California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

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 6:17 pm

To follow up on the comprehensive posts on the previous page, I will throw in my .02

for the MBE I did something like 1,000 questions from the barmax app, and I studied the law using the Conviser Mini Review. The questions were probably much more helpful than the CMR, although I would definitely use something like the CMR again, if not the CMR itself.

For the essays I practiced old essays and compared them to the model answers posted on the calbar website. For a couple of weeks, I was terrified because I knew my essays sucked. I was having trouble organizing, especially when the essay tested subjects in which i was not comfortable. My writing would meander and was unfocused and... well, just bad.

Then, I ran across this thread and started reading the pages noted above by the other posters who have been here since the beginning of the thread. I then more or less adopted the forumla laid out above by Murph:

The first issue is whether x

Generally, the rule about x is blah

Here, this happened and that happened, and the rule applies such that whatever.

Therefore, Y

As I read the prompt, I would note the issues and then copy-paste the above lines the appropriate number of times. This is more like a guideline for me than an actual formula, but I generally stuck to the 4 paragraph format.

The benefits of this are basically everything Murph said, and for me the drawbacks were zero. I was more focused, and my answers were more focused, easier to read, and just all around better. They wouldn't win any prizes for creative writing, but I wasn't trying to impress my grader. I was, however, trying to maker her life easier as she read my essay while sitting on the BART or whatever.

In retrospect I should have paid for a baressays account, but I didn't find out about that site until too late for it to be of real value. I would definitely do baressays if I had to do it over again, the ability to see real graded answers is huge IMO.

I did not practice the PTs very much, I did maybe four or five total and thought it would be fine. On the exam, I ran out of time at the very end of my answer for PTA. Like I was literally writing 'In conclusion' or something similar when the proctor called time. For PTB, I changed up the allocation of time a little and (as flow has suggested) worried less about reading every single one of the facts (although i did cite several relevant portions of something from the library - I think it was a transcript). I also did as Murph mentioned above, and I made citations of cases and other things which I thought were relevant as I went along, so that I would not have to go back and touch that material a second time.

Also just IMO, the high level things to keep in mind are:

Focus, Simplicity, and Practice.

Focus means not just concentrating on what's important, but on eliminating what is not important. It's difficult to just say 'this issue doesn't matter' and move on, but that is necessary (whether we're talking about studying or writing). I found myself early on trying to learn every single detail of every subject, and it is just too much. Focus on the biggest, most obvious, most mainstream stuff, and you will be ok. Spend all day learning the intricacies of the mailbox rule or send an essay down a rabbit hole with some tangentially related esoteric issue and your deep knowledge and brilliant analysis won't be worth very much on the exam.

Simplicity is not superficiality. As Steve Jobs was fond of saying, superficiality is easy, actual simplicity is extremely hard. You can write something short and fluffy that says very little, but real simplicity here is writing something brief but comprehensive, a concise answer which conveys a lot of your understanding of the law as well as your ability to apply the law and to organize your thoughts. And the beauty is, if you put in the work and you know the law (even if you don't know every single tiny detail) these concise essays almost write themselves when made using (what I'm now going to call) the 2807-Murph method.

Finally, and most importantly: practice. You cannot habituate the 2807-Murph method, or any other method (and I definitely believe a habituated methodical essay approach is the way to go) without lots of practice. Similarly, practice is required to confidently answer 200 multiple choice questions in six hours. It's very easy to spend way too much time on a few questions and find yourself running out of time, but by doing 1,000 questions in 10, 25, or 50 question blocks, you develop an innate feel for how much time you have to answer each question, and you also develop the super-important skill of just answering a question and moving on. 'I spent the time I have for this question, and now I have to move on to the next one.'

At the most zoomed out level, I guess all I'm really saying is just work really hard and practice essays, MC questions and PTs until you have habituated the way you deal with each section. I said this a couple pages ago, but if you are expecting to simply rise to the occasion, you are kidding yourself. Under the extreme stress of this exam, you will absolutely not magically perform great. You will perform as well or as poorly as you have trained yourself to perform.

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 10:04 pm

To answer the question about Issue spotting. I reviewed the one page outlines before doing my essays for the day. The one page outlines is more or less a list of potential issues. So before you start the day's essays you are giving yourself a clue of what issues to look for.
Over time you start to see the stories attached to each issue. By doing them and reviewing other people's answers you are reading and writing little stories about each potential issue. So if you are working on CP and you never took it in law school it is going to be just a damn mess of Harrys and Wandas and their damn divorces. But the process of reviewing, doing, evaluating and especially rewriting will make you better at issue spotting. If you miss an issue go to your bigger outline. Study it. Mark up your outline somehow. Then write a four paragraph evaluation of the issue you missed. By the time you've done ten of them you should be competent.
You should be missing a lot of issues at first. That is why you are practicing. But you should find that after comparing your essays, marking up your outline and rewriting it that the issues become repetitive.

After a while you start to pick up on the small things. Like when little Timmy wanders onto a construction site after the workers go home there is an attractive nuisance issue. The property owner is the bad guy. But there is still a trespass issue that you have to write about. Little Timmy violated the property owner's rights too. You can easily overlook that issue if you haven't seen someone somewhere write about it.

The bar is tricky. So we had the reverse Van Camp / Perierra in July 2013 and the subadjacent lateral support in Feb 2013. The reverse VanCamp / Perierra was never seen in prior essays so if you only saw the fact that one spouse's labor was the cause of the increase in value of the business you would not get full credit for your analysis. But if you did an analysis of several Van Camp / Perierra issues then at least you should have recognized that something was wrong with the essay.

Even if you did all of the prior property law essays, you would never have done a subadjacent lateral support hypo. My method would not prepare you for doing one. But as someone posted even the test prep companies told people that the lateral support issue would never be asked on the Cal Bar so don't study it. Maybe the best way to be prepared for this is to look over your long outline after you've done all the previous essays on that subject and see if there are any areas that you never marked up because they were never covered. Then make up a few stories / issues on that area and write out a few paragraphs. I'd still focus most of my energy on the things that they tend to repeat rather than worry about spotting issues that are rare, though. They could very well fuck you and have a essay on pure future interests / RAP / Rule in Shellys Case that you did not prepare for and that has never been asked. Your only hope is that you pick up points for being organized and efficient, finish a little early and try for more points on the other two essays.

Uggh, I just got a sick feeling about the 13th Amendment essay in July 2013. They really will pull shit out that no one has prepped for. ((Imagine a 3rd amendment essay where a naval officer gets a divorce and his wife is evicted from her on base housing. Does 3rd Amendment apply? To sailors or just soldiers? Is it her house? Will anyone be prepared to answer that shit. ))


Another way of finding issues comes with experience. Each piece of property in a CP exam will have an issue. Each person to person contact or communication will have an ethical issue in a PR essay. You just do them over and over until you learn what triggers issues.

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 10:58 pm

all of that just made me nervous like i was studying again.

Priscilla
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 4:06 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Priscilla » Fri May 23, 2014 2:36 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
MURPH wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:Joining this thread. Failed by around 5 points. FML.

I'm most annoyed that this is going to cost me a ton of extra money and I have to pay for it myself.



Hahaha. That is what I was going to write.
1435. Dammit. How could I have come so close and blown it? I am taking a Mavis Beacon typing class. I know I could squeeze out a few more points if I could just write another 200 words per essay or 400 on the PTs.

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 will do MBEs during the whole time this round.
Aargh, but the money. I just paid off my credit cards from the summer. Now I've got to spend hundreds or thousands on this again. They aren't even having a test in West La. I have to get a hotel in Pasadena for this test.


I had one low PT score that blew it. I hard a really hard time understanding the first PT and had a shitty answer. Everything else was fine, so that was what did it. Argh.




For anyone who took the exam at the Century City Plaza/LA last July 2013, did you find this to be a good test location?
Appreciate any comments or critiques.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1691
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Fri May 23, 2014 2:48 pm

a male human wrote:WTF? I just checked my mail, and I still don't have anything from calbar. Did I really take the exam?
Just got it this morning. 1338 written, 1423 MBE. Killed on PTs. Not sure if I should even retake this shit again.

I guess I'm glad I retook this shit again.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Fri May 23, 2014 10:40 pm

Priscilla wrote:For anyone who took the exam at the Century City Plaza/LA last July 2013, did you find this to be a good test location?
Appreciate any comments or critiques.

I thought it was OK. I took it at Century City in July, and Pasadena in Feb. I live in Culver CIty so I drove to Century City. Driving in LA is always a way to start off the day on the wrong foot - it is also a good way to show up an hour late because of some random clusterfuck on the 405.
The hotel is nice. There are several restaurants and a big mall nearby where you can go for lunch. The staff conducted the event in an orderly fashion. They seemed better prepared than Pasadena - the bathrooms were cleaner in CC, the staff was capable of answering simple questions like where to put my stuff, they were polite. The staff at Pasadena were rude. The parking was discounted in CC so I ate my lunches in my car with the a.c. on and my own music and solitude. I even slept the first day because I was so sick. In Pasadena, I had to go to my hotel to be alone.
OTOH several people told me that the hotel was loud or that they just constantly bumped into classmates in CC.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby hyc9598 » Sun May 25, 2014 3:46 pm

Do you use footnotes and cases in case in PT?

I will ignore them because those are beyond my ability (too complicated) and my goal is just to get 60.

duskfall
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:16 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby duskfall » Sun May 25, 2014 3:52 pm

hyc9598 wrote:Do you use footnotes and cases in case in PT?

I will ignore them because those are beyond my ability (too complicated) and my goal is just to get 60.


Are you referring to citing the footnotes or cases in your answer? If so yes, you need to use them. If the PT includes a footnote, the testmakers expect you to cite to it or use it somehow.

If you're talking about citing cases in your answers, then yes, you should do so, but not in bluebook format. I don't recall but do the actual instructions tell you to cite to it?

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby fl0w » Sun May 25, 2014 4:36 pm

You should really make your goal to get 80 on the PTs. Not that you'll do that, but if you train yourself to get 80 and you get 65, that's a good result.
If you train for 60 and fall short.... you're kind screwed. PTs are double points so it's important.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Girl86 » Mon May 26, 2014 4:19 am

MURPH wrote:
Uggh, I just got a sick feeling about the 13th Amendment essay in July 2013. They really will pull shit out that no one has prepped for.

That was another "are you kidding me" moment with the July 2013 exam. Will ANYONE encounter that hypo in real life? Hell no. Using the 13th amendment in a hypo about a covenant not to compete would be realistic, but not in a hypo about a teen going to a work camp in lieu of going to juvie.

Anyways, to jump on that whole "you really don't know what they'll pull on the Cal bar" bandwagon, take the time during the week before to skim (SKIM!!!) whatever notes or outlines you have from law school just to familiarize yourself with some buzzwords that haven't popped up in your review course. That's how I remembered about the rule for needing to provide subjacent lateral support (I happen to be a digital packrat and have all of my finals outlines and notes from all of my classes saved on my laptop). Also, if you have no idea whatsoever of what the rule is, go with whatever your gut is telling you and make something up (Kaplan harps on this default move, and it can save your ass). Chances are, you'll be at least half-right and you will have shown that you at least spotted the issue. Plus, as you start to write about it, your memory will be jogged and you'll realize that you do know the rule.

Depending on your MBE score, after a while, you really don't need to keep practicing questions, so long as you can recognize the patterns and you know the law (which you will refresh on whenever you write practice essays).

For PTs, you technically don't have to cite (referencing is fine, like saying Y rule [featuring what the rule is in x case but not sticking in the cite for x case]...In x case, b and c happened...this situation is just like the b and c scenario in x case, so Y rule should apply) or completely soup-to-nuts finish with a closing paragraph (kudos to you if you have the time). The instructions don't tell you to cite, but you also have to assume that you are writing to someone who hasn't seen the cases, so you have to give them something that the fake client/lawyer/judge can go look up. For citations, just put the name in parentheses. Ex. Smith v. City of Los Angeles would be (Smith).
Shooting for an 80 sounds like a gunner thing to do, but def. shoot for the 70 range.
Don't just use the main cases if there are other cases referenced in the text of the cases you're given. Pull those cases out and treat them as entirely separate cases instead of only mentioning them alongside the cases in which they were located. Use the footnotes too (one popular PT that both Barbri and Kaplan like to use has all of the elements listed nicely in a footnote, otherwise, you'd be missing a few elements).

For issue spotting and remembering elements, try to spot issues/elements in everyday life and while watching movies/tv. I used to listen to the Dragnet and Calling All Cars radio programs (they're available on archive.org) when I was going to bed at night to work on spotting crimes and their elements.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Carryon » Mon May 26, 2014 8:41 am

Did anybody find that the baressays.com premium subscription in which they posted graded essays with grader's comments helpful?

roger8219
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:54 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby roger8219 » Mon May 26, 2014 10:41 am

does anyone know when we need(ed) to send back barbri materials for the deposit return?

User avatar
Evaly
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:48 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Evaly » Mon May 26, 2014 10:42 pm

Carryon wrote:Did anybody find that the baressays.com premium subscription in which they posted graded essays with grader's comments helpful?


Interested in this question as well. Did anyone used the premium subscription for prep? Any comments on the effectiveness of having the extra stuff?

duskfall
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:16 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby duskfall » Tue May 27, 2014 3:44 am

the cal bar examiners won't reconsider scores for those with that laptop issue.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals ... 1614_R.pdf

User avatar
El Pollito
party fowl
Posts: 17905
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:11 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby El Pollito » Tue May 27, 2014 8:45 am

duskfall wrote:the cal bar examiners won't reconsider scores for those with that laptop issue.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals ... 1614_R.pdf

Fucking awful.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Tue May 27, 2014 9:49 am

Evaly wrote:
Carryon wrote:Did anybody find that the baressays.com premium subscription in which they posted graded essays with grader's comments helpful?


Interested in this question as well. Did anyone used the premium subscription for prep? Any comments on the effectiveness of having the extra stuff?


Their essay service is terrible. Only use it to look at past answers. Nothing else.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Carryon » Tue May 27, 2014 10:10 am

DwightSchruteFarms wrote:
Evaly wrote:
Carryon wrote:Did anybody find that the baressays.com premium subscription in which they posted graded essays with grader's comments helpful?


Interested in this question as well. Did anyone used the premium subscription for prep? Any comments on the effectiveness of having the extra stuff?


Their essay service is terrible. Only use it to look at past answers. Nothing else.


Thanks for replying. Was it helpful when those graded past answers also included the grader comments? They say that they have a database of graded past answers [of other examinee's questions] with the grader's comments. I was wondering if it was worth it to upgrade the subscription to premium to include access to that additional database so that you further know how they graded in more detail?

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Tue May 27, 2014 10:54 am

I did not find the graders comments helpful. Basically they would write things like "Missed Issue but the graders must not have assigned much value to that issue" OR "Use IRAC." I thinkthe premium service was just an extra $20 or something so I got it. But the graders comments were inane.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Tue May 27, 2014 1:00 pm

Carryon wrote:
DwightSchruteFarms wrote:
Evaly wrote:
Carryon wrote:Did anybody find that the baressays.com premium subscription in which they posted graded essays with grader's comments helpful?


Interested in this question as well. Did anyone used the premium subscription for prep? Any comments on the effectiveness of having the extra stuff?


Their essay service is terrible. Only use it to look at past answers. Nothing else.


Thanks for replying. Was it helpful when those graded past answers also included the grader comments? They say that they have a database of graded past answers [of other examinee's questions] with the grader's comments. I was wondering if it was worth it to upgrade the subscription to premium to include access to that additional database so that you further know how they graded in more detail?


Their comments were beyond useless. Biggest waste of money ever. It read like a computer wrote their comments or that they copy and pasted what they thought was correct with no care in the world about what you wrote.

User avatar
Evaly
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:48 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Evaly » Tue May 27, 2014 2:01 pm

DwightSchruteFarms wrote:Their comments were beyond useless. Biggest waste of money ever. It read like a computer wrote their comments or that they copy and pasted what they thought was correct with no care in the world about what you wrote.


Good to know, thanks for the info. I guess I won't be paying them $50 bucks for these useless comments.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Carryon » Tue May 27, 2014 8:49 pm

Thank you very much for the info on baressays.com. I handwrote the Feb 2014 exam. Now I am thinking of typing it. I assume that they allow you to use a mouse, do they? Also, I wonder what advantages [e.g. easier to read and you can copy and paste] or disadvantages are there in using the laptop to type the exam?

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1691
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Tue May 27, 2014 10:42 pm

I believe you can bring a wireless mouse. Check the allowed items carefully. One time during the MBEs in July, someone took away the paper clip in my Ziploc bag.

Disadvantages are the cost and assumption of risk. I'm sure you've heard about the SofTest malfunctions. I was in that group, and one condition that came up often among our group is that we copied and pasted a large chunk of text. So make sure you don't do that, or maybe try it out first in a mock exam on a reliable laptop.

duskfall
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:16 pm

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby duskfall » Wed May 28, 2014 5:40 am

Carryon wrote:Thank you very much for the info on baressays.com. I handwrote the Feb 2014 exam. Now I am thinking of typing it. I assume that they allow you to use a mouse, do they? Also, I wonder what advantages [e.g. easier to read and you can copy and paste] or disadvantages are there in using the laptop to type the exam?



HUGE advantage to type the exam. Especially on the PTs, I wrote the law down before I even go to the file (because based on the memo itself, it was pretty clear what law was going to be applicable). When I finished reading the file, I was able to craft those rule statements to the assignment. It was a life saver. I can't imagine anyone doing that if you handwrote. Also, I had extra time at the end of each PTs so I was able to go back and add stylistic changes (i.e., a more clearer roadmap in the intro, better conclusion, etc.).

The benefits outweigh the possible problem. And as male mentioned, you could do a bunch of practice tests before the exam to see if any glitches appear.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Wed May 28, 2014 3:46 pm

Type. I've written about using Mavis Beacon to practice typing before the Bar. It helps. On day 1 my computer didn't work so I had to handwrite in the morning. I survived but typing for 2 six hour days is OK. Handwriting for two 6 hour days is torture.
You can use a wireless mouse.
Copy and paste is a huge advantage.

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

Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Carryon » Thu May 29, 2014 9:52 am

MURPH wrote:Type. I've written about using Mavis Beacon to practice typing before the Bar. It helps. On day 1 my computer didn't work so I had to handwrite in the morning. I survived but typing for 2 six hour days is OK. Handwriting for two 6 hour days is torture.
You can use a wireless mouse.
Copy and paste is a huge advantage.


Do they put the actual essay and pt questions in electronic form on your laptop so that you can copy and paste the information from them? Also, I am using typingweb.com and goodtyping.com to improve my typing. They are free, but I am wondering if Mavis Beacon might be better?




Return to “Bar Exam Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests