California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

AntiHuman
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby AntiHuman » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:46 am

I'm doing:

MBE: 35 timed mbe questions daily first thing in morning and also will do the 4 MBE tests of 100 questions each on adaptibar, also on track to finish all 1530 questions, but the 4 tests of 100 questions each include many of the questions I've already seen? I guess they include those questions in the 1530 offered.

PTs: Already briefly looked over 2 PT's and read the model answers. I hope to finish 6 full length PTs by the end.

I think I have a general gist of what they want us to do. PTs I feel are SUPER important. Bombing one PT(55 or lower) really destroys your score. Find the one timers calculator and plug in the numbers and see.

Any general advice on PTs will be greatly appreciated. All I really know is use IRAC and bold/underline the cases/issues. The HARDEST part is finding the framework. Need help on this.

Essays: As Murph stated above, I am also trying to do 6 essays per area of law. However, I don't do an issue statement. I just have 1-5 words of an issue like how barbri does it. I bold and underline it.

I feel issue spotting is the most important. Any help on issue spotting would be great.


Conclusion: 1530 mbe questions(4 tests of 100 questions each to see how timing is), 6 PTs, 6 essays per subject

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby AntiHuman » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:49 am

ALso, it would be great if someone could post everything related to test instructions, how to install softest/activate it for bar exam, things to bring to exam room...etc

I forgot where they posted this information.

CourtneyElizabeth
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:06 am

AntiHuman - it's all on the website where you can click to get your admission ticket.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:45 am

My strategy for PTs:

- Set Word to Web view instead of print view to simulate the width of the text area on SofTest.

- See whether the file or the library is bigger. Read the shorter one first, then the longer one, then back to the shorter one to connect the dots.

- I hold a pen and a highlighter like chopsticks. Use the pen to trace and circle as I'm reading. Use the highlighter to note "big law"--the ones you need to cite in your answer. These will be obvious because they are general statements applicable to the parties in the case or multi-element/factor tests.

- I use a multicolored pen--red and blue to circle potential arguments for each side and counters. For example, I'll encircle a part of a case in red to "anticipate" (in reality just fitting in the hint they left for us to use, unlike real practice of law) the opponent's argument.

- After every case or page, I type up the highlights and colored portions into my computer. CAP them into your answer later on so you use all the important parts.

- 90 minutes + 90 minutes is a good guideline, but I tend to be lazy and type slowly wondering when the hell I can get out of here, so on the real thing I'm aiming to do something like 75 + 5 rest and/or nap to throw other people off + 100 write since I also like to make my answer look pretty.

- Underline instead of italicize cases so graders easily see I cited the rules.

- Make sure you answer the actual task/questions. That's the first thing that goes on my computer so I can paste that as my main headings.

AntiHuman, for a framework, use the given task/questions as a guide. If they give you 4 questions to answer, you'll have 4 big headings. If they just want you to "write a memo," the big law you pull out will serve as the issues and subissues. From looking at how much notes on law and arguments you have typed up during this process, you can estimate how much time to spend on each section.

Up to you guys whether to listen to someone who got 55s on the crazy July ones. But I used this process on the practice PT I took today (2010 July A), compared it to a 70 answer, and found mine was better (impeach me).
Last edited by a male human on Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

CourtneyElizabeth
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:53 am

The July 2013 PTs were IN. SANE. Makes me think there is no way these Feb ones can be that bad.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:55 am

And my study strategy is pretty bad compared to you guys'. I set 2 days per subject, where I make a condensed outline and issue spot 1-2 essays and maybe do/review some MBEs.

CourtneyElizabeth wrote:The July 2013 PTs were IN. SANE. Makes me think there is no way these Feb ones can be that bad.

Could be a new trend :)

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:54 am

It is my opinion that examinees should always read the 'law' part of the PT first and then proceed to extract the salient rules. These rules should then be organized in a time-saving manner, be that notes, highlights, keywords, numbering, cartoon pictures, whatever. Assume that all the rules are there for a reason and therefore should be used in some way. With the rule organization done, it is time to take a look at the factual scenario. It should be easy to spot the trigger elements for the rules at this point.

PTs are not about understanding rules or deep knowledge of law but instead tests of organization and composure under heavy time-pressure. I feel that they are the 'gimme' section of the bar exam and really lend themselves well to improvement through preparation. Easy points, people.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:44 am

Does SofTest input lag for anyone else? To me, it feels like the screen refreshes about every half second, so I don't immediately see what I typed for a moment. It doesn't sound that bad, but it's like watching a movie at 2 frames per second. It really bothers me when I type my answer. I tried a couple of solutions from online (disabling antivirus), but it didn't work.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby lawdawg09 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:17 pm

July 2013 PTs were way harder than any of the practice ones I did.

People were crying after the Monday one.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby AntiHuman » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:17 pm

Gefuehlsecht wrote:It is my opinion that examinees should always read the 'law' part of the PT first and then proceed to extract the salient rules. These rules should then be organized in a time-saving manner, be that notes, highlights, keywords, numbering, cartoon pictures, whatever. Assume that all the rules are there for a reason and therefore should be used in some way. With the rule organization done, it is time to take a look at the factual scenario. It should be easy to spot the trigger elements for the rules at this point.

PTs are not about understanding rules or deep knowledge of law but instead tests of organization and composure under heavy time-pressure. I feel that they are the 'gimme' section of the bar exam and really lend themselves well to improvement through preparation. Easy points, people.


explain further.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:56 pm

AntiHuman wrote:explain further.


There is not much to explain. Try to work many practice PTs into your preparation schedule and make sure to strictly adhere to the time limit. Place great importance on creating a finished product within the time given to you, even if you don't manage to polish it. Follow any formatting rules given to you to the letter. Deviation is death.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby tessellating » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:51 am

Hi all,

Lurked these boards heavily during the days leading up to, and during, the July 2013 exam. I'm starting to feel the time crunch, yet am finding it difficult to lock myself down and commit to a schedule.

Like A Male Human, I'm averaging about 2 days per subject, though admittedly I haven't been plowing through the material and/or voraciously practicing MBEs and essays like I was last year. I did well on the PTs (70 and 65-- happy to send them over, PM me) that I feel comfortable enough in not practicing any this time around.

As far as MBEs go, my raw score was a 110. I'm doing approximately 40-60 MBEs a day, using Emmanuel's Strategies and Tactics (highly recommended) and an old PMBR book. Some of the PMBR questions are ridiculous (and ridiculously lengthy). At this point, I'm feeling desperate for fresh MBE material. Any recommendations? For background, I took BarBri over the summer and supplemented their MBEs with PMBR.

With essays, my lowest score was 50 and highest was 65. Overall, the essays that received a 65 clearly had a better structure, including succinct and appropriate headings. Although I'm outlining 4-6 essays a day and am using BarEssays and the Bar Code Cheat Sheets to construct my "templates." I'm hesitant to type/write out essays in full for fear of reaching full burnout, but please tell me if I'm being irrational here.

Good luck & godspeed!

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby El Pollito » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:09 am

tessellating wrote:I'm hesitant to type/write out essays in full for fear of reaching full burnout, but please tell me if I'm being irrational here.

Good luck & godspeed!

I didn't do a single full essay for NY, so I don't think it's too crazy. I think it's a better use of time to outline then read model answers.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:28 am

tessellating wrote:Hi all,

Lurked these boards heavily during the days leading up to, and during, the July 2013 exam. I'm starting to feel the time crunch, yet am finding it difficult to lock myself down and commit to a schedule.

Like A Male Human, I'm averaging about 2 days per subject, though admittedly I haven't been plowing through the material and/or voraciously practicing MBEs and essays like I was last year. I did well on the PTs (70 and 65-- happy to send them over, PM me) that I feel comfortable enough in not practicing any this time around.

As far as MBEs go, my raw score was a 110. I'm doing approximately 40-60 MBEs a day, using Emmanuel's Strategies and Tactics (highly recommended) and an old PMBR book. Some of the PMBR questions are ridiculous (and ridiculously lengthy). At this point, I'm feeling desperate for fresh MBE material. Any recommendations? For background, I took BarBri over the summer and supplemented their MBEs with PMBR.

With essays, my lowest score was 50 and highest was 65. Overall, the essays that received a 65 clearly had a better structure, including succinct and appropriate headings. Although I'm outlining 4-6 essays a day and am using BarEssays and the Bar Code Cheat Sheets to construct my "templates." I'm hesitant to type/write out essays in full for fear of reaching full burnout, but please tell me if I'm being irrational here.

