California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

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MURPH
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:50 am

a male human wrote:For retakers, did anyone have a high MBE score? I heard a myth that if you score well on MBE (results are much faster), the essays are assumed to be of good quality and not judged as harshly to save time. Wondering if that's just a myth or has some truth to it.


I had high scores on the MBE. mostly 75 -80 %. My lowest was about 67% on evidence and the highest, I think was 82% on crim/crim pro. (I don't have the scores with me since I am at work, but that was about right.) I read a few things about how these are graded and the folks who grade the essays do not see the MBE or the other essays besides the one they are grading.
My essasy were between 55 and 65.

shemeshka
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby shemeshka » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:23 am

Hey, does anyone have their admission ticket for the bar ready for print when you visit Calbar website? Or it is too early yet?

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:20 am

I got an email with a link to my admission ticket.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby ndirish2010 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:46 pm

My admission ticket became available on 1/13

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby abcdee » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:18 pm

MURPH wrote:
a male human wrote:For retakers, did anyone have a high MBE score? I heard a myth that if you score well on MBE (results are much faster), the essays are assumed to be of good quality and not judged as harshly to save time. Wondering if that's just a myth or has some truth to it.


I had high scores on the MBE. mostly 75 -80 %. My lowest was about 67% on evidence and the highest, I think was 82% on crim/crim pro. (I don't have the scores with me since I am at work, but that was about right.) I read a few things about how these are graded and the folks who grade the essays do not see the MBE or the other essays besides the one they are grading.
My essasy were between 55 and 65.


Those are exceptionally high marks. Did you take the CA bar and did you pass the bar? How much should people scoring in the 57% overall be worried?

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:57 pm

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.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:01 am

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.

repeat.


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 !

THINK :

STRUCTURE... FOCUS.....OUTLINE.

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 FORMATION

1. "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)

Facts:

Conclusion:


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... :

so:

TOPIC
ISSUE Statement
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....

Relax.

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 !
Last edited by 2807 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:53 am

also:

I had at least 5 "Indian Land" v Fed Law MBE questions.

I knew nothing...

Go find the basic rules for Indian reservation and fed law interplay.

I doubt they are testing anything other than the most basic concepts ...
of which I knew none.

That was a loss of easy points!

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:54 am

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.

Thanks... lol. I still got a 60 on it even though I was kind of guessing the whole time. I have the rest of my essays scanned if anyone wants to cringe at some 55s or even my sole 65.

The pattern I notice is that the more you write, the worse it becomes. Like know enough prose and see enough connections to be confusing instead of organized within the limited time. If you write well, you probably take the time to organize all your thoughts in more than 1 hour. Trick of the day: Write succinctly and write LESS. Instead of a clusterfuck of information, I now try to separate each element, each issue, making it simple. I don't know if the graders at Kaplan are more generous now, but I've only been getting "green" grades (for all 4 submitted so far). Here is an excerpt from the latest one I submitted (will update with score later):

2006 July Q6 (wills & trusts)
(2) Whether Sunnyside’s can substitute Sunnyside for Happy Home as the beneficiary
Whether the trust is valid
A valid trust requires 1) present intent to create a trust, 2) testamentary capacity, 3) identifiable corpus, 4) ascertainable and definite beneficiary, and 5) proper purpose. A proper purpose can generally be anything as long as it is not contrary to public policy.

Present intent to create a trust
Here, Tom wrote, “I give the residue of my estate in trust.” This is a present intent to create a trust rather than a future plan or desire to create a trust.

Testamentary capacity
Here, as established above, Tom had the testamentary capacity to execute the 2003 instrument, so it is applicable in the same way for the trust portion of his will.

Identifiable corpus
Tom identified two sets of property: $100,000 to Nan and the residue to Happy Home. Since Tom died with an estate worth one million dollars, each corpus is identifiable.

Beneficiary
Tom clearly named two beneficiaries: Nan and Happy Home. Lilly is named as the trustee, but she is not a beneficiary.

Proper purpose
Here, Tom left the residue of his estate to Happy Home because it “does such important work for the aged who are disabled.” This is not contrary to public policy since it helps the elderly.

Thus, the trust is valid.

