July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

mattin7827
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby mattin7827 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:15 pm

Is anyone at the point where they're answering essay questions closed book? I've been trying, but for every essay that I can competently answer, there comes along an essay for which I am utterly clueless. Has anyone else noticed that the February essays seem much harder? This past February's commercial paper essay (#6) was bizarre to say the least.

Velours
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Velours » Sun Jul 05, 2015 1:29 pm

mattin7827 wrote:Is anyone at the point where they're answering essay questions closed book? I've been trying, but for every essay that I can competently answer, there comes along an essay for which I am utterly clueless. Has anyone else noticed that the February essays seem much harder? This past February's commercial paper essay (#6) was bizarre to say the least.


I've been doing essays mostly closed book, but if I can't remember the wording or what the exact rule is I will look it up. I also sometimes go through the lecture handout if I feel like the essay is too short and that I am missing a point. I find it helps me remember the rule better than reading the sample answer after.

I feel like it's pretty hit or miss currently though, like you said. Sometimes, I can get them completely and other times I'll miss something pretty crucial.

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1212
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby 1212 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:00 pm

Anyone know if the ban on watches is a new development and/or whether each testing site will be good about making a clock visible to everyone? Not being able to keep track of time seems absurd.

http://www.ble.state.tx.us/ExaminationI ... ctions.pdf

Velours
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Velours » Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:03 pm

The watch ban is brand new for July. I'm not sure what prompted it but hopefully they're good about clocks. Examsoft during law school let you set a timer and kept track but I'm not sure if that feature will be available for the bar exam. I'm planning to just kind of force the issue with the proctors if necessary to make sure there's a clock. Hoping for the best though.

Also, I still haven't received my admission ticket. I called the my licensure analyst but I haven't heard back and it's making me terribly anxious. Anyone else still waiting?

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BVest
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby BVest » Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:35 pm

The watch ban was in effect when I took the MPRE in March 2014 (had to go back to the parking lot to put my watch away). There was a large digital clock on the front podium where I took it.

During the essays and MPT you'll have your laptop clock (assuming you're typing), but during the MBE and the Procedure/Evidence exam you're stuck with just whatever they provide.

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Magnifique1908
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Magnifique1908 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:30 pm

BVest wrote:The watch ban was in effect when I took the MPRE in March 2014 (had to go back to the parking lot to put my watch away). There was a large digital clock on the front podium where I took it.

During the essays and MPT you'll have your laptop clock (assuming you're typing), but during the MBE and the Procedure/Evidence exam you're stuck with just whatever they provide.


MPRE and the bar are administered by two different entities. Watch ban for the bar exam is a brand new rule from the TX BLE.

Also, wouldn't your laptop click cease to be visible once the software is launched? I hope it's at least like the law school software that had the timer.

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BVest
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby BVest » Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:28 pm

I know, but there are some common traits to exam administration. I can't think of an exam I took where there wasn't some indication of time visible to me that I hadn't brought into the exam.

As far as the clock, I used ExamSoft for some law school stuff and either my clock was still visible or there was an exam timer. Or both.

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Greenandgold
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Greenandgold » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:01 pm

BVest wrote:I know, but there are some common traits to exam administration. I can't think of an exam I took where there wasn't some indication of time visible to me that I hadn't brought into the exam.

As far as the clock, I used ExamSoft for some law school stuff and either my clock was still visible or there was an exam timer. Or both.


Based on my memory of the practice test they had us take, the laptop clock won't be visible. Examsoft took over the entire computer screen and I wasn't able to see anything else, including the bar at the top showing the time. The exam timer should be down there on the bottom though, but the BLE has the option to turn that off I believe, and it honestly wouldn't surprise me if they did since the people writing their answers by hand won't have a clock on their table either.

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Greenandgold
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Greenandgold » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:41 pm

I posted this on reddit, but in case you other barbri takers didn't know about this I'll post it here too:

For those of you getting frustrated with Barbri for asking super complicated questions or feeling like you are going to fail because you keep getting 50% on their practice sets: go to the enrolled students center, click on "practice questions", and then scroll down to "released MBE questions." These are actual old MBE questions by topic. Do a couple of these on the topics you're worrying about and see where you're at.
Today I got 8 or 9 questions wrong out of 18 on my crim law assignment and decided to try these released questions out finally to see if it was me or if it was barbri. I went 13 for 13 on actual MBE questions. I'm not saying to skip barbri's assignments, but if you're feeling frustrated and want a little bit better gauge of what the questions will be like on test day, go try some of these out and see how you do.
(I know adaptibar has actual MBE questions as well, but I didn't want to spend an extra $500 on that and so it's nice to know that barbri posts some too.)

jamescastle
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby jamescastle » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:54 pm

Greenandgold wrote:I posted this on reddit, but in case you other barbri takers didn't know about this I'll post it here too:

For those of you getting frustrated with Barbri for asking super complicated questions or feeling like you are going to fail because you keep getting 50% on their practice sets: go to the enrolled students center, click on "practice questions", and then scroll down to "released MBE questions." These are actual old MBE questions by topic. Do a couple of these on the topics you're worrying about and see where you're at.
Today I got 8 or 9 questions wrong out of 18 on my crim law assignment and decided to try these released questions out finally to see if it was me or if it was barbri. I went 13 for 13 on actual MBE questions. I'm not saying to skip barbri's assignments, but if you're feeling frustrated and want a little bit better gauge of what the questions will be like on test day, go try some of these out and see how you do.
(I know adaptibar has actual MBE questions as well, but I didn't want to spend an extra $500 on that and so it's nice to know that barbri posts some too.)

From my understanding, though, these questions are significantly older than Adaptibar's actual questions. Is this true or am I mixing up information?

envisciguy
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby envisciguy » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:57 pm

I'm having some trouble getting the right structure for the essays. It seems that for all the emphasis on CRAC or CIRAC that BARBRI throws at us, a ton of their model answers (and the ones from the BLE for that matter) just completely ignore it and mix rule with application right away. Yet other times it's set out extremely rigidly with a couple sentences of black letter law and then the application.

Does anyone have advice on how to figure out when to set things out with a lot of rule first and when to just jump into the facts? Am I just completely missing something?

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Greenandgold
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Greenandgold » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:35 pm

jamescastle wrote:
Greenandgold wrote:I posted this on reddit, but in case you other barbri takers didn't know about this I'll post it here too:

For those of you getting frustrated with Barbri for asking super complicated questions or feeling like you are going to fail because you keep getting 50% on their practice sets: go to the enrolled students center, click on "practice questions", and then scroll down to "released MBE questions." These are actual old MBE questions by topic. Do a couple of these on the topics you're worrying about and see where you're at.
Today I got 8 or 9 questions wrong out of 18 on my crim law assignment and decided to try these released questions out finally to see if it was me or if it was barbri. I went 13 for 13 on actual MBE questions. I'm not saying to skip barbri's assignments, but if you're feeling frustrated and want a little bit better gauge of what the questions will be like on test day, go try some of these out and see how you do.
(I know adaptibar has actual MBE questions as well, but I didn't want to spend an extra $500 on that and so it's nice to know that barbri posts some too.)

From my understanding, though, these questions are significantly older than Adaptibar's actual questions. Is this true or am I mixing up information?


I have no idea because I don't have adaptibar and barbri doesn't tell us when the questions on their website are from. Are you doing both barbri and adaptibar? If so, how do the questions compare? I was a little surprised at how much harder Barbri's practice questions were compared to the actual MBE questions on their site.

jamescastle
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby jamescastle » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:57 pm

Greenandgold wrote:
jamescastle wrote:
Greenandgold wrote:I posted this on reddit, but in case you other barbri takers didn't know about this I'll post it here too:

For those of you getting frustrated with Barbri for asking super complicated questions or feeling like you are going to fail because you keep getting 50% on their practice sets: go to the enrolled students center, click on "practice questions", and then scroll down to "released MBE questions." These are actual old MBE questions by topic. Do a couple of these on the topics you're worrying about and see where you're at.
Today I got 8 or 9 questions wrong out of 18 on my crim law assignment and decided to try these released questions out finally to see if it was me or if it was barbri. I went 13 for 13 on actual MBE questions. I'm not saying to skip barbri's assignments, but if you're feeling frustrated and want a little bit better gauge of what the questions will be like on test day, go try some of these out and see how you do.
(I know adaptibar has actual MBE questions as well, but I didn't want to spend an extra $500 on that and so it's nice to know that barbri posts some too.)

From my understanding, though, these questions are significantly older than Adaptibar's actual questions. Is this true or am I mixing up information?


I have no idea because I don't have adaptibar and barbri doesn't tell us when the questions on their website are from. Are you doing both barbri and adaptibar? If so, how do the questions compare? I was a little surprised at how much harder Barbri's practice questions were compared to the actual MBE questions on their site.

I'm not doing Adaptibar. I'm basing my response off what people have said in the BARBRI thread on this board.

tianziwansui
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby tianziwansui » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:37 pm

I've looked on here and not found much information as to how the essays are graded. I mean, during the Barbri essay workshop the guy said that a score of 140ishx2 was above average. I'm confused. The scale is 0 to 25. Barbri says that a passing essay is 17 points. When you divide the 140 score by 12 that comes out to about 12 points per essay...I know the essays are scaled with the MBE, but does anyone have any more information?

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BVest
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby BVest » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:50 pm

D. TEXAS ESSAY QUESTIONS
The TBE also includes twelve (12) Texas Essay questions. Each essay question is graded on a scale where 25 is
the highest possible score and 0 is the lowest possible score. The raw scores on each essay question are then converted to
a common score distribution
that weights the questions equally and allows for direct comparison of scores across the
twelve questions.


http://www.ble.state.tx.us/ExaminationI ... 08_pdf.pdf

Also of importance, in the end, the essays are worth 400/1000 total possible points. The raw score of the essays, however, is 300 possible points (25 points X 12 essays), which is then distributed and scaled (apparently down to 200 possible points) before it is multiplied by 2. You're trying to get 135/200 on the scaled score. That's as far into the math as I care to wade, so from there I take Barbri on faith that 16-17 points is a passing grade on an essay. (Though if you ignore the distribution part of that and just consider the scaling that takes place, you would come to a conclusion that 135/200 = 202.5/300, so the raw score needed on each essay would be 202.5/12 = 16.87)

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Greenandgold
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Greenandgold » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:51 am

BVest wrote:
D. TEXAS ESSAY QUESTIONS
The TBE also includes twelve (12) Texas Essay questions. Each essay question is graded on a scale where 25 is
the highest possible score and 0 is the lowest possible score. The raw scores on each essay question are then converted to
a common score distribution
that weights the questions equally and allows for direct comparison of scores across the
twelve questions.


http://www.ble.state.tx.us/ExaminationI ... 08_pdf.pdf

Also of importance, in the end, the essays are worth 400/1000 total possible points. The raw score of the essays, however, is 300 possible points (25 points X 12 essays), which is then distributed and scaled (apparently down to 200 possible points) before it is multiplied by 2. You're trying to get 135/200 on the scaled score. That's as far into the math as I care to wade, so from there I take Barbri on faith that 16-17 points is a passing grade on an essay. (Though if you ignore the distribution part of that and just consider the scaling that takes place, you would come to a conclusion that 135/200 = 202.5/300, so the raw score needed on each essay would be 202.5/12 = 16.87)


I think that means that the scaled score on each essay needs to be 16.87, not the raw score. If everyone in the state gets a raw score of 5 out of 25 on one of the essays, then they'll scale it up to whatever the mean is supposed to be. (Somewhere around 142/200 which equals 213/300 and 213/12 = 17.75.) So the mean scaled score on each essay in the state is right around 17.75, and you only need to average around 16.87 per essay. What that translates to in raw score is impossible to say because depending on the difficulty of each question, the raw score could be wildly different on one question than on another. Some questions it won't take many raw points to get a passing grade, but that will just be because it's a tough question and everyone in the state did poorly on it.

(I just went and read the exact explanation for how the scoring works and I think my explanation is right, but they don't say exactly how they scale the individual essays, just that they do scale them so that each essay can be compared to the other eleven essays, they then add each persons essays scores up and scale those results across the 0-200 range to get the same mean and standard deviation as the MBE results.)

tl;dr It's all a competition against the other test takers. They scale the scores to match the MBE score distribution. You just need to be better than about 25-30% of test takers in the essay section to get a 135. Here is what the ranges end up looking like: https://www.ncbex.org/publications/statistics/mbe-statistics/. Last year 24.6% of students scored below a 135.

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BVest
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby BVest » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:23 pm

Right. I was ignoring distribution (which factors into final scaled scores). If the actual raw scores followed the distribution curve that the BLE wants to see, then my raw score of 16.87 would likely be your passing target. But some questions will be harder and some will be easier, so they redistribute them to put them on their desired distribution curve.

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Greenandgold
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Greenandgold » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:57 pm

BVest wrote:Right. I was ignoring distribution (which factors into final scaled scores). If the actual raw scores followed the distribution curve that the BLE wants to see, then my raw score of 16.87 would likely be your passing target. But some questions will be harder and some will be easier, so they redistribute them to put them on their desired distribution curve.


Yea, the interesting thing to me was just how little difference there is between the average score (17.75) and basically the 25th% score (16.87). That means that when barbri or the other test prep companies tell everyone that they need a 17 to pass, but then give people like 13s and 14s on essay assignments they're not being forthright. It's basically impossible to score below a 15 on the scaled scoring system. Sure, on the raw scoring system the essay might have received a grade of 13 or 14 out of 25, but if you're not going to scale the scores then that number doesn't mean anything, and it especially doesn't mean it's a failing score because it's below 17.

I think it'd be a lot more helpful for barbri to send out a chart like they do for the MBE practice test where it shows what percentage of students got a better raw score than you and what percentage did worse. That would at least give us a decent idea at where we stand for the essays.

Stevoman
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Stevoman » Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:57 am

All,

How much study time are you guys putting into the MBE versus essays, now that we are in crunch time? The Texas essays are worth as much as the MBE, yet the BarBri PSP seems to overwhelmingly pile on MBE stuff and then throw in 1-2 essays at the end as an afterthought. I'm consistently getting 70% on MBE question sets now, yet I still struggle to spot the issues in essays (especially family and property law). I'm starting to get really worried that my study time is being poorly allocated. The strategy of killing the MBE seems to work in lots of jurisdictions, but it's only 40% of the exam in Texas...

Yesterday I said screw the PSP and spent all day reviewing Wills/Estate and doing tons of essays from there. I honestly feel like yesterday was more productive than all of last week.

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Devlin
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Devlin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:05 pm

I agree with you 100%. Now that these mini review of all the MBE subjects are out of the way, I'm going to really focus mostly on the essays. I will, however, do the assigned mix sets.

I'm at the point where I can do a few subjects closed book. These are mostly subjects that I took in law school and did well in.

For some subjects it seems impossible that I will have it down in less than two weeks. I don't know if this is super risky but on some subjects like commercial paper and criminal procedure I'm just trying to get a 100 foot overview of the subject. I honestly think it will be impossible to get the fine details down like I do in some of the other subjects.

Also - has anyone really put in time for tax and specifically estate tax? Just attempted to read estate tax and quit.

Velours
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Velours » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:21 pm

My plan is to do one set of mixed MBE/review and focus mainly on the essay/short answer topics that I feel least comfortable with. For example, I feel fairly comfortable with family law, criminal procedure and business associations so I'm not worrying about those. I think at this point you have a feeling for what your strengths and weaknesses are so it makes sense to focus mainly on essays if you're doing well on the MBEs.

I did a cursory skim of the tax outlines. I took federal income tax but just plan to know the gist of the other ones like when you have to pay gift/estate tax but not worrying about the details too much. So if a wills question has an estate worth 6 million I plan to just throw it out there that there would be tax consequences.

envisciguy
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby envisciguy » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:57 pm

Stevoman wrote:All,

How much study time are you guys putting into the MBE versus essays, now that we are in crunch time? The Texas essays are worth as much as the MBE, yet the BarBri PSP seems to overwhelmingly pile on MBE stuff and then throw in 1-2 essays at the end as an afterthought. I'm consistently getting 70% on MBE question sets now, yet I still struggle to spot the issues in essays (especially family and property law). I'm starting to get really worried that my study time is being poorly allocated. The strategy of killing the MBE seems to work in lots of jurisdictions, but it's only 40% of the exam in Texas...

Yesterday I said screw the PSP and spent all day reviewing Wills/Estate and doing tons of essays from there. I honestly feel like yesterday was more productive than all of last week.


The essays terrify me, so I've been meticulously reading over all the essay topic outlines as they've been assigned in the PSP. It takes me WAY longer than the 1 hour they give us to review most of them, so I've been reviewing those instead of the MBE topics. That said, I still don't feel like I have a good grasp on any of them. I can tell vaguely when an issue pops up, but rarely remember the details of the rules.

So I guess I have the same question as you.

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Devlin
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby Devlin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:59 pm

I'll read the CMR on a Texas essay subject and think "yes this makes sense" and I will feel confident about the subject. Then when it comes time to write an answer I can't pull the rules out of my head.

I only had one closed book exam in law school, this makes me realize how much I relied on outlines.

3L Student
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby 3L Student » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:55 pm

Hi guys - I'm a lateral associate to the TX market, so I just jumped into the bar study scene two weeks ago. Reading through the thread, it looks like it's not necessary to prepare for Bankruptcy and Income Tax. Is there a reason for this? Did Barbri explain that these subjects aren't likely to be tested on? Thanks in advance.

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BVest
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Re: July 2015 Texas Bar Exam

Postby BVest » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:36 pm

I think mainly it's the fact that they're just crossover topics and that the depth to which the exam could go on the topics would be fairly shallow.




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