Asked my advisor about doing assignments open book and what we should be scoring. Her response was comforting so I'm posting part of it here:
"Ideally, all of these practice items, whether graded, should be done with your books closed - that is the only way to get a true sense of your timing and substantive knowledge as well as your ability to guess when you are unsure. That is really good rpactice for the real exam as you may indeed have to do so on July 28th. It's ok to review the substance/your notes before you sit down to write an essay for grading or before you answer a set of MBE PQs - you will have more time to study in July and you will be able to memorize most of the rules then.
It's way too early to be overly concerned about any scores! Every student starts out bar review in a different place. Some are good at Multiple Choice and standardized tests, and some are not naturally good at those questions. On average, I would say that most students begin near 45% for the first few sets of MBE PQs, regardless of the subject matter. For the MBE practice questions, about 50% correct right now is an expected level of competence. The Goal is currently set at 50% through the first 2 Milestone exams - simply because most students begin the process at or below the 50% mark. There is a Goal Ladder which will begin to rise after Milestone 2. Overall, on the MBE Qs for all subjects combined, you are shooting to score about 62% correct (That is 62 out of 100 Qs in the AM; 62 out of 100 Qs in the PM session - YOU CAN do that!).
Most students who do the essay assignments with their books closed should score around 50 points out of the possible 100. You can guage your own scores on all graded assignments by comparing to others within the course progress session results. Your goal is to have about 65-70 points or more overall on the actual bar exam (an average of the 5 essay answers). You will have strengths and weaknesses within the subejcts which are testable, but it's the overall result that matters, and you are well on your way!There is a long way to go until the actual bar exam, so you have plenty of time to improve your writing style and organization as well as your knowledge of the law."
I appreciate you sharing this with us. I want to caution you, however. I took Themis for the Feb cycle and I did every last essay closed book and timed (practice and actual submittals). I received 65 on each Themis graded essay and always felt like I was coming up short (but their feedback was vague). Additionally, I was at 65-80% on every single MBE set. I received 3 65's and 3 60's on the actual (CA) essays & MBE was 1462 (I think the MBE is accurate). I bombed the PTs. I am repeating and I'm getting 75s from Themis on practice essays with minimal/useless critiques - "do closed book, if you are not already doing so (which I am!)...great structure, use facts more." WTF!!!
However, I have had to submit a couple of the same essays to my tutor and I'm finding that I am not using facts to argue BOTH SIDES nor make inferences where necessary. In fact, I'm scoring 10 pts lower! Be cautious of vague feedback and demand more! This is our future and our $$! P.S. I thought I did great because my scaled MBE was 1462 in Feb but my tutor was quick to say I needed to be at 150...nothing less. I'm not sure what to believe but I'm at 68.97% with 986 MBEs complete with Themis & my tutor says I need to step it up. I plan on talking to Themis about this because I'm super confused at this point. Just sharing!