss a lot over and over, and you eventually won't miss them anymore.

Oh, and this works too because when you write an essay, you should ALWAYS have outlined your answer in full before you began writing anyways. Study smarter, not harder.

The exam is a points grab. Good luck.
Last edited by NotMyRealName09 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

gnate12
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby gnate12 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:36 pm

Are you taking the California Bar Exam?

The BarBri and Kaplan essay grading (at least in California) is awful. They hire recent law grads that have no clue how a bar exam essay is graded.

The only place that you can see what actual high and low scoring California Bar Exam essays look like is at BarEssays.com. This site is a database of real past graded Cal Bar exams, so you see real high and low scoring essays (I think for $75). They also provide commentary from former cal bar graders on why certain essays scored low versus high.

As you said, the review course model answers are useless because they do not represent REAL passing essays. The Cal Bar examples are also not helpful because they do not provide the scores on these essays and tend to be the very best, not examples of just passing essays.

I hope this helps.

fortheloveoflaw
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby fortheloveoflaw » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:41 am

SPAM

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piccolittle
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby piccolittle » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:17 pm

FYI, they grade you low intentionally. I'm sure the advice above is all accurate (TL;DR), but from my experience, they're happy to keep "failing" your essays as long as it keeps you motivated. I had a really low MBE, so my NY essays must have been good. BarBri gave me like a 3 on every one of my practices.

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wiseowl
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby wiseowl » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:08 pm

I got a 3 on the one I just submitted. The grader got one point of law completely wrong, and all of his/her explanations were completely different from the ones in the book.

They were also adamant that I was graded low because my "CRAC" method wasn't good enough. Last I checked, that wasn't the criteria.

I guess I'll keep doing these just for the lulz.

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Bosque
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby Bosque » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:40 pm

wiseowl wrote:I got a 3 on the one I just submitted. The grader got one point of law completely wrong, and all of his/her explanations were completely different from the ones in the book.

They were also adamant that I was graded low because my "CRAC" method wasn't good enough. Last I checked, that wasn't the criteria.

I guess I'll keep doing these just for the lulz.


Yeah, on the Cal bar exams, one of my graders gave me an 80 on my crim essay while another gave me a 55 in torts. Not sure what that translates to for y'all. I am pretty sure there was not such a huge gap between them. My torts grader also seemed like an angry person. Every other comment was in BOLDED RED LARGER FONT UNDERLINED ALL CAPS. Frankly I am surprised he didn't italicize it.

Still gonna do 'em for the lols. Kinda wish I had take Kaplan too now so I could do those essays too and compare the grading.

Total Litigator
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby Total Litigator » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:59 pm

Just nail the MBE.

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Bosque
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby Bosque » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:11 pm

Total Litigator wrote:Just nail the MBE.


Unfortunately the MBE is worth less in California. Still planning on nailing it if I can. But gotta at least do passably on the essays.

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Garinold
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby Garinold » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:09 am

Thanks guys for all the feedback. I think I'm beginning to understand the difference that they are looking for. It seems that in terms of IRAC, they judge each component equally, or on a near equal basis. Where as in law school, you might get a point for spotting the issue and stating the law, but the vast majority of points would come from a well organized and deep analysis. On one torts essay I wrote 7-8 paragraphs discussing a negligence issue where the so called model answer only wanted one paragraph. I almost couldn't believe it when I saw it, and I still kind of don't. It seems like they want us to forget how to write like law students and revert back to some 8th grade level of writing. I don't know......Another problem I seem to be running into with the graders is that they don't seem to realize that an answer can look different than the model one from Kaplan and still be using IRAC. It just isn't enough to say that "hey, you NEED to use IRAC".....well you saw me say the issue is XYZ, and then you saw me say that the applicable law is ABC, and then you saw me talk about what the parties did and why it was significant right?.....I hope I begin to understand these people a little better.

One of the things I was thinking about doing in terms of studying long term here on out is using note cards and taking down statements of issues, statements of law, and possibly even statements of issues that look cookie-cutter, from the model answers that the bar examiners provide on their site. Absent the analysis, which in all fairness is still probably going to be the most difficult and important part of an essay, I figure I'll be memorizing a good % of scoring points for the essay exam when I just commit to memory the exact statements of issues/law on each topic that they say are "model". In addition to the note cards containing the relevant issue statements and law statements from the model answers I'll memorize, I'm also create a second more substantive set of hand written outlines on the law just for deeper understanding so I can deal with the MBE also. In NJ the MBE & essays are weighed 50/50, so scoring higher on one can help on the other.

We'll see what happens.

hiima3L
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby hiima3L » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:23 am

Bosque wrote:
wiseowl wrote:I got a 3 on the one I just submitted. The grader got one point of law completely wrong, and all of his/her explanations were completely different from the ones in the book.

They were also adamant that I was graded low because my "CRAC" method wasn't good enough. Last I checked, that wasn't the criteria.

I guess I'll keep doing these just for the lulz.

Every other comment was in BOLDED RED LARGER FONT UNDERLINED ALL CAPS. Frankly I am surprised he didn't italicize it.

Still gonna do 'em for the lols. Kinda wish I had take Kaplan too now so I could do those essays too and compare the grading.



Hahaha I think they must tell their graders to do this. My friends and I always joke about sending in our essays in red, bold, underlined, italicized, all-caps just to see how they react.

Also, I am HIGHLY suspicious of their grading, but the whole essay portion of the bar is dubious to begin with, so it doesn't seem to really matter.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby prezidentv8 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:09 am

Bosque wrote:
wiseowl wrote:sup


yo


THEMIS!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mick Haller
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Re: Bar Essays, am I f**ing retarded or what?

Postby Mick Haller » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:16 pm

they are definitely trying to scare. this IRAC stuff is nice and all, but I'd imagine the average bar examinee is writing chickenscratch on the real deal, and in every state the average bar examinee passes.




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