California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

bzmaru24
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 1:30 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby bzmaru24 » Tue May 20, 2014 1:40 pm

This was my second time taking the CBX and I thankfully passed.

I went to a CBE accredited school (yea, what was I thinking?), took the CBX July 2013, and I failed, horribly. None of my essays, including MPTS were above a 60. My raw MBE score was a paltry 94. You read that right. 90 freaking 4. My total score was 1220, so I failed by over 200 points. Needless to say, I was crushed and wondered if I should even waste the Bar's time and try again. How could someone who failed by so much ever pass, right?

But, after a few weeks to recover, I pulled myself together and told myself I wasn't going to let this exam beat me. So, while working a full-time job and getting married in between, I studied as hard as I could. I got a subscription to baressays.com and rented a copy of Emmanuel's Strategies & Tactics. That's it. Bar materials cost me all of $160. And I abused those two resources like no other. I took the CBX this past February and thought I failed after the exam was finished. I was hyperventilating this past Friday just before results came out because again, I believed I was a goner. But, in the end, results came out positively.

The odds were completely against me, especially after I failed the first time by so much, but it is possible. So, retakers, don't give up. Don't ever give up. You will conquer it. You will pass. Take a few days off and then Leonidas the July bar.

User avatar
rickter
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby rickter » Tue May 20, 2014 2:45 pm

bzmaru24 wrote:This was my second time taking the CBX and I thankfully passed.

I went to a CBE accredited school (yea, what was I thinking?), took the CBX July 2013, and I failed, horribly. None of my essays, including MPTS were above a 60. My raw MBE score was a paltry 94. You read that right. 90 freaking 4. My total score was 1220, so I failed by over 200 points. Needless to say, I was crushed and wondered if I should even waste the Bar's time and try again. How could someone who failed by so much ever pass, right?

But, after a few weeks to recover, I pulled myself together and told myself I wasn't going to let this exam beat me. So, while working a full-time job and getting married in between, I studied as hard as I could. I got a subscription to baressays.com and rented a copy of Emmanuel's Strategies & Tactics. That's it. Bar materials cost me all of $160. And I abused those two resources like no other. I took the CBX this past February and thought I failed after the exam was finished. I was hyperventilating this past Friday just before results came out because again, I believed I was a goner. But, in the end, results came out positively.

The odds were completely against me, especially after I failed the first time by so much, but it is possible. So, retakers, don't give up. Don't ever give up. You will conquer it. You will pass. Take a few days off and then Leonidas the July bar.


This is a great story, thanks for posting that bzmaru24. Everyone who didn't pass this time can totally pass next time.

And I abused those two resources like no other.


To me, the hardest part of the whole thing is endurance, and if you practice enough, you can condition yourself to stay focused for the necessary 18 hours.

Girl86
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 2:33 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Girl86 » Tue May 20, 2014 3:28 pm

First time poster here.

CourtneyElizabeth wrote:again.

like a retard.


Just because you failed more than once doesn't mean you're a retard. I FINALLY passed this last time on my FOURTH try (although this is my fourth time in a row of passing the MBE...it truly is a stupid human trick because some people can just do it and everyone else will struggle to unlock the mystery of it).

For all those who failed this time around (especially the repeaters):

Did I feel like complete idiot each time I failed? Yes, a feeling compounded after both July bars because I have a ridiculously common first and last name combination and received congratulatory messages because someone else with my first and last name had passed (nothing sucks more than having to point out to people that you actually did fail).

Did I want to give up after each time I failed? Yes.

Did I feel like punching each person that claimed the California bar was "only" a test of "minimum competence"? Hell yes (and I still do).

Point is, don't give up. You know you want it and part of you believes that you can pass, or you wouldn't have taken it more than once. It sucks feeling like your life is on pause each time you have to study again for it, but you know that passing is worth it.

"You try. You fail. You try. You fail. But the only true failure is when you stop trying." - Madame Leota

My writing tutor did a world of good for me because, even though I get paid to write and I knew the law (as attested to by the fact that I never received below a scaled 1440 on the MBE), I couldn't figure out how to write for the test (which is to write like it's just a checklist, not to worry about having proper paragraphs or good flow) because the graders don't get paid enough to actually sit down and read the essays completely.

Even Antonio Villaraigosa (former mayor of LA) failed the California bar 4 times, and then just gave up. I doubt anyone ever accuses him of not knowing the basics of California law.

So drink a bottle of wine, eat a pint of ice cream, and have a good cry/whinefest. Then, regroup, register, figure out where you need to improve, and create a new gameplan to pass. Just remember, YOU WILL PASS.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Tue May 20, 2014 3:36 pm

Well said. And congratulations.

Girl86
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 2:33 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Girl86 » Tue May 20, 2014 4:41 pm

Another thing that helped me get through studying and failing was to have two treats planned, one for if I did pass and one for if I failed. Thus, there was an additional incentive to continue to work really hard, but another promised distraction in case things didn't turn out as I planned, which eased the stress of the countdown to the release of the results.

The treats don't have to be anything major, just something you know you'll like (such as taking yourself to see a particular movie that's coming out the weekend of the results if you fail and taking yourself to see a baseball game if you pass, or doing a mani/pedi if you fail and a facial if you pass). If you need extra encouragement, then up the stakes. This past time, if I had failed, I would have taken a weekend road trip along the California coast and seriously reevaluated what I wanted in my professional life, but since I passed, I'm going to the 24-hour day at Disneyland this coming Friday.

james11
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:11 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby james11 » Tue May 20, 2014 5:46 pm

bzmaru24 wrote:This was my second time taking the CBX and I thankfully passed.

I went to a CBE accredited school (yea, what was I thinking?), took the CBX July 2013, and I failed, horribly. None of my essays, including MPTS were above a 60. My raw MBE score was a paltry 94. You read that right. 90 freaking 4. My total score was 1220, so I failed by over 200 points. Needless to say, I was crushed and wondered if I should even waste the Bar's time and try again. How could someone who failed by so much ever pass, right?

But, after a few weeks to recover, I pulled myself together and told myself I wasn't going to let this exam beat me. So, while working a full-time job and getting married in between, I studied as hard as I could. I got a subscription to baressays.com and rented a copy of Emmanuel's Strategies & Tactics. That's it. Bar materials cost me all of $160. And I abused those two resources like no other. I took the CBX this past February and thought I failed after the exam was finished. I was hyperventilating this past Friday just before results came out because again, I believed I was a goner. But, in the end, results came out positively.

The odds were completely against me, especially after I failed the first time by so much, but it is possible. So, retakers, don't give up. Don't ever give up. You will conquer it. You will pass. Take a few days off and then Leonidas the July bar.


Love your story! Congrats!!!

User avatar
rickter
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby rickter » Tue May 20, 2014 7:16 pm

Girl86 wrote:I FINALLY passed this last time on my FOURTH try

Wow. Now that is some perseverance. Congratulations!

User avatar
ChinaMex
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:51 am

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby ChinaMex » Tue May 20, 2014 9:46 pm

fl0w wrote:
uvauvauva wrote:Talking about scores... I'm taking the cali bar in July and this is my second bar exam.

If I scored a 138 on the MBE... is this enough to pass cali? Around what scores would I need on the essays? I am sure I would get above average on the PTs.

I'm self studying with some barbri books I bought off of someone so any help would be greatly appreciated.


Play with this: http://one-timers.com/calculate-your-final-bar-exam-grade

And don't be "sure" of anything. Nobody is joking when they say this is the most difficult bar exam.


I know this will be an unpopular opinion puffin, but I don't think that CA is the most difficult bar exam. I took and passed another state's bar and then took CA. I thought the first state was way more difficult mainly because there was way less time for essays, more subjects on the first state, and the uncertainty and pressure of your first bar. I think that CA is as difficult as you make it.

That said, your question regarding what to get on essays is somewhat moot as you plan to do self-study and you will really have no way to assess how you're doing. Generally, however, I would say aim to get 65s on all essays. I did Themis and it worked really well for me because i already had the basics down and still got feedback. The essay grading and percentile rank really helped me chart my progress. If you can spare $1000, I would get a review course. When I say CA is not the most difficult bar, that doesn't mean it's not damn hard and something you only want to do once. Good luck!

User avatar
fl0w
Posts: 1404
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:46 am

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby fl0w » Tue May 20, 2014 10:49 pm

ChinaMex wrote:
fl0w wrote:
uvauvauva wrote:Talking about scores... I'm taking the cali bar in July and this is my second bar exam.

If I scored a 138 on the MBE... is this enough to pass cali? Around what scores would I need on the essays? I am sure I would get above average on the PTs.

I'm self studying with some barbri books I bought off of someone so any help would be greatly appreciated.


Play with this: http://one-timers.com/calculate-your-final-bar-exam-grade

And don't be "sure" of anything. Nobody is joking when they say this is the most difficult bar exam.


I know this will be an unpopular opinion puffin, but I don't think that CA is the most difficult bar exam. I took and passed another state's bar and then took CA. I thought the first state was way more difficult mainly because there was way less time for essays, more subjects on the first state, and the uncertainty and pressure of your first bar. I think that CA is as difficult as you make it.

That said, your question regarding what to get on essays is somewhat moot as you plan to do self-study and you will really have no way to assess how you're doing. Generally, however, I would say aim to get 65s on all essays. I did Themis and it worked really well for me because i already had the basics down and still got feedback. The essay grading and percentile rank really helped me chart my progress. If you can spare $1000, I would get a review course. When I say CA is not the most difficult bar, that doesn't mean it's not damn hard and something you only want to do once. Good luck!


yes those are quite a few qualifiers; congrats regardless. I was really just speaking statistically.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Wed May 21, 2014 3:01 pm

Fees to practice in NDCal:
Attorney Admission $305.00
http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/courtfees

u kidin me

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Wed May 21, 2014 3:16 pm

Does anyone know how long it takes to go through a mass swearing-in ceremony? I have somewhere to be 3 hours after it starts.

DwightSchruteFarms
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:19 am

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Wed May 21, 2014 4:11 pm

a male human wrote:Does anyone know how long it takes to go through a mass swearing-in ceremony? I have somewhere to be 3 hours after it starts.


Heard it takes an hour or so

User avatar
El Pollito
party fowl
Posts: 17878
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:11 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby El Pollito » Wed May 21, 2014 4:16 pm

a male human wrote:Fees to practice in NDCal:
Attorney Admission $305.00
http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/courtfees

u kidin me

Amazing.

hyc9598
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:15 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby hyc9598 » Wed May 21, 2014 4:50 pm

Barwinners, CA Bar Style, Barpassers Tutorial (Bob Hull)

Which one do you recommend? Personally I like Themis or Barmax outlines. But people say any outline is OK (I have Barbri handouts and Conviser, long books). I got 1556 in mbe so I guess the raw is 140. I give up typing and will handwrite. I got 2 50s in PTs. So I need 65 for each PT so that I can make up 100 deficit. PtPtPt. From the viewpoint of how to increase pt score dramatically, reasonably or humanly possibly, which course would be the best course for me? I took John Holtz and it was above my ability or time constraints. Dunno. Can you say it something is expensive, generally it will be good? Maybe I need to increase my mbe to 160 so that it can compensate deficit in pt/writing. PtPtPt.

Carryon
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 7:47 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Carryon » Wed May 21, 2014 10:51 pm

hyc9598 wrote:Barwinners, CA Bar Style, Barpassers Tutorial (Bob Hull)

Which one do you recommend? Personally I like Themis or Barmax outlines. But people say any outline is OK (I have Barbri handouts and Conviser, long books). I got 1556 in mbe so I guess the raw is 140. I give up typing and will handwrite. I got 2 50s in PTs. So I need 65 for each PT so that I can make up 100 deficit. PtPtPt. From the viewpoint of how to increase pt score dramatically, reasonably or humanly possibly, which course would be the best course for me? I took John Holtz and it was above my ability or time constraints. Dunno. Can you say it something is expensive, generally it will be good? Maybe I need to increase my mbe to 160 so that it can compensate deficit in pt/writing. PtPtPt.


Barmax was pretty good. I too would Ike to know about bar winners, ca bar style, bar passers etc. Anybody know about these or other bar review services?

User avatar
catechumen
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 11:20 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby catechumen » Thu May 22, 2014 12:47 am

I got a 1308. Already signed up to retake in July. And yes I know a 1308 is rather bad. :D Would the other repeaters mind posting their scores? Would love to compare notes?

User avatar
fl0w
Posts: 1404
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:46 am

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby fl0w » Thu May 22, 2014 2:23 am

catechumen wrote:I got a 1308. Already signed up to retake in July. And yes I know a 1308 is rather bad. :D Would the other repeaters mind posting their scores? Would love to compare notes?


previous couple of pages have some scores in them

Girl86
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 2:33 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Girl86 » Thu May 22, 2014 11:11 am

Thanks a male human and rickter. To be able to keep on in the abusive relationship with the bar was not easy (hate the PT creators who came up with the battered woman syndrome PT for July 2013...started reading that on the last afternoon and didn't know whether to laugh or cry because the symptoms described my exact situation with the bar).

hyc9598 wrote:Barwinners, CA Bar Style, Barpassers Tutorial (Bob Hull)

Which one do you recommend? Personally I like Themis or Barmax outlines. But people say any outline is OK (I have Barbri handouts and Conviser, long books). I got 1556 in mbe so I guess the raw is 140. I give up typing and will handwrite. I got 2 50s in PTs. So I need 65 for each PT so that I can make up 100 deficit. PtPtPt. From the viewpoint of how to increase pt score dramatically, reasonably or humanly possibly, which course would be the best course for me? I took John Holtz and it was above my ability or time constraints. Dunno. Can you say it something is expensive, generally it will be good? Maybe I need to increase my mbe to 160 so that it can compensate deficit in pt/writing. PtPtPt.


Sounds like you're in the same boat I was in (last time Raw MBE was 139, scaled 1554, but had 55s for the PTs [my lowest scores for PTs]). IF you can afford it, get a tutor. If not, you may be able to contact an old law school professor and ask if they would have time to review an essay or two out of the goodness of their heart (or in exchange for a latte). I only say the latter option because my dad's friend (the brother of his college roommate) is a Con Law prof and offered to sit down and work on a couple of con law practice essays with me when I failed on my third try, so there may be other professors out there who are just as nice. At the end of the day, if you already know the law, individualized attention to your writing may be THE way to go for improvement.

One final note of encouragement for those who failed: It might not be entirely your fault for getting a 60 instead of a 65 on an essay or a PT. For the February 2013 bar, my PTB got a 60 for the first read AND a 70 for the second read (clearly not passing and clearly passing). That's solid proof that not all readers are giving your essays and PTs the same level of care when grading them. In other words, some of the grade for your written portion may not entirely be on you, but on your reader's bad mood or rushed attitude.


And for those worried about having to pay the money for the federal bar, you can sign up for the federal bar in California at any time. You don't need to be sworn in or have a sponsor (unlike other federal districts) so long as you have your California bar number, properly fill out the form, and pay the money. I'm going to worry about settling in with the California bar first (naturally, I would be in the group with the earliest CLE compliance deadline), then get my federal bar membership (but I have the luxury of time provided I don't get a new job next week...best part of passing, better chance at getting a better job).

User avatar
MURPH
Posts: 854
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:20 am

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Thu May 22, 2014 12:05 pm

A couple of people pm’ed me this week to ask what I did differently or what I suggest that they do. I thought I would post an edited version of my responses here. But this is basically an edited version of some of my posts on this thread. The discussions we had here are best and the advice of others is as good as mine. Not everyone learns the same way so this will only work for me. When Amazon asked me to review a pair of pants that I bought online I wrote: I love these jeans – if your body is exactly like mine and you like wearing the same kind of clothes I like, then you will like these jeans too!.

Part 1. What I did wrong in the July 2013 fail.
I wrote essays trying to get to as many issues and analysis as I could imagine and cramming them into my answer. When I was done I compared them to the Baressays.com and Cal bar examples by basically counting the issues and seeing which ones I missed. If I missed an issue then I would go back and try to figure out a way to recognize that issue next time I saw it. Maybe I’d study that part of the outline or take comfort in the fact that some of the other essays missed that issue too. I also spent a lot of time trying to come up with ‘both sides of the argument’ counter arguments and intelligent ways of looking at the essay (especially the PTS). This seemed helpful but I was ignoring my style. There is a lot of discussion here and elsewhere about how graders spend 2 minutes on each essay or grade at stoplights or whatever. Style is important. I kind of had a vague idea that the graders count issues and want to see an intelligent discussion. It turns out that they want an essay that is super easy to grade. Intelligent discussions are a pain in the ass to grade and attempts to write an intelligent discussion of an issue in a short time end up being pretty unintelligent, rambling and hard to follow.

I also stopped doing MBEs in mid summer because I was behind on studying for the other subjects and I was doing very well on the MBEs. Big mistake. I also used too many Baribri or similar questions that are copyrighted and supposed to be harder than the real thing so that you find the real questions easier. That is bullshit. They were just not as good as the real ones, especially the post 2009 real questions.

Finally, I ignored my own typing problem. I was a slow typist in July. Before February I took a Mavis Beacon on line typing class for $20. I am sure I got an extra 300 words per essay because of it. Increase your typing speed by 10 words per minute and you will be able to knock out 300 extra words (about a page) if you spend half your time writing.


Part 2. Where I learned to improve.

The discussions on this board made the difference between July fail and February pass for me.
James11’s advice on page 2 of this thread.
2807’s advice on page 2 for MBE and page 3 for essays.
Generally the discussions between 2807, A Male Human, CourtneyElizabeth, me and a few others on pages 2 through 7 are what set me straight. What I present here is where I ended up after using 2807’s advice and adapting it to my own needs.
Fl0w and I discussed outlining for PTs and while I chose not to outline, I value the discussion. His way could well work for you so try both. We discussed it several times on different pages.

Part 3 What I did right for February.

I used Mavis Beacon ($20) to improve my typing. I used Bar Max ($100) app for MBE questions. I got one page outlines and bigger outlines from baressays.com. I also compared my answers to their graded answers ($120)

Each night I did 20 - 30 minutes on Mavis Beacon to improve my typing speed.

My studying consisted of doing 25 or more MBE questions from BarMax daily. Adaptibar also has good real MBE questions, I am told. When I was studying the big six topics I did a few more questions each day. Some people on this board (2807 I think) suggest doing short IRAC write-ups for the ones you got wrong. I just made handwritten notes on my outline that modified my rule or exception. By the end of February my outlines had a bunch of multicolored handwritten slop all over them but it didn’t have to be neat. The outlines don’t come inside the test room so as long as you learn as you go they function as a tool for writing mistakes down and reviewing them later.

In the morning, before writing essays I would go over the one page outlines I got from Baressays.com . Then I do the essays from the Cal Bar website. I do full one hour essays. Then I compare my answers to the model answers on the Cal Bar website or Baressays. I compare the good grades to the shitty ones. The 55s are disorganized. They wrote on issues that were really not important. They rambled. They were often very short. The 80s were long, sometimes too long as if the writer got two 55s and spent an extra hour on the 80. They were generally well organized. The writers focused on one issue at a time and avoided conflating. In the beginning it was important to look critically at good and bad essays. After a few weeks I stopped looking at the low scoring essays because I started to get the gist of what a bad essay was. The more I did, the more I compared myself to only the top essays.

How I write every essay, every time:
Each issue on the essay gets 4 paragraphs. Each paragraph corresponds to one IRAC subject.
To begin each essay I write "Issue # : Whether " (See2807's advice) Using a whether statement forces you to really focus your Issue. If your issue is simply “Homicide” or “Breach” you are in trouble. Write: Issue #1 is whether the shopkeeper had a duty to remove the black banana peel from the floor. Do not write: Duty.

Then on the next line I write "The law under.... is " (filling in MPC, Common Law, California Probate Code or whatever.) Then I write out the rule as best as I can remember it. I mostly learned the rules while writing essays instead of memorizing them before getting into the essays. I made mistakes here, rewrote them later correcting my mistakes on my outline and then sometimes re-wrote the four paragraph issue again. Just make mistakes and learn from them.

On the next paragraph I write "Here, .... because, " This is my analysis. Here, X element is met because of Y fact. I often quote Y directly from the fact pattern. If there is an inference I make the inference and let the grader know it is an inference not a quoted fact. Each element gets one sentence. Each element gets at least one fact and 90% of the time only one fact. Sometimes I write Here this element is NOT met because Y is not present. But the rhythm stays the same: name the element, write “because,” then write the fact. Nothing more needs to be written and anything more that you write is going to lead you into the sort of rambling gibber jabber that the professors in law school love to spend a whole class on when they are supposed to be teaching (and that there are no points for).

Then on the last paragraph "Therefore,… " My conclusion should closely match my issue. If it doesn’t match because I conclude breach when I am writing about duty or something I know I made a mistake.

I skip a line between each paragraph and a few lines after the last line. Then I copy and paste it 6 or 8 times. Doing this helps me stay focused on writing good IRAC. So the first paragraph is my issue statement, the next is the rule of law, the next is the elements (Here there was a breaking because D opened a closed window" then repeat for each element.) The last line is my conclusion.
I then make adjustments based on the call of the question. If it just says something simple like "Discuss" then I give a pure Issue spotting answer. If it gives a list of questions and sub questions, that serves as an outline for me - I rewrite the key words in bold. Sometimes there is a rule split between traditional law and modern law, common law and MPC, California law and other Federal law, or between cases like Perierra/ Van Camp. When this happens I write a longer rule paragraph. I discuss the rules then conclude which rule is appropriate and maybe how it would turn out the other way.
Sometimes the facts are murky – like when trying to figure out what mental state a murderer had. In that case you might want to speculate a little on the facts. But that will generally be one element out of the whole essay that calls for speculation. It should not be happening often.

Concerning straw man arguments, a rule of thumb is the more elements that are missing, the less time you spend on an issue. So if it is missing one element you should write about it in detail. If it is missing two then quickly dispense with it. If it is missing three then ignore it.

That is the rule for elements but in factor analyses, where there is a possibility that the argument could go either way, then make sure you clearly state which is the stronger argument and why then identify your counter argument with the word "Though x is the better argument, the counter argument is that Y is true. This is weaker because... Therefore, X." or something like that. You should only have to do this at most once in an essay. Most things are just not close enough to warrant doing counter arguments to every argument.

Finally, when I have five minutes left, I highlight, underline, italics or put in caps anything I forgot to make stand out as I went along.

I compare my answers to the model. For any issue I missed, I just read the outline on that and write another IRAC paragraph in my style.

I decided to start using the copy and paste method after re-doing the July 2013 PT about the charity fraud. Pretty much the only way to get that done in time was to copy and paste like mad. It is clear from the baressays website. Copy and Paste is what people who got 65s did and what people who got below 60 did not do. Using this method also makes my issues simpler. I can stick to one issue at a time instead of conflating two or three minor issues at a time. It is just faster because I think less while I am writing. My mind is focusing on one small thing instead of running around grabbing every idea that pops into my brain as I write. Hopefully, the grader will look at it and recognize the issues, see that it is organized, spot the words I made bold or underlined and give me a quick 65 or better.

PT

Do a lot of PTs. PTs are difficult to teach and take a long time to grade so the prep companies do not commit adequate time to them. My friends who took the July bar prep courses did not start doing PTs until three weeks before the exam. That is foolish. Do at least two a week all summer. They take a long time to do and to analyze two of them will take a full 8-10 hour day to do correctly. It is really slow and painful to improve in PTs - look back at our discussions on earlier pages - the bar finds the most creative ways to fuck us on these PTs. If you haven't done a dozen of these before the bar you will end up writing a load of disorganized shit for 2 and half hours before you figure out what the question is all about. I've put a fair amount of time into the PTs. I started by re-doing that first PT from summer 2013. The second time I did it I finished a few minutes late and my shit looked just as sloppy if not worse than the summer. So I did it again. The third time I was careful to be much more organized.

I devised this strategy for them and it seems to have worked.
1. I start off writing the IRAC outline I use for the essays. "Issue # :Whether... The rule under ___ law is ... Here, ..... Therefore," with spaces between lines and the Whether statement bolded.

2. Then I start reading and typing up my heading or coversheet depending on the assignment.
3. As I read I write paragraphs. Instead of headings or an outline, I write citations (See Transcript of Jane Doe) then I write the relevant facts.
4. Same with the Statutes. After three years of law school, I finally learned how to make that little Section symbol §§§§§§. It is good to know. My headline is: (See CEC § 601: Authentication of Public Records) - then I write the law.
5. Same with the cases. I write (See Jones v Smith CSC, 2001) then I write the relevant rules and if necessary the relevant facts. I make sure to do this for every case especially the cases cited within other cases. Also, if there is a footnote, I make sure that is included.

These 5 steps usually takes between 110 and 130 minutes but at this point most of the work is done.

6. I reread the instructions - the one from my hypothetical supervisor, not the standard one from the bar exam. I copy whatever is the call of the question IN ALL CAPS and basically turn this into my outline using the same number or letter scheme A,B,C or I,II,III or A1, A2, A3, B1 etc. A big difference between good scores and bad scores is that the high scoring essays answer the questions and the low scoring essays write stuff that is not asked. Making the question into an outline is just an easy way to keep yourself focused and I highly suspect that whatever outline the grader has to compare with your essay is probably outlined this way.
7. I cut and past my IRAC formula under the all caps headings/call of the questions. At least one issue per section, maybe two or three.
8. create the "Whether" statements on things that seem like important issues.
9. Cut the statutes or case law and paste them into the Rule part of my IRAC with the citation.
10. Cut the facts. Write the elements from my rule statement after the word "Here" in my IRAC formula, followed by the word "because," and paste the facts with proper citation after the word "because" in my IRAC outline.
11. Fill in the "Therefore," section with an answer to my "Whether" statement based on whether the elements are met or not.
12. End each call of the question (all caps) section with a bolded and underlined conclusion.


When I do this, exactly in this order, I finish with enough spare time to go through and underline, bold or italics words, to edit for spacing and to make it look professional. Having decent, but not bluebook quality, citations at my fingertips while I am pasting really adds a nice touch. The first page and last page are the ones I edit most heavily so that it looks like I started strong and finished strong because I am not sure they will read the middle part.
There is some advice from a UCLA professor that I respect. I summarized it on page 15. He tells how to overcome your particular PT weakness.

If I had to take this again I would just do essays, PTs and MBE questions. In retrospect, the time I spent reading and memorizing was mostly wasted. I learn by writing shitty essays then comparing my shit to a good essay and then doing it over. The outlines help a little but they work best after I've written a bad essay and I need to turn to the outline to see what I didn't understand. Fortunately, I figured this out in late December and didn't continue to try to memorize 30 page outlines all through January and February.

Memorizing Issues and / or Rules
Learning by mistake works for me but there is a place for memorizing - I'd have died on that PR essay had I not memorized the list of topics. But there is a special way to memorize that I doubt bar bri or Kaplan teaches. See: TEDTalks: Life Hack: "Joshua Foer: Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do" http://www.ted.com/talks/joshua_foer_fe ... one_can_do for a good demonstration of it. Basically, in order to memorize shit you need to use the part of your brain that has a mental map - you think of things in your house as you walk through the house to trigger the key words. So in order to memorize the PR topics I had this crazy story in my head that involved Judge Judy and the characters from Sesame Street and Pulp Fiction in my house. I actually printed pictures of those things and posted them around my home while I was studying. During the test when I realized I didn't know what was going on in the PR essay I closed my eyes and thought of walking through my home. All of the triggers to show me the topics were there and the list of issues just came back to me as I mentally looked around my home. Using pneumonic and acronyms and the stuff that BarBri teaches is fine but it should supplement the thing your brain is really good at remembering - how things are arranged in your home. Everyone should watch the 20 minute talk. It is really good and it only takes a little practice.

Enough details, Back to the big picture
Over the course of the summer work on bar prep the way the Pithypike thread taught us to work on the LSAT. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41657&hilit=pithypike First concentrate on Accuracy (getting the format correct, getting all the issues). If you do not start timing yourself until week 6 of a ten week plan that is OK. Then later on Speed (60 minutes or 3 hours). Lastly, in the last two weeks if at all, work on Endurance (work nonstop in 3 hour blocks).

You’ll find that being accurate makes you faster because your mind is focused. You are filling in the blanks rather than grasping at every thread of an issue that comes to your head all at once. Being faster also means you will have more endurance. If the last five minutes of your essays are spent making shit bold and making your headlines nice rather than maddeningly trying to type then you will not be spending 3 hours in a panic and it will be easier to endure.

This board has a lot of potential. When A male human and I and others posted our stuff here, the feedback was what helped me. You can totally give better feedback here than you can get from a barbri grader. Maybe as good as some tutors. And it is free. What's more - giving feedback is as helpful to you as getting feedback. SO it helps you to help others. The 0Ls give each other great feedback here on their stupid admissions essays. You can do the same with the bar essays.

Finally, eat right, stay healthy, get (at least) light exercise regularly, get laid, go to the movies. Try not to make everyone around you miserable.


p.s. thanks for helping me pass

User avatar
2807
Posts: 579
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:23 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Thu May 22, 2014 12:15 pm

Murph.
Perfect.
Great job.

Keep us updated on your post-bar life !

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Thu May 22, 2014 12:55 pm

MURPH, nice comprehensive post. Do you have any advice on how to find issues in the first place?

I have been advocating "issue checking" to people who PM me. It's where you mentally have a finite list of issues and sub-issues where you know the essay will ask for something from that list. Now you just check for them, not pull them out of your ass. I didn't mastered the "whether..." format, so this helped me focus my issues in relatively short phrases.

It might seem overwhelming for first timers right now, but get into habits or rituals. Keep your schedule consistent. I ended up studying 12 hrs/day and sane. Compare to July where I was frazzled even though I didn't study as much. Quick tips on getting into habits:

Action: You don't want to study until you actually start get into studying. Just do it(R)
Don't break the chain: AKA the Seinfeld method. Every day you study, (mentally or not) mark an X on that day on the calendar. Don't break the chain. Do something every day. Even on your rest day, review your PTs or something in the morning.
B = MAT: Psychology professor BJ Fogg's formula for behavioral change. Behavior = (motivation)(action)(trigger). If you have low motivation, just start with two MBEs a day until it becomes a habit.

Habits are so powerful that federal evidentiary rules find them more reliable than character evidence!

"Finally, eat right, stay healthy, get (at least) light exercise regularly, get laid, go to the movies. Try not to make everyone around you miserable."

It's funny because I didn't do any of that :lol: :cry:
Last edited by a male human on Thu May 22, 2014 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
fl0w
Posts: 1404
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:46 am

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby fl0w » Thu May 22, 2014 1:03 pm

Murph you're a champ.
We definitely did not agree on our approach to the PTs, haha! But like Murph said, he likes one style of jeans, I like another style, at the end of the day, we are both looking good in our new pair of jeans. Same end, but we both found different means that worked for us.

I'm also a second-timer. My first time I did a commercial prep course and I will never recommend one to anyone ever. Half of my study time was literally wasted watching lectures. I'm so angry about it.

I agree with most of what Murph posted, but as he said we differed on our PT approach. So....
For anyone that is curious, here is my basic approach to a PT. Regarding outlining, I'm the biggest proponent of outlining that you will find. My biggest fear is staring at a blank white screen so I just don't. I go to pen and paper and I get my outline right, so when it's time to type I barely even look at the screen because it's all in front of me.

Read the Prompt.
I did this to understand my assignment first.

Read the Library (critical to do it first. Apply LAW to FACTS... so you need some law first if you're going to apply it to facts):
I did this first because this is where the law is. Without the law, the PT is over. I use 1 page of scratch for each case / statute. In looking at past PTs it became apparent that unless the assignment memo specifically asked me to distinguish from cases, the facts of all the cases in the library did not matter. So guess what.. I literally did not read them. Background? cross it out. Procedural history? cross it out. Facts of the case at bar? cross it out. All I was looking for were the statements of law. When I found it I wrote it down. Then I looked for any associated factors / application and wrote that as well. On to the next case. Rinse Repeat.

Why don't facts in the cases in the library matter? Because we are applying our facts to the law in the library. And unless they specifically ask me to distinguish authority, I'm not gonna do it. I've said several times in this thread that I understand people might think I'm crazy for crossing out and not reading up to half of the library, but I'm just being honest about my finding. You can go back and look at passing answers for PTs and you'll likely see the same deal.

Read the File:
I've got the law, now let's get the facts. It's harder to outline the file because it's just a bunch of info. So all I would write on my sheet of paper is a citation, a short bit of info on what the fact is and what it supports. Keep it moving.

The Final Outline:
On this master piece of paper I basically create a condensed version that combines my library and file outlines. This is my roadmap for typing.

Now there are 75-90min left to write.
Write your PT:
Look at master outline see first rule. Turn to library outline, type that rule. Back to master outline for references to facts. Open file and type the facts verbatim. Rinse, repeat while adhering to the IRAC format. I almost never even look up at the computer. I've already done all of the work. No stress about "what do I write" or "how do I do this..." because it's all done already. It's just a transfer onto the screen.

I liked doing it this way because it made writing the downhill part of the PT. Once 90 minutes were remaining I could smile and know that all I had to do was type all the work I'd done. It turned the PT from a monster that frightened me to something I was excited to do because I knew I was earning points.

My IRAC style differed slightly from Murph. I found issue statements to be a waste of time and words so I actually did use the extremely brief headings that Murph doesn't like. I approached it in a way that I just want the grader to know I spotted the issues.
The rule - X requires Y. Like [Battery] requires [elements of battery].
Applicatoin - Here, X is satisfied because...[facts]
Conclusion - Thus, X is satisfied. My conclusions were always this brief. You just have to have one.

Slightly different approaches, I admit mine is probably less orthodox but it worked so so well for me. The key was cutting out all of the things that didn't matter and just learning how to give the graders what they want, so that they will give me what I want. POINTS.

hope some of this is helpful to people.

User avatar
fl0w
Posts: 1404
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:46 am

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby fl0w » Thu May 22, 2014 1:13 pm

On spotting issues: I'm sure people have different methods but here's what worked for me.
Print out 10 past essays for each subject and their model answers.
Read the prompt. Just write down each issue that you see.
Now scan the answers for the issues that they spotted (since this is a model answer, they spotted enough to pass).
Now for each issue they spotted, read their application and find the FACTS from the prompt they used.

Create your mental map.
Anytime I see THIS FACT it means I'm to spot THIS ISSUE.

Do this enough (10 essays per topic takes about a week to do) and you realize there are a finite number of ways for them to prompt you to spot an issue. They only test things in so many ways. And after doing 10 essays per topic of this nothing will surprise you anymore.

This is a bit of a simplified version, but you get the gist. You're spending like 20min per essay while doing this by the way.

User avatar
rickter
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby rickter » Thu May 22, 2014 3:04 pm

ChinaMex wrote:I know this will be an unpopular opinion puffin, but I don't think that CA is the most difficult bar exam. I took and passed another state's bar and then took CA. I thought the first state was way more difficult mainly because there was way less time for essays, more subjects on the first state, and the uncertainty and pressure of your first bar. I think that CA is as difficult as you make it.


I agree to the extent that none of the content of any particular part the exam was brutally difficult, but the fact that you need to stay focused and perform as competently on Thursday Afternoon's PTB as you did on Tuesday Morning's Essay 1 makes the exam pretty damn hard.

I mean the essay questions tested some narrow areas of the law, but generally I didn't think they were any more difficult than a law school essay question, and the MBE questions weren't any harder than MC questions from law school either. The PTs are like a timed Legal Writing assignment, which is maybe why they are the trickiest part: if you spent even a little too much time reading or organizing your PT answer, it's easy to run out of time even though you have something good to write.

But anyway it's the three days at six hours a day of performing at a high level that is the real killer IMO.

Carryon
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 7:47 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Carryon » Thu May 22, 2014 6:10 pm

catechumen wrote:I got a 1308. Already signed up to retake in July. And yes I know a 1308 is rather bad. :D Would the other repeaters mind posting their scores? Would love to compare notes?

Essays 55 55 55 50 60 55. PTA 50 PTB 55. I wonder why I did so bad on PTA? How did your scores break down?




Return to “Bar Exam Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], EZ as AsDf, j431e782 and 2 guests