California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
SkyRiver
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:34 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby SkyRiver » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:31 pm

You can do it, and possibly only with a little over a month of studying. Some background: I failed a class in the Spring semester and had to write a makeup research paper to get my diploma this year. Because I had to do this paper, I couldn't get started with my bar studying until the last week of June. During the 5 weeks before the bar exam, I studied about 6-8 quality hours per day (although I did step it up to 8-10 hours the week before the exam). I didn't watch video lectures (except for Evidence) and I hardly used any of the material provided by bar prep courses. By and large, I stopped doing MBE questions in the last week. Despite all this, I passed, and I left each day of the bar exam feeling like I had passed.

(A) For MBE questions, I used the BarMax iPad app to drill. But in terms of really learning some of the nuances for harder MBE questions, I got a lot of mileage out of the Emmanuel's "Strategies and Tactics" for the MBE. I think my scores averaged around 70% by the time the bar rolled around.

(B) With respect to the non-PT essays, I highly recommend you do the following:

(1) Buy a set of Leansheets for the California Bar (you can Google up "leansheets California Bar") and commit to memorizing and being able to regurgitate the materials from those sheets. The Leansheets are not exhaustive, but they are good enough, and most of all humanly manageable. The only downside to the Leansheets is that they are very tersely worded; you might need an old BarBri Conviser to give you more verbose explanations of the rules.

(2) Get a subscriptions with baressays dot com. The pairing of model essays with old questions is a GODSEND. What I did was I went through all the model essays for the past 7-8 years for a given topic, and I just wrote down all the different headings and subheadings. This gave me an idea of what the distribution was for legal issues tested on the exam. As you'll see, 90% of the issues that come up for any essay in any topic is something that has been asked before in the past 5-6 years. Once I knew what the predictable "universe" of recurring issues was, I just made sure that I could spit out a rules statement that more or less hit all the major elements of the model answer's rule statement. The essays are all about the setup; once you have your rules statement, you just need to methodically work through each element and discuss whether it is present or not based on the facts.

(3) PRACTICE YOUR BUTT OFF. With a baressays account, you have no excuse for being unprepared when it comes to the 1-hour essays. Once you've done step (2) above, do every single essay you can for a given topic, starting from older essays and working your way up to more recent ones (you want to practice with the most recent questions the week before the exam). When you first do essays, stick with one subject per day, and do one essay at a time for at least 2-3 essays a day. Sticking to one topic and doing multiple essays in that topic will make it easier for you to learn and internalize the rules. Starting from at least two weeks before the exam, you should be doing the essays in a cluster of three to simulate the actual test taking experience.

Remember: it is the practicing which will actually get you to memorize your rule statements. Always compare your answer against the model essay. Don't rely on a grader, as all that will do is give you an excuse to wait around for the grader to get back to you. Immediately after you do a practice essay take a 10 minute break tops, and compare your answer against the model. By reviewing right after taking a practice exam you maximize your retention of the material. I kid you not, I felt like I was going to fail until about a week before the bar exam when I flew out to California early and locked myself in a hotel room for a week, and just drilled essays all day (well not really *all* day; just 8-10 hours). Until that week, all of my rules statements were very vague and iffy; constantly writing them down in a timed setting, in response to a hypo, was what really crystallized those rules for me. Also, if you run out of essays to practice, just start from the beginning again. Even if you recognize a hypo, you get the benefit of refreshing your memory by just going through the practice of typing your rules statements into a blank document.

(C) With respect to the PTs: once again, practice is king. And really what it is you're practicing with the PTs is reading and drafting. I think half the battle with PTs is just being able to finish in a coherent way, and that requires development of reading and drafting skills.

"Reading skills" refers to the ability to: quickly decide whether material is relevant or not; markup the library and file in a way which allows you to return to key facts/language/issues efficiently; and get through the material at a good pace with adequate comprehension.

"Drafting skills" refers to the ability to: identify and select a format which allows you to present your arguments in a way which is both logical (e.g., arranging issues from most important/convincing to least important/convincing), efficient (e.g., with a minimum of repetition, by using phrases like "supra" and "see analysis above"), and easy to read (e.g., using ample underlining and empty spaces to make reading your essay easier on the graders); and phrase your thoughts in clear and succinct language.

