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TheGreatFish
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby TheGreatFish » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:41 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Use IRAC for CA?


I would definitely use IRAC. You won't fail if you don't use it, but it makes it so much easier for a grader to get through your exam. The graders will have to go through a few hundred exams. They're not going to read each one thoroughly, so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to give you points.

Myself
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby Myself » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:56 pm

Does anyone know what makes NY Bar so hard?

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thesealocust
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby thesealocust » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:17 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Does anyone know what makes NY Bar so hard?


It's not that hard.

DwightSchruteFarms
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:21 pm

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I had a quick question. In Garner's 'Legal Writing in Plain English,' he says to refrain from using phrases such as "is able to" and "a number of" and, instead, replace those phrases with "can" and "many," respectively. I remember my LRW Professor marking my paper off because he thought "can" was too informal for a brief. (I think my sentence was "The Defendant can....")

Was my LRW Professor incorrect? I am just a bit confused.

Thank you!

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tfer2222
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby tfer2222 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:21 pm

DwightSchruteFarms wrote:I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I had a quick question. In Garner's 'Legal Writing in Plain English,' he says to refrain from using phrases such as "is able to" and "a number of" and, instead, replace those phrases with "can" and "many," respectively. I remember my LRW Professor marking my paper off because he thought "can" was too informal for a brief. (I think my sentence was "The Defendant can....")

Was my LRW Professor incorrect? I am just a bit confused.

Thank you!


lol why did you choose this thread??

All LRW professors are going to have different writing styles. for purposes of that class, tailor it towards everything your professor says. she/he's the one grading it, not Garner. outside of class, there still isn't a "right" answer. although i do not think "can" is too informal.

but srsly choose another thread

Myself
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Postby Myself » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:10 am

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Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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thesealocust
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby thesealocust » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:14 am

ajax adonis wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:Does anyone know what makes NY Bar so hard?


It's not that hard.


Why's everyone always say NY and CA are the hardest?


CA is legitimately more difficult. NY is pretty bog standard. Pass rates at T14 schools hover near 100%...

hiima3L
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby hiima3L » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:56 am

The single greatest determinant across the board is a combination of law school and class ranking. The higher you go on both, the more likely you are to pass. The overwhelming majority of people who fail either go to shitty schools and/or are toward the bottom of their class. For instance, I've heard that at my school (~80-85% pass rate in the past decade for CA bar), the top 50% of the class has a 95%+ pass rate, while the bottom third has about a 50% pass rate.

The reason for all of this is because the bar is remarkably similar to law school exams. If you did not do well in law school, you presumably do not know how to write an essay that is going to get points on a law school exam and the bar, and/or you simply don't know the law well.

Of course, tons of preparation is necessary. Nothing is conceptually that difficult, but there is an incredible amount to know that is going to take a lot of studying to memorize no matter who you are.

TL;DR it's a combo of how well you can write and how much information you can learn.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby XxSpyKEx » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:59 am

ajax adonis wrote:So I also wondered what some of the common denominators were among people who failed the bar.


Not wearing a suit to the VA bar will do it... Or not continuing to type your answer and completely ignoring the guy who's having a seizure during the middle of the exam, even after he cracks his head open and start bleeding everywhere: http://abovethelaw.com/2012/07/bar-exam ... r-outages/ . Or the proctor not letting you in the next day after with 15 stitches in your head, if you're the guy who cracked your head open. Personally, I would avoid the VA bar.

BCLS
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby BCLS » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:10 am

TheGreatFish wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:Hearsay within hearsay?


It wasn't multiple hearsay, double hearsay, or hearsay within hearsay.

He didn't use a common term to describe it, but he explained it well enough within his answer that he still got the points. On the CA bar they want to see that you know the law and how it is applied, and not whether or not you can remember the phrase "multiple hearsay."

Memorizing rule statements word for word is not necessary to pass, but some people think it helps you get through the exam more quickly.


Totem pole hearsay?

