Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

amk110
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Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby amk110 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:13 pm

Howdy all:

I'm signed up for round two with the Oregon bar exam this coming February. I'd like some input on my study preparation plan.

As some background, I failed the July 2014 exam by *9* points. My MBE and written scores were within a few points of one another. While I'm still waiting to get my results back, I'm assuming, given how close I was, and how close my scores were, that I don't really need to reinvent the wheel the second time around. But rather, just to do exactly what I did before, but slightly better.

I was working part-time for 10 weeks preceding that exam, with the 2 weeks immediately preceding it off from work entirely. This was all my financial situation would allow. This time, I'm thinking I should be able to prepare in 6 weeks, with 4 weeks of part-time work and 2 weeks off entirely before the exam. I'm not sure if this will be enough time. But many thought I wasn't putting enough time in the first time around, and I came pretty close to passing despite how inefficient I was with the first 4-6 weeks... (I didn't really get serious until July 5th... so it was more like, 2 months of screwing around outlining MBE subjects, then a month of practice MBE. I didn't practice any essays or MPTs.)

Does this seem like enough time? Assuming I use it efficiently? I've never done this a second time, so I'm not sure how much of what I've already done (1200+ MBE questions, flashcards for everything I got wrong...) can carry over to this preparation. I'm shooting to do another 1200 or so. And I'd like to actually practice some essays this time. (I didn't find the MPT to be that difficult, so I'm not sure I'll practice that...)

I do have a couple of major concerns:

1) MBE timing. I was finishing all practice sets with about 3-5 minutes to spare. When I took the actual exam, I ran out of time and had to guess on the last 25 questions. I didn't even have time to read them. I literally just had to go down a column penciling in random circles as fast as I could. I'm chalking this up to having to get up to use the bathroom too many times during the test. (I had a lot of fluids that morning to stay alert...)

2) Civ Pro. Disgusted that this has wormed its way into the MBE. Not sure how to prepare with the lack of officially released questions. Or the fact that now there will be an additional subject on the MBE with extra-long, extra-convoluted fact patterns. (Property and contracts weren't enough...)

3) The essay pool. We had a *very* favorable essay pool in February. (Contracts / Sales / Evidence / Crim Law / Ethics / Corporations). All of these were either MBE subjects I was already familiar with from MBE practice, or was a class I took and enjoyed in law school. There were quite a few subjects I didn't bother to study and blew off completely. (Tax, admin law, wills, trusts, secured transactions...)

Can anyone recommend a good way to bar prep for those subjects that one hasn't had any exposure to at all? I tried to prep for the few essay subjects I just mentioned above, but all bar prep outlines I could find online were just too detailed, obviously prepared by someone who already had a good understanding of the subject.

(I suppose I could slog through the long outlines in the BARBRI 2013 materials I'm working with... but I'm hoping there's an easier way.)

Any input, advice, words of wisdom, etc. are appreciated.

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LAWYER2
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Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby LAWYER2 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:48 pm

You really need to find your own groove. I worked throughout bar prep and didn't put in nearly as many hours as some of my peers who weren't successful, but I found a groove that worked early on. mod edit: SPAM

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northwood
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Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby northwood » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:26 pm

if you had to randomly guess 25 MC answers and not even have time to look at the question number, I would say you ought to be working on your timing and endurance. Plus, if you had to get up multiple times during the test, I would try to limit your fluid intake ( coffee/ red bull) so you don't have to get up during the test. So I would work on timing and stamina but without disregarding essays

sparty99
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Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby sparty99 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:42 pm

Sounds like you would have came close to passing if you finished on time. 25 questions is an entire subject. I would focus on timing and wouldn't drink anything the day of the test. Have a sip if anything.

Neve
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Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby Neve » Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:16 am

Caffeine pills. Get the coffee without the bathroom break.

Triangular
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Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:56 pm

Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby Triangular » Thu Dec 25, 2014 11:43 pm

Don't stress, sounds like you were really close and can pinpoint not passing on some notable hiccups, like you can really chalk it up to exam hall strategy error with the whole bathroom break thing. Now you no doubt know not to overhydrate for the exam and how time consuming bathroom breaks are, I don't think you'll make that error again in this lifetime... You'll find you'll benefit a lot from having been in that exam hall and have the experience of that sitting under your belt.

Just quickly running through your main concerns:

1) For MBE timing all that matters is that when it comes to it in the exam you stay within the 1.8 minutes or whatever it is they recommend per question, just keep your eye on the clock while you're in there and you'll be ok. It's something like 17 questions every 30 minutes - I found the most useful strategy was remembering "17, 34, 51, 68, 85," i.e. the question numbers you should be up to at corresponding half hour increments (if I've got any of the numbers wrong, someone please correct me if they can remember).

2) For Civ Pro, have you thought about getting the Critical Pass flashcards, you can buy the civ pro set just on their own (it looks like they're offering this as a top up for those who already have a set...) I think it's like $25 or something. Maybe think about memorizing those in place of having an abundance of test questions out there on civ pro...

3) You already know you didn't spend enough time on the essays, so it seems clear you should organize your time in a way that you can give this area more attention. My favorite piece of advice for learning essay subjects when you just can't drag yourself to write timed essays is to just comb through the barbri essays book and actively read as many as you can and take notes if you want/find some method that works for you using this resource (especially with the ones barbri wrote where the law is mostly correct). Personally, I needed to internalize the style, format and structure of essays and I found what worked for me was to reverse engineer the essays from this book into little essay outlines which I could then use to attempt to memorize little summaries of law (by this I mean I have no capacity for memorization), you might be too smart to need to do this but like someone above mentioned, this might help you to find your 'groove'.

Good luck, looks like you've got this!

amk110
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:34 pm

Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby amk110 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:49 pm

Thanks for the input everyone.

I'm struggling to get going, but should have another 1,200 MBEs done by 2/14. That, with the 1,200 I did before the July bar should be enough. I'm finding I've retained quite a bit of the MBE practice I did for July. (Makes me wonder how and why repeat takers do worse...)

That leaves about 10 days of full time study available for the essays. Which as far as I'm concerned, is a lot more than the 1 I spent preparing for those last time.

Still worried about Civ. Pro. MBE questions. I don't have any available to practice.

mrmr
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:29 pm

Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby mrmr » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:42 pm

amk110 wrote:Thanks for the input everyone.

I'm struggling to get going, but should have another 1,200 MBEs done by 2/14. That, with the 1,200 I did before the July bar should be enough. I'm finding I've retained quite a bit of the MBE practice I did for July. (Makes me wonder how and why repeat takers do worse...)

That leaves about 10 days of full time study available for the essays. Which as far as I'm concerned, is a lot more than the 1 I spent preparing for those last time.

Still worried about Civ. Pro. MBE questions. I don't have any available to practice.

EVERYONE is worried about civpro, but odds are that the experimental ones will still be mostly all civpro, so only about half will likely be graded, but still a curve on the score.

Repeaters do worse since most don't keep studying all the way. If you did, you'd do better than first timers most likely, but most have jobs or other stuff going on by that point. Plus sadly many are the 140 LSAT crowd that just never pass no matter what.

I am a repeater too. Wishing you (and all the rest of us) the best man.

mrmr
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:29 pm

Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby mrmr » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:45 pm

If it helps Themis has FREE civpro lectures that come with some practice Multiple Choice Questions (albeit non official ones)
You may want to check it out if its a major concern of yours.

xvj7
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:25 pm

Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby xvj7 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:08 pm

mrmr wrote:
amk110 wrote:Thanks for the input everyone.

I'm struggling to get going, but should have another 1,200 MBEs done by 2/14. That, with the 1,200 I did before the July bar should be enough. I'm finding I've retained quite a bit of the MBE practice I did for July. (Makes me wonder how and why repeat takers do worse...)

That leaves about 10 days of full time study available for the essays. Which as far as I'm concerned, is a lot more than the 1 I spent preparing for those last time.

Still worried about Civ. Pro. MBE questions. I don't have any available to practice.

EVERYONE is worried about civpro, but odds are that the experimental ones will still be mostly all civpro, so only about half will likely be graded, but still a curve on the score.

Repeaters do worse since most don't keep studying all the way. If you did, you'd do better than first timers most likely, but most have jobs or other stuff going on by that point. Plus sadly many are the 140 LSAT crowd that just never pass no matter what.

I am a repeater too. Wishing you (and all the rest of us) the best man.


Repeater 3 here. Agree on the civ pro thing - I don't think they'll go beyond the basics like personal and subject matter jurisdiction and preclusion stuff. But I'm worried about the Feb pool. I know I'm a repeater too, but hopefully not one of those in the "never pass" group. I hear Feb bar usually has lower passing rate bc the overall MBE scores are lower, which ruins the curve for the state portions (kinda like what happened in July, and I think I would've passed my state bar if the MBE had the usual adjustment up). Thoughts?

dp176406
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:20 am

Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby dp176406 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:08 pm

RE: concern no. 3.

I also ran into difficulty prepping for sections I had zero exposure to (corporations, commercial paper, secured transactions). My biggest difficulty wasn't familiarity as much as motivation. There's a reason I did not take classes in those sections in law school: I have no intention to work in those areas. My motivation was not only low due to a lack of interest, but also because the bar exam made me feel like I just did not have time to spend. Plus, it's only going to be like [some small %] of the exam, right? I can punt on this, right?

My solution: Spend 1 full day on a subject "X" you know nothing about, exclusively. Learn and study it like you have a test on only that subject tomorrow. I finally broke through on such a subject by saying "screw it, I'm going to master X, no matter what." I watched the BARBRI lecture again, pausing and rewinding frequently until I totally understood what they were talking about. I had the BARBRI CMR outline and lecture notes in front of me. I also wrote out my own notes, with the goal of making them complete enough to use exclusively to study. I made my own little charts, lists, outlines, mnemonics, etc. Spent about 10 hours. Then I typed up my notes. It's also helpful to start thinking of the subject in terms of rules in relation to parties suing each other, because that's how essays test you: who wins? what rules make that true?

Finish the full day of focusing on that 1 subject by doing a few practice essays. This helps you start to understand the kinds of issues and disputes that come up, and will help you continue thinking in terms of "who wins when people start to sue each other over this stuff?" The example answers will show how other people articulate the rules, which I found helpful. Treating subject X as if the test on it is tomorrow helped me clear my mind so I would stop thinking about it in terms of 'just one tiny part of a giant exam.'

I did this for 1 section that I really really did not want to study and knew nothing about. Focusing a full day on it made me master it. The more I learned, the more I liked it. Despite having zero interest in it before, I liked it. I think its probably universally true for us law people: we enjoy knowing a lot about stuff. So, even the idea of "wasting" a day on a new subject makes you anxious, you will actually feel awesome for knowing more and becoming extra prepared. Rather than bombing the essay on that subject, you now have a real chance at killing it. If the exam has an easy torts essay, that question will be harder to score above average on than a difficult subject X ...because everyone is sweet at torts.

retaker
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:29 pm

Re: Second-timer needs input/advice on exam prep...

Postby retaker » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:46 pm

Not sure if I should be freaking out more about MBE or essays. I ALMOST passed on both last time, so I am worried about over applying on one or the other at the consequence of the other.

THIS SUCKS!! :shock: :shock: :shock:




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