California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

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a male human
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:29 pm

Regarding grading:

- I may have mentioned this, but I heard both ends sides about how graders fly through the essays. One particular grader I heard about read the essay books while at a red light, instead of texting like normal people. Bar Breaker talks about graders taking several minutes (forgot the exact figure he used but it was at least 5, maybe 15), but maybe that is outdated information.

- Those who subscribed to a baressays.com account...are you able to tell what the difference is between a 70 and a 55? It seems we are still confused about what definitely makes a 70.

- From what I've deduced from our thread so far, graders seem to care about spotting issues more than anything (and "punching" them with it, as 2807 put it). If we are likely to get a grader who doesn't have the willingness to read through the application portion, perhaps we should prioritize more on issue and rules (making this whole thing basically a memory test and I hate memorizing).

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zeth006
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby zeth006 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:35 pm

^

And that's what makes us kindred spirits. I had to take the SAT and the LSAT multiple times before I got a satisfactory score. Same with my DL test, I'm ashamed to say!

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2807
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:45 pm

Male Human:

I like you. You are THE reason I started talking in the thread.
I remember you posting as July results were just minutes away...
Then... I felt your pain. Sorry bud.


But ....
You have a fantastic record of perseverance !
That will define your life more than anything.
I'm older, I have better perspective.

So:
Work Hard.
DO NOT confuse "activity" with "progress" !!
Measure your progress.
Adjust where needed.
Repeat.

Stay the course.
Victory awaits.

ONWARD !

Busyvee
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Busyvee » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:50 pm

male human, what was your MBE's score?

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a male human
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:59 pm

2807 wrote:Male Human:

I like you. You are THE reason I started talking in the thread.
I remember you posting as July results were just minutes away...
Then... I felt your pain. Sorry bud.


But ....
You have a fantastic record of perseverance !
That will define your life more than anything.
I'm older, I have better perspective.

So:
Work Hard.
DO NOT confuse "activity" with "progress" !!
Measure your progress.
Adjust where needed.
Repeat.

Stay the course.
Victory awaits.

ONWARD !

Thank you :) For all your tips and encouragement so far too!

Busyvee wrote:male human, what was your MBE's score?

124

I was more worried about my essays, so I spent almost all of the last two weeks cranking them out.

This time around I am doing more MBE prep using multiple sources, and so much using Kaplan's questions.

Busyvee
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Busyvee » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:19 pm

male human,good luck to you!

and me :lol:

james11
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby james11 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:56 pm

Those who subscribed to a baressays.com account...are you able to tell what the difference is between a 70 and a 55? It seems we are still confused about what definitely makes a 70.


looking at the essays on baressays.com it seems that the differences are a combination of 1) missed issues; 2) poor rule statements; 3) missed subissues; 4) talking about non-issues; 5) poor IRAC format (this is important). Have you read any of the bar grader reviews of the essays on baressays? They are pretty good at explaining the scores of certain essays. Also, have you seen the july 2013 cbx essays that were posted? there is a community property one that scored 85 that is ridiculously good.

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2807
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:20 pm

james11 wrote:
Those who subscribed to a baressays.com account...are you able to tell what the difference is between a 70 and a 55? It seems we are still confused about what definitely makes a 70.


looking at the essays on baressays.com it seems that the differences are a combination of 1) missed issues; 2) poor rule statements; 3) missed subissues; 4) talking about non-issues; 5) poor IRAC format (this is important). Have you read any of the bar grader reviews of the essays on baressays? They are pretty good at explaining the scores of certain essays. Also, have you seen the july 2013 cbx essays that were posted? there is a community property one that scored 85 that is ridiculously good.



I am really waiting to see the July 2013 essays so I can compare how I was taught to write.. to what they post.
But your breakdown above seems correct to me. Mainly, fundamental stuff.

I think #4 and #5 are what I am all about here with my advice.

I think the lesson is, for most, if you write a great "essay" without eye-catching structure, you are risking it.
"essay" implies paragraphs and topic sentences, body, closing, transitions.....
and NONE of that is what you want.

I think calling these "essays" is problematic.

I would call them "puzzles" and your answer is more of an "outline" or "breakdown"

That gets the student's brain in the right place at the start.
So, folks, try that.

I just talked to a friend who failed in July (took Barbri) and is now taking the class I took.....
He says the instructor's method is awesome, he is way ahead of where he was in Barbri, and is very happy.

You guys are lucky. I am boiling it down for you and sharing the big basics for free !

You can do it !

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a male human
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:00 pm

james11 wrote:
Those who subscribed to a baressays.com account...are you able to tell what the difference is between a 70 and a 55? It seems we are still confused about what definitely makes a 70.


looking at the essays on baressays.com it seems that the differences are a combination of 1) missed issues; 2) poor rule statements; 3) missed subissues; 4) talking about non-issues; 5) poor IRAC format (this is important). Have you read any of the bar grader reviews of the essays on baressays? They are pretty good at explaining the scores of certain essays. Also, have you seen the july 2013 cbx essays that were posted? there is a community property one that scored 85 that is ridiculously good.

Oh man, so it really is all about issues and rules. So if I'm understanding this right, you don't think it's the length or beautiful application or analysis of the facts that gave high scores?

I don't have an account, so I can't see the bar grader review. But what made the 85 ridiculously good?

Are the good PTs long? Every sample answer I've seen is monstrously long. This is my next concern.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby AntiHuman » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:48 pm

Got 55's on all the essays and PT's. Got an 80 on the contracts/remedies essay for July 2013.

I think the main difference was I spotted all the issues correctly and didn't include any non issues on the 80 essay.

A male human is correct(or so I think) when he says spotting issues and leaving out non issues is the most important.

I feel everyone should stop trying to craft perfect rule statements and just try to improve on issue spotting. If each grader is only spending 2-3 minutes on each essay, I doubt they are reading heavily into our analysis.

Athough keep in mind that each essay grader HAS completed the same bar exam, so they can read through issue and analysis much faster because theyve done it before.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby james11 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:18 pm

looking at the essays on baressays.com it seems that the differences are a combination of 1) missed issues; 2) poor rule statements; 3) missed subissues; 4) talking about non-issues; 5) poor IRAC format (this is important). Have you read any of the bar grader reviews of the essays on baressays? They are pretty good at explaining the scores of certain essays. Also, have you seen the july 2013 cbx essays that were posted? there is a community property one that scored 85 that is ridiculously good.


Oh man, so it really is all about issues and rules. So if I'm understanding this right, you don't think it's the length or beautiful application or analysis of the facts that gave high scores?

I don't have an account, so I can't see the bar grader review. But what made the 85 ridiculously good?

Are the good PTs long? Every sample answer I've seen is monstrously long. This is my next concern.


Correct. It appears to be mostly about issues/rules/subissues/format. There are 3 page essays that scored 70 and 8 page essays that scored 55. Of course this is oversimplifying it, because each essay is different. I don't know what types of sample answers you are using, but I recommend looking at both low and high scoring essays (and comparing your own) to see the differences and nuances that make up a high scoring essay in each subject area.

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patogordo
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby patogordo » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:20 pm

Man looking at this thread before July was the best and worst decision

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:17 am

Zeth006 asked on the last page if anyone liked the BarMax $99 MBE app.

I freakin love it. I did well on the MBE part. But I used a lot of Questions from other sources - BarBri, Siegal's books, etc. There is a major difference in the quality of actual real MBE questions and the commercial substitutes.

I compare it to practicing for the LSAT. I was an LSAT tutor before law school I only used real LSAT questions with my students. BluePrint TestMasters and Powerscore were reputable companies that only used real LSAT questions but occasionally my students would bring me some crazy question from one of the big test prep companies. The question would be poorly worded. The answer was not clearly correct or incorrect and the explanation was incoherent.

It is the same with the commercial MBE stuff. The explanations say things like "C is the correct answer but B is also a good answer." In 99% of real MBE questions the answer is certain. Even if you get it wrong, once you locate the right rule it will be obvious why one is right and the other three are obviously wrong. I find them to be fun. Good quality, tested questions are fun to do. Doing BarBri questions make me angry.

It also keeps track of how many you get right in each subject.
I do at least 25 questions per day on the app before I do any other studying. I also bring it to work with me and will do an hour or to worth during a 12 hour shift.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:32 am

a male human wrote:Regarding grading:

- I may have mentioned this, but I heard both ends sides about how graders fly through the essays. One particular grader I heard about read the essay books while at a red light, instead of texting like normal people. Bar Breaker talks about graders taking several minutes (forgot the exact figure he used but it was at least 5, maybe 15), but maybe that is outdated information.

- Those who subscribed to a baressays.com account...are you able to tell what the difference is between a 70 and a 55? It seems we are still confused about what definitely makes a 70.

- From what I've deduced from our thread so far, graders seem to care about spotting issues more than anything (and "punching" them with it, as 2807 put it). If we are likely to get a grader who doesn't have the willingness to read through the application portion, perhaps we should prioritize more on issue and rules (making this whole thing basically a memory test and I hate memorizing).



A male human,
You should get an account to baressays.com. I find it very helpful. I used it a lot during the summer and less so now. But I can see the difference between a good essay and a bad essay. and after following 2807' advice for a couple of days I think I can see my own improvement.
Bad essays tend to spend a lot of effort on non-issues. People will write a page and a half on Perierra / Van Camp for a CP essay that does not involve SP enhanced by the work of a spouse. Or they will discuss the duty of property owners on an intentional torts and negligence question that does not cover that issue.

Bad essays also look like mine, with, a one or two word Issue, no clear rule statement, a essay type discussion of the facts and the law, ping-pong style arguments (H will argue ... while W will argue...)

One thing to be aware of though... everyone who puts their essays up there failed. So even the guy who got an 85 probably spent 90 minutes on that essay and did not answer one of the other two or something crazy like that. Even the best essays are not always correct or styled well and not always able to be imitated in 60 minutes.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby El Pollito » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:44 am

Do you guys think the BarMax MBE questions are worth buying?

CourtneyElizabeth
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:33 pm

How would you go about using your "Whether" method for this community property question (linked below)?

"Whether H or W have rights in the checking account"? "Whether H has a right to W's savings account"?

I love the idea of the "whether.." and "Because....then..." but I'm having a hard time applying it here.
Also, would there have to be a precursory paragraph defining what Comm Prop, Sep Prop, Transmutation etc etc was?

--LinkRemoved--

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:06 pm

CourtneyElizabeth wrote:How would you go about using your "Whether" method for this community property question (linked below)?

"Whether H or W have rights in the checking account"? "Whether H has a right to W's savings account"?

I love the idea of the "whether.." and "Because....then..." but I'm having a hard time applying it here.
Also, would there have to be a precursory paragraph defining what Comm Prop, Sep Prop, Transmutation etc etc was?

--LinkRemoved--



Ok ! A challenge ! I will look at it later and be back. Busy now.

But-- YES YES YES, you will frequently have a few preliminary BLL statements that lead off and just explain fundamentals that are not clear "issues" that require an IRAC of their own.
You are absolutely right.

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2807
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:22 pm

CourtneyElizabeth wrote:How would you go about using your "Whether" method for this community property question (linked below)?

"Whether H or W have rights in the checking account"? "Whether H has a right to W's savings account"?

I love the idea of the "whether.." and "Because....then..." but I'm having a hard time applying it here.
Also, would there have to be a precursory paragraph defining what Comm Prop, Sep Prop, Transmutation etc etc was?

--LinkRemoved--


Ok, so .. yes. You would do it just like all the rest... with legal issue statements to drive the flow.
And, yes you would start with BLL on:

Community Prop
Personal Prop
Quasi-CP
And whatever else (I forget all the BLL)
(the putative spouse likely is a Topic, with an IRAC)

VERY IMPORTANT-- READ THIS--
BUT-- Your examples (as Issues) above are too vague!!!
Make that issue statement the ACTUAL legal issue.

SO-- Your "rule" is not going to say "H has rights" or " A married man has rights in the stuff"
--your rule is going to address the status of the bank account(s) as "Community or Personal property"

Therefore:

The Bank Accounts

1. Whether the checking account is community or personal Property
Rule: blahblahblah
FACT: The checking account was opened on. The marriage occurred on.. The checking was opened after the marriage, and funded with income earned after the marriage...
Conclusion: Because the checking contained money that was earned after the marriage...
H would get____ and W would get ____

2. Whether the savings account is community or personal property
Rule: Please see above for rule regarding CP
Fact:
Conclusion: Because....... therefore, H and W would _______

Medical Expenses and Reimbursement

1. Whether H can be reimbursed for the $15,000 of inheritance he used for Ws medical expenses

Rule:
Fact:
Conclusion:

-------
I am glad you asked this. You need to see how the trick is to craft that Issue as the ACTUAL LEGAL issue
BE AS PRECISE AS POSSIBLE

It shows the grader you know. Just saying "Whether H has rights" is WAY TOO VAGUE and NOT the way a lawyer would look at this!
That is the way your neighbor who never went to law school would look at it.
YOU KNOW MORE THAN THAT...

SO.... show the grader.

State it as the ACTUAL LEGAL ISSUE.

Which, by the way... FORCES you to STATE THE RULE FOR THAT ISSUE ... NEXT !

See.... there is a method here. :)

And, if it feels redundant.... good !

Legal Issue Spotting is where all the money is.
LEGAL issues
Not "topics"
Not "legal concepts"
Not "stuff to analyze that I know is at issue"

State the actual LEGAL ISSUE.

Well, I think I made that pretty clear.
Do not let me see you EVER craft an issue statement like you did !

That will sink you.
Your brain will be all over the place trying to contain the concept of "H's rights"

Stay focused. Stay small.
This exam can be broken down to many small IRAC's
Use that.

LASTLY: There is a twist/ BLL issue with the marriage not being valid.
I can't remember how to solve that clearly, but either way, you will still craft exact legal issues and then state the rule that applies.
You are likely better at that BLL now than me.
That stuff has left my brain...

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 1swift » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:38 am

hmm...havent logged in here since I was a law school applicant...Now here I am lol.

Missed July by about 30. Very upset at my Essay 4 (Contracts) which was awarded a 50 and a 55 on 2nd read. I felt I hit everything compared to the BarBri outline I got from a friend where they brokedown the essays (I can send the link to this and a video breakdown to anyone who is interested)

I guess my problem was probably organizing and headlines which is where I see 2807 is throwing out some wise words.

Damn I wish I took advantage of the one I was given over the summer... Now I'm conflicted with signing up again or just relying on the released answers.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:44 pm

1swift wrote:hmm...havent logged in here since I was a law school applicant...Now here I am lol.

Missed July by about 30. Very upset at my Essay 4 (Contracts) which was awarded a 50 and a 55 on 2nd read. I felt I hit everything compared to the BarBri outline I got from a friend where they brokedown the essays (I can send the link to this and a video breakdown to anyone who is interested)

I guess my problem was probably organizing and headlines which is where I see 2807 is throwing out some wise words.

Damn I wish I took advantage of the one I was given over the summer... Now I'm conflicted with signing up again or just relying on the released answers.


Please PM me with the video link.
Thanks!

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2807
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:20 pm

One more thing folks:

We have not gone in depth on how to "apply" the facts.
So to keep it simple:

Just state the facts and how they interplay with the law.
You will likely take a position, as the facts generally lead to one.
(ie; It will either be community property at dissolution or not. period.)

THIS IS NOT LAW SCHOOL where the facts are fuzzy borderline nonsense and you argue every angle under the sun and try to use more words than the guy next to you so you feel that you are smarter...
The actual practice of law, and the Bar... are the opposite.
THE TRUTH TAKES VERY FEW WORDS

Be short. be clear. Be right. Be on to the next one...

And, the next one...
If you start saying "However, X may argue...." --- STOP ! !
That is likely another "Issue" and requires another small IRAC !

Try to never say "X will argue this, but Y will argue this.."
Just state the law and the facts... and your conclusion.
The Law and the facts will be the same for both X and Y,
...and the opposite of your conclusion will be the other guy's..
So you do not need to say it.
We get it.

So, watch for blending "Legal Issues" and mistakenly thinking you are "applying the facts"



ONWARD !

AntiHuman
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby AntiHuman » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:20 am

2807 wrote:One more thing folks:

We have not gone in depth on how to "apply" the facts.
So to keep it simple:

Just state the facts and how they interplay with the law.
You will likely take a position, as the facts generally lead to one.
(ie; It will either be community property at dissolution or not. period.)

THIS IS NOT LAW SCHOOL where the facts are fuzzy borderline nonsense and you argue every angle under the sun and try to use more words than the guy next to you so you feel that you are smarter...
The actual practice of law, and the Bar... are the opposite.
THE TRUTH TAKES VERY FEW WORDS

Be short. be clear. Be right. Be on to the next one...

And, the next one...
If you start saying "However, X may argue...." --- STOP ! !
That is likely another "Issue" and requires another small IRAC !

Try to never say "X will argue this, but Y will argue this.."
Just state the law and the facts... and your conclusion.
The Law and the facts will be the same for both X and Y,
...and the opposite of your conclusion will be the other guy's..
So you do not need to say it.
We get it.

So, watch for blending "Legal Issues" and mistakenly thinking you are "applying the facts"



ONWARD !


Damn I wish I read all your posts...is it possible to sum everything up(all these tips youve given) about how to write PT and essay answers? It'd be great to get a general overview in one post.

get it to x
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby get it to x » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:51 am

Good luck to all taking the BarBri mid-term, if you haven't taken it already. Took it yesterday and bombed (94/200) after studying hard and am ready to give up and not sit. I've got the BLL relatively memorized, and didn't even think I was doing poorly when I was taking it.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:30 pm

Howdy folks.

New concept to consider:
When you craft your LEGAL ISSUE, your next sentence WILL BE the RULE.

Therefore:
Your ISSUE and your RULE will mirror each other and share common words.

If not, you are likely wrong on one of them.(or at least, "imprecise")
You should be able to draw lines connecting common words between the Issue and the Rule.


Hopefully that will help some of you.

You may know the "Rule", but can't phrase the Issue succinctly...
So WORK BACKWARDS.

Poach words form the Rule to make your Issue clearer.

So...
RIGHT WAY
THE CHECKING ACCOUNT:
1. Whether the funds in the account are Community or Separate Property at Dissolution

RULE: Community prop is.... and everything else is Separate prop.

See how they match ...

WRONG WAY:
1. Whether H has rights in the Checking account at dissolution:

RULE: Community Prop is.... and everything else is Separate prop..

See how they DO NOT match !


Let this sink in.
This is handy !

Your ISSUE and your RULE must mirror each other.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:36 pm

Is an issue statement inherently "wrong" just because the BLL does not mirror it? What if you started your rule statement with "A spouse has rights in half of CP and all of his SP. CP is ... and SP is ..." and made the issue "H has rights..." -- those statements mirror each other.

Or is it that the issue must be legally specific? (forcing the issue to a BLL, making the rule the true "issue")


And to mirror AntiHuman (who is also my username antipode):
- What is different about PTs? PTs are pretty much a wild card. Your task may be like an essay with multi-element tests where you can use "whether"-type issue statements (the easiest kind of PT, e.g., Snyder v. Regents). Or you may be asked to write a persuasive brief with argumentative headings, not issue statements.
- What about those pesky cases that need to be analogized/distinguished? I tend to mash that part in at the end when I realize I haven't analogized/distinguished any cases. Should they be separated?





get it to x wrote:Good luck to all taking the BarBri mid-term, if you haven't taken it already. Took it yesterday and bombed (94/200) after studying hard and am ready to give up and not sit. I've got the BLL relatively memorized, and didn't even think I was doing poorly when I was taking it.

Aren't BB questions supposed to be harder and/or more ambiguous than real ones? If you already registered for Feb, you might as well take it.




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