Delay taking Bar Exam?

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olugnapper

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Delay taking Bar Exam?

Postby olugnapper » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:33 am

I have a question about the bar exam and our Office of Student of Affairs is worthless so I'm turning to ya'll for advice. I am a 3L graduating this May. Following graduation I have two clerkships lined up (which doesn't require bar certification).

More relevant, I have the opportunity to do some research abroad this spring. I am considering staying abroad and just traveling until my clerkship begins in August (instead of studying for and taking the bar). What are the consequences of delaying the bar exam until July 2021? Will I be 'less marketable' when I begin searching for a post-clerkship job? Is it possible to study for the bar while working?

I know nothing about the bar exam so any guidance you can provide would be very appreciated!

Edit: I should note that I'm leaning heavily towards traveling; I'm OK with some headaches down the road to make this possible.

albanach

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Re: Delay taking Bar Exam?

Postby albanach » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:40 pm

olugnapper wrote:I have a question about the bar exam and our Office of Student of Affairs is worthless so I'm turning to ya'll for advice. I am a 3L graduating this May. Following graduation I have two clerkships lined up (which doesn't require bar certification).

More relevant, I have the opportunity to do some research abroad this spring. I am considering staying abroad and just traveling until my clerkship begins in August (instead of studying for and taking the bar). What are the consequences of delaying the bar exam until July 2021? Will I be 'less marketable' when I begin searching for a post-clerkship job? Is it possible to study for the bar while working?


No, you won't be less marketable.

olugnapper wrote:I know nothing about the bar exam so any guidance you can provide would be very appreciated!


The exam is hard. In some states it's very hard. People from great schools still fail. In 2016, almost 1 in 20 Harvard Law grads failed the bar exam at the first attempt.

olugnapper wrote:Edit: I should note that I'm leaning heavily towards traveling; I'm OK with some headaches down the road to make this possible.


Given the exam has a non-negligible failure rate, you want to do everything in your power to pass. Studying when you have no other obligations is much easier than studying while employed.

If you fail the bar in February, you will be less marketable. Your clerkship gives you an advantage in that you get two shots at passing before you are in employment that needs you admitted. by skipping the July administration, you give up one of those opportunities. Personally I don't think it's worth the risk.

On top of that, until you pass the exam you can't pass yourself off as a lawyer. That has the potential to create awkward situations where someone that knows you introduces you to others as a lawyer. Now you have to say "actually I'm a clerk" which makes it sound to non-lawyers like you do typing and filing.

Smiddywesson

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Re: Delay taking Bar Exam?

Postby Smiddywesson » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:54 pm

People fail because they don't know how to study properly. We are awash in bar materials, so you have to focus.
Don't listen to me, listen to the NCBE. In 2013, Susan Case, the former Director of Testing for the NCBE, said in an interview that all the law you need to pass is contained in the four OPE Exams offered on their site (hint). That's the horse's mouth. Since that time, they revised the exams in 2017 and offered the study guides (hint, hint). They recently revised them again and offered them on their learning platform on March 25th (hint, hint, and a slap on the head). I think they revise them as the schedule outline drifts, or the underlying law changes, or both. Take the hint.

I've looked these over, and they are not formatted like the actual questions on the bar so much as directed at the law that will be tested as described in the NCBE's Schedule Outline. Learn the law in these exams and you are half way there.

Our next task is to learn the tricks of the testing. To do that, you have to know how the test is constructed. There are 25 pretest questions, 115 unique scored questions, and 60 equators. The questions are divided among easy, middle difficulty, and difficult questions that are as hard as a rock. Inasmuch as the 60 equators make up over a third of the test, and they have to pass the "discernment" requirement to validate as an equator, there are your tough questions. These are never released to the public. Your only way to practice for them is to take bar review generated questions like Barbri or Kaplan. For the remainder of the questions, the easy and middle of the road questions, you look to companies offering released questions. The obvious choices are Themis, Adaptibar, and BarMax. If you don't have the cash, you have to go the book route like Strategies and Tactics. I recommend Adaptibar. They have all the NCBE materials, the four OPE Exams and the Study Aids included. You have to pay extra to BarMax for them. On the other hand, BarMax is a lifetime membership.

You need to set aside enough time to study. I worked full time, and it took a whole year. I took my MBE questions seriously, often doing a dozen or so at a time. You won't get real good at them until you are over 2000 questions. For example, somewhere around 2600 I broke into the mid 85% range. At the time I took the test, I was consistently in the low 90s. Do not listen to naysayers who say the old released questions are useless. They are critical. The law changes somewhat over the years, what is tested drifts too, as does the format of the actual question. However, the examiners are using the same bag of tricks they've used for 40 years, and the lexicon of distractors and double speak doesn't change. Do enough of these questions, and you will master the test. The MBE is your biggest hurdle to passing.

The grading of the essays is subjective, I didn't put a lot of eggs in those baskets. What is tested on the essays is finite and repetitive. Get a good outline from a company that has done a study of the % chance of an issue being tested. Studicata and Joe Separac offer these services, and they are both inexpensive, Studicata ridiculously so. If you want to be sure you will pass, nobody can beat what Separac offers for the MBE.

So now that you know what I regard as the best way to study for the bar, let me offer my opinion that you can be away from the law as long as you like and still pass. I was in law enforcement for 30 years and just took the bar. You just have to know how to prioritize. The biggest mistake I made was not taking a week or two off before the test, however you really can study and work during most of your prep. If you spent a year reading everything the NCBE prints, listening to every podcast on the bar, and reading everything you can that people write about it, you'd feel competent to offer your advice on preparing for the bar. It's easy if you know what you are doing, and I learned a lot of this the hard way. My strong advice is to use Joe Separac for bar prep, he's done the work, and is the only coach I've encountered that I agree with completely. Most of the others are just parroting each other, and their results show it.

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Sls17

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Re: Delay taking Bar Exam?

Postby Sls17 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:52 pm

How much do you know about your upcoming clerkships? I know of judges who disallow clerks taking the bar while clerking for them. And even if your judge(s) don’t mind, some clerkships require hours that would make the February bar exam much more than a headache.
If you know your clerkship is more of a 9-6 situation, it’s possible, albeit much harder and more miserable than having a whole job-free summer.

crownjd

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Re: Delay taking Bar Exam?

Postby crownjd » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:12 pm

Smiddywesson wrote:People fail because they don't know how to study properly. We are awash in bar materials, so you have to focus.
Don't listen to me, listen to the NCBE. In 2013, Susan Case, the former Director of Testing for the NCBE, said in an interview that all the law you need to pass is contained in the four OPE Exams offered on their site (hint). That's the horse's mouth. Since that time, they revised the exams in 2017 and offered the study guides (hint, hint). They recently revised them again and offered them on their learning platform on March 25th (hint, hint, and a slap on the head). I think they revise them as the schedule outline drifts, or the underlying law changes, or both. Take the hint.

I've looked these over, and they are not formatted like the actual questions on the bar so much as directed at the law that will be tested as described in the NCBE's Schedule Outline. Learn the law in these exams and you are half way there.

Our next task is to learn the tricks of the testing. To do that, you have to know how the test is constructed. There are 25 pretest questions, 115 unique scored questions, and 60 equators. The questions are divided among easy, middle difficulty, and difficult questions that are as hard as a rock. Inasmuch as the 60 equators make up over a third of the test, and they have to pass the "discernment" requirement to validate as an equator, there are your tough questions. These are never released to the public. Your only way to practice for them is to take bar review generated questions like Barbri or Kaplan. For the remainder of the questions, the easy and middle of the road questions, you look to companies offering released questions. The obvious choices are Themis, Adaptibar, and BarMax. If you don't have the cash, you have to go the book route like Strategies and Tactics. I recommend Adaptibar. They have all the NCBE materials, the four OPE Exams and the Study Aids included. You have to pay extra to BarMax for them. On the other hand, BarMax is a lifetime membership.

You need to set aside enough time to study. I worked full time, and it took a whole year. I took my MBE questions seriously, often doing a dozen or so at a time. You won't get real good at them until you are over 2000 questions. For example, somewhere around 2600 I broke into the mid 85% range. At the time I took the test, I was consistently in the low 90s. Do not listen to naysayers who say the old released questions are useless. They are critical. The law changes somewhat over the years, what is tested drifts too, as does the format of the actual question. However, the examiners are using the same bag of tricks they've used for 40 years, and the lexicon of distractors and double speak doesn't change. Do enough of these questions, and you will master the test. The MBE is your biggest hurdle to passing.

The grading of the essays is subjective, I didn't put a lot of eggs in those baskets. What is tested on the essays is finite and repetitive. Get a good outline from a company that has done a study of the % chance of an issue being tested. Studicata and Joe Separac offer these services, and they are both inexpensive, Studicata ridiculously so. If you want to be sure you will pass, nobody can beat what Separac offers for the MBE.

So now that you know what I regard as the best way to study for the bar, let me offer my opinion that you can be away from the law as long as you like and still pass. I was in law enforcement for 30 years and just took the bar. You just have to know how to prioritize. The biggest mistake I made was not taking a week or two off before the test, however you really can study and work during most of your prep. If you spent a year reading everything the NCBE prints, listening to every podcast on the bar, and reading everything you can that people write about it, you'd feel competent to offer your advice on preparing for the bar. It's easy if you know what you are doing, and I learned a lot of this the hard way. My strong advice is to use Joe Separac for bar prep, he's done the work, and is the only coach I've encountered that I agree with completely. Most of the others are just parroting each other, and their results show it.


I feel like I need to donate to you for this information.

Smiddywesson

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Re: Delay taking Bar Exam?

Postby Smiddywesson » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:29 pm

crownjd wrote:
Smiddywesson wrote:People fail because they don't know how to study properly. We are awash in bar materials, so you have to focus.
Don't listen to me, listen to the NCBE. In 2013, Susan Case, the former Director of Testing for the NCBE, said in an interview that all the law you need to pass is contained in the four OPE Exams offered on their site (hint). That's the horse's mouth. Since that time, they revised the exams in 2017 and offered the study guides (hint, hint). They recently revised them again and offered them on their learning platform on March 25th (hint, hint, and a slap on the head). I think they revise them as the schedule outline drifts, or the underlying law changes, or both. Take the hint.

I've looked these over, and they are not formatted like the actual questions on the bar so much as directed at the law that will be tested as described in the NCBE's Schedule Outline. Learn the law in these exams and you are half way there.

Our next task is to learn the tricks of the testing. To do that, you have to know how the test is constructed. There are 25 pretest questions, 115 unique scored questions, and 60 equators. The questions are divided among easy, middle difficulty, and difficult questions that are as hard as a rock. Inasmuch as the 60 equators make up over a third of the test, and they have to pass the "discernment" requirement to validate as an equator, there are your tough questions. These are never released to the public. Your only way to practice for them is to take bar review generated questions like Barbri or Kaplan. For the remainder of the questions, the easy and middle of the road questions, you look to companies offering released questions. The obvious choices are Themis, Adaptibar, and BarMax. If you don't have the cash, you have to go the book route like Strategies and Tactics. I recommend Adaptibar. They have all the NCBE materials, the four OPE Exams and the Study Aids included. You have to pay extra to BarMax for them. On the other hand, BarMax is a lifetime membership.

You need to set aside enough time to study. I worked full time, and it took a whole year. I took my MBE questions seriously, often doing a dozen or so at a time. You won't get real good at them until you are over 2000 questions. For example, somewhere around 2600 I broke into the mid 85% range. At the time I took the test, I was consistently in the low 90s. Do not listen to naysayers who say the old released questions are useless. They are critical. The law changes somewhat over the years, what is tested drifts too, as does the format of the actual question. However, the examiners are using the same bag of tricks they've used for 40 years, and the lexicon of distractors and double speak doesn't change. Do enough of these questions, and you will master the test. The MBE is your biggest hurdle to passing.

The grading of the essays is subjective, I didn't put a lot of eggs in those baskets. What is tested on the essays is finite and repetitive. Get a good outline from a company that has done a study of the % chance of an issue being tested. Studicata and Joe Separac offer these services, and they are both inexpensive, Studicata ridiculously so. If you want to be sure you will pass, nobody can beat what Separac offers for the MBE.

So now that you know what I regard as the best way to study for the bar, let me offer my opinion that you can be away from the law as long as you like and still pass. I was in law enforcement for 30 years and just took the bar. You just have to know how to prioritize. The biggest mistake I made was not taking a week or two off before the test, however you really can study and work during most of your prep. If you spent a year reading everything the NCBE prints, listening to every podcast on the bar, and reading everything you can that people write about it, you'd feel competent to offer your advice on preparing for the bar. It's easy if you know what you are doing, and I learned a lot of this the hard way. My strong advice is to use Joe Separac for bar prep, he's done the work, and is the only coach I've encountered that I agree with completely. Most of the others are just parroting each other, and their results show it.


I feel like I need to donate to you for this information.


Thanks, just pass the assistance along. The irony of this is it takes a year or two to know what's going on, and everything we learn is purged and forgotten after we get our grades. You can't rely on the pros at all. The big companies are all talking their book, so you can't rely on them, and the small review coaches are mostly selling snake oil, so you can't rely upon them either. They just want to sell you essay coaching. But Essay grading is subjective, period. Even jurisdictions like California that calibrate the grading three times, report variances in identical essay grades of up to 20%. Imagine the chance factor in most states where they do it once. The owner of BarEssays.com once gave an interview seconding this observation. He said an essay in IRAC could get a top score and an identical one in another format would bomb. It's that subjective. The essays have to be half a game of chance and half merit. That's not good enough. Prep time is precious.

15 days to grades and I can forget all this stuff. :lol:

FND

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Re: Delay taking Bar Exam?

Postby FND » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:38 pm

I heard it straight from the horse's mouth from someone who worked in one of the bar prep companies (but not sales) that actually tracks it, that over 90% of students who complete 75% of the bar prep course end up passing. Based on my own experience, I believe that to be true.

During job interviews I remember being told I'd pass the bar - that the interviewers knew of all their classmates who would fail the bar ahead of time.

The bar is a marathon, and it takes months to prepare for. But if you do the work, you'll be fine. I had classmates who started studying the week the bar material became available.



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