MURPH wrote:Yes, they were high and no I did not pass the Cal bar in July. I never really caught the hang of legal writing. At my undergraduate school graduation I won an award for the best student writing. But I got the lowest grade in my legal writing class and just have been utterly frustrated all through law school. I asked the professor for help but he was a dickhead and just gave me some bullshit. In later classes and in my summer jobs my profs and supervisors told me my writing was fine. If I got the chance to write stuff that was not strictly legal I managed to impress people. One memo I wrote about a proposed state constitutional amendment was even circulated to the top level of the City Attorney office with some glowing remarks. But when it comes to writing an answer on a law test I completely fuck things up. I am as frustrated as can be.
I know the law and I do great on the MBE questions. I use BarMax's 99$ app and now I am getting 74% right on evidence and better in all the other subjects. If you are getting 57% I would recommend the app. The fake questions from BarBri and Themis and Siegel's books and other sources are not very good. The BarBri rep told me that BarBri makes their questions harder so that the real questions will be easier on test day. I think this is incorrect. The real questions are statistically normed on prior tests and they are of very high quality. If you know the law, the answers are clearly right or clearly wrong (almost always). The best analogy is using real LSAT questions vs. using bullshit questions from Kaplan or Princeton Review. After doing a few hundred real questions you just get the hang of it. The MBE folks are not trying to really confuse you or make you struggle but I think the BarBri and Seigel's questions do try to make you struggle. In fact, I think they do it to make you feel like shit so that you will think that you passed because of them when in fact you passed in spite of their help.
When I read A Male Human's essay above I recognized that it was poorly written. It was unfocused and confusing. Mine are a lot like that. During a test I make an outline of issues and elements and facts. I feel like I am getting everything. I try writing short paragraphs with clear Issue headlines. But later when I review my answers I miss big issues. My words seem unfocused, like I am making it up as I go along (which I am). I can see the flaws but I can't seem to get it right. I think I'd really like to see some of 2807's writing because his advice seems very good.
This is the best, succinct, info on here regarding MBE's.
They test Black Letter Law.
If you know it, you will get it right.
When you read the q, you will say "oh crap, they are testing that.."
If you know the law for "that" you will see the answer.
Rarely is it tricky.
It is tough becasue it is vast.
The essays are the same way.
They are testing fundamental law, and basic writing skill.
My teacher said:
THE BAR EXAM IS A MILE WIDE, AND AN INCH DEEP.
Happy to help where I can. I had the same struggles as MURPH. I really learned to write better in Bar review than in school.
So, there are many ways to do the bar... BUT what I said earlier is a tried-and-true way to SHOW THE GRADER:
1. you know the issues,
2. the law,
3. and the facts that matter.
This is not law school. This is not an "essay" with an opening paragraph, topic sentence, transitions, body, and closing...
hhahahah.. Good lord, do not do that !
bold and underline.
Bold the topic, underline and number the issue statements.
Just have a pattern and stick to it.
The grader will crack the code, see your pattern, and move along.
Hope this helps.
As you practice:
Highlight or mark the essay where the issues are.
Note the facts that matter.
Then, literally, start filing in the blanks of the "template" you create under a BOLDED topic
like this:CONTRACT FORMATION1. "Whether Bob's inebriated state established a lack of required intent to form a contract"
Rule: Intent, legality, consideration, blah, blah .. (I can't remember ! hahaha)
Now, as you go thru an essay, you can quickly spot the BASIC issues they are testing.
THIS IS NOT LAW SCHOOL.
They are NOT testing nonsense like your teacher would.
Stay on TARGET ! You know the obvious stuff that is at issue....
Address those. move on.
There will be plenty to do.
As you go, highlight the "TOPICS", make quick bold "topics" so you know to return to them and then write the issue statements!
Then, go fact hunting !
Grab a few... :
FACTS: The facts indicate that Bob had been at the bar for 4 hours, he had consumed 7 drinks, and had not eaten food. Sally stated that Bob was slurring, and sleepy, and said he felt "buzzy." Bob could not sign his name clearly, and Bob asked Ted if Ted was an angel. Bob was also asked to leave the bar and was refused service for being too drunk.
Conclusion: The behavior displayed by Bob indicates he was too intoxicated to realize he was signing a contract to sell his land to Ted for 50% of market value. Therefore, the required intent to contract is not met.
NEXT.... repeat.... quick and easy....
You will see, if you know your BLL, and you craft your LEGAL ISSUE statement correctly: These things will write themselves.
Also, remember: For most of these there will be blurbs you have to just state at the start
like.. (for a K): UCC or Restatements, And for Con Law: Standing, etc,,,
Unless those are positioned as actual ISSUES ! Then, do the full IRAC.
Well, hope that helps.
If someone wants to pull an essay from July 2013, we can craft some Topics.. and subsequent issues... and show what we've learned?
You guys can do it. I WISH SOMEONE HAD MADE IT THIS CLEAR TO ME FROM DAY ONE !
This is why I am here to help....
It took my teacher about 7-8 weeks to break thru to me.
And even now.. I see it clearer than when I was in the trenches like you folks.
I hope I am helping.
Good luck !