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alphasteve
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby alphasteve » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:52 am

thesealocust wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:So I also wondered what some of the common denominators were among people who failed the bar. A couple people I know who failed the bar cheated during the final exams. I don't mean copying other people's work cheating, but they would get their uncle doctors to sign notes that say they have a learning disability, which allows them to get extra time on the test. That always pissed me off. But I know two of those people failed.

Any others? Maybe doing this will help all of us to not fail.


I know exactly one person who failed the bar, and it was due to a massive, life-altering medical emergency.

I'm sure others did that I don't know about, but crippling laziness (nb: not "standard procrastination) or dramatic events on test-day (sudden illness, power outage, missing a page, whatever) seem much more likely than "tried hard but failed anyway."

I would add hyper test anxiety to the compilation of reasons, as the caveat to "tried hard but failed anyway" issue.

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alphasteve
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby alphasteve » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:58 am

thesealocust wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:Does anyone know what makes NY Bar so hard?


It's not that hard.


Why's everyone always say NY and CA are the hardest?


CA is legitimately more difficult. NY is pretty bog standard. Pass rates at T14 schools hover near 100%...

CA is hard because they actually curve to exclude some test takers from the profession, IIRC. Every other state treats the bar as a minimum competency exam.

hasmith
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby hasmith » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:27 am

thesealocust wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:Does anyone know what makes NY Bar so hard?


It's not that hard.


Why's everyone always say NY and CA are the hardest?


CA is legitimately more difficult. NY is pretty bog standard. Pass rates at T14 schools hover near 100%...



Love the "Bog Standard" - hoping it is a Karl Pilkington reference!

odoylerulez
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby odoylerulez » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:02 pm

RIAC ftw. IRAC always seemed completely illogical to me.

How do you spot an issue without knowing the rule first? Generally speaking, you can't have a legal issue without at least one rule of law. Major Premise -> Minor Premise -> Conclusion. Not the other way around.

CREAC is a little better than IRAC too. That operates similarly to RIAC, but then, you just have to throw your conclusion in again at the beginning.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:38 pm

IRAC isn't telling you the order to figure things out; it's the order you write stuff to explain it to someone else. Of course you, personally, don't see the issue until you figure out the rule of law. But you don't just write stuff down in the order it appears in your head.

(I'm not saying IRAC is the best/only way to do things, I just don't agree with that particular criticism of it.)

dontknowwhereimgoin
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby dontknowwhereimgoin » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:56 am

GertrudePerkins wrote:
DwightSchruteFarms wrote:Anybody recc any books in order to improve legal writing aside from The Elements of Style?

Because I like to be contrarian, here's an awesome takedown of The Elements of Style.


If by "awesome" you mean "opinionated" or "apt to point out irrelevant inconsistencies" I agree with your description of the author's "takedown".

The point about how Elements has bred narrow-minded teachers--e.g., condemning words like "be" to passive voice purgatory-- seems unwarranted. I trust students in the hands of such intellects much less were they to eschew Elements for their own Style. Notice in the active/passive voice section how the author is angry at Strunk and White for being misread by grammar teachers who would likely do more harm without Elements as their guide.

Or: "'Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs,' they insist. (The motivation of this mysterious decree remains unclear to me.)'" Actors acting is often preferable to verbose description; it is a hallmark of good, clear, and concise writing. Simply put, most writers will make fewer mistakes using fewer descriptive phrases.

Unfortunately the author's obsession for the picayune obfuscates what is a strong central critical theme: writing needn't follow a strict trajectory in order to have style. Of course style doesn't demand formalism, but for many teachers even a contradictory, imperfect text is better than relying on their own intuitions.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby XxSpyKEx » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:53 am

alphasteve wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
It's not that hard.


Why's everyone always say NY and CA are the hardest?


CA is legitimately more difficult. NY is pretty bog standard. Pass rates at T14 schools hover near 100%...

CA is hard because they actually curve to exclude some test takers from the profession, IIRC. Every other state treats the bar as a minimum competency exam.


