CA Barbri -- Balancing Barbri Assignments, Memorization, and Additional Practice

atticus89
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:06 pm

CA Barbri -- Balancing Barbri Assignments, Memorization, and Additional Practice

Postby atticus89 » Sat May 30, 2015 4:54 pm

Doing CA Barbri online -- I'll try to explain this as general concerns first before some specific questions at the end. I know there's a big Barbri/bar review thread, but I thought this directed discussion might be more helpful than sifting through pages of complain posts about how much work Barbri assigns.

I've been trying to dig around for info on this, but was a little concerned with what I saw some people posting. I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out exactly what is expected of us at any given point in the Barbri Pace Program. For example, when we're assigned MBE practice questions and essays just a few days after learning the material, are we supposed to have this info memorized, practice by looking at our notes/outlines, or practice without looking at notes/outlines? I guess I'm confused about whether the goal is memorization or application at this stage. For me the challenge isn't really understanding the law or even applying it (if I have my notes open) -- it's just that I'll read a question, recognize an issue, know that they're getting at a particular element, but I don't remember the precise statement of the rule needed to answer the question, so I can't answer without looking at my notes.

I found some 'study schedules' of people who passed and to paraphrase many of them were as follows:
9-1: Lecture
2-5: Review lecture notes and practice MBE
5-7: practice outlining essays

To me it all seems vague. Are people practicing MBEs and lectures even on days when the work isn't assigned? For example, this is what my Pace Program assigned for last Wednesday, along with anticipated times:
(1) PR lecture - 3.5 hours
(2) Review lecture notes - 1 hour
(3) Crim Law/Pro essay writing lecture - 1 hour
(4) Power Advantage (one of those short videos) - negligible time
(5) Write out and self-grade Crim essay 1 - 1.5 hours
(6) Analysis video for Crim essay 1 - 1 hour
(7) 'Prepare' for Torts - 1 hour

When it says 'review' or 'prepare' I generally try to spend as close to the suggested time as possible either reviewing an outline, reviewing lecture notes, or making flash cards. So that's 9 expected hours of directed study right there with no MBE practice, no outlining 3 essays/night, none of the stuff I've seen a lot of past bar-takers recommending. In fact, up to today my Paced Program has assigned I believe only 60ish MBE questions total. So I thought it would be helpful if current Barbri students and past bar-takers could all compile their thoughts here about the following:

(1) What, if anything, are you doing to add to or deviate from the paced program? If you're adding MBE/essays, how do you know what to add?
(2) When you're doing the practice MBEs or essays, are you using your notes to answer (open book style)? At what point in the 10 week process are we expected to be answering without notes? (For example, my first 2 classes in week 1 were Crim Law/Pro -- should I have that stuff memorized by...week 3? Week 5? Or does it not matter until July when the focus shifts to memorizing?)
(3) When are you memorizing and at what stage in this 10 week process are we expected to have a good chunk of the material memorized?

I guess my concern stems from the fact that I feel like I'm putting the time in every single day so far (I'm 100% up to date with my assigned study plan), but of the 4 classes I've had so far (Crim Law, Crim Pro, PR, and Torts) I don't really feel like I 'know' much. I get it, I understand it, and I understand how to apply it, and when I see a practice question I know what the issue is and where to find the answer but I still need to look it up before I can answer (since the questions often get at specific elements of the rules). Through my searching around the various threads here, I feel that many have similar concerns. Any input is appreciated here!

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

Re: CA Barbri -- Balancing Barbri Assignments, Memorization, and Additional Practice

Postby cndounda1985 » Sat May 30, 2015 6:24 pm

At this point in the process you should be doing things open book, however as the weeks go by and you eventually start memorizing more law, you should switch to closed book. Honestly, true memorization of everything doesn't really occur until last few weeks of bar. However, as you continue to review and do MBEs plus essays...you will eventually know a lot of the law. It's basically constant practice, memorization and repetition. After studying a certain rule or seeing it over and over, you will have it memorized. People, usually leave the fine nitty gritty memorization of certain rules towards the end. It's still very early, but you should continue to practice, watch the lectures and work on learning the law. Also, practicing writing out the essays and outlining also teaches you the law. As you study certain essays, you will start seeing the patterns of how the examiners will test certain subjects. It's a lot now but it will all come together towards the end. Hope this helps.