Good luck & godspeed!



You're being irrational here

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby El Pollito » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:52 pm

Happy simulated MBE day to me.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby El Pollito » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:04 pm

Are you guys looking at the Cal Bar selected answers? Do we know how well these people did on the essays?

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:31 pm

El Pollito wrote:Are you guys looking at the Cal Bar selected answers? Do we know how well these people did on the essays?

They got "good" grades. They generally write way too much, but they do cover everything you need to know.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:44 pm

El Pollito wrote:Are you guys looking at the Cal Bar selected answers? Do we know how well these people did on the essays?


We know that those who post on Baressays.com failed the bar exam. There is no other way to get your score. But their grade on the individual essays have a wide range so this helps.

We don't know the score on the Cal Bar website. Bar examiners across the country have made a decision to be unhelpful. They have all decided that it is better to show a wide variety of "good" essays than to show model essays. The essays that they show have plenty of mistakes, they are all organized differently, they get the law wrong a lot. This makes life easier for them because if you get a 60 on your essays but it was really good, they can just say "well there are a wide variety of factors we look at and we cannot tell you what those factors are but trust us you deserved a 60." Kind of like asking your professors for feedback after a final - the feedback was never helpful for me.

That having been said there is a difference between essays that get 75 and those that get 55 on Bar Essays. The biggest one I see is that the 55s write about the wrong issues. If you start down the road of writing about solicitation, for example, when there are no words in the essay to suggest that either conspirator encouraged the other you will be heading for disaster. There is no solicitation if it starts out with "A and B agreed to rob a bank" Just as there are no formation issues in contracts if it says "A and B formed a valid contract." Yet the lowest score are filled with these issues.

The highest scores have a different problem. I suspect that because these high scorers failed with at least one high score, they must have time management problems. They probably spent 90 minutes getting that 75 and had a disaster on another essay or maybe just did not do one. It sometimes is a bad idea to emulate them, especially if, like me, you are not fast. I read slow and type even slower. (But I am improving.)

Here is a guy explaining why the Cal Bar sample essays are not very good. --LinkRemoved--

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:02 pm

tessellating wrote:Hi all,

Lurked these boards heavily during the days leading up to, and during, the July 2013 exam. I'm starting to feel the time crunch, yet am finding it difficult to lock myself down and commit to a schedule.

Like A Male Human, I'm averaging about 2 days per subject, though admittedly I haven't been plowing through the material and/or voraciously practicing MBEs and essays like I was last year. I did well on the PTs (70 and 65-- happy to send them over, PM me) that I feel comfortable enough in not practicing any this time around.

As far as MBEs go, my raw score was a 110. I'm doing approximately 40-60 MBEs a day, using Emmanuel's Strategies and Tactics (highly recommended) and an old PMBR book. Some of the PMBR questions are ridiculous (and ridiculously lengthy). At this point, I'm feeling desperate for fresh MBE material. Any recommendations? For background, I took BarBri over the summer and supplemented their MBEs with PMBR.

With essays, my lowest score was 50 and highest was 65. Overall, the essays that received a 65 clearly had a better structure, including succinct and appropriate headings. Although I'm outlining 4-6 essays a day and am using BarEssays and the Bar Code Cheat Sheets to construct my "templates." I'm hesitant to type/write out essays in full for fear of reaching full burnout, but please tell me if I'm being irrational here.

Good luck & godspeed!


I agree. You are being irrational. Not writing out full essays in a timed, simulated manner is a terrible idea. Please, sit down and do three essays on three subjects that you've already outlined in three hours. I would hate to see you walk out of the exam saying that you only spent 30 minutes on the third essay. Or that you had a great outline with nice titles and a really organized format but that your discussions were confused and issues conflated and conclusions were wishy washy. This is exactly what I did by the way.

For MBE's I recommend the BarMax app for $99 on your iphone if you have one. It costs a little more than a new Emmanual's book but the questions are all real MBE questions from the NCBE that have been used on previous bar exams. You get 1400+ questions and it tracks you scores in each subject so you will know if you need to work on Evidence or Crim or whatever. This is a new app but in a year or two I am certain that everyone will be using it. It is so much better than the BarBri or Seigel's or Emmanuel's books.

You also wrote that you are not practicing PTs. Since you did well on them, it is probably OK to go easy on them. But still, try to do a one or two in the next two weeks.

Anyway, good luck. I don't agree with the plan you described but what do I know? I failed last time so my advice is questionable at best.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:15 pm

tessellating wrote:With essays, my lowest score was 50 and highest was 65. Overall, the essays that received a 65 clearly had a better structure, including succinct and appropriate headings. Although I'm outlining 4-6 essays a day and am using BarEssays and the Bar Code Cheat Sheets to construct my "templates." I'm hesitant to type/write out essays in full for fear of reaching full burnout, but please tell me if I'm being irrational here.

Good luck & godspeed!


I believe writing out some essays is pretty essential to prepare adequately. I understand time constraints in preparation but the bar exam is not only about testing legal knowledge or understanding, but also about seeing how candidates hold up under stress and pressure.
I would closely mimic real test conditions and do as many essays as you will be asked to do within your jurisdiction within the same time limit just to make sure you know what will be waiting for you on test day. Don't underestimate the negative effects caused by fatigue and stress.

It's a bit like firing a gun. You might be a decent marksman on the range, but it's a different story on the battlefield when the enemy is shooting back at you.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby fl0w » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:32 pm

a male human wrote:My strategy for PTs:
- See whether the file or the library is bigger. Read the shorter one first, then the longer one, then back to the shorter one to connect the dots.

- I use a multicolored pen--red and blue to circle potential arguments for each side and counters. For example, I'll encircle a part of a case in red to "anticipate" (in reality just fitting in the hint they left for us to use, unlike real practice of law) the opponent's argument.

- After every case or page, I type up the highlights and colored portions into my computer. CAP them into your answer later on so you use all the important parts.


I'll start by saying different things work for different people but...

I'd say never read the file first unless the instructions direct you to respond to a document in the file directly. Why would you read the file first when all of the law you need and the vast majority of the issues are in the library?

I'd also say read the cases FAR more selectively. The facts and procedural history of the cases don't matter for shit. As in, don't even read them. You're just looking for the rule. Pull it out. Any facts you use should be from the PT fact pattern, not comparing to any cases in the file.

Finally i'd say try really hard not to read anything twice. You're burning time. That's why you have scratch paper so you can make notes of important things and not have to read them again.

But like I said, everyone has their methods. I might sound like a crazy person to you guys after saying those two things.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby lawdawg09 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:12 pm

I passed in July - not sure by how much but here are some tips that stuck to and found useful.

Every day from now until the bar sit down and blast out three essays in a row. Pick them randomly and just replicate the exam conditions. When you are done, review the model answers and go back and redline your essays to see where you missed things. Also, write out the model rule statements.

On rule statements - I never felt as if I mastered all of the nuisances. Rather I took a general approach where I knew enough about the rule and the law to just wing it with a semi correct general rule statement. On every essay last july, I made at least one rule up and just went with it. I think the rules I used were generally correct but may not have conformed exactly to the BLL. If you cannot recall the third element to the dormant commerce clause - forget about it and just start analyzing the facts. I feel too many people freeze up when they cannot put the rule perfectly. It matters less than you would think.

I made a point to argue every possible point I could by using as many facts as possible. Barbri said that the knowledge of the law matters less - rather the graders focus more on your ability to find relevant facts and argue both sides. If you find yourself stuck then just look at the facts. They are there for a reason and can usually point you to the directon to make up a rule to apply that will be close to what they are testing. Make something up that will give you an opportunity to show the grader that you can do legal analysis.

With MBE - make a flash card of the BLL of every question you get wrong or you have to guess and get right. Just writing down the law helps.

tessellating
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby tessellating » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:24 pm

I'd say never read the file first unless the instructions direct you to respond to a document in the file directly. Why would you read the file first when all of the law you need and the vast majority of the issues are in the library?


THIS. But above all, read the instructions first. If your supervising attorney gave you an assignment along with a stack of 6 cases and 3 code sections from the CCP, would you read the latter first? Doubtful.

I'd also say read the cases FAR more selectively. The facts and procedural history of the cases don't matter for shit. As in, don't even read them. You're just looking for the rule. Pull it out. Any facts you use should be from the PT fact pattern, not comparing to any cases in the file.


THIS TOO. Unless the case is analogous to the case at present, then by all means I'd make it a heading and explain away.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby AntiHuman » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:26 pm

And for MBE's...read the call first, briefly look at answer choices to get a sense of subject/issues, then read the fact pattern?

PT's->instructions, then library, then file?

Heres what I do for PTs:

1. read intructions hopefully to get the framework. The hardest part if finding the framework.

2. read the library to gather the rules I think might apply. I also have a hard time finding which rules might apply. I write out the entire rule word for word in softest under the issue headings. Writing out the entire rule takes a lot of time, but it helps when I'm reading the file to know exactly which fact goes under each rule because the rule is clear and written out so I can understand it as opposed to putting it in short form/paraphrase.

And you are saying skim over the cases and just ignore the facts and try to pull the rules? How do we know if we need to use the facts of the library cases?

3. read the library slowly and make sure to put all relevant facts under each rule. I also write out the entire fact word for word. This takes a lot of time too.

This all takes me about 2-2.5 hours. For the remainder of the time, I just focus on organization, any statement of facts and tidying it all up.

In other words, I don't even outline. JUst find the framework, write out entire rules word for word, write out entire facts word for word and come to conclusions?

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby tessellating » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:33 pm

MURPH wrote:
tessellating wrote:Hi all,

Lurked these boards heavily during the days leading up to, and during, the July 2013 exam. I'm starting to feel the time crunch, yet am finding it difficult to lock myself down and commit to a schedule.

Like A Male Human, I'm averaging about 2 days per subject, though admittedly I haven't been plowing through the material and/or voraciously practicing MBEs and essays like I was last year. I did well on the PTs (70 and 65-- happy to send them over, PM me) that I feel comfortable enough in not practicing any this time around.

As far as MBEs go, my raw score was a 110. I'm doing approximately 40-60 MBEs a day, using Emmanuel's Strategies and Tactics (highly recommended) and an old PMBR book. Some of the PMBR questions are ridiculous (and ridiculously lengthy). At this point, I'm feeling desperate for fresh MBE material. Any recommendations? For background, I took BarBri over the summer and supplemented their MBEs with PMBR.

With essays, my lowest score was 50 and highest was 65. Overall, the essays that received a 65 clearly had a better structure, including succinct and appropriate headings. Although I'm outlining 4-6 essays a day and am using BarEssays and the Bar Code Cheat Sheets to construct my "templates." I'm hesitant to type/write out essays in full for fear of reaching full burnout, but please tell me if I'm being irrational here.

Good luck & godspeed!


I agree. You are being irrational. Not writing out full essays in a timed, simulated manner is a terrible idea. Please, sit down and do three essays on three subjects that you've already outlined in three hours. I would hate to see you walk out of the exam saying that you only spent 30 minutes on the third essay. Or that you had a great outline with nice titles and a really organized format but that your discussions were confused and issues conflated and conclusions were wishy washy. This is exactly what I did by the way.

For MBE's I recommend the BarMax app for $99 on your iphone if you have one. It costs a little more than a new Emmanual's book but the questions are all real MBE questions from the NCBE that have been used on previous bar exams. You get 1400+ questions and it tracks you scores in each subject so you will know if you need to work on Evidence or Crim or whatever. This is a new app but in a year or two I am certain that everyone will be using it. It is so much better than the BarBri or Seigel's or Emmanuel's books.

You also wrote that you are not practicing PTs. Since you did well on them, it is probably OK to go easy on them. But still, try to do a one or two in the next two weeks.

Anyway, good luck. I don't agree with the plan you described but what do I know? I failed last time so my advice is questionable at best.


Thanks for the recommendation on BarMax, much appreciated! Downloading it tonight.

As for the essays, the reason why I'm focusing on tighter, cleaner outlines is because of my lack of organization on the July 2013 essays. I was 10 raw writing points away from passing and had I structured the essays better, I'm convinced I would have passed. The reason why I scored decently on the PTs is due to the fact that I used headings that I could follow and build my analysis on to ensure that I wouldn't veer off course. Definitely recognizing that time management is a potential game-changer. My problem isn't time management per se, but that my lack of ability to structure an essay on a somewhat shakier topic (e.g. real property) induces slight panic and fluff writing rather than substantive analysis.




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