July 2015 California Bar Exam

calkel
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby calkel » Sat May 16, 2015 8:38 pm

Thanks for the feedback AMH. You're probably right that 78 is too much but I feel like my past study sessions were mostly BLL review and issue-spotting, and that I didn't write enough. A lot will be essays I've already written previously and how many I end up writing will probably change based on how I do the next few weeks. I just don't want to feel like I'm leaving anything to chance. I also want to learn to master the PTs since it's half of the written portion and I usually neglect them in my studies.

I didn't really have trouble with timing on the bar essays. I think my problem was that I would get stuck on new hypos that were different from what I've seen, such as wills/trusts/CP crossovers, and missed issues that way. I could spit out BLL but other than that I think I come up short. I feel like writing as much as possible will help me tackle new hypos and force me to use the facts. I think my knowledge of BLL likely made me overconfident and was wasted when I couldn't craft a proper legal analysis. I haven't received any feedback on my essays these past two administrations and always judged how I was doing based on barbri's model answers. Hopefully Barmax and Baressays can help me there.

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2807
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby 2807 » Sat May 16, 2015 9:23 pm

calkel wrote:Thanks for the feedback AMH. You're probably right that 78 is too much but I feel like my past study sessions were mostly BLL review and issue-spotting, and that I didn't write enough. A lot will be essays I've already written previously and how many I end up writing will probably change based on how I do the next few weeks. I just don't want to feel like I'm leaving anything to chance. I also want to learn to master the PTs since it's half of the written portion and I usually neglect them in my studies.

I didn't really have trouble with timing on the bar essays. I think my problem was that I would get stuck on new hypos that were different from what I've seen, such as wills/trusts/CP crossovers, and missed issues that way. I could spit out BLL but other than that I think I come up short. I feel like writing as much as possible will help me tackle new hypos and force me to use the facts. I think my knowledge of BLL likely made me overconfident and was wasted when I couldn't craft a proper legal analysis. I haven't received any feedback on my essays these past two administrations and always judged how I was doing based on barbri's model answers. Hopefully Barmax and Baressays can help me there.


Go here and start on page 3. Read through our discussions about a basic approach to essays.
There are many ways, but the IRAC method is one to rely on if you need a plan of attack.
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=220409

Hope this helps. It has proven to help many folks already. I still get PMs about it.

Happy to help if I can. But start here first...

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TheLegalOne
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby TheLegalOne » Sat May 16, 2015 9:57 pm

Well, add me to the July 2015 group as a repeater. I took Themis and knew I was not ready/prepared to take the exam, despite completing almost 90% of Themis, receiving avg - above avg feedback on the essays and receiving a 138 raw on the simulated MBE. I waited several hours before confirming that my name did not / would not appear on the pass list.

I immediately reviewed the trusty TLS board and was happy to see so many people passed - Rizzle, Law Junky, PennJD83 to name a few (Congrats!!!!). I followed their prior posts and could not help but silently say "great, some of us made it!" I also reached out to a few people who extended the offer for repeaters to PM them for additional tips. Can you believe everyone responded back within 10-15 minutes of my inquiry? I thought they would be out celebrating! Finally, I reviewed all of 2807, AHM and Murph's old posts. It turns out I previously reviewed these posts but did not follow their advice (WTF?!!)

Anyway, since I had a feeling I did not pass, I had already spent April-May completing MBEs, updating the weak areas of my outlines and researching tutors. As of this writing, I have completed 400 MBEs and feel ok with my outlines for July 2015. I held my breath and paid for the July CBX and tutor this morning. BTW, unless I registered too soon, it looks like several sites are not available.

Anyway, I'm rambling now. Congrats to everyone included in the 39.5%!! Thanks to people like 2807, AHM and Murph for taking time to give back!

Here goes everything!

calkel
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby calkel » Sun May 17, 2015 1:45 am

2807 wrote:Go here and start on page 3. Read through our discussions about a basic approach to essays.
There are many ways, but the IRAC method is one to rely on if you need a plan of attack.
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=220409

Hope this helps. It has proven to help many folks already. I still get PMs about it.

Happy to help if I can. But start here first...


Thanks! I was actually looking briefly at some of your posts in the days leading up to the last exam and started changing my headings into 'whether' issue statements for the exam. I'll start reading through the thread to see what other changes I need to make.

hotsummer
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby hotsummer » Sun May 17, 2015 4:48 am

Please correct me if I am wrong. But it looks like test centers in LA and Pasadena are not available. Is there any possibility that they become available later on? Also, is there anyone who heard about Ontario Convention Center test site? Thanks!

cndounda1985
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby cndounda1985 » Sun May 17, 2015 2:55 pm

I honestly thought I did better this time around. I felt like i truly understood the law but finding out friday that I failed has been uberly painful. But im taking the weekend to get myself together and then I'm going to sign up for the July bar. Sigh....i jus feel overwhelmed, because I honestly don't know where to start. I studied so hard this time and even worked with a tutor. I just don't know what else i can do.

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SpAcEmAn SpLiFF
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby SpAcEmAn SpLiFF » Sun May 17, 2015 3:36 pm

Does anyone know if retakers have to submit the moral character determination again?

PennJD83
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby PennJD83 » Sun May 17, 2015 3:43 pm

SpAcEmAn SpLiFF wrote:Does anyone know if retakers have to submit the moral character determination again?


No, they do not

s1m4
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby s1m4 » Sun May 17, 2015 5:12 pm

Just a quick word of advice from a retaker (failed July, passed this Feb) RE something that was absolutely instrumental to my success:

In July I outlined / issue spotted a lot of questions, but did not really write any out or submit for grading. On the exam, I got very confused because I wasnt comfortable writing a whole essay from scratch. Also, I had no clues as to how I did.

For Feb, I wrote out and submitted twenty essays for grading. When I got hit with the complex wills Q during Feb 15, I was comfortable because Ive written out a few complex essays before, and I knew my gameplan. Further, because I submitted so many essays for grading by then, coming out of Feb 15, I had a pretty good understanding of how I scored. (although you can never be 100% certain).

Although outlining will make you comfortable with spotting issues and spewing out the law, you need to really write out essays (and have them graded) to be comfortable in dealing with the confusing multiple parties, events, and timelines within the harder bar exam questions.

Its important to have someone look at your essays and give you a grade so that you also know that someone will be looking at your work product, thereby making you actually work harder in writing a good essay. (i highly recommend bargraders.com)

This is what made the diff between pass/fail for me in Feb compared to July.

hotsummer
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby hotsummer » Sun May 17, 2015 7:49 pm

s1m4 wrote:
Its important to have someone look at your essays and give you a grade so that you also know that someone will be looking at your work product, thereby making you actually work harder in writing a good essay. (i highly recommend bargraders.com)


Hi s1m4, thanks for sharing your experience. How would you compare bargraders.com to other full bar prep courses like Kaplan or Barbri, if you could?

s1m4
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby s1m4 » Mon May 18, 2015 12:42 am

hotsummer wrote:
s1m4 wrote:
Its important to have someone look at your essays and give you a grade so that you also know that someone will be looking at your work product, thereby making you actually work harder in writing a good essay. (i highly recommend bargraders.com)


Hi s1m4, thanks for sharing your experience. How would you compare bargraders.com to other full bar prep courses like Kaplan or Barbri, if you could?



Hey, well Barbri only provided a few graded essays, so I dont feel thats enough. I think that for the more complex topics, you really should write out a few essays and get feedback on them. I used bargraders ontop of barbri - I recommend getting a package of 5-10 graded essays and submitting them once you feel comfortable RE your knowledge of a topic.

Their feedback was great also, but for me they were mostly a motivation to really work hard writing a simulated essay - I just dont try as hard when an essay is not graded.

I also used the book Bar Cheatsheets - working through all the sections of that book really prepared me for the torts and contracts essays. So if you have spare cash, get that book and work through all of the major essay questions. Note: I found their mbe essay topics analysis excellent, but the Cali was average. If you do get the book, spend a week and finish it early in your prep, because it lays a great foundation for your essay approaches. I found their contracts prop and torts approaches better than barbris, but I liked barbri's conlaw and the cali topics essay approach more.

CAWondering86
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby CAWondering86 » Mon May 18, 2015 2:02 am

Repeater here. Looking to make this third time a last. Looking forward to seeing my scores and seeing what needs improvement. Let's do this!

WonderWoman
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby WonderWoman » Mon May 18, 2015 9:56 am

cndounda1985 wrote:I honestly thought I did better this time around. I felt like i truly understood the law but finding out friday that I failed has been uberly painful. But im taking the weekend to get myself together and then I'm going to sign up for the July bar. Sigh....i jus feel overwhelmed, because I honestly don't know where to start. I studied so hard this time and even worked with a tutor. I just don't know what else i can do.


I know how you feel. I'm going to try one more time, next February. I'm going to take the summer off, and start studying again in September. This time, I'm avoiding the hype and just concentrating on passing the exam.

Bar Slayer
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Bar Slayer » Mon May 18, 2015 11:06 am

calkel wrote:I haven't posted in this forum since applying for law school but after failing the bar for the third time I need to do something different. I took barbri the first time but stopped following the schedule halfway through because I felt like I wasn't retaining any BLL. The second and third times were self-study out of those books. I was in the 1290s the first time and 1350s the second time. I came out of the second feeling like I passed but I passed the MBE by one point and almost all my essays were 55s (60s on one essay and one PT). The third time was mixed for me. I felt good about the morning MBE, property essay and PT-B, but everything else was questionable.

I'm looking into bar review courses this time. I'm leaning towards Barmax CA full course with unlimited essay grading. I've heard good things about their MBE review but is anyone familiar with their approach to essays? I was planning to supplement with Baressays.com anyways but the unlimited grading option with Barmax sounds appealing. They'll only grade 2 PTs with the unlimited option (I'm thinking of writing 26 PTs) but I could probably churn out 78 1-hour essays in the next 2 months. Does this sound like a good plan?


Unlimited grading is fantastic, but I would definitely recommend using Baressays. I would also try to destroy the MBE the next time around--passing by one point doesn't give you enough margin of safety to compensate for your weaker essays.

My background: I have some history with the bar exam. I just passed the Feb 2015 CBX (what a relief!), but a few years ago, I failed NY my first time. (Passed on the second attempt fortunately.) The first time I failed NY, my MBE was OK but not great--around 133. It was probably enough to help me pass if I'd done well on the essays too, but my essays were terrible across the board. When preparing the second time, I practiced MBEs until they came out of my ears. I scored around a 155 the second time--which I am certain is why I passed.

I know CBX is a bit different (NY weighs MBE 40% instead of 35%) but the principle is the same. I wouldn't sleep on the MBE. Assuming a passing MBE score in CA is in the 130s or 140s, you probably could improve 10 points or so to give yourself some margin of safety. A side benefit is that when you get really strong in the MBE, you also see improvement in your essays for the overlapping topics (contracts, property, etc.). I highly recommend an online MBE question bank like Adaptibar, which is what I used. Do a bazillion questions, make a massive list of rules from wrong answers, and study the crap out of it.

As for the essays, I think it's a great idea to go through a ton (or 78?) essays and get them graded. But remember that your time and energy is a finite resource. As A Male Human said, it's probably a better to avoid doing full essays. I personally did all of the released essays on the CA bar website, but didn't fully write out a single one. Instead I wrote my answers in bullet point form. My reasoning is this: In all likelihood you know how to do the application of law from law school (if not, here is where a tutor is invaluable). Your problem is more likely not knowing all the rules, including all nuances, exceptions, and interactions, like the back of your hand.

So by doing everything in bullet point form, you are drilling all the detailed rules, and how the facts interact with those rules, in your head. Then you can compare your answers to the model answer--but also to those on Baressays.com.

This last part is key.

When you go on Baressays, you'll see tons of essays. It's important to look at the ones marked 70, 75, 80, but I'd argue that it's even more important to study the ones marked 50 or 55. When you do enough of these, you will see specific patterns. There might not be a difference between a 60 essay and a 65 essay, but there definitely are differences between 55 and 70. They are not obvious differences. But you need to see them, because you need to know what to avoid.

Some quick examples off the top of my head: missing major issues, missing discussion or application of rules to facts, not enough words. That last one is interesting because many people will say "it doesn't matter how long your essay is, as long as you hit the major points it doesn't matter." But when you look at the low scoring essays, virtually all of them are relatively short. Obviously there are confounding factors-a person who knows more law is likely to write a longer essay, and it is this knowledge that gets you a higher score, for example.

I have a lot more thoughts on this PM me if you have questions. Good luck!

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TheLegalOne
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby TheLegalOne » Mon May 18, 2015 1:06 pm

CAWondering86 wrote:Repeater here. Looking to make this third time a last. Looking forward to seeing my scores and seeing what needs improvement. Let's do this!

I'm with you! I can barely focus on my Torts review for looking out the window for the mail truck.

CAWondering86
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby CAWondering86 » Mon May 18, 2015 1:09 pm

If anyone is studying in the Los Angeles area, it would be nice to get some occasional combined study. At least to keep us all accountable and motivated.

cndounda1985
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby cndounda1985 » Mon May 18, 2015 3:24 pm

Third timer here sigh...will be joining the study train soon as I get my scores. Going to make this the last time!!!

hotsummer
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby hotsummer » Mon May 18, 2015 5:32 pm

CAWondering86 wrote:If anyone is studying in the Los Angeles area, it would be nice to get some occasional combined study. At least to keep us all accountable and motivated.


I am in the area. Please keep me in the loop. Thanks!

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sopranorleone
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby sopranorleone » Mon May 18, 2015 5:44 pm

hotsummer wrote:
CAWondering86 wrote:If anyone is studying in the Los Angeles area, it would be nice to get some occasional combined study. At least to keep us all accountable and motivated.


I am in the area. Please keep me in the loop. Thanks!

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Worker and Parasite
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Worker and Parasite » Mon May 18, 2015 7:54 pm

Is there a THEMIS study group for the July Exam yet?

calkel
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby calkel » Mon May 18, 2015 7:56 pm

Just got my scores back and I failed by less than 2 scaled points: 1438.6668
MBE: 1549
Written: 1379

Notable essay scores were Essay 2: 65 on first read, 75 on second read; Essay 3: 75 on first read, 65 on second read.

Wasn't essay 3 the Civ Pro one? I didn't even mention Eerie and that seemed to be what most people talked about on this forum.

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a male human
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Mon May 18, 2015 8:38 pm

calkel wrote:Just got my scores back and I failed by less than 2 scaled points: 1438.6668
MBE: 1549
Written: 1379

Notable essay scores were Essay 2: 65 on first read, 75 on second read; Essay 3: 75 on first read, 65 on second read.

Wasn't essay 3 the Civ Pro one? I didn't even mention Eerie and that seemed to be what most people talked about on this forum.

Man. They should just use the higher scores instead of the averaged if you get re-graded.

comet_halley
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby comet_halley » Mon May 18, 2015 9:53 pm

calkel wrote:Just got my scores back and I failed by less than 2 scaled points: 1438.6668
MBE: 1549
Written: 1379

Notable essay scores were Essay 2: 65 on first read, 75 on second read; Essay 3: 75 on first read, 65 on second read.

Wasn't essay 3 the Civ Pro one? I didn't even mention Eerie and that seemed to be what most people talked about on this forum.


I totally feel for you. you might only need 1 more right on MBE multiple choice which is about 10 points for MBE.

injun
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby injun » Mon May 18, 2015 10:10 pm

Posted this in Feb forum:

Finally received my scores and just wanted to see if anyone could give me feedback.

Essay 1: 55
Essay 2: 70
Essay 3: 60
Essay 4: 60
Essay 5: 60
Essay 6: 55

PTA: 50
PTB: 60
MBE Scaled: 1378.
OVERALL: 1340

My PTA score was a complete shock. I actually thought the PT scores would be reversed given that I realized I made some glaring mistakes on PTB. I had a tough time understanding PTA and it clearly showed.

Also, I was wondering if anyone can provide comments regarding MBE. So far, my scores were:
Feb 14: 1353
July 14: 1368
Feb 15: 1378.

Are these scores at all decent? I used Barbri, Kaplan Redbook, and Adaptiba. I was thinking about using BarMax next time instead of Adaptibar. Does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks again

calkel
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby calkel » Mon May 18, 2015 11:39 pm

comet_halley wrote:I totally feel for you. you might only need 1 more right on MBE multiple choice which is about 10 points for MBE.


The messed up thing is that I lost 10 scaled written points by turning in the last examsoft file late. Kind of a harsh way to learn my lesson but at least I don't have kids to feed or a mortgage to pay. Looking at my scores again what stands out is Essay 5 where I got 55/65. One grader saw it as failing and the other as passing. This test is absurd sometimes.

There are plenty of positives to take from this as well. I made a huge jump in my MBE by about 12 raw points and I've never had any essay over 60 before. Sure it's frustrating not to pass, but it's a relief to see the improvement. I think I'm still going to sign up for a bar review course to keep myself motivated and shore up my weaknesses in writing.

injun wrote:Also, I was wondering if anyone can provide comments regarding MBE. So far, my scores were:
Feb 14: 1353
July 14: 1368
Feb 15: 1378.

Are these scores at all decent? I used Barbri, Kaplan Redbook, and Adaptiba. I was thinking about using BarMax next time instead of Adaptibar. Does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks again


I'm not sure how I can attribute my improvement in MBE except knowing BLL better and that CivPro was probably one of my strengths. I only practiced with Barbri questions.

I think I noticed a lot of MBE questions turned on small distinctions like whether it's arson if there's no charring, the difference between larceny by trick and false pretenses, whether the fact is common knowledge to take judicial notice.

I remember having a problem on my second test with a Federal Housing Act question and thinking it was bull because we don't learn statutes. But on reflection, I realized it was asking for the proper scrutiny to be applied. I'm pretty sure I got that one right the next time I saw it. The same thing happened to me last time when I saw something about transactional immunity. I'm sure I got it wrong but I'll be ready for next time.




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