Yup. I think the CA bar is basically the same thing substantively as in a lot of other states, possibly even easier (e.g. 25% of the possible points are in the performance exams, which literally requires nothing but the ability to write like a competent lawyer). I think the reason so many people fail is that they require you to get 72% of more of the possible points (I believe it's 1440 out of 2000 required to pass), which is ridiculous because most other states it's somewhere around 62%. If the bar examiners weren't dickheads and lowered the minimum passing grade to something more reasonable for a minimum competency exam, a lot larger of a percentage of the exam takers would pass.

timbs4339
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:06 pm

If you can do a law school essay exam you can do a bar exam essay. But they're different beasts. Law school exams are IRAAAAAC. The bar is IRAC. You don't need to analyze both arguments or get into policy or principles. Just state the rule, mechanically apply it, and move on.

A simple "X has a duty to Y to keep a spill-free floor. There was water on the floor. X breached her duty to Y" will suffice to pass the NY bar exam.

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thesealocust
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby thesealocust » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:45 am

timbs4339 wrote:If you can do a law school essay exam you can do a bar exam essay. But they're different beasts. Law school exams are IRAAAAAC. The bar is IRAC. You don't need to analyze both arguments or get into policy or principles. Just state the rule, mechanically apply it, and move on.

A simple "X has a duty to Y to keep a spill-free floor. There was water on the floor. X breached her duty to Y" will suffice to pass the NY bar exam.


This is pretty shitty advice. You still get more points for better analysis.

You can pass without it, and it's easier to teach the exam without trying to teach somebody how to think like a lawyer, so it's not the focus of bar prep courses... but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile.

run26.2
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby run26.2 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:04 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
Yup. I think the CA bar is basically the same thing substantively as in a lot of other states, possibly even easier (e.g. 25% of the possible points are in the performance exams, which literally requires nothing but the ability to write like a competent lawyer). I think the reason so many people fail is that they require you to get 72% of more of the possible points (I believe it's 1440 out of 2000 required to pass), which is ridiculous because most other states it's somewhere around 62%. If the bar examiners weren't dickheads and lowered the minimum passing grade to something more reasonable for a minimum competency exam, a lot larger of a percentage of the exam takers would pass.

Two things here.

1) The PTs do not "literally" require only "the ability to write like a competent lawyer." How can you even say that? There are several different types of prompts, and those sitting for the bar should be familiar with the type of work product that is required. Additionally, you have to be able to read through a lot of material and select the right material to use for your answer. If your statement were correct, you could merely make up whatever you want and still pass. At the very least, you need to put in headings showing that you have identified the relevant factors being used in the analysis. Additionally, my guess is there is at least some evaluation of whether you have used at least some of the relevant sources. I'm not arguing this is difficult, but I am saying that it is not simply a test of one's ability to write.

2) The statement about needing to get 72% of the possible points is misleading. In California, your raw scores are run through a formula that generates your overall scaled score. Just because that score amounts to 72% of the "possible points" does not make the test more difficult than states which require a test-taker to get 62% of the "possible points." The bar committee of California could easily change the formula so that you needed only 62% of the "possible points" and still have the exact same number of passers.

The more generally accepted reason for why more people fail in California is that more people take the test from unaccredited schools. This does not account for all of the difficulty, though, as passage rates from top schools are lower in CA than in most other jurisdictions. Presumably the test is objectively harder than in other states, though not for the precise 72%-62% comparison you make.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:31 pm

run26.2 wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
Yup. I think the CA bar is basically the same thing substantively as in a lot of other states, possibly even easier (e.g. 25% of the possible points are in the performance exams, which literally requires nothing but the ability to write like a competent lawyer). I think the reason so many people fail is that they require you to get 72% of more of the possible points (I believe it's 1440 out of 2000 required to pass), which is ridiculous because most other states it's somewhere around 62%. If the bar examiners weren't dickheads and lowered the minimum passing grade to something more reasonable for a minimum competency exam, a lot larger of a percentage of the exam takers would pass.

Two things here.

1) The PTs do not "literally" require only "the ability to write like a competent lawyer." How can you even say that? There are several different types of prompts, and those sitting for the bar should be familiar with the type of work product that is required. Additionally, you have to be able to read through a lot of material and select the right material to use for your answer. If your statement were correct, you could merely make up whatever you want and still pass. At the very least, you need to put in headings showing that you have identified the relevant factors being used in the analysis. Additionally, my guess is there is at least some evaluation of whether you have used at least some of the relevant sources. I'm not arguing this is difficult, but I am saying that it is not simply a test of one's ability to write.


Riiiggght. Soooo it sounds to me like you're saying they require the ability to writing a competent lawyer. lol. (I'm not seeing how what I said is any different than what you did. If you aren't able to do the things you mentioned, you probably really shouldn't be a member of the bar.)

run26.2 wrote: 2) The statement about needing to get 72% of the possible points is misleading. In California, your raw scores are run through a formula that generates your overall scaled score. Just because that score amounts to 72% of the "possible points" does not make the test more difficult than states which require a test-taker to get 62% of the "possible points." The bar committee of California could easily change the formula so that you needed only 62% of the "possible points" and still have the exact same number of passers.

The more generally accepted reason for why more people fail in California is that more people take the test from unaccredited schools. This does not account for all of the difficulty, though, as passage rates from top schools are lower in CA than in most other jurisdictions. Presumably the test is objectively harder than in other states, though not for the precise 72%-62% comparison you make.


People cite that unaccredited law school reason for the high failure rates, but if you look on the website, California very extensively reports bar passage statistics, and I think the passage rates for 1st time takers is a bit under 80% at Berkley (so 1 out of 5 Berkley grads fails), and somewhere around 60% for first time out of state t14s (I could be making that up, but I remember seeing something to that effect when I looked at it a few months ago). I actually just took the California bar a couple days ago, and substantively it was honestly about the same in terms of the essay/performance test questions as the first bar I took, but easier since you had twice the time to answer each essay question/performance test question. I don't fully understand how the scaling/curving works (does anyone?), but I'm pretty sure that's the reason most people fail (i.e. the amount of points you need to get to fall into the passing part of the curve must be higher, because that's the only explanation I can see since substantively the exam is of similar difficulty as other bar exams).

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Elston Gunn
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:44 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
People cite that unaccredited law school reason for the high failure rates, but if you look on the website, California very extensively reports bar passage statistics, and I think the passage rates for 1st time takers is a bit under 80% at Berkley (so 1 out of 5 Berkley grads fails), and somewhere around 60% for first time out of state t14s (I could be making that up, but I remember seeing something to that effect when I looked at it a few months ago). I actually just took the California bar a couple days ago, and substantively it was honestly about the same in terms of the essay/performance test questions as the first bar I took, but easier since you had twice the time to answer each essay question/performance test question. I don't fully understand how the scaling/curving works (does anyone?), but I'm pretty sure that's the reason most people fail (i.e. the amount of points you need to get to fall into the passing part of the curve must be higher, because that's the only explanation I can see since substantively the exam is of similar difficulty as other bar exams).


This is really wrong: http://www.protectconsumerjustice.org/2 ... ool-2.html

Berkeley is at 91%, and eyeballing it, the rest of the T14 is about the same.

sfhaze
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby sfhaze » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:57 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:People cite that unaccredited law school reason for the high failure rates, but if you look on the website, California very extensively reports bar passage statistics, and I think the passage rates for 1st time takers is a bit under 80% at Berkley (so 1 out of 5 Berkley grads fails), and somewhere around 60% for first time out of state t14s (I could be making that up, but I remember seeing something to that effect when I looked at it a few months ago). I actually just took the California bar a couple days ago, and substantively it was honestly about the same in terms of the essay/performance test questions as the first bar I took, but easier since you had twice the time to answer each essay question/performance test question. I don't fully understand how the scaling/curving works (does anyone?), but I'm pretty sure that's the reason most people fail (i.e. the amount of points you need to get to fall into the passing part of the curve must be higher, because that's the only explanation I can see since substantively the exam is of similar difficulty as other bar exams).