Whether cy pres doctrine applies
Under the cy pres doctrine, if the original charitable purpose of a trust can no longer be pursued, the trustee and the court can consider changing the purpose of the trust to one as near as the original purpose as possible. The settlor’s intent can be investigated by looking at the instrument and extrinsic evidence.

Here, Tom created a charitable trust, in which the purpose of the trust was to further the health, education, or welfare of the public. He left it “for the continued care of the disabled elderly.” In fact, this purpose grew stronger when he believed he needed to do more for the disabled elderly. If the court admits the 2004 will (which is invalid), it will show that Tom wanted to leave his “entire estate to Happy Home in trust for the continued care of the disabled elderly.” These words show that he desired that the disabled elderly be cared for.

Here, Sunnyside is also a charitable convalescent hospital, which cares for disabled persons of all ages. In contrast, Happy Home specialized in caring for the disabled elderly. It is unclear whether Tom would have had the same charitable feeling toward a hospital that takes patients with general disability, not the elderly. Since the court will want to apply cy pres as close to the settlor’s original purpose as possible, Sunnyside will likely not be substituted as a beneficiary.

Therefore, the court should deny Sunnyside’s petition to be a substitute beneficiary of Tom’s estate.

Check out the 2807's "whether" statements. A Kaplan grader once commented that my issues were easy to follow in an essay full of "whether."

Actually I'm not sure if the above is all that great because I haven't really weaved in "since" and "because" to connect facts to the law, rather than just reciting them.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:03 am

It's reminiscent of 7th grade algebra, when I was first told to "show your work." At first, I drew arrows and words showing ALL my thinking. But there was a more elegant approach where you go line by line, listing result after result as you simplify each statement. What I did in July was show a clusterfuck of arrows. Instead, I need to find a balance where I write simply yet without leaping into conclusions. Well, if I knew how to do that in school and on the bar I wouldn't be in this mess.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:46 pm

a male human wrote:It's reminiscent of 7th grade algebra, when I was first told to "show your work." At first, I drew arrows and words showing ALL my thinking. But there was a more elegant approach where you go line by line, listing result after result as you simplify each statement. What I did in July was show a clusterfuck of arrows. Instead, I need to find a balance where I write simply yet without leaping into conclusions. Well, if I knew how to do that in school and on the bar I wouldn't be in this mess.


Hallelujah!
We are having a breakthrough !
GO GO GO !

You are getting it !

Ok, so .. your essay:

What is the "(2)" statement? Is that a "Topic" or a an "Issue" statement?
I don't like the two whether statements on top of each other.
Make it clear for the grader.
--Have a "Topic" (shows the main point you are about to address)
--Then start your IRAC(s), with numbered and underlined issue statements !

I think your "(2)" is actually the TOPIC ?
Is this clearer...?

Sunnyside's ability to substitute as beneficiary
(this is just a Topic to alert the grader..)

*** you could even put a "Topic sentence" right under the topic that explains what is about to be addressed/IRCA'd:
i.e: If a valid trust exhausts its purpose, the res and intent of the trust can be transferred to a different beneficiary via a process called Cy Pres." This little primer may help you and the grader bridge any gaps or "where are we headed here..?"

1. Whether the trust is valid


Rule
Facts
Conclusion

2. Whether Sunnyside is comparable to Happy Home so that Cy Pres Docrtine Applys?


rule
facts
conclusion

Try to make that ISSUE a pertinent legal issue ! !
Just saying "whether cy pres applies" is close, (and probably will work in this context), but you can strive to add a few more words to make it a clearer more direct legal issue. Technically, your "issue" statement is not specific to the facts and could be in a Con Law or PR essay for all we know because it did not include facts to make it specific to the legal issue at hand.

So, the clearer and more precise the better. See if my example helps make the point. Just a few more words and you nail it.

Remember, the clearer you set out this structure the more likely the grader will be fly over your essay and pass you !
They will see you have the issues, know the applicable law, and you drop in facts professionally.

You are doing it ! !

NOW:
If you were really really in a pinch: You can even do some of these in one sentence.

Issue, law, facts: all in one....

Whether the "help the poor in Blackacre" purpose of trust B can suffice for Ts intent to "help the needy in Blackacre" in trust A, and therefore fulfill the doctrine of Cy Pres which allows the transfer of a trust to another when the former's intent is exhausted and the later can reasonably continue the Testator's desire.

Conclusion...

Ok, I made that up on the fly, but you get the idea.
Really that is all you are doing, but you break it down (of course).

You are on your way. Your structure is vastly improved. Now, start refining. Yes, clear short powerful fact-filled sentences.
WRITE STRONG. WRIITE FOCUSED. WRITE CLEARLY. WRITE LESS.

TOPIC

1. ISSUE

FACT
FACT
FACT

Conclusion: Because.... (fact-to-law summation) __________________ .


2. Issue (still under same Topic)

Fact
Fact
Fact

Conclusion: Because .... (fact-to-law summation)____________________.


repeat.



ONWARD !

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:06 pm

Yeah, the (2) was actually one of the two interrogatories. Since I directly answer that question in the end, I left it as a "whether" statement. Maybe I could invert your suggestion so that I keep "(2) Whether..." and make the subheadings simply "Validity of the Trust" and "Cy Pres"?

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:22 pm

a male human wrote:Yeah, the (2) was actually one of the two interrogatories. Since I directly answer that question in the end, I left it as a "whether" statement. Maybe I could invert your suggestion so that I keep "(2) Whether..." and make the subheadings simply "Validity of the Trust" and "Cy Pres"?


Sure. Go with a process and consistent pattern that makes sense to you.
I am happy to see you progress to see the options!

Just make sure you have a legal issue statement that begs the next sentence to be the Rule.. and so forth..

DO NOT make the sin of confusing a "Topic" with an "Issue".

That is my main goal here with you guys !

And, I keep forgetting to emphasize that many of the essays will start out with a few BLL statements/rules that just flat-out apply... (like UCC, or standing, or prop 8, or whatever it may be... Make sure you get those out of the way !

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:27 am

WELP, after reading everyones posts for a while, I figured I'd register.
I'm studying for the Feb 2014 CA bar exam after failing the July 2013 by about 30 points. Might as well have been 1000.
I STILL can't shake the feeling of absolute dread about this test, or get my confidence up at all.

Help. Please. I'm kind of flailing about because I don't have a schedule to adhere to and I'm not going along with Kaplan this time (can you blame me?!).
I have Critical Pass MBE flash cards, some great outlines for the non MBE topics... SEE?! Told you I needed help!

e-mail address edited out because it's not the best idea to post your real e-mail here - if you want to exchange e-mails the PM function is better

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:40 am

Hello Courtney--

I can't really lay out a plan for you, but I can say this:

Go to the CA Bar website. Get the old essays and do them all.
Then work off of those to see what you missed and where you struggle.

Learn that black letter law, and read the posts in here on how to craft essays.

Go do many many essays. You will only learn one way... the long way.

Did your essays from July have a solid structure like I have been talking about?

Also, try to use multiple choice questions as tiny little essays fact patterns (there are a million of them out there on all topics).
See if you can craft the issue, rule, apply the tiny-facts, and make a conclusion.

You can do 10 on each topic as tiny essay drills.

Find your weakness, repair your weakness !

So, in review:

1. Make a folder for EACH topic covered on the Bar
2. Go to the CA Bar website, download the essays and answers. Categorize them.
3. Find 10 MC Q's for EACH topic on the bar and use them as tiny essay fact patterns
4. Start your essay practicing.... TOPIC, Issue, Rule, Fact(s), Conclusion.... repeat.

Don't forget PT's. They are the one place to "game" the points. You MUST MUST MUST nail those !
There is a structure and an approach to get points.

Go review your material from July and see what you were weak on too.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:46 am

DwightSchruteFarms wrote:
zeth006 wrote:I would love to join ya, but it's over an hour drive to UCLA and probably more than that for rush hour traffic. I've been camping it out at the Chapman law library.


No worries at all. ANyone studying at UCLA? I'm commuting from Tarzana so the valley also works...just don't know of any law libraries in the area.


Hey, I'm actually down in Hermosa...I'd love a study buddy. Or at least someone to attempt to keep me on track. I feel like I'm all over the place (see my previous post).

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:56 am

2807 wrote:Hello Courtney--

I can't really lay out a plan for you, but I can say this:

Go to the CA Bar website. Get the old essays and do them all.
Then work off of those to see what you missed and where you struggle.

Learn that black letter law, and read the posts in here on how to craft essays.

Go do many many essays. You will only learn one way... the long way.

Did your essays from July have a solid structure like I have been talking about?

Also, try to use multiple choice questions as tiny little essays fact patterns (there are a million of them out there on all topics).
See if you can craft the issue, rule, apply the tiny-facts, and make a conclusion.

You can do 10 on each topic as tiny essay drills.

Find your weakness, repair your weakness !

So, in review:

1. Make a folder for EACH topic covered on the Bar
2. Go to the CA Bar website, download the essays and answers. Categorize them.
3. Find 10 MC Q's for EACH topic on the bar and use them as tiny essay fact patterns
4. Start your essay practicing.... TOPIC, Issue, Rule, Fact(s), Conclusion.... repeat.

Don't forget PT's. They are the one place to "game" the points. You MUST MUST MUST nail those !
There is a structure and an approach to get points.

Go review your material from July and see what you were weak on too.



Thanks! Yeah, I jotted down your tips for essay structure. I had a bar prof. look over my essays. They were very consistent (60-65). What killed me was the MBE. Do you suggest I answer all of the essay questions I can, or just read the essays and answers?

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby a male human » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:24 am

I'd try a fully written answer for at least one per subject and analyze it with the model answers. And if you have time for other essays, outline them with issues and quick rules and facts. I'm sure your hands are full with whatever else you're doing (outlining, MBE, etc.).

Would you be willing to share some of your 60-65 essays?

Same with anyone else willing to share their past exams or essays being graded by tutors. Here are my July answers: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wbtgcjgz8tlxebf/9HtyHSHsjM
In order, I got 60, 65, 55, 55, 55, 50 for the essays.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:27 am

CourtneyElizabeth wrote:
2807 wrote:Hello Courtney--

I can't really lay out a plan for you, but I can say this:

Go to the CA Bar website. Get the old essays and do them all.
Then work off of those to see what you missed and where you struggle.

Learn that black letter law, and read the posts in here on how to craft essays.

Go do many many essays. You will only learn one way... the long way.

Did your essays from July have a solid structure like I have been talking about?

Also, try to use multiple choice questions as tiny little essays fact patterns (there are a million of them out there on all topics).
See if you can craft the issue, rule, apply the tiny-facts, and make a conclusion.

You can do 10 on each topic as tiny essay drills.

Find your weakness, repair your weakness !

So, in review:

1. Make a folder for EACH topic covered on the Bar
2. Go to the CA Bar website, download the essays and answers. Categorize them.
3. Find 10 MC Q's for EACH topic on the bar and use them as tiny essay fact patterns
4. Start your essay practicing.... TOPIC, Issue, Rule, Fact(s), Conclusion.... repeat.

Don't forget PT's. They are the one place to "game" the points. You MUST MUST MUST nail those !
There is a structure and an approach to get points.

Go review your material from July and see what you were weak on too.



Thanks! Yeah, I jotted down your tips for essay structure. I had a bar prof. look over my essays. They were very consistent (60-65). What killed me was the MBE. Do you suggest I answer all of the essay questions I can, or just read the essays and answers?



Ok ! Good for you on the essay scores ! You are very close !

So, you may be able to clean up your style and form, and brush up on BLL (black letter law) and do ok !

I am not a fan of just "reading" other essay's answers. I think you will say "Yep, I would have done that.."
It's up to you to see if you can learn that way..

You would be better off at least doing a skeleton version of an answer..
Try one? Maybe just write out the issues and then check and see if saw them all....
And, if you write an issue that you DO NOT know the rule for... well... you need to study !

As far as MBE... Those test fundamental black letter law. So, review review review.
When you read a Q, ask yourself "what is this question really testing me on"
It will help you focus. But if you know the BLL, you will know that answer.

There is only one way to know.... you have to do a bunch.

Do you have practice MC's and explanations of the answers?

I have heard a good way is to take the ones you get wrong and WRITE out the rule.
You have to find a way to learn that BLL.

Then test yourself with the MC's and repeat.

There are tactics to MC. Basically it is a way to cross off answers.

1. Any two answers that say the same thing = both wrong
2. Any answer that adds facts = apply those facts and beware !
3. When comparing 2 answers: take the one that generally comes first if there is an element issue ( i.e.: a formation answer over a breach answer)
4. Generally "privileges and immunities" is the WRONG answer.
5. When ConLaw: Remember the scrutinies and protected classes: and that will clear up answers about Due Process and EP (if the person in the Q is not a protected class, or it is not a fundamental right, these answers will NOT be right !) This is very common ! !

Hmmm, if I think of more I'll come back. I will check my old notes for any more MC advice.

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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:13 am

[quote="a male human"]I'd try a fully written answer for at least one per subject and analyze it with the model answers. And if you have time for other essays, outline them with issues and quick rules and facts. I'm sure your hands are full with whatever else you're doing (outlining, MBE, etc.).

Would you be willing to share some of your 60-65 essays?

Same with anyone else willing to share their past exams or essays being graded by tutors. Here are my July answers: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wbtgcjgz8tlxebf/9HtyHSHsjM
In order, I got 60, 65, 55, 55, 55, 50 for the essays.[/]

I mailed my essays to a bar prof where I went to school for further analysis. I can have him scan them in and send them back that way. I'll PM you when I get them.

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MURPH
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby MURPH » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:23 am

Here is a clip of my CP essay - just the Van Camp / Periera part. I think this is where the points were. Someone on baressays.com got an 85 and spent most of the time on this section. The one I handed in in July is first, followed by my attempt to rewrite using "whether" statement for the issue. In the July version I clumped both analyses into one and that was a big mistake. My graders gave me 50 and 55 on this. It was my lowest score. If A Male Human or 2807 or Courtney or anyone else wants to give me some critical feedback I'd really appreciate it.

July Bar
1.B THE RESTAURANT
ORIGINS
All property received as a gift or inheritance is separate property. The proceeds of separate property remain separate property. Here Wendy inherited $150,000. This inheritance is her separate property. It remains separate property when she uses it to buy a restaurant for $100,000.
HANK’S LABOR
All earnings during marriage are community property. Hank worked in the restaurant. His labor increased the value of the restaurant from $100,000 to $300,000. This is similar to a Van Camp / Perrierra problem where one person’s labor during marriage increases the value of that person’s separate property business. This is different in that the separate property belongs not to the spouse doing the labor but to the other spouse.
Wendy is owner of the restaurant. Hank is a manager. Wendy will argue that he is merely her employee and as such his earnings are community property while the increase in value of her separate property restaurant belongs to her alone. This makes sense because, had Wendy hired another manager, Hank would likely have no claim on the increase in value of her property - just as he would have no claim on the increase in value of her stock or any other separate property.
Hank on the other hand will argue that such a simple division - between her separate property and his labor does not really describe what occurred. Her property increased SOLELY because of her effort, skill and labor. So the $200,000 increase represents his earnings and as such it ought to be treated as community property. The facts are clear that the restaurant did not prosper because of a general increase in the market or in the restaurant business but solely due to his labor. That means she cannot claim that the value was due to her investment in her separate property.
I think Hank’s argument is the stronger one, though it is close. The $100,000 initial investment belongs to Wendy. The $200,000 increase is value belongs to the community.



Rewrite with 2807’s method

Van Camp / Periera

Two calculation methods are used when community property enhances the value of separate property. The methods are Periera method and Van Camp method. Van Camp method gives community a standard wage and attributes the rest of the increase in value to separate property when market forces primarily drove capital appreciation. Periera method gives a standard return on investment to the owner of separate property and attributes the rest of the increase in value to community property when the entrepreneurial talents and efforts of the owner primarily drove the capital appreciation.

1.B.1) Community Interest in Separate Property Under Periera


“Whether Hanks labor was the primary cause of the increase in value of the restaurant”



The rule under Periera is that if an asset is of the type that increases in value primarily because of the efforts and talents of the owner an average return on investment is attributed to the owner (as SP) and the rest of the increase in value is attributed to the owner’s effort (as CP). 



The restaurant was bought with W’s SP. But Hank managed it. The facts state that Hank’s efforts were the sole cause of the increase in value. The facts also state that in applying for the bank loan Hank had a salary. This implies that he was employed at the restaurant. In the typical Pereira case, the owner - not an employed spouse - is the one whose entrepreneurial efforts increase the value. Here it is the non-owning spouse - Hank - whose talents and effort drove the increase in value. Whether it is the owning spouse or the non-owning spouse whose talents and efforts drive the increase in value should not matter because either spouse’s work effort is considered CP. So Hank’s CP caused the increase in value and Periera is the appropriate method to distribute the value of the restaurant.



Under Periera W will be entitled to her $100,000 investment plus a standard return on investment. If 12% is a rough estimate of the standard rate of return then W’s rate of return after 4 years is $50,000. She gets $150,000 as SP and the remaining $150,000 is CP.

(Repeat using Van Camp)

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2807
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:31 pm

Rewrite with 2807’s method (by 2807..)

THE RESTAURANT

Van Camp / Periera considerations for SP and CP portions of the $XXXX growth.

Two calculation methods are used when community property enhances the value of separate property. The methods are Periera method and Van Camp method. (is this correct BLL?-- I think you mean to say: Two calculation methods are used to account for any growth/equity in separate property) --"community property" enhancing the value is not the issue-- it is labor/skill at issue !

Van Camp method gives community a standard wage and attributes the rest of the increase in value to separate property when market forces primarily drove capital appreciation.

Periera method gives a standard return on investment to the owner of separate property and attributes the rest of the increase in value to community property when the entrepreneurial talents and efforts of the owner primarily drove the capital appreciation.

Periera Analysis of Community Interest in Separate Property

1. Whether Hank's labor was the primary cause of the increase in value of the restaurant (NO QUOTING YOURSELF)



The rule under Periera is that if an asset is of the type that increases in value primarily because of the efforts and talents of the owner an average return on investment is attributed to the owner (as SP) and the rest of the increase in value is attributed to the owner’s effort (as CP). 



The restaurant was bought with W’s SP. But Hank managed it. The facts state that Hank’s efforts were the sole cause of the increase in value. The facts also state that in applying for the bank loan Hank had a salary. This implies that he was employed at the restaurant. In the typical Pereira case, the owner - not an employed spouse - is the one whose entrepreneurial efforts increase the value. Here it is the non-owning spouse - Hank - whose talents and effort drove the increase in value. Whether it is the owning spouse or the non-owning spouse whose talents and efforts drive the increase in value does not matter because either spouse’s work effort is considered CP.

(make your conclusion clear !)
BECAUSE Hank’s EFFORT/Labor caused the increase in value, Periera is the appropriate method to distribute the value of the restaurant.

 (I am concerned with the weight you give an "employed spouse" only to negate it at the end. I am not here to check your BLL, but is this employed spouse relevant?. Stick to the labor of H and the fruits of that labor = CP.)

Therefore, under Periera W will be entitled to her $100,000 investment plus a standard return on investment. If 12% is a rough estimate of the standard rate of return then W’s rate of return after 4 years is $50,000. She gets $150,000 as SP and the remaining $150,000 is CP.



OK, great progress !
See how I "opened it up" a bit.
Make it EASY EASY EASY for the grader to see your high-points.
And most of your answer will be high points only !

and: WRITE STRONG. NONE of the "uh, this should not matter..." NO NO NO.
Just take a position that the facts support and talk like a lawyer.
Here, H is absolutely working and growing that business. His labor/skill DO COUNT. PERIOD.
SO SAY IT !

Good job overall.

Do another one. Come back.
Last edited by 2807 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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El Pollito
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby El Pollito » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:35 pm

You're awesome, 2807.

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2807
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby 2807 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:01 pm

If I have not made it clear enough already...
This is about STYLE/FORM just as much as anything else.

Knowing the law is NOT enough.

Look at how I "opened up" MURPH's writing.
I hardly changed the words.

I just changed the IMPACT of them !

DO THAT !

CourtneyElizabeth
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Re: California Bar Exam (February 2014) thread

Postby CourtneyElizabeth » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:12 pm

While I did well on my essays, I don't feel I'm in ANY position to grade anyone else's or tell them what they might have done better. The ONLY thing I can think of to mention is that you ended with "I think..." and I was always taught that was not correct. Stick to your guns! Instead of "I think that the husband will get the property" say "The husband WILL get the property because...".

Other than that I think we're all in the same boat. Don't forget, I have to retake this garbage too. And whatever you guys do, DON'T look at the pass rate for retakers in Feb. I did that and almost ran out onto the 405.




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