Ultimately, my stance on the PTs is this: for most mortals, it's just not possible to identify all the possible issues and present complete analysis for each of those issues. What you need to create is a product that passes the smell test: it looks lawyerly (formatting and organization); it sounds lawyerly (logical and methodical writing and analysis); and it shows a sufficient amount of intelligence and effort (provides at least some kind of response to each legal question raised by the client/call of the question, and in doing so provides a meaty analysis for 70-80% of the possible issues, and nearly all of the really big ones).

Given my position above, when it came to PTs all I did to cross-check my answers was to make sure I hit most of the issues that the model answers (or high scoring applicant answers) identified. I didn't stress out about my answer's format looking very different from the model or high scoring answers. As long as my answers were objectively well-organized, easy to read, and complete (i.e., introductory and conclusory sections, and no headings or subheadings left unfilled), I knew I was in good shape.

TL; DR: For the MBE: drill using BarMax; learn nuances from Emmanuel's "Strategies and Tactics for the MBE". For the essays: Learn the law from Leansheets, using BarBri Conviser as a supplement if you need more detail/explanation; get a baressays subscription and practice essays until your fingers drop off. For PTs: keep practicing until you can consistently draft memos which are well-organized, easy to read, hit most of the issues, and look complete (no unfilled sections; complete intro and conclusion).

And in general: practice all of the above until you are able to consistently finish with an extra 10-15 minutes for each hour of work. So be able to finish individual essays with 10-15 minutes to spare, and be able to finish your PTs with about half an hour to spare. That will give you enough time to tidy up your PTs, double-check for any quick issues you might have missed, or go back to a previous essay in order to flesh out another issue. Also, you never know what condition you'll be in during the exam. Being able to finish early gives you a safety buffer. I had bronchitis the week before and during the exam, and I lost a good 5-10 minutes of every hour having to get up, go outside, cough and drink water.

User avatar
Bikeflip
Posts: 1833
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:01 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby Bikeflip » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:36 pm

Human, while I didn't take CA, here are my thoughts.

For me, my 20 page outlines didn't do me any good come crunch time. Condense each subject to under 5 pages, and I'd imagine you'll be much better off. It's easier to memorize 5 pages compared to 20.

As for the MBE, if you put in 75 days of bar prep and did 3,000 questions over those 75 days, you'd average 40 questions a day. You'd have closer to 90-100 days to prep if you started now. Doing a few thousand MBE questions is the key to getting a good MBE score. It actively tests your knowledge of the rules. It forces you to figure out the nuance between the rules. It helps you identify your weaknesses, and a large chunk of your memorization will come from doing a few thousand questions.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:05 pm

I don't think doing thousands of MBE questions is essential. That's just studying wayyy too hard.

I did maybe 500-600 questions MBE prep for CA. And that's a generous estimation.

Also, I'm not smart.

Edit: and for the record, took a week to study the essays (or maybe two).

I don't think the quantity of human's study was an issue. It was the quality.

jarofsoup
Posts: 1951
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:41 am

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby jarofsoup » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:17 pm

SkyRiver wrote:You can do it, and possibly only with a little over a month of studying. Some background: I failed a class in the Spring semester and had to write a makeup research paper to get my diploma this year. Because I had to do this paper, I couldn't get started with my bar studying until the last week of June. During the 5 weeks before the bar exam, I studied about 6-8 quality hours per day (although I did step it up to 8-10 hours the week before the exam). I didn't watch video lectures (except for Evidence) and I hardly used any of the material provided by bar prep courses. By and large, I stopped doing MBE questions in the last week. Despite all this, I passed, and I left each day of the bar exam feeling like I had passed.

(A) For MBE questions, I used the BarMax iPad app to drill. But in terms of really learning some of the nuances for harder MBE questions, I got a lot of mileage out of the Emmanuel's "Strategies and Tactics" for the MBE. I think my scores averaged around 70% by the time the bar rolled around.

(B) With respect to the non-PT essays, I highly recommend you do the following:

(1) Buy a set of Leansheets for the California Bar (you can Google up "leansheets California Bar") and commit to memorizing and being able to regurgitate the materials from those sheets. The Leansheets are not exhaustive, but they are good enough, and most of all humanly manageable. The only downside to the Leansheets is that they are very tersely worded; you might need an old BarBri Conviser to give you more verbose explanations of the rules.

(2) Get a subscriptions with baressays dot com. The pairing of model essays with old questions is a GODSEND. What I did was I went through all the model essays for the past 7-8 years for a given topic, and I just wrote down all the different headings and subheadings. This gave me an idea of what the distribution was for legal issues tested on the exam. As you'll see, 90% of the issues that come up for any essay in any topic is something that has been asked before in the past 5-6 years. Once I knew what the predictable "universe" of recurring issues was, I just made sure that I could spit out a rules statement that more or less hit all the major elements of the model answer's rule statement. The essays are all about the setup; once you have your rules statement, you just need to methodically work through each element and discuss whether it is present or not based on the facts.

(3) PRACTICE YOUR BUTT OFF. With a baressays account, you have no excuse for being unprepared when it comes to the 1-hour essays. Once you've done step (2) above, do every single essay you can for a given topic, starting from older essays and working your way up to more recent ones (you want to practice with the most recent questions the week before the exam). When you first do essays, stick with one subject per day, and do one essay at a time for at least 2-3 essays a day. Sticking to one topic and doing multiple essays in that topic will make it easier for you to learn and internalize the rules. Starting from at least two weeks before the exam, you should be doing the essays in a cluster of three to simulate the actual test taking experience.

Remember: it is the practicing which will actually get you to memorize your rule statements. Always compare your answer against the model essay. Don't rely on a grader, as all that will do is give you an excuse to wait around for the grader to get back to you. Immediately after you do a practice essay take a 10 minute break tops, and compare your answer against the model. By reviewing right after taking a practice exam you maximize your retention of the material. I kid you not, I felt like I was going to fail until about a week before the bar exam when I flew out to California early and locked myself in a hotel room for a week, and just drilled essays all day (well not really *all* day; just 8-10 hours). Until that week, all of my rules statements were very vague and iffy; constantly writing them down in a timed setting, in response to a hypo, was what really crystallized those rules for me. Also, if you run out of essays to practice, just start from the beginning again. Even if you recognize a hypo, you get the benefit of refreshing your memory by just going through the practice of typing your rules statements into a blank document.

(C) With respect to the PTs: once again, practice is king. And really what it is you're practicing with the PTs is reading and drafting. I think half the battle with PTs is just being able to finish in a coherent way, and that requires development of reading and drafting skills.

"Reading skills" refers to the ability to: quickly decide whether material is relevant or not; markup the library and file in a way which allows you to return to key facts/language/issues efficiently; and get through the material at a good pace with adequate comprehension.

"Drafting skills" refers to the ability to: identify and select a format which allows you to present your arguments in a way which is both logical (e.g., arranging issues from most important/convincing to least important/convincing), efficient (e.g., with a minimum of repetition, by using phrases like "supra" and "see analysis above"), and easy to read (e.g., using ample underlining and empty spaces to make reading your essay easier on the graders); and phrase your thoughts in clear and succinct language.

Ultimately, my stance on the PTs is this: for most mortals, it's just not possible to identify all the possible issues and present complete analysis for each of those issues. What you need to create is a product that passes the smell test: it looks lawyerly (formatting and organization); it sounds lawyerly (logical and methodical writing and analysis); and it shows a sufficient amount of intelligence and effort (provides at least some kind of response to each legal question raised by the client/call of the question, and in doing so provides a meaty analysis for 70-80% of the possible issues, and nearly all of the really big ones).

Given my position above, when it came to PTs all I did to cross-check my answers was to make sure I hit most of the issues that the model answers (or high scoring applicant answers) identified. I didn't stress out about my answer's format looking very different from the model or high scoring answers. As long as my answers were objectively well-organized, easy to read, and complete (i.e., introductory and conclusory sections, and no headings or subheadings left unfilled), I knew I was in good shape.

TL; DR: For the MBE: drill using BarMax; learn nuances from Emmanuel's "Strategies and Tactics for the MBE". For the essays: Learn the law from Leansheets, using BarBri Conviser as a supplement if you need more detail/explanation; get a baressays subscription and practice essays until your fingers drop off. For PTs: keep practicing until you can consistently draft memos which are well-organized, easy to read, hit most of the issues, and look complete (no unfilled sections; complete intro and conclusion).

