California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

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zeth006
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby zeth006 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:04 pm

I've started today by going through my Crim/Crim Pro outline and reviewing everything. I plan to issue spot and write out issue statements for a few essay questions and maybe even write a full essay answer. I'm slightly worried that I haven't memorized everything. I've committed to putting in extra time and still giving myself an hour or two a night to rest and blow off steam with Hearthstone.

Any thoughts or advice on how we should be spending our last 2 weeks? I'm all too aware that I'm woefully unprepared.

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

Postby a male human » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:20 pm

I'm gonna do mostly essay practice starting on the 15th.

Reviewing a 200-set MBE takes too long. It's been 5 days and I just finished the 100th question >_<

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby lawdawg09 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:45 pm

Write write write!

There is only so much they can test you on the essays. Your ability to recognize what they are looking for and how to manage the fact pattern is more important than memorization of black letter law at this point.

There are many 65s that got the law wrong. There are many 55s that got the law right but failed to respond correctly to the question.

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

Postby a male human » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:19 pm

Agreed. I started to realize the value of that after talking with MURPH some time ago.

I think my biggest problem is spotting and managing issues. I've always had a tendency to leave out things I feel are non-issues, but anything remotely related to the big issue is probably worth talking about. That was the whole point of creating my condensed outlines. I have a list of possible issues and a short BLL with nuances and exceptions attached to it.

I did a small experiment with con law since it's unlikely to be on the next one and I'm fairly confident in it: I dove into an essay after a quick overview of the issues--no starting by making an outline. I was able to see the major issues, and I used the sample answer to check what I missed. Noted the issues and BLL into my outline. I hope to have a list of the commonly tested issues instead of the entire subject.

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2807
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:20 pm

lawdawg09 wrote:Write write write!

There is only so much they can test you on the essays. Your ability to recognize what they are looking for and how to manage the fact pattern is more important than memorization of black letter law at this point.

There are many 65s that got the law wrong. There are many 55s that got the law right but failed to respond correctly to the question.


I think this is it.
Work on how you will WRITE and FRAME your answers.

You can do MC's and Essay practice at the same time ...
-- Take MC q's and IRAC your answer.

I State the legal Issue, ...NOT THE TOPIC... BE PRECISE !
R then cite the BLL,
A apply the tiny facts,
C and write a conclusion.

That is exactly what you will do on the real essays, just with a few more sentences in each paragraph.

And, if you can't state the legal issue.... you will see what you need to go back to your outline for.

And, if you can't state the BLL.... you will see what you need to go back to your outline for.

At this point YOU HAVE TO APPLY YOUR KNOWLEDGE to test it.

No more boring reading.

You MUST apply it to find your weak spots.
(and expose your strengths!)

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:19 pm

zeth006 wrote:Any thoughts or advice on how we should be spending our last 2 weeks? I'm all too aware that I'm woefully unprepared.


Whatever you do, don't burn yourself out. Ideally, your preparation should've peaked at this point and you just need to maintain what you know already for the last two weeks. Practice daily but do allow enough time to relax. It'll take your mind a while to figure things out and connect the dots.

Don't keep on hammering stuff into your head. You know more than you think.

CourtneyElizabeth
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:21 pm

I don't think I've peaked yet.
Working on a Civ Pro outline today. Not going to bother with CA Civ Pro and it's distinctions. They've NEVER tested on it.

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zeth006
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby zeth006 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:36 pm

Ah, distinctions. Thought I did well on a Crim/Crim Pro essay question which as it turns out had Hearsay laced in it as well. Oh essay questions, you so silly.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:06 pm

Getting increasingly frustrated with the MBE using Barbri's question sets.

I keep getting questions wrong not because I don't understand the law, but because there are judgment calls that I can see go both ways.

For example, I just did a criminal law question (Set#2Question#5 if you are curious) that dealt with conspiracy and burglary.

The question essentially turned on whether the act of stealing cocaine is reasonably foreseeable from a crime of stealing painting.

Now the answer is no, but it is just as possible for Barbri to argue that stealing cocaine is still stealing, and thus is foreseeable.

Another frustrating thing is I seem to be getting a lot of questions wrong even though I remember all the rules and exceptions, but Barbri keep coming up with questions that tricks you into thinking an exception applies when it actually doesn't. Which means I would have gotten the question right if I DON'T know the exception.