Are there significant fluctuations in CA bar pass rate per school year to year? Just looking at the July 2012 results (http://abovethelaw.com/2013/01/californ ... en-thread/), it's surprising some lower ranked schools did so well relatively. Like Irvine, Pepperdine, Loyola LA, Chapman, Western State, Cal Western (not to imply these are the same, but they all did relatively well). Western State basically matched Davis at around 79%, Pepperdine did same to Berkeley's rate near 86%, and Irvine nearly matched Stanford at 93.7%.

run26.2
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby run26.2 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:15 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
Yup. I think the CA bar is basically the same thing substantively as in a lot of other states, possibly even easier (e.g. 25% of the possible points are in the performance exams, which literally requires nothing but the ability to write like a competent lawyer). I think the reason so many people fail is that they require you to get 72% of more of the possible points (I believe it's 1440 out of 2000 required to pass), which is ridiculous because most other states it's somewhere around 62%. If the bar examiners weren't dickheads and lowered the minimum passing grade to something more reasonable for a minimum competency exam, a lot larger of a percentage of the exam takers would pass.

Two things here.

1) The PTs do not "literally" require only "the ability to write like a competent lawyer." How can you even say that? There are several different types of prompts, and those sitting for the bar should be familiar with the type of work product that is required. Additionally, you have to be able to read through a lot of material and select the right material to use for your answer. If your statement were correct, you could merely make up whatever you want and still pass. At the very least, you need to put in headings showing that you have identified the relevant factors being used in the analysis. Additionally, my guess is there is at least some evaluation of whether you have used at least some of the relevant sources. I'm not arguing this is difficult, but I am saying that it is not simply a test of one's ability to write.


Riiiggght. Soooo it sounds to me like you're saying they require the ability to writing a competent lawyer. lol. (I'm not seeing how what I said is any different than what you did. If you aren't able to do the things you mentioned, you probably really shouldn't be a member of the bar.)

Maybe you should learn what the words nothing and literal mean.

XxSpyKEx wrote:
run26.2 wrote: 2) The statement about needing to get 72% of the possible points is misleading. In California, your raw scores are run through a formula that generates your overall scaled score. Just because that score amounts to 72% of the "possible points" does not make the test more difficult than states which require a test-taker to get 62% of the "possible points." The bar committee of California could easily change the formula so that you needed only 62% of the "possible points" and still have the exact same number of passers.

The more generally accepted reason for why more people fail in California is that more people take the test from unaccredited schools. This does not account for all of the difficulty, though, as passage rates from top schools are lower in CA than in most other jurisdictions. Presumably the test is objectively harder than in other states, though not for the precise 72%-62% comparison you make.


People cite that unaccredited law school reason for the high failure rates, but if you look on the website, California very extensively reports bar passage statistics, and I think the passage rates for 1st time takers is a bit under 80% at Berkley (so 1 out of 5 Berkley grads fails), and somewhere around 60% for first time out of state t14s (I could be making that up, but I remember seeing something to that effect when I looked at it a few months ago). I actually just took the California bar a couple days ago, and substantively it was honestly about the same in terms of the essay/performance test questions as the first bar I took, but easier since you had twice the time to answer each essay question/performance test question. I don't fully understand how the scaling/curving works (does anyone?), but I'm pretty sure that's the reason most people fail (i.e. the amount of points you need to get to fall into the passing part of the curve must be higher, because that's the only explanation I can see since substantively the exam is of similar difficulty as other bar exams).

Thank you for sharing your objective perspective (admittedly lacking an understanding of the scaling). I highly doubt your opinion is biased.

TheGreatFish
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Re: How to fail the bar

Postby TheGreatFish » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:03 am

sfhaze wrote:Are there significant fluctuations in CA bar pass rate per school year to year?


Yes. I think it mainly has to do with the small class sizes. A small change in the number of students who pass/fail can have a significant impact on the passing percentage.

XxSpyKEx wrote:25% of the possible points are in the performance exams, which literally requires nothing but the ability to write like a competent lawyer


I tend to agree with XxSpyKEx. While he may be oversimplifying a bit, for the most part he's right. You don't need to spend weeks to months memorizing rules to do well on the PTs. If you can read and write like a lawyer (quickly), you can score reasonably well.

I also never fully understood the scoring method, but I've heard a lot of people who failed complain that their scores would have been passing in any state except for California, so I would guess that the curve does have a lot to do with the difficulty of the exam.




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