And in general: practice all of the above until you are able to consistently finish with an extra 10-15 minutes for each hour of work. So be able to finish individual essays with 10-15 minutes to spare, and be able to finish your PTs with about half an hour to spare. That will give you enough time to tidy up your PTs, double-check for any quick issues you might have missed, or go back to a previous essay in order to flesh out another issue. Also, you never know what condition you'll be in during the exam. Being able to finish early gives you a safety buffer. I had bronchitis the week before and during the exam, and I lost a good 5-10 minutes of every hour having to get up, go outside, cough and drink water.



How did you end up failing a class Spring semester of 3L year? Miss a final or plagiarize? I am not asking this to be patronizing. I am asking this b/c I am a stressed out 3L.

SkyRiver
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:34 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby SkyRiver » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:09 am

jarofsoup wrote:
How did you end up failing a class Spring semester of 3L year? Miss a final or plagiarize? I am not asking this to be patronizing. I am asking this b/c I am a stressed out 3L.


Took a hard Corporate Finance class (it was basically an accelerated MBA course), fell behind on the readings, never showed up to class, didn't do well on the assignments, didn't do well on the final. I was pretty depressed during my 3L year and skipping all my classes (except for one where the professor emailed me personally and demanded that I show up or fail right there). Somehow passed the rest, but you can't really bullshit with Corporate Finance.

Everything ended well though; started seeing a counselor, finally received my diploma two weeks ago, and still have my big firm job even after disclosing what happened (although they may try to cull me first from the herd... I'm doing my best to make sure that doesn't happen).

But yeah, buck up and don't screw up right before the finish line. If you're having severe motivational problems beyond run-of-the-mill laziness, seek out help and do whatever you need to do to get back on track. And don't try anything risky or out of your element 3L year, it's not worth it. My life from the point I failed up until I started work this past week felt pretty hellish at times.

AMCD
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 11:33 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby AMCD » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:12 am

Thank you all for your advice, and SkyRiver for such a comprehensive list of suggestions.

What, by the way, was the actual breakdown in terms of number of questions per subject for the MBE? Got my raw scores, but don't recall where I saw the breakdown last per subject. Many thanks if anyone has this info.!

tessellating
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:11 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby tessellating » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:18 am

AMCD wrote:Thank you all for your advice, and SkyRiver for such a comprehensive list of suggestions.

What, by the way, was the actual breakdown in terms of number of questions per subject for the MBE? Got my raw scores, but don't recall where I saw the breakdown last per subject. Many thanks if anyone has this info.!


Per BarBri's introduction letter:

CON LAW: 31
CONTRACTS: 33
CRIMINAL LAW/PROCEDURE: 31
EVIDENCE: 31
REAL PROPERTY: 31
TORTS: 33

huckabees
Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:38 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby huckabees » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:17 am

SkyRiver wrote:You can do it, and possibly only with a little over a month of studying. Some background: I failed a class in the Spring semester and had to write a makeup research paper to get my diploma this year. Because I had to do this paper, I couldn't get started with my bar studying until the last week of June. During the 5 weeks before the bar exam, I studied about 6-8 quality hours per day (although I did step it up to 8-10 hours the week before the exam). I didn't watch video lectures (except for Evidence) and I hardly used any of the material provided by bar prep courses. By and large, I stopped doing MBE questions in the last week. Despite all this, I passed, and I left each day of the bar exam feeling like I had passed.

(A) For MBE questions, I used the BarMax iPad app to drill. But in terms of really learning some of the nuances for harder MBE questions, I got a lot of mileage out of the Emmanuel's "Strategies and Tactics" for the MBE. I think my scores averaged around 70% by the time the bar rolled around.

(B) With respect to the non-PT essays, I highly recommend you do the following:

(1) Buy a set of Leansheets for the California Bar (you can Google up "leansheets California Bar") and commit to memorizing and being able to regurgitate the materials from those sheets. The Leansheets are not exhaustive, but they are good enough, and most of all humanly manageable. The only downside to the Leansheets is that they are very tersely worded; you might need an old BarBri Conviser to give you more verbose explanations of the rules.

(2) Get a subscriptions with baressays dot com. The pairing of model essays with old questions is a GODSEND. What I did was I went through all the model essays for the past 7-8 years for a given topic, and I just wrote down all the different headings and subheadings. This gave me an idea of what the distribution was for legal issues tested on the exam. As you'll see, 90% of the issues that come up for any essay in any topic is something that has been asked before in the past 5-6 years. Once I knew what the predictable "universe" of recurring issues was, I just made sure that I could spit out a rules statement that more or less hit all the major elements of the model answer's rule statement. The essays are all about the setup; once you have your rules statement, you just need to methodically work through each element and discuss whether it is present or not based on the facts.

(3) PRACTICE YOUR BUTT OFF. With a baressays account, you have no excuse for being unprepared when it comes to the 1-hour essays. Once you've done step (2) above, do every single essay you can for a given topic, starting from older essays and working your way up to more recent ones (you want to practice with the most recent questions the week before the exam). When you first do essays, stick with one subject per day, and do one essay at a time for at least 2-3 essays a day. Sticking to one topic and doing multiple essays in that topic will make it easier for you to learn and internalize the rules. Starting from at least two weeks before the exam, you should be doing the essays in a cluster of three to simulate the actual test taking experience.

Remember: it is the practicing which will actually get you to memorize your rule statements. Always compare your answer against the model essay. Don't rely on a grader, as all that will do is give you an excuse to wait around for the grader to get back to you. Immediately after you do a practice essay take a 10 minute break tops, and compare your answer against the model. By reviewing right after taking a practice exam you maximize your retention of the material. I kid you not, I felt like I was going to fail until about a week before the bar exam when I flew out to California early and locked myself in a hotel room for a week, and just drilled essays all day (well not really *all* day; just 8-10 hours). Until that week, all of my rules statements were very vague and iffy; constantly writing them down in a timed setting, in response to a hypo, was what really crystallized those rules for me. Also, if you run out of essays to practice, just start from the beginning again. Even if you recognize a hypo, you get the benefit of refreshing your memory by just going through the practice of typing your rules statements into a blank document.

(C) With respect to the PTs: once again, practice is king. And really what it is you're practicing with the PTs is reading and drafting. I think half the battle with PTs is just being able to finish in a coherent way, and that requires development of reading and drafting skills.

"Reading skills" refers to the ability to: quickly decide whether material is relevant or not; markup the library and file in a way which allows you to return to key facts/language/issues efficiently; and get through the material at a good pace with adequate comprehension.

"Drafting skills" refers to the ability to: identify and select a format which allows you to present your arguments in a way which is both logical (e.g., arranging issues from most important/convincing to least important/convincing), efficient (e.g., with a minimum of repetition, by using phrases like "supra" and "see analysis above"), and easy to read (e.g., using ample underlining and empty spaces to make reading your essay easier on the graders); and phrase your thoughts in clear and succinct language.

Ultimately, my stance on the PTs is this: for most mortals, it's just not possible to identify all the possible issues and present complete analysis for each of those issues. What you need to create is a product that passes the smell test: it looks lawyerly (formatting and organization); it sounds lawyerly (logical and methodical writing and analysis); and it shows a sufficient amount of intelligence and effort (provides at least some kind of response to each legal question raised by the client/call of the question, and in doing so provides a meaty analysis for 70-80% of the possible issues, and nearly all of the really big ones).

Given my position above, when it came to PTs all I did to cross-check my answers was to make sure I hit most of the issues that the model answers (or high scoring applicant answers) identified. I didn't stress out about my answer's format looking very different from the model or high scoring answers. As long as my answers were objectively well-organized, easy to read, and complete (i.e., introductory and conclusory sections, and no headings or subheadings left unfilled), I knew I was in good shape.

TL; DR: For the MBE: drill using BarMax; learn nuances from Emmanuel's "Strategies and Tactics for the MBE". For the essays: Learn the law from Leansheets, using BarBri Conviser as a supplement if you need more detail/explanation; get a baressays subscription and practice essays until your fingers drop off. For PTs: keep practicing until you can consistently draft memos which are well-organized, easy to read, hit most of the issues, and look complete (no unfilled sections; complete intro and conclusion).

And in general: practice all of the above until you are able to consistently finish with an extra 10-15 minutes for each hour of work. So be able to finish individual essays with 10-15 minutes to spare, and be able to finish your PTs with about half an hour to spare. That will give you enough time to tidy up your PTs, double-check for any quick issues you might have missed, or go back to a previous essay in order to flesh out another issue. Also, you never know what condition you'll be in during the exam. Being able to finish early gives you a safety buffer. I had bronchitis the week before and during the exam, and I lost a good 5-10 minutes of every hour having to get up, go outside, cough and drink water.


This is awesome and similar to what I did. I used 40% Adaptibar, 40% BarBri's essay book, and 20% Baressays/actual sample answers from Calbar's website. During the last week of prep, I was pretty much going over BarBri's essay book samples repeatedly and had also memorized the short essay outlines in BarBri's essay book. I think getting used to thinking in the pattern of those essays is key. By the end, I realized there were certain frameworks that recurred in crim pro, property, wills, etc., and the issues were customarily discussed and disposed of in a certain order. I didn't focus on BarBri's model answers, which were too long. Instead, I used the essay "outline" with the bolded rule statements to grasp the essay structure.

cadestevenson
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:04 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby cadestevenson » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:36 pm

A male Human. I guess my words were a little harsh. My theory, though, is that you should focus on MBEs. Maybe, with hard work, you can get a 150 or 160 raw. That, way, you can rise above the written section, which is graded much more subjectively. Not sure 600 questions were enough. Also, did you use Barbri? Probably too expensive, but I actually believe the AMP program works, to some extent, on MBEs.

On the other hand, in line with my other posts, the scaling multiplier of 3.6 this term was absolutely astounding; a 150 raw MBE and 560 raw essay is usually not enough to pass. Do you think if you just include a beginning-middle-end, your essay scores will go up with very little work? I have heard that might work. A relative of mine said all he did was work on finishing off his written work. First attempt, he had 154 raw MBE and failed, because he did not finish a single essay or PT, and got very low scores there. Passed on second attempt.

EDIT: He actually took a three pronged approach: 1. Practice even more on MBEs 2. Practice PTs 3. Finish off essays, and PTs - without actually practicing essays - because the essays you get are just the luck of the draw anyway. Like, he thought, that by so thoroughly memorizing the rules for MBEs, he could write a good essay by brute strength, without actually writing it well.
Last edited by cadestevenson on Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cadestevenson
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:04 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby cadestevenson » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:50 pm

Oh, that statement, starting with, "That nonsense . . . " was my attempt to rail against those people, usually older people trying to rationalize their bar experiences, by saying, I just wasn't good at MBEs. See, e.g. Richard Sakai. Just saying, if you think that way, try to disabuse yourself of that notion. Didn't mean anything concrete by it.

run26.2
Posts: 896
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:35 am

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby run26.2 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:45 am

For those that didn't pass and are looking through this thread, I wanted to throw one thing out there. Some people are recommending particular strategies or detailing what worked for them. Those may be helpful to you. However, don't think you have to use someone else's system.

There are several ways to pass the CA bar: excel on the MBE, excel on the PTs, learn to write fantastic essay answers. You might want to consider which area will give YOU the most bang for your buck and develop a strategy that will help you to achieve the biggest gains in that area. Note, though, that you should NOT neglect the other areas. Just be aware that you don't necessarily have to be a master at all 3 to pass.

If I had to study for the bar again and my time were limited, personally, my primary focus would be on the MBE. It only covers 6 subjects, and whatever I learn there is also likely to be applicable for several essays I will have to write.

Finally, I think one of the major things the bar tests is how you react in stressful situations. For many people, there is going to be something that comes up that they weren't expecting, whether it is a question they think they don't know anything about, or a person sitting next to them that keeps sneezing on them, or a power failure, or their computer crashes, or there's a PT that is really confusing. Just expect and accept it. It doesn't mean you will fail. If you are sufficiently prepared, your reaction to the unexpected will determine whether you pass or fail. Don't let the unexpected phase you. Crush the parts you know and make something up on the parts you don't, and you should pass.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1677
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby a male human » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:03 pm

Wow, great and super helpful advice in this page! Was gonna respond yesterday but I pulled my neck and also came down with TMI painful hemorrhoids--couldn't even sit down last night. Stormed Walmart at 6:30 to buy some cream. I'll respond to some points made and return a few more.

I took Kaplan, which is reputed to be good at preparing you for MBE. I tried to follow what they suggested, including the essay format. One problem, I think, is that I was too worried about essays and didn't really do MBE the last 2 weeks trying to wing it and get lucky. The last 2 weeks were almost all drilling essays, but I may have drilled it the wrong way as some of you have suggested.

So I can drill more MBE; more can't hurt if I have the time. I'm more interested in optimizing my formatting and analysis methods, my insecure points thru law school and bar prep:
- In particular, what is this beginning-middle-end format? I don't think I used an introductory paragraph or a concluding paragraph in my essays and PTs.
- For analysis, is it the standard argue, counterargue, conclude? I don't think I see much of arguing both sides in calbar's sample answers.
- Speaking of sample answers, they seem to just shotgun all potential issues. Is that what I should be doing instead of discussing relevant ones? That screwed me over in law school too, and I have a hard time getting over it.

- Is there a baressays timeshare account floating around somewhere? If not, I'll have to see if splitting a subscription with some other retakers I know is possible.

Misc comments:
- I think the generous scaling speaks to the difficulty of the PTs. Hopefully it was an outlier and the next one won't be as bad...
- I have Leansheets and have tried to internalize the rules, but they are indeed terse. Had to put in my own notes here and there.
- A Kaplan grader told me not to underline because it's distracting.

Thank you again to everyone for sharing their advice. What I did last time obviously didn't work. I'm going to try to increase the quality of my studies (more, more, more practice) rather than quantity and aesthetics (getting down lecture notes, tinkering around the Kaplan website, making outlines).

Incidentally, someone from my undergrad sent me an email today asking for advice on switching to law school. This should be fun.

cadestevenson
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:04 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby cadestevenson » Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:20 pm

beginnning-middle-end = end with a conclusion. Probably one that answers the ultimate question in the prompt. Don't let the graders know you just ran out of time and stopped writing. I know I had trouble finishing. I know that problem is going to be 10x worse on the UBE, huh?

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1677
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby a male human » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:21 pm

cadestevenson wrote:beginnning-middle-end = end with a conclusion. Probably one that answers the ultimate question in the prompt. Don't let the graders know you just ran out of time and stopped writing. I know I had trouble finishing. I know that problem is going to be 10x worse on the UBE, huh?

I think my conclusion is the header for each section, lol. I should write it out.

What about an introductory paragraph as hinted by the "beginning" in beginning-middle-end?

(UBE... Utah Bar Exam?)

cadestevenson
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:04 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby cadestevenson » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:13 pm

UBE = Uniform Bar Exam. Utah is a subscriber though, with 13 or so other states. I'm personally taking it in Montana in February. 6 essays and 2 PTs, just like California. Only 1/2 the time for each: 30 min Essays. and 1.5 hour PT, so, with the MBE, you can get through the whole test in 2 days.

I included maybe a short statement at the beginning. Could be a good thing or useless, not sure. "Carl could face the following criminal charges, and provide the following defenses . . . " (something like that).

I ended with a short statement. "Carl will probably be convicted of _____, ______, ______, and ______; He will likely be acquitted for the charge of ______, because he successfully employed the insanity defense." For example.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1677
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby a male human » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:22 pm

Cool, will try those out. Thanks.

JDCA2012
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby JDCA2012 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:36 pm

Does anyone know if we have to pre-register for the swearing in ceremonies that are listed on the admission letter? They are this upcoming week (or at least some are) but I don't know if it's something we can just show up to or have to register for (I'm out of town and don't have my admission packet in front of me and won't be able to look until some time tomorrow).
Any answers are appreciated, thanks!

User avatar
uwb09
Posts: 574
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:09 am

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby uwb09 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:13 pm

I STILL have not received my mail packet from CA, and would like to get sworn in at some point this week. Is it possible to call the offices and have them email a PDF of all the documents?

I forgot to update my address with the bar, BUT I did have mail forwarding in place with USPS, so there is the possibility that the packet is just lost in the USPS maze somewhere, but still...

JDCA2012
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby JDCA2012 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:34 am

uwb09 wrote:I STILL have not received my mail packet from CA, and would like to get sworn in at some point this week. Is it possible to call the offices and have them email a PDF of all the documents?

I forgot to update my address with the bar, BUT I did have mail forwarding in place with USPS, so there is the possibility that the packet is just lost in the USPS maze somewhere, but still...


The document you need to take to be sworn in is a registration card that is on card stock, so I'm thinking that they won't be able to PDF of you the information to have it work anyway. But I also am making this up so I have no idea.

hiima3L
Posts: 837
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:26 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby hiima3L » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:01 am

uwb09 wrote:I STILL have not received my mail packet from CA, and would like to get sworn in at some point this week. Is it possible to call the offices and have them email a PDF of all the documents?

I forgot to update my address with the bar, BUT I did have mail forwarding in place with USPS, so there is the possibility that the packet is just lost in the USPS maze somewhere, but still...


Nope. You need the card they send you.

AntiHuman
Posts: 177
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:48 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby AntiHuman » Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:23 am

failed the exam. 112 mbe (25's on both torts and crim...got destroyed on other 4 subjects) and 55 on all parts of the written section except for an 80 on one essay(which I thought I did average to above average). I got 55's on the PR and Con Law essay which I thought i destroyed. So annoying. Total score: 1356

Couple questions:

1. Barbri course starts Jan 2nd. That seems kind of late and I feel I will cut off all barbri videos and the AMPS? Should I say screw it and get a tutor to create a repeater schedule for me and start next week? Are tutors worth it for 180/hour? Anyone know any good tutors or know where to find them in the Bay Area?

I really need help figuring out when to start and what exactly to cut off and what not to cut off with regards to creating a study schedule.

2. Is adaptibar really worth it? Money isnt a huge issue so I can afford a tutor and adaptibar and I really don't like barbri mbe questions/explanations

3. I really don't know if I can go through this again. I really enjoy torts and crim, but thats it. I literally went to law school for 2 subjects and hate the rest. I thought about picking another career path if I can't pass the exam or even taking the exam in another state if I have to. I just really enjoy only torts and crim and cant stand the rest. Luckily I have no debt from school and can afford a tutor/adaptibar and will repeat the barbri course for free anyway. Any general advice or help is greatly appreciated with regards to tutor/barbri/adaptibar and how to mix them all together.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1677
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby a male human » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:22 am

AntiHuman, I don't have an answer to your questions, but there's some good action steps given in this topic in the last few days. I don't plan on spending too much, though (you are anti-me, haha).

Does anyone want to get rid of their Law in a Flash flashcards? I heard good things about them and want to try them if someone has a bulk price for me. I found good prices online, but I want to avoid $4+ shipping and waiting for each one if it is more cost effective than buying them elsewhere. (edit: ordered most of them off amzn/half/ebay)
Last edited by a male human on Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dunkin
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:47 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby dunkin » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:32 pm

uwb09 wrote:I STILL have not received my mail packet from CA, and would like to get sworn in at some point this week. Is it possible to call the offices and have them email a PDF of all the documents?

I forgot to update my address with the bar, BUT I did have mail forwarding in place with USPS, so there is the possibility that the packet is just lost in the USPS maze somewhere, but still...


For some reason, my bar packet didn't forward though I have USPS forwarding to my CA address. During Thanksgiving break I found my notification was sent to my old address (my parent's house). Thought it was strange, but it might be because the Bar addressed it to my full name, and I have forwarding set for my name w/o my middle name. So if you don't get it today, I'd check to see if it was sent to your old address.

km23
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:35 am

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby km23 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:48 pm

So I am thinking about waiving into DC because I may want to eventually move back to the East Coast (I'm originally from there). I decided to pay 25 bucks for an NCBE score advisory just to see what's up. The score advisory basically tells you whether your MBE is sufficient to waive into Minnesota (145 scaled req.) and DC (133 scaled req.) and does not give you an exact score because CA obviously doesn't allow it. My July 2013 MBE was insufficient for Minnesota but sufficient for DC (thank goodness). That means I scored between 113 and 127 raw. I knew my MBE was not that great. As previously mentioned, I got a miserable ~86 on the Barbri midterm. I have a long history of being horrible on multiple choice exams, and I did a lot of MBE practice. Though, I suppose even a minimum of 27 raw improvement in a month is pretty good.

I will never know if I got as few as 113 correct (or as many as 127 correct...still pretty low), but I'm just trying to better inform the people out there who believe the rumor that CA looks at one's MBE scores first and, if low, only glances at the essays for excellence (read this on another forum). I'm pretty certain my essays weren't perfect!

User avatar
zeth006
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue May 12, 2009 2:54 am

Re: California Bar Exam (July 2013) thread

Postby zeth006 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:18 pm

SkyRiver wrote:[snip]


Whoa. Seems like Emanuel's MBE book is endorsed by a lot of people. I'll check it out.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Gnawed and 5 guests