Ugh.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:12 pm

GameCube - Don't get too hung up on whether or not you got them right. Make sure you really take time to read the answers because that's where I'm drilling in a lot of BLL. The more you do the more likely you'll see something simlar on the bar and have a great "a-ha!" moment. One down, only 199 to go!

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:37 pm

Has anyone done the Pannine v. Dreslin PT? Hands down the hardest PT I've done. Anyone else find it that way?

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:46 pm

Gamecube, It is a little late in the game and I certainly don't want to sound like a shill for BarMax but you would be much better off using real MBE questions. I can't tell you how much less frustrating it is to answer really well-written, straight forward questions. The MBE questions are developed by expert in law and experts in testing. They are a lot like the LSAT in that the questions have all been tested before they count. Those 10 MBE questions that are not scored on the MBE are being tested for basic fairness. So that if high scoring test-takers are more likely to get the question wrong, then they assume that the question is not well written and they change it or drop it. The result is questions that actually do what they are supposed to do - test your knowledge of the law. From the NCBE website: "After a form of the MBE is administered, any question that performs in an unanticipated manner—is very difficult or is missed by examinees who did well on the rest of the test—is flagged by psychometric experts and reviewed again by content experts on the drafting committees to ensure that no ambiguity exists in the question and that the key (the correct answer) is unequivocally correct."

I've seen the instructors/graders guides for BarBri. They repeatedly warn the graders not to say or write things that will give the students confidence. Never tell a student they are likely to pass or that they are doing better than classmates. The intro to their instructors manual says "do not tell the students they are going to pass." They deliberately create a atmosphere of fear and uncertainty - exactly the opposite of what you are paying them for. They do this so that their students will attribute success to BarBri and attribute failure personal flaws like being overwhelmed and not completing the course, though it is BarBri that makes the course so overwhelming.

The MBE questions BarBri makes up are supposed to confuse you rather than test your knowledge. They tell students that their questions are harder than the real question and that on test day you will thank them. But they really are not harder. They are just not as good. Remeber before law school there were all those LSAT prep courses. Blueprint, TestMasters and Powerscore got rave reviews here on TLS because they used real LSAT questions. Kaplan, Princeton Review and the other big testing companies used their own made up questions. And student who took their courses were constantly frustrated with the test. I was an LSAT tutor and I saw it a dozen times. There is just a huge difference between questions that have been standardized and tested by psychometric experts and those that were produced by private companies for tutoring.

Sorry for the rant. Your frustration is a result of a company that profits off of creating an atmosphere of confusion and fear. That pisses me off. But I realize it is pretty late in the game to be trying something new. If you know the rules and the exceptions you will do well. On test day just keep in mind that the MBE is not trying to confuse you. If you know the law and an answer looks right, it probably is.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:53 pm

MURPH wrote:On test day just keep in mind that the MBE is not trying to confuse you. If you know the law and an answer looks right, it probably is.


Thanks man, your post definitely helped boost my confidence.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:09 pm

Kaplan's aren't confusing. They use a lot of actual old MBE questions. Feel free to send a link or two our way, as I cannot afford any more bar prep courses, online or otherwise.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:22 am

Answer B to Question 1 on the July 2007 Exam. It's Real Property.
My issues with this....
<rant>IT IS ALL OVER THE PLACE. There doesn't seem to be any method to this takers madness.
This taker also mentions things that AREN'T relevant. Implied Warranty of Habitability is only for residential leases. This is NOT a residential lease. So I guess we have to say that it doesn't count in order to show that we know it doesn't count? So much for only mentioning relevant things? I would really enjoy not only a passing essay, but a PERFECT example of an essay. Because that is definitely not one. </rant>

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby fl0w » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:50 am

zeth006 wrote:I've started today by going through my Crim/Crim Pro outline and reviewing everything. I plan to issue spot and write out issue statements for a few essay questions and maybe even write a full essay answer. I'm slightly worried that I haven't memorized everything. I've committed to putting in extra time and still giving myself an hour or two a night to rest and blow off steam with Hearthstone.

Any thoughts or advice on how we should be spending our last 2 weeks? I'm all too aware that I'm woefully unprepared.


i keep feeling like i don't do things the same way as everyone else in here (which trust me, i'm totally fine with), but i spent my entire study period up to a week ago writing. Just open book writing (obv mbe and a few other things but writing was the focus). read the question, see if i can find the issues in my open book BLL then write them up. Helped me understand that if I'd had BLL memorized, i would write a good essay. Helped me focus on STRUCTURE since i wasn't struggling to remember things i hadn't even learned yet. Bonus... as i was doing this i was accidentally memorizing a bit.

a week ago i started my essay review. this is closed book and focused on issue spotting. read all essays in each subject; two subjects per day. read the model answers. There are totally patterns and like others have said, only so many ways they are tested. Make sure i knew how to spot all the things.

for me, the final week is just memorizing. Have a very strict memorization regimen and strategy. based on my schedule, i'm doing ZERO more writing now.
i can spot the issues, i can structure responses, i've accidentally memorized a lot of things. i know which facts apply to which issues. Now for a week straight i'm just memorizing BLL all day erry day. Then at night some MBE review.

And then I pass the bar.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:41 am

I'm depressed because I checked out the 2013 entering class statistics for my school, and the median LSAT dropped into the 150s.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby fl0w » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:17 am

a male human wrote:I'm depressed because I checked out the 2013 entering class statistics for my school, and the median LSAT dropped into the 150s.

dont read any stats on anything between now and the exam. they will almost certainly make you sad because you'll FIND something to be sad about.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:00 am

fl0w wrote:
a male human wrote:I'm depressed because I checked out the 2013 entering class statistics for my school, and the median LSAT dropped into the 150s.

dont read any stats on anything between now and the exam. they will almost certainly make you sad because you'll FIND something to be sad about.

I just hit 47 in Flappy Bird. That made me kind of happy.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:10 pm

2807, how would you handle this in an essay answer? For reference, this is from a contracts essay, 2010 Feb Q1.

Say you have issues that double up: modification and parol evidence rule. In the facts, P and D engaged in an oral communication that seems like a modification but has no consideration. This communication was made after a written, integrated K. So while PER would not bar evidence of the oral communication as a subsequent agreement, it would not be a modification under CL.

How would you separate out the two issues here? They mingle together because when you discuss modification you're presupposing that the communication is an admissible evidence under PER. This means PER should be discussed first, but what if you decide PER applies (assuming different facts or you don't remember the subsequent agreement exception) and you can't use the evidence to modify? Then you can't even get to modification.

It seems like you should discuss both at once like calbar's Answer B did. Maybe "whether P and D made a modification of the contract" and have PER as a heading rather than a statement? Or force PER to exempt the oral comm'n (if plausible under some other exception under the facts) and make that the first issue? IDK

why am i even taking this test

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:45 pm

Issue#1: Whether the Parol Evidence Rule prohibits introduction of P's April 15 conversation with C

The Parol Evidence Rule prohibits the introduction of 1. prior written and 2. Prior oral and 3. contemproaneous oral statements to challenge an otherwise unabiguous written contract that is intended to be the complete statement of the agreement between the parties.

Here, Parol Evidence Rule does not concern the April 15th discussion because the discussion was oral but it was neither prior, nor contemporaneous with the contract that was signed on April first.

Therefore, the Parol Evidence Rule does not prohibit introduction of the April 15th conversation

Issue #2: whether the clause prohibiting oral modifications actually prohibits the modification orally agreed upon on April 15.

Traditionally, the rule was that oral modifications on a contract that prohibited oral modifications were presumptively invalid. Modernly and under the UCC, courts will presume that if an oral modification was made that the parties actually intended to waive the clause prohibiting oral modifications.

Here, the modern law will determine the court's judgement of the clause because the contract is governed by the UCC (See UCC Issue above or below). Here, P called C and told C that he needed more time to complete the project. C reluctantly but clearly agreed to this when she said "I guess we'll have to live with that."

Therefore, under the modern rule and UCC the courts will find that a valid modification was made to the contract on April 15....


I would also discuss time is of the essence and duress (there was no duress in the agreement but one could make a fair analogy to a case where the labors held out for higher pay by refusing to work unlees the boss agreed, but then after the agreement boss paid regular pay. Here, P did not threaten, he merely informed her that it was more difficult than he expected,)

It looks like you were thinking the PER prohibited oral modifications. It does not.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:04 am

Thanks, that's sort of what I had (except under common law, preexisting duty requires new consideration, and this was a services K not applicable under UCC). PER indeed should not bar the oral modification on these facts.

What I'm wondering is... what if slightly different facts or my mistaken/incomplete law on the same facts led me to conclude it did bar evidence of the oral modification? Would it preclude me from talking about modification, or would I need to set up a straw man issue for modification and knock it down despite their telling us not to talk about non-issues?

Speaking of non-issues, is formation of K an issue here? The facts say "entered into a written services contract." I assumed this was a valid K, but the samples all talk about O, A, C.

Nice whether statements btw.
Last edited by a male human on Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:06 am

CourtneyElizabeth wrote:Answer B to Question 1 on the July 2007 Exam. It's Real Property.
My issues with this....
<rant>IT IS ALL OVER THE PLACE. There doesn't seem to be any method to this takers madness.
This taker also mentions things that AREN'T relevant. Implied Warranty of Habitability is only for residential leases. This is NOT a residential lease. So I guess we have to say that it doesn't count in order to show that we know it doesn't count? So much for only mentioning relevant things? I would really enjoy not only a passing essay, but a PERFECT example of an essay. Because that is definitely not one. </rant>


Courtney,
Compare answer A to answer B. Nevermind for a second which the graders would like to see. Which would you rather write? Answer A is easy to write. Each issue is in perfect IRAC form. There are three or four short paragraphs for each issue. The rule is clear. The conclusion is clear and the facts are clear. You will finish in 60 minutes. You will have hit all the issues, maybe not in depth but you'll pick up a lot of points for touching on them.

The other way to do it is to imitate answer B. Write a lot, dense paragraphs discussing all kinds of inferences from the facts and stuff. That is hard to do in 60 minutes and I would not be surprised if it took the tester more than 60 minutes to do it.

Now which would you rather read? You get points for making the lives of the graders easier. If they can grade it in 60 seconds and collect their $3.25 they will be happy with you.

It would be better for all of us to see PERFECT example essays. But that would make life hell for the Bar examiners. If they showed us what perfect essays look like, then in a year or so every applicant would have perfect essay style. Grading on a curve would become impossible, or at least very very challenging because we would all be doing it right. The goal of the bar exam is to limit the number of practicing lawyers. So they give examples of marginally passing essays. They make sure the styles vary so applicants will assume that anything goes or that it is just a ball of confusion as to what they are looking for.

I am striving to write like answer A on all my practice tests because when I imitated essays like answer B I failed. I can't type fast. I can't predict how a grader will recognize things in a big long paragraph like Answer B. But I can do Answer A.
Last edited by MURPH on Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:20 am

A male human,
You are right on the UCC. Of course. In a real exam I'd usually tackle that issue first. That mistake is exactly why the first issue is always UCC or CL. Damn.

I don't think there are a lot of points out for O, A & C and formation defenses. But it does not say "entered into a valid contract" so I think they are looking to see you go through the motions and show that you know what a contract requires. Hit it and move on quickly: Whether there is a contract...A contract is formed when ... Here P agreed to this and D agreed to this...The usuals formation defenses of duress, mutual mistake, etc do not apply...Therefore, there is a valid K.

Those introductory paragraphs are on most model essays. They help you keep things clear in your mind probably more than they earn you points. It just makes your writing more clear if you go through the motions of writing out the terms of the contract, identifying when the contract was agreed upon and all that.

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.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:51 am

I have nothing to add to what Murph said.
He is nailing it.
Think like Murph.

Stay focused.

Write short, powerful, sentences.
Use facts and law at all times.

Here is a good concept a friend said he is using: If the facts address an issue that a lawyer would consider for a moment, then dismiss, you should still address it. (this is your straw man possibly).

As far as K issues: If the facts indicate a "valid" K and move on, you will have to make a judgement call on if you need O A C stuff. If you can rip it out fast to clear your mind, do it. But do it clean and quick... don't make a BAD first impression with the grader by writing a lot about a non-issue.

Just let the grader know that a "valid K" has been addressed. Even by saying "the facts indicate a valid K on DATE, and therefore the required elements of O A C are presumed fulfilled"

Ok, keep it up folks !

ONWARD !

also, I may have my teacher's cut sheet for that K essay with Danco. I'll look for it.




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