atticus89
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:06 pm

Re: CA Barbri -- Balancing Barbri Assignments, Memorization, and Additional Practice

Postby atticus89 » Sat May 30, 2015 6:28 pm

cndounda1985 wrote:At this point in the process you should be doing things open book, however as the weeks go by and you eventually start memorizing more law, you should switch to closed book. Honestly, true memorization of everything doesn't really occur until last few weeks of bar. However, as you continue to review and do MBEs plus essays...you will eventually know a lot of the law. It's basically constant practice, memorization and repetition. After studying a certain rule or seeing it over and over, you will have it memorized. People, usually leave the fine nitty gritty memorization of certain rules towards the end. It's still very early, but you should continue to practice, watch the lectures and work on learning the law. Also, practicing writing out the essays and outlining also teaches you the law. As you study certain essays, you will start seeing the patterns of how the examiners will test certain subjects. It's a lot now but it will all come together towards the end. Hope this helps.


Would you recommend sticking with Barbri or adding additional MBEs? Or is that just case by case? I just don't have any sense of how much of the huge MBE book they gave us will be covered just by following the program so I don't want to front-load everything and freak out early if it'll come in time anyway.

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

Re: CA Barbri -- Balancing Barbri Assignments, Memorization, and Additional Practice

Postby cndounda1985 » Sat May 30, 2015 7:53 pm

atticus89 wrote:
cndounda1985 wrote:At this point in the process you should be doing things open book, however as the weeks go by and you eventually start memorizing more law, you should switch to closed book. Honestly, true memorization of everything doesn't really occur until last few weeks of bar. However, as you continue to review and do MBEs plus essays...you will eventually know a lot of the law. It's basically constant practice, memorization and repetition. After studying a certain rule or seeing it over and over, you will have it memorized. People, usually leave the fine nitty gritty memorization of certain rules towards the end. It's still very early, but you should continue to practice, watch the lectures and work on learning the law. Also, practicing writing out the essays and outlining also teaches you the law. As you study certain essays, you will start seeing the patterns of how the examiners will test certain subjects. It's a lot now but it will all come together towards the end. Hope this helps.


Would you recommend sticking with Barbri or adding additional MBEs? Or is that just case by case? I just don't have any sense of how much of the huge MBE book they gave us will be covered just by following the program so I don't want to front-load everything and freak out early if it'll come in time anyway.




It's really up to you..but i think most people recommend doing 33-50 MBEs per day. I would lean more towards 33 because you want to also review the questions you get wrong and review the law. You don't have to do them all in one seat down, I break mine up in increments of 17. I may do 17 at lunch and review, 17 when I get home and 17 if I have time before bed and review the next day. Or at least that's the goal. Just make sure you have time to review. Don't kill yourself too early.

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goldeneye
Posts: 792
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:25 pm

Re: CA Barbri -- Balancing Barbri Assignments, Memorization, and Additional Practice

Postby goldeneye » Sat May 30, 2015 8:35 pm

cndounda1985 wrote:
atticus89 wrote:
cndounda1985 wrote:At this point in the process you should be doing things open book, however as the weeks go by and you eventually start memorizing more law, you should switch to closed book. Honestly, true memorization of everything doesn't really occur until last few weeks of bar. However, as you continue to review and do MBEs plus essays...you will eventually know a lot of the law. It's basically constant practice, memorization and repetition. After studying a certain rule or seeing it over and over, you will have it memorized. People, usually leave the fine nitty gritty memorization of certain rules towards the end. It's still very early, but you should continue to practice, watch the lectures and work on learning the law. Also, practicing writing out the essays and outlining also teaches you the law. As you study certain essays, you will start seeing the patterns of how the examiners will test certain subjects. It's a lot now but it will all come together towards the end. Hope this helps.


Would you recommend sticking with Barbri or adding additional MBEs? Or is that just case by case? I just don't have any sense of how much of the huge MBE book they gave us will be covered just by following the program so I don't want to front-load everything and freak out early if it'll come in time anyway.



It's really up to you..but i think most people recommend doing 33-50 MBEs per day. I would lean more towards 33 because you want to also review the questions you get wrong and review the law. You don't have to do them all in one seat down, I break mine up in increments of 17. