July 2015 California Bar Exam

User avatar
Pleasye
Posts: 7959
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:22 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Pleasye » Tue May 19, 2015 12:52 am

Worker and Parasite wrote:Is there a THEMIS study group for the July Exam yet?

I didn't see a thread so I made a Themis specific one: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=248122 (don't worry guys, I won't desert this thread).

Bar Slayer
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:02 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Bar Slayer » Tue May 19, 2015 10:46 am

injun wrote: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


Standing alone, I don't think your scores are atrocious. But given that your essay scores are relatively weak, I would begin by focusing heavily on the MBE.

(My background: 3-time bar exam taker: failed NY the first time, passed the second time, and passed CA my first time.)

MBE: Your scaled scores of 135.3 to 137.8 means you have a lot of opportunity to improve. The first time I took NY, my MBE was a 133, right around where you are. (I passed the second time with a 155-NY gives you your MBE score even if you pass) The first time, I used Barbri and thought I practiced enough. What are you getting on your practice MBEs? Sounds like you're using the right resources, but are you studying correctly? (Focusing in on weak subject areas, repeatedly practicing questions in that area, writing down the correct rule, turning those rules into a list to study) If you look at your Adaptibar history, you can see which areas have given you a lot of trouble.

Essays: Once you practice MBEs your grasp of the BLL for the major topics will improve. This will carry over to your CA essays. For example, essay topics in Feb 15 included property, contracts, and torts. Then, I highly recommend you review closely (if you haven't already) the model answers to all previous exam questions on the website. Sign up for Baressays and compare the model answers to the weak answers. You will likely see some major differences in substance and style. Then take a second look at your own answers, and start identifying where your weak areas are. I know I'm being a bit vague now, but there are real differences between the very good answers and the very bad answers. After you've seen enough of these, you may start to subconsciously emulate model answers.

PT: It's tough to say how to improve without looking at your actual essays. As I recall the first PT asked for a recommendation for what to do regarding monies in escrow, and whether to file an interpleader. It is possible that you misunderstood the cases they gave you, which means that you would benefit from practicing reading and analyzing cases. The basic approach for PTA was to first tease out the rules given the caselaw, apply the facts (from the transcripts, letters, documents, etc) to those rules, and come up with a recommendation as to what to do. If you break down each of the individual steps, it's not complicated, but if you are weak at one of the steps (e.g. applying facts from a transcript to a rule from caselaw) it can really throw you.

If you have more detailed questions feel free to PM me. Good luck!

Boozangi
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 3:32 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Boozangi » Tue May 19, 2015 3:43 pm

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. (tl;dr below)

Second time failing the bar; signed up for my third attempt in July 2015.

My first time: BARBRI
Score: 1355
Essay score ~ 1350, MBE score ~1362.
Essay scores:
55
60
60
55
60
60
PT 60
PT 60

My second time: Private, smaller classes (Bar None) and graded essays/PTs, and lots of repetition of the S&T MBE book until I was scoring ~90% on repeat questions.

Score: 1412
Essay score ~1350, MBE score ~1526.
Essay scores:
60
60
55
62.5
55
57.5
62.5
57.5

Initially perplexed that my MBEs went up so much, yet my essays did not improve at all. I was expecting the exact opposite, especially since my last class concentrated mostly on essays and PT approaches.

I think it’s safe to say that my essay approach is fundamentally flawed, and I do believe that I need some sort of professional advice (or an internal brain *click*). I feel like I am a great writer, but that may be holding me back in applying actual IRAC approaches. Now that I think about it, I don’t even think my last bar exam essays really were IRAC-based at all. Also, I feel like I sometimes stall on PTs, even though I am usually quick and thorough during practice tests.

My proposed approach for July:

MBEs:
    AdaptiBar
    PMBR questions (I never really got into them since I had S&T
    S&T MBEs

Essays and PTs:
    Bar None books (all are apparently released official bar essay answers) and just keep hammering out practice essays and PTs on the daily
    baressays.com subscription
    tutoring or grading help


What do you guys think?

1) How does my overall story and approach sound to you? Is there anything you’d do differently or can recommend? Maybe I’m not seeing something that’s very obvious to you guys.
2) What are your thoughts on tutors? I’m in SoCal and wouldn’t mind hiring one, but I’ve found tutors from $60/hour all the way to $300. Some claim to be former bar graders, others have amazing yelp reviews, and some are complete ghosts. Does anyone have any recommendations for tutors? As some others have mentioned here, it’d be great to find someone that has been a past bar grader, because it does feel like I need someone to sit down with me, pinpoint exactly what my flaws in my writing style are, and then to move me toward the right path. I tried to mimic all of the released answers for my essays, but clearly, I messed up somewhere. I've heard a lot about Steve Zikman and also read about Patrick Lin (Bar Exam 101). Any suggestions or advice?



Tl;dr: Took the bar twice and failed twice. Got closer this time around (1412). My MBEs improved dramatically, but my essays still remain low. I’m thinking of a new attack plan outlined above, but may also consider a tutor. Recommendations on my plan, and a tutor, would be awesome.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Tue May 19, 2015 3:59 pm

Booz, I know three people who have used a tutor are 100% behind getting one. Though...they passed, so I guess they would recommend it.

One repeater here used a tutor yet did not pass. So various mileage there. If that person is willing to out herself (since she has only told me afaik), you could ask her about her thoughts on it.

If you're interested in the people I mentioned above, I interviewed (forced) them to tell me their thoughts here. Since you are researching tutors, here's a relevant excerpt FYI:

Ya, I would recc either John Crossfield (~$3500) or if you are strpped for cash, Joe Buffington (Hourly, super accommodating and wont cheat you). Both are amazing. And for the record, I get nothing out of recommending these two. Only the satisfaction that I am sharing a resource that I found invaluable.


I have not used a tutor. This is not an endorsement, just passing along information.

Bar Slayer
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:02 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Bar Slayer » Tue May 19, 2015 4:36 pm

Boozangi wrote:I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. (tl;dr below)

Second time failing the bar; signed up for my third attempt in July 2015.

My first time: BARBRI
Score: 1355
Essay score ~ 1350, MBE score ~1362.
Essay scores:
55
60
60
55
60
60
PT 60
PT 60

My second time: Private, smaller classes (Bar None) and graded essays/PTs, and lots of repetition of the S&T MBE book until I was scoring ~90% on repeat questions.

Score: 1412
Essay score ~1350, MBE score ~1526.
Essay scores:
60
60
55
62.5
55
57.5
62.5
57.5

Initially perplexed that my MBEs went up so much, yet my essays did not improve at all. I was expecting the exact opposite, especially since my last class concentrated mostly on essays and PT approaches.

I think it’s safe to say that my essay approach is fundamentally flawed, and I do believe that I need some sort of professional advice (or an internal brain *click*). I feel like I am a great writer, but that may be holding me back in applying actual IRAC approaches. Now that I think about it, I don’t even think my last bar exam essays really were IRAC-based at all. Also, I feel like I sometimes stall on PTs, even though I am usually quick and thorough during practice tests.

My proposed approach for July:

MBEs:
    AdaptiBar
    PMBR questions (I never really got into them since I had S&T
    S&T MBEs

Essays and PTs:
    Bar None books (all are apparently released official bar essay answers) and just keep hammering out practice essays and PTs on the daily
    baressays.com subscription
    tutoring or grading help


What do you guys think?

1) How does my overall story and approach sound to you? Is there anything you’d do differently or can recommend? Maybe I’m not seeing something that’s very obvious to you guys.
2) What are your thoughts on tutors? I’m in SoCal and wouldn’t mind hiring one, but I’ve found tutors from $60/hour all the way to $300. Some claim to be former bar graders, others have amazing yelp reviews, and some are complete ghosts. Does anyone have any recommendations for tutors? As some others have mentioned here, it’d be great to find someone that has been a past bar grader, because it does feel like I need someone to sit down with me, pinpoint exactly what my flaws in my writing style are, and then to move me toward the right path. I tried to mimic all of the released answers for my essays, but clearly, I messed up somewhere. I've heard a lot about Steve Zikman and also read about Patrick Lin (Bar Exam 101). Any suggestions or advice?



Tl;dr: Took the bar twice and failed twice. Got closer this time around (1412). My MBEs improved dramatically, but my essays still remain low. I’m thinking of a new attack plan outlined above, but may also consider a tutor. Recommendations on my plan, and a tutor, would be awesome.


You would benefit from focusing on your weak areas instead of your strong areas. I would work only on maintaining MBE (152 is really strong) and focus mostly on your weaknesses.

I think Baressays is a must. Your weakest areas seem to be the CA-specific subjects. It’s most likely that your some essays are slightly better because you have a good grasp of the MBE subjects. For example, you did relatively well for essay 1 and 2 (contracts and property) but less so on 5 (agency, corporations/partnerships).

But given that your MBE is high, it’s likely that you spotted the issues and correctly recited the rules for essays 1 and 2. So you are right that it’s likely your analysis could use improvement. I would review the Baressays answers—both the good and the bad, but especially the bad. You’ll see that the bad essays are generally shorter, most likely due to missing issues or not discussing the analysis sufficiently.

A tutor could be helpful but only to the extent you know exactly what you’re trying to get out of the relationship. I would hold off on making any decisions though, until you’ve looked at Baressays and your own answers from the exam.

Finally, your PTs could use some work—perhaps you don’t have a plan of attack when working on those. I wonder if you would benefit from practicing the bread and butter of PTs—reading and understanding cases, and applying caselaw rules to facts. A Male Human has some good resources you could check out for that.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Tue May 19, 2015 4:52 pm

Thanks Bar Slayer for the input you've been providing in both threads. I have a lot of time on my hands but not THAT much!

Boozangi
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 3:32 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Boozangi » Tue May 19, 2015 4:55 pm

A male human / bar slayer,

Thanks for the replies.

1. I definitely understand that many people recommend the tutors. I had an interview with one last night, and the same question you have pinpointed came up: "what exactly is it that I am looking for from a tutor?" To be fair, I had a similar experience with my previous class, where I was getting customized feedback on my essays. But, it wasn't at the level I expected, and I only received feedback on a few essays. As mentioned multiple times here on TLS, IRACing seems to be an integral part of an answer; one which I seemed to have ignored. Shameless plug: my writing is strong. However, I believe this false sense of security makes me ramble on with "smart" and witty answers instead of a traditional, formatted IRAC answer. I'll need to look around, talk to some tutors and students, and see what I can do about this.

2. PT-wise, I believe my problem is the actual analysis. I was taught an approach by Bar None which I absolutely enjoyed executing, but I believe that, 1) I let myself stall a couple of times during Feb 15 when I realized that my answer wasn't "perfect," and 2) I found myself lacking a strong EXPLANATION in the analysis section of my answers. To elaborate... I'd have a solid outline, I'd make the answer "look" great, and I'd get all of the necessary citations and law into my essays. Then, when it came time to skip to the next paragraph and essentially apply the law to the facts, I'd stall. I clearly remember this happening during PT2, which my scores reflect.

morescotchplease
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:46 am

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby morescotchplease » Tue May 19, 2015 5:32 pm

My 2 cents for whatever it's worth:

I took the Feb 15 CBX and passed on my first attempt. At the end of the day, you have to find what works for you and stay true to your learning/studying style that worked for you in law school. With that in mind I share what worked for me because it is probably not the ideal way.

I didn't outline any of my essays or the PTs. I am a terrible outliner. I've tried to outline but it ends up taking too long and whatever I have outlined ends up not being all that useful in its actual application. So if you're like me and have a hard time outlining or it just doesn't make practical sense to you, then I am here to tell you that maybe you don't have to-- especially if it does more harm than good.

What worked for me instead was to focus on each issue at hand, write about it, then move on to the next. I don't think people talk about this enough but especially for the essays, each sentence has its purpose. The essays are half a page at most and I'd like to think that the bar examiners deliberately craft each word and sentence. So I just went sentence by sentence and addressed any assumptions/issues/analysis that the sentence would be alluding to. One thing you have to be very good at with this method is time management, because you can get stuck at one issue and not have enough time for the other ones. Thankfully I've never had an issue with time management and with the essay/PTs/MBEs I made sure I always had some time at the end to review and run a spell check. You just gotta be able to cut your losses, or write enough on an issue and move on to the next.

For the PTs, I skimmed through the facts and the library, then I would tackle one issue/question at a time. This helped me not get overwhelmed especially with the PTs. I'd look at the first question, then go to the facts to see the relevant facts, then go to the library and find the relevant caselaw then write about it, the move on.

Just thought I'd share this since when I was studying and people were harping on outlines, it would stress me out because I would try and it just didn't make sense to me or work for me. The exam is an overwhelming experience, from studying it to taking the exam. My approach was to shrink that world into one issue at a time-- think it made it more manageable and my answers, though not eloquent, was to the point and each issue was clearly identified and tackled.

cndounda1985
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:31 am

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby cndounda1985 » Tue May 19, 2015 7:31 pm

a male human wrote:Booz, I know three people who have used a tutor are 100% behind getting one. Though...they passed, so I guess they would recommend it.

One repeater here used a tutor yet did not pass. So various mileage there. If that person is willing to out herself (since she has only told me afaik), you could ask her about her thoughts on it.

If you're interested in the people I mentioned above, I interviewed (forced) them to tell me their thoughts here. Since you are researching tutors, here's a relevant excerpt FYI:

Ya, I would recc either John Crossfield (~$3500) or if you are strpped for cash, Joe Buffington (Hourly, super accommodating and wont cheat you). Both are amazing. And for the record, I get nothing out of recommending these two. Only the satisfaction that I am sharing a resource that I found invaluable.


I have not used a tutor. This is not an endorsement, just passing along information.


I'm fine with being outed. He/She can PM me with any questions.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Tue May 19, 2015 7:37 pm

Nice, wasn't sure whether I should have directed that person to you. Thanks C!

User avatar
crumpetsandtea
Posts: 7156
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby crumpetsandtea » Wed May 20, 2015 12:01 pm

In the way writing class right now and holy shit it's boring. Should I be worried if I'm zoning out already?

nerdalicious05
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun May 10, 2015 11:51 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby nerdalicious05 » Wed May 20, 2015 4:48 pm

bump

mushybrain
Posts: 397
Joined: Sun May 08, 2011 2:08 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby mushybrain » Wed May 20, 2015 5:53 pm

crumpetsandtea wrote:In the way writing class right now and holy shit it's boring. Should I be worried if I'm zoning out already?
Yeah that was unpleasant. I was glad I did the vid at home and could at least speed it up, especially when he was just listing types of torts and types of constitutional law questions etc etc. I understand the value of examples but I don't know why he felt compelled to read it all to us.

FancyP
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 5:06 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby FancyP » Wed May 20, 2015 7:12 pm

I need some advice, friends:

I am a 4-time bar exam taker (Passed Massachusetts on the first try, failed CA Bar July'14 and Feb '15.) I am going to take the CA July '15 Bar but am not sure how to change my approach to studying. My score actually dropped from July '14 to Feb '15.

July '14 Approach:

I bought the CA Barbri books and basically did the same schedule as my MA Barbri prep (but tweaked it to account for CA-specific subjects and PTs). I did all of the MBEs, practice essays, and practice PTs. I had a backpack full of flashcards for each subject and even made mneumonics and acronyms to memorize the really important stuff.

July '14 Scores: (I got a Second Read):

Essays: 55/50, 65/60, 55/55, 60/60, 50/50
PTA and PTB: 65/60, 75/65
Scaled MBE: 1308
Raw Written: 602.5
Scaled Written: 1404.2145
OVERALL: 1370.5394


Feb '15 Approach:

In addition to my Barbri books and flashcards, I joined baressays.com and did a bunch of essay practice. I didn't do as much PT or MBEs because I wanted to focus more on my writing.

Feb '15 Scores:

Essays: 55, 65, 65, 55, 65, 55
PTA and PTB: 65, 50
Scaled MBE: 1305
Raw Written: 590
Scaled Written: 1351.2703
OVERALL: 1335.0757

Where did I go wrong? :(

I need some advice on what plan I should implement going forward for my third try. I'll definitely sign up for baressays.com again for the essay practice and PT practice. I really can't afford a tutor or bar class at this point. What else should I utilize? Also, are you guys studying a different subject every couple of days in terms of reviewing, writing essays, and practicing MBE Qs (if applicable)? Let me know! :) JP

morescotchplease
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:46 am

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby morescotchplease » Wed May 20, 2015 7:36 pm

FancyP wrote:I need some advice, friends:

I am a 4-time bar exam taker (Passed Massachusetts on the first try, failed CA Bar July'14 and Feb '15.) I am going to take the CA July '15 Bar but am not sure how to change my approach to studying. My score actually dropped from July '14 to Feb '15.

July '14 Approach:

I bought the CA Barbri books and basically did the same schedule as my MA Barbri prep (but tweaked it to account for CA-specific subjects and PTs). I did all of the MBEs, practice essays, and practice PTs. I had a backpack full of flashcards for each subject and even made mneumonics and acronyms to memorize the really important stuff.

July '14 Scores: (I got a Second Read):

Essays: 55/50, 65/60, 55/55, 60/60, 50/50
PTA and PTB: 65/60, 75/65
Scaled MBE: 1308
Raw Written: 602.5
Scaled Written: 1404.2145
OVERALL: 1370.5394


Feb '15 Approach:

In addition to my Barbri books and flashcards, I joined baressays.com and did a bunch of essay practice. I didn't do as much PT or MBEs because I wanted to focus more on my writing.

Feb '15 Scores:

Essays: 55, 65, 65, 55, 65, 55
PTA and PTB: 65, 50
Scaled MBE: 1305
Raw Written: 590
Scaled Written: 1351.2703
OVERALL: 1335.0757

Where did I go wrong? :(

I need some advice on what plan I should implement going forward for my third try. I'll definitely sign up for baressays.com again for the essay practice and PT practice. I really can't afford a tutor or bar class at this point. What else should I utilize? Also, are you guys studying a different subject every couple of days in terms of reviewing, writing essays, and practicing MBE Qs (if applicable)? Let me know! :) JP


How was your handle on the BLL? You can practice IRAC all day and night but if your BLL law is not up to par, it won't help you. I passed the Feb 15 exam and other than the jury trial election deadline, there wasn't anything for the essays where I went, shoot, I forgot the law. I would say priority wise, you have to KNOW the BLL, then you have to be able to apply the BLL by issue spotting it in the essay, then you have to be able to do the whole IRAC thing and provide analysis. When you review your answers, you should check how many rules/law did you straight up miss because you forgot, how many rules/laws you missed because you weren't able to spot it in the fact pattern, then look at your writing structure and analysis. That should help you pinpoint where your problem lies.

Bar Slayer
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:02 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Bar Slayer » Wed May 20, 2015 9:08 pm

FancyP wrote:I need some advice, friends:

I am a 4-time bar exam taker (Passed Massachusetts on the first try, failed CA Bar July'14 and Feb '15.) I am going to take the CA July '15 Bar but am not sure how to change my approach to studying. My score actually dropped from July '14 to Feb '15.

July '14 Approach:

I bought the CA Barbri books and basically did the same schedule as my MA Barbri prep (but tweaked it to account for CA-specific subjects and PTs). I did all of the MBEs, practice essays, and practice PTs. I had a backpack full of flashcards for each subject and even made mneumonics and acronyms to memorize the really important stuff.

July '14 Scores: (I got a Second Read):

Essays: 55/50, 65/60, 55/55, 60/60, 50/50
PTA and PTB: 65/60, 75/65
Scaled MBE: 1308
Raw Written: 602.5
Scaled Written: 1404.2145
OVERALL: 1370.5394


Feb '15 Approach:

In addition to my Barbri books and flashcards, I joined baressays.com and did a bunch of essay practice. I didn't do as much PT or MBEs because I wanted to focus more on my writing.

Feb '15 Scores:

Essays: 55, 65, 65, 55, 65, 55
PTA and PTB: 65, 50
Scaled MBE: 1305
Raw Written: 590
Scaled Written: 1351.2703
OVERALL: 1335.0757

Where did I go wrong? :(

I need some advice on what plan I should implement going forward for my third try. I'll definitely sign up for baressays.com again for the essay practice and PT practice. I really can't afford a tutor or bar class at this point. What else should I utilize? Also, are you guys studying a different subject every couple of days in terms of reviewing, writing essays, and practicing MBE Qs (if applicable)? Let me know! :) JP


Some thoughts:

MBE: The first thing that jumps out at me is that your MBE is a juicy area for improvement. Your scaled score of roughly 130 suggests a raw score of 112 which implies about a 59% accuracy rate. https://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portal ... l_info.pdf There's a lot you could do to raise your score by 20 points or more. With a scaled score of 150, you would have passed in July 2014. Doubling down on studying MBEs would also make you super expert on the major subjects, which would then help you on your essays. For example, you received a 55 and a 55/50 on contracts essays, which suggests to me that focusing on practicing contracts MBEs would be really, really useful for you.

For MBE practice, ignore books, outlines, and flash cards. Your goal should be to do as many practice questions as possible--specifically, aiming to rack up as many inccorrect as you can. The reason is that when you get a question wrong, you look up the rule, and write it down in a list--an incorrect answer outline, so to speak. That will be your customized study guide throughout the process. This is a proven way to raise your MBE score. It just takes some time.

PT: Your Feb 2015 PT-B really hurt you the second time. After you receive your answers, you should look at them and compare it to the model answers. I suspect your PT skills aren't terrible, since your Feb 2015 PT-B is unusually low compared to your other PTs. But I would try to figure out what went wrong--did you have trouble synthesizing rules from cases? I can't remember off the top of my head what the other PT topics were, but if you can, try to isolate your weakness. For good ways to improve, you could check out A Male Human's PT materials: http://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/

Essays: Pretty standard advice--practice questions over reading outlines hands down.

Changing Subjects: Everyone works differently but what worked for me was to set aside certain weeks for certain topics early on. So since your contracts is likely weak, I'd set aside a week or two early on just to focus on that. Then, systematically work through all of your weak areas--since you've studied a lot in the past you probably know what those are (for most people it's property and contracts, but not conlaw) When you enter the last month before the test, you should start to mix things up, so all the different skills and concepts will start to solidify and connect in your mind. But again, YMMV depending on your learning style.

Tutoring: It sucks that you can't afford a tutor, but at least get a fresh pair of eyes to look at your practice essays. It's possible that there's something off about your writing style or analysis, and maybe you're not even aware of it.

User avatar
crumpetsandtea
Posts: 7156
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby crumpetsandtea » Wed May 20, 2015 10:33 pm

This might be a dumb question, but where do we go to get access to practice questions, for both the mbe and the essays/PTs? Is the stuff we get from barbri enough?

FancyP
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 5:06 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby FancyP » Wed May 20, 2015 11:35 pm

Bar Slayer wrote:
FancyP wrote:I need some advice, friends:

I am a 4-time bar exam taker (Passed Massachusetts on the first try, failed CA Bar July'14 and Feb '15.) I am going to take the CA July '15 Bar but am not sure how to change my approach to studying. My score actually dropped from July '14 to Feb '15.

July '14 Approach:

I bought the CA Barbri books and basically did the same schedule as my MA Barbri prep (but tweaked it to account for CA-specific subjects and PTs). I did all of the MBEs, practice essays, and practice PTs. I had a backpack full of flashcards for each subject and even made mneumonics and acronyms to memorize the really important stuff.

July '14 Scores: (I got a Second Read):

Essays: 55/50, 65/60, 55/55, 60/60, 50/50
PTA and PTB: 65/60, 75/65
Scaled MBE: 1308
Raw Written: 602.5
Scaled Written: 1404.2145
OVERALL: 1370.5394


Feb '15 Approach:

In addition to my Barbri books and flashcards, I joined baressays.com and did a bunch of essay practice. I didn't do as much PT or MBEs because I wanted to focus more on my writing.

Feb '15 Scores:

Essays: 55, 65, 65, 55, 65, 55
PTA and PTB: 65, 50
Scaled MBE: 1305
Raw Written: 590
Scaled Written: 1351.2703
OVERALL: 1335.0757

Where did I go wrong? :(

I need some advice on what plan I should implement going forward for my third try. I'll definitely sign up for baressays.com again for the essay practice and PT practice. I really can't afford a tutor or bar class at this point. What else should I utilize? Also, are you guys studying a different subject every couple of days in terms of reviewing, writing essays, and practicing MBE Qs (if applicable)? Let me know! :) JP


Some thoughts:

MBE: The first thing that jumps out at me is that your MBE is a juicy area for improvement. Your scaled score of roughly 130 suggests a raw score of 112 which implies about a 59% accuracy rate. https://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portal ... l_info.pdf There's a lot you could do to raise your score by 20 points or more. With a scaled score of 150, you would have passed in July 2014. Doubling down on studying MBEs would also make you super expert on the major subjects, which would then help you on your essays. For example, you received a 55 and a 55/50 on contracts essays, which suggests to me that focusing on practicing contracts MBEs would be really, really useful for you.

For MBE practice, ignore books, outlines, and flash cards. Your goal should be to do as many practice questions as possible--specifically, aiming to rack up as many inccorrect as you can. The reason is that when you get a question wrong, you look up the rule, and write it down in a list--an incorrect answer outline, so to speak. That will be your customized study guide throughout the process. This is a proven way to raise your MBE score. It just takes some time.

PT: Your Feb 2015 PT-B really hurt you the second time. After you receive your answers, you should look at them and compare it to the model answers. I suspect your PT skills aren't terrible, since your Feb 2015 PT-B is unusually low compared to your other PTs. But I would try to figure out what went wrong--did you have trouble synthesizing rules from cases? I can't remember off the top of my head what the other PT topics were, but if you can, try to isolate your weakness. For good ways to improve, you could check out A Male Human's PT materials: http://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/

Essays: Pretty standard advice--practice questions over reading outlines hands down.

Changing Subjects: Everyone works differently but what worked for me was to set aside certain weeks for certain topics early on. So since your contracts is likely weak, I'd set aside a week or two early on just to focus on that. Then, systematically work through all of your weak areas--since you've studied a lot in the past you probably know what those are (for most people it's property and contracts, but not conlaw) When you enter the last month before the test, you should start to mix things up, so all the different skills and concepts will start to solidify and connect in your mind. But again, YMMV depending on your learning style.

Tutoring: It sucks that you can't afford a tutor, but at least get a fresh pair of eyes to look at your practice essays. It's possible that there's something off about your writing style or analysis, and maybe you're not even aware of it.


Thank you so much, Bar Slayer! I am definitely going to do everything you suggested! As for MBEs, is it worth it for me to get Adaptibar or any practice books out there with CivPro questions or will I be okay with S&T books and NCBEX released questions. (I already wrote all over my Barbri Qs-so I prob won't be able to reuse these for a third time.)

Also, I never learned how to attack a PT question properly--I had to teach myself because they didn't have the PT on the MA Bar. I totally spazzed out on Feb '15's PT-B because I got so overwhelmed with the question and how to apply the cases and law given (which was Evidence--a subject that I'm comfortable with). Should I go through all kinds of PTs and time myself/write full answers out or spend more time on actual BLL? I'm working full-time as well (will probably drop to working 3 days/week when I'm a month out.) Thank you for your feedback/help!! So much appreciated!

Bar Slayer
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:02 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Bar Slayer » Thu May 21, 2015 11:09 am

FancyP wrote:
Thank you so much, Bar Slayer! I am definitely going to do everything you suggested! As for MBEs, is it worth it for me to get Adaptibar or any practice books out there with CivPro questions or will I be okay with S&T books and NCBEX released questions. (I already wrote all over my Barbri Qs-so I prob won't be able to reuse these for a third time.)

Also, I never learned how to attack a PT question properly--I had to teach myself because they didn't have the PT on the MA Bar. I totally spazzed out on Feb '15's PT-B because I got so overwhelmed with the question and how to apply the cases and law given (which was Evidence--a subject that I'm comfortable with). Should I go through all kinds of PTs and time myself/write full answers out or spend more time on actual BLL? I'm working full-time as well (will probably drop to working 3 days/week when I'm a month out.) Thank you for your feedback/help!! So much appreciated!


I definitely think it's worth going with Adaptibar (which is what I used) although others have recommended other programs like Barmax or Kaplan Qbank. It's not as important to have "official" CivPro questions since there just aren't that many out there. For CivPro especially, you should just do whatever questions you can get your hands on, as well as the questions on the NCBE website. Since it's such a new topic, everyone will be similarly "unprepared." I would highly recommend getting new questions though, especially if it's computer based. Having an online question bank allows you to pinpoint your weak spots easily (most sort your correct answer rate by subject, and by sub-subject) and quickly. They are also flexible--you can do 2 or 3 questions quickly at work, if you have a desk job and have some free time.

As for PTs, I would not focus on the BLL--PTs have nothing to do with knowing law. Instead they are testing you on your core legal skills and your writing skills. Before you practice anything make sure you know what your weak spot is. (For example, knowing or not knowing evidence wasn't all that important for PT-B; as I remember it was mainly a constitutional/confrontation clause issue.) Once you find out your weak spot (whether it's writing, analysis, interpreting cases) deliberately practice that skill. These are all separate skills, and improvement involves very different exercises. After that, I would do a few practice PTs but not necessarily write the whole thing out.

User avatar
a male human
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu May 21, 2015 12:59 pm

Anyone (Bar Slayer?) have thoughts about Adaptibar versus BarMax's MBE app? They seem to be the two go-to choices (besides Emanuel's) for MBE prep.

To be clear, I don't need it myself, just wanted to ask for my own research and so people can make an informed choice about their MBE supplements.

morescotchplease
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:46 am

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby morescotchplease » Thu May 21, 2015 1:52 pm

a male human wrote:Anyone (Bar Slayer?) have thoughts about Adaptibar versus BarMax's MBE app? They seem to be the two go-to choices (besides Emanuel's) for MBE prep.

To be clear, I don't need it myself, just wanted to ask for my own research and so people can make an informed choice about their MBE supplements.


I used barmax. I liked it for the MBE. I had it on the ipad mini so I was able to carry it around. Easy to load and do a few questions, read the explanations on the spot, etc. It really allowed me to get a lot of questions in. One thing bad about apps in general is that I like reading questions with my pencil-- helps me focus more on the question, circle things if I need to. Sometimes I found I would miss questions because it's easy to just skim read on a tablet (especially those mortgage questions) as opposed to paper. Ironically, this helped me on the actual exam I believe because I was able to mark the questions.

FancyP
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 5:06 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby FancyP » Thu May 21, 2015 2:22 pm

Does anyone have a coupon code for baressays.com or is there a special on repeat takers?

Bar Slayer
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:02 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Bar Slayer » Thu May 21, 2015 2:43 pm

morescotchplease wrote:
a male human wrote:Anyone (Bar Slayer?) have thoughts about Adaptibar versus BarMax's MBE app? They seem to be the two go-to choices (besides Emanuel's) for MBE prep.

To be clear, I don't need it myself, just wanted to ask for my own research and so people can make an informed choice about their MBE supplements.


I used barmax. I liked it for the MBE. I had it on the ipad mini so I was able to carry it around. Easy to load and do a few questions, read the explanations on the spot, etc. It really allowed me to get a lot of questions in. One thing bad about apps in general is that I like reading questions with my pencil-- helps me focus more on the question, circle things if I need to. Sometimes I found I would miss questions because it's easy to just skim read on a tablet (especially those mortgage questions) as opposed to paper. Ironically, this helped me on the actual exam I believe because I was able to mark the questions.


When I was researching materials, I was debating between Barmax and Adaptibar, and went with Adaptibar because I didn't have an iPad. Reviews for both seem to be pretty good. In my experience, having a review program that is web-app based, and can be run on PCs is key, because I would often do practice questions at work (before others came in, during lunch, or after everyone's gone home.) I think that's pretty important for people who are working and studying at the same time.

I also really liked Adaptibar's feature that creates PDFs of all your wrong answers. Every few days I'd print them out and review carefully the underlying rules. But maybe most web based question banks have this feature.

underthirty
Posts: 135
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:27 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby underthirty » Thu May 21, 2015 2:44 pm

.
Last edited by underthirty on Sat May 30, 2015 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FearnLoathing
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:28 pm

Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby FearnLoathing » Thu May 21, 2015 4:34 pm

Hi All,

I'm currently enrolled in a Bar Review program andI've been looking to beef up my MBE score. I currently have access to Emmanuel's MBE bootcamp (online program), however I've noticed quite a few folks advocating other MBE programs. Can anyone speak about their success (or not) with Emmanuel's MBE bootcamp?? Just trying to be as efficient as possible as the exam approaches.

Thanks!




Return to “Bar Exam Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests