best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

victortsoi
Posts: 448
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:51 pm

best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby victortsoi » Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:21 pm

Taking NY july bar exam. So, as I posted before, i initially thought that if i wanted to work 15 hours a week or so while doing barbri until July(taking that month completely off), because the barbri live class was in the same building as my office, it would work out.

After talking to the barbri people, they made it pretty clear that there was a schedule and I had to follow the schedule. I was expecting something a little more...accomodating from them, (some sort of more individualized plan) as I've heard from others that at least for the first month, you can really compensate on the weekend for part time work during the week.

Is there another prep course that might be better while working, and still give me great results, before I commit to barbri?

User avatar
encore1101
Posts: 642
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:13 am

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby encore1101 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:27 pm

surprised they told you that. the only real "schedule" is if you're attending the live class (which is pointless). otherwise, when you attend the other barbri locations, they just play the video. it's better, in my opinion, to just watch the videos from home.

watching the videos from home lets you watch them whenever you want, as opposed to having to show up to campus at certain times. the only "schedule" is their recommended plan of stuff to do every day -- mbe questions, reading, their silly barbri questions, lectures, and writing assignments. there's no set time that you have to do any of those things, except you may occasionally get a deadline to turn in writing assignments for grading.

victortsoi
Posts: 448
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:51 pm

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby victortsoi » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:33 pm

im strongly considering going to themis, something about barbri doesn't jive right for me. i know if they dump those thousands of pages on me, ill just get overwhelmed and study less than if i had a more realistic plan and goals. And I do plan on trying to study at least 8 hours a day.

User avatar
encore1101
Posts: 642
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:13 am

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby encore1101 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:38 pm

shrug. i think its better to have too much material to choose to study from, than just the right amount. failing the bar and having to study for it again in the winter seems really frustrating.

i took barbri, and i just watched the lectures, filled out the outlines, and did all the MBE questions. barbri has a percentage meter that indicates how much of the barbri course you've completed, and I think I took, and passed, the bar at somewhere at ~60% completed.

sparty99
Posts: 1433
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:41 pm

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby sparty99 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:26 pm

Why don't you just take Themis? It is cheaper. You should start the bar course at the beginning of May. You will waste a lot of time watching the videos. So it is best that you get that out of the way. It's a huge fucking time sink.

I'd also recommend not working. But if you want to do 10 - 15 hours then fine.

bklynattorney
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:46 pm

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby bklynattorney » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:28 am

I worked 40 hour weeks throughout bar review (I did Kaplan for NY July 2014) and had no problem, but people are different and I don't necessarily recommend doing that; there was a LOT of the course I wasn't able to finish due to me just being exhausted/lazy after work and not wanting to give up all of my weekends. Still, I needed the money so not working was not an option. But I echo what some other posters are stating. If you can get out of Barbri, I say do it. Barbri seems to be needlessly expensive (I ended up paying around $1,500 for my course when you factored in the $500 rebate and $250 book deposit return, which was a very significant price cut from what Barbri was charging, even with their rebate) and it doesn't even have the best guarantee (for instance, Kaplan had a full money back guarantee if you fail, while Barbri only lets you retake the course . . . but who wants to retake a course if the course didn't adequately prepare them to pass to begin with??).

User avatar
JenDarby
Posts: 13324
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:02 am

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby JenDarby » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:48 am

You save a ton of time watching the videos at 1.5 or 2 times the speed so I defjnitelt recommend watching on your own time. Plus the breaks that are built into the in class version are way too frequent and unnecessary.

I worked and did Kaplan and had no problem keeping up with both work and bar prep.

Buffalo Barrister
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:49 am

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby Buffalo Barrister » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:33 pm

I graduated from a non-New York law school in 2009. Never took a bar exam anywhere.

Fast forward: Through a political campaign job I met a great attorney who offered me a job at his firm if I promised to take and pass the July 2014 New York bar exam. The deal was that I would start working full-time beginning January 1, 2014, but would be given no time off for studying - just the Monday before the exam and the Tuesday and Wednesday of the exam itself.

I did not register for a course. Instead, I bought a used 2012 Barbri Conviser, a used 2012 Barbri New York thick book, a used 2012 Barbri MRE topic book, a used 2009 Barbri essay practice book, and a used 2009 Barbri MBE practice exam book. ALSO, I bought some e-bay guy's outlines that he typed while sitting through the Barbri lectures (nothing more than a sloppy Microsoft Word copy of the Barbri lecture handouts with the spaces filled in). That's it. Cost me about $200.

Study schedule: I began on May 5th, 2014.
WEEKDAYS: Wake up at 2:30 a.m., get to office at 3:15 a.m., screw around on internet until 3:45 a.m., study from 3:45 - 9:00 a.m. with office door shut. Work until 5:30 p.m., decompress at home until 6:30 p.m., eat dinner, study in bed from 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., sleep, repeat.
WEEKENDS: Sleep in as long as I pleased (usually around 9:00 a.m.), get to office at 10:00 a.m., screw around on internet until 11:00 a.m., study from 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., decrompress at home, study in bed a bit, sleep, repeat on Sunday.

Study strategy in a nutshell: Creating my own outlines and rehashing. How? Compose section of outline from all of my materials (for example, types of easements), then turn away from my laptop and immediately rehash as much as I could on big tri-pod sized flippy note pads that I bought, then step back and look at what I'd written, compare with actual correct outline, and then re-write again on the note pads. Keep in mind, when I wrote on the note pads, I didn't compose in outline format, but in paragraph format as I would on the exam itself. I did this over and over and over again - used up about half a dozen of the big note pads and a dozen regular-sized legal pads.

I made sure to read all of the hypos in the Barbri books. TIP: Google search "national paralegal college & [topic]" with [topic] being whatever topic you are studying, such as contracts - this is an unbelievably helpful resource written in plain English and full of hypos and examples.

Progress: I intended to spend about 5-6 days per topic, but was never able to stick to it. So far out of law school, I found myself needing to completely re-learn things.
Got through completely: Property, contracts, crim law, crim pro, trusts, wills and estates, torts, domestic relations, and corporations.
Got through half then quite: Evidence
Got through quarter then quite: New York practice
Never touched: Constitutional, federal practice, UCC, conflicts of law, and professional responsibility (Well, one night I opened up professional responsibility and read 5-7 pages. Fortuitously, the PR issue that came up in the exam (referral fee to non-attorney) was covered in the pages that I read!)

Practice essay testing: Throughout July I read just about ALL of the example essay questions and answers in the Barbri book. Also wrote out a couple of them.
Practice MPRE: Never did a single practice question until the Saturday before the exam. During the next three days I probably did about 200 questions and read the answers. Did another 50 in bed on the night before the second day of the exam.

Burnout: For about 10 days in mid-July I burnt out. Didn't do a damn thing other than read essay questions.

Essay Day: Timing problems. A.M. Session - Felt that I crushed the first essays, squeaked by on the second, but short-timed myself and only got 1/3 of the way through the last essay of the first session. P.M. Session - Felt like I crushed the first essay, decent on second essay, squeaked by on the third, completely short-timed myself again and only got heading, intro, and two frantically-written bullshit mini-paragraphs of the MPE done. Went home emotionally wrecked - I knew enough of the law, but fucked up on time. So close.
Multi-Choice Day: A.M. Session - Felt good, finshed with 30 seconds to spare. P.M. Session - Felt good again, finished with two minutes to spare.

Left to convention center, broke down about 50 feet away. Walked over to the monument in Niagara Square and couldn't stop the tears. So much work and sleepless nights and anxiety. All for nothing.

Started studying again on October 1st.

Found out I passed on October 28.

Point is, you don't need to waste your money on those review courses if you can discipline yourself. I passed my first time with no review course five years out of law school while working full-time.

s1m4
Posts: 202
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:04 pm

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby s1m4 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:48 pm

How in bloody hell do you wake up at 2:30AM ^^

Buffalo Barrister
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:49 am

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby Buffalo Barrister » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:59 pm

(How in bloody hell do you wake up at 2:30AM ^^)

Fear of losing this job that I love,
Desire to keep doing this job that I love,
and I felt that I owed it to myself and my fiance who saw me through law school and quite a bit of other crap.

s1m4
Posts: 202
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:04 pm

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby s1m4 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:39 pm

Well,

Thank you for your story, very inspirational. I studied my ass off for Cali, knew the law well, but also made some errors on timing which could affect the outcome, so hoping for the best.

Just curious: When you say study from 11-7, how much of that was "active" studying, and how much time was given to breaks / food etc?

I spent all day studying, but really probably put in 6-7 hours of "active" studying a day.

Buffalo Barrister
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:49 am

Re: best bar prep for NY bar while working 10-15 hours a week

Postby Buffalo Barrister » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:37 pm

(When you say study from 11-7, how much of that was "active" studying, and how much time was given to breaks / food etc?)

I screwed around sometimes (check scores, read the news, etc.) Also, at least once per week I wasn't able to get myself out of bed at 2:30. Sometimes I didn't get in until 5:00 or 6:00 a.m.

I did become quite psychotic. Waking up in the middle of the night with the urge to pick up a notebook and start scribbling down black letter law, pacing and talking to myself about the law, not eating, becoming frantic and manic, quick to anger, depressed, lecturing the law to my fiance for hours while she folded laundry or cooked dinner, took long walks while rehashing law in my head and out load (one time I was driving with my fiance and I pulled over in a parking lot because intentional torts were stuck on repeat in my head so we walked circles around the lot as I "taught" her torts until the urge went away - an hour), seriously entertaining conspiracy theories about the bar exam being a profiteering scheme of the test prep companies, night before the first testing day I was absolutely manic and had to call a friend who had done it before to talk me off the ledge, etc.

What's really crazy is that when I opened the e-mail and saw the "Congratulations..." I wasn't even happy. I just stared blankly. In the following days I even felt angry - so much stress, so much doubt, such a long wait, so much work, and for what? I'd already forgotten 75% of what I learned. It seemed like such a pointless exercise. I mean, I didn't even answer the MBE, so what's the value of it and why did I go through such hell for it?

Somehow I think I turned the exam into my Captain Ahab's White Whale. I was obsessed about it. In some deep dark place I enjoyed the bar exam hunt and was sad that the animal was slayed without ever having experienced the thrill of the kill because I was too busy doubting, grieving and studying again.

I spent a whole beautiful sunny summer locked up studying, and then three more months wandering the forest of doubt and anxiety. It's too much time. Our lives are short, you know? I've opened up that "Congratulations" email dozens of times, but haven't burst into a smile once.




Return to “Bar Exam Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: eafrica17 and 3 guests