BrokenMouse wrote:How did yall prepare for the exam while working full time? My GF and some family members are suggesting I should quit my law clerk at a firm job to prepare. Is there enough time after work to study? for me I am considering it as I commute close to 100 miles per day.
i worked full time prepping for the July 2015 bar and it can be done. I also commuted 100+ miles a day, hr each way, driving. You need to find what works for you and also, when you are the most alert. I am the most alert as soon as I get up until I eat lunch, so I utilized those times to study. Studying after work was a bust since when you are tired, nothing sticks. I wasn't absorbing anything at that point, but just pointlessly attempting so that I felt better that I "studied".
I woke up an hr before i had to get ready for work so that i could quickly get ready, and do some jumping jacks or just anything physical for few mins just to get myself alert. Then, I would sit down and read outlines for about an hr. I also made notecards for each subject. The notecards were usually not more than 5-6 small cards per subject, meaning I didn't write out full rules but mnenonics or short phrases. I basically copied the outlines from the book Essay Exam writing for the California Bar exam by Mary Basick. I would glance at these cards while stopped at lights on my commute and while I was driving I would continuously repeat it to myself to ensure it stuck. Im not advising anyone to read anything while they drive, but if you can find ways to utilize the time you sit idle, find safe ways to make it work for you. I would also talk out loud to myself while I drove, reciting the entire outline to myself.
During my lunch breaks at work, I did practice essays. Timing was never an issue for me, but I did time myself a few times to ensure I got the feel for what an hr was like while writing out a full essay. I strongly encourage to time urself at least a few times to ensure you can write a full essay within the hr and also give urself 5mins or so wiggle room to review at the end. Once timing was not an issue, I would just outline each essay by spotting the issue and writing out the rule. IRAC and headers are very important. Everyone says grading can be all over the place w so much subjectivity. If you can make it easier for graders to quickly glance and know that you spotted the issues and structure ur gibberish, i think it has to be a tremendous plus. Organization is key.
Same for my commute home. If I wasn't dead tired on the drive home, I would try to recite rules/look at note cards. Nights were a bust on most occasions. However, I did utilize my initial nights to make the notecards. I could zonk out and write out notes, but it would be later useful. I spent weekends studying by doing MBE questions from the Emanuel MBE book, more essays, and reading over notes. This was the only real time I had to study so I tried to study as much as I could during Sat/Sun. For the PT, i just looked at past exams and answers. I really didn't focus much on it, actually only looked at 3 previous exams as it was so dull that I couldn't get myself to study for it. As mentioned, I think organization and headers are key, esp in PT. I really have no idea what the hell I wrote for my PTs. What I made certain that I did on my answers were headers and IRAC. The call of the question is key in PT as it pretty much tells you what it wants you to address and how they want it outlined. If you use that as your headers, you pretty much mapped out your entire answer. All you need to do afterwards is to use each piece provided and tie it in somewhere in your writing.
As mentioned, I used two books to study: Essay Exam Writing by mary basick and emanuel mbe, and of course all the previous exams on the bar site. I do have to tell you that this is my second bar as I took the FL bar in 2013 using barbri. I passed the first time as well. I knew that I def didn't want to spend money on bar prep again nor had the time as they give you too much crap to do/read which makes you feel nervous that you don't know everything and that kind of anxiety only leads to panic. You will not know everything. The point is to know just enough of the basics, which Essay Exam Writing does an excellent job of outlining. Every exam will have that one damn awful essay everyone thinks they failed and one impossible PT it seems. But overall, the other 5 essays and PT B were manageable. Commit the basics to ur head down cold. For me, if smtg is in my handwriting, it sticks better in my head. So for subjects/topics I had trouble remembering, I kept writing it until it stuck. By now you should know what study habits work for you, so focus on that and keep at it! Really, this exam is a mind fuck in many ways. I don't doubt the intelligence of anyone that failed, nor is it a measure of your capabilities. Tweak your study habits, make it manageable, and most importantly, keep calm.
Also, if you are working full time, you never know what will come up at work. I suggest starting as earliest as you can so you can give yourself some padding days in case smtg at work pops up. Hope my rambling helped at least a tad bit! If you have any questions, feel free to message me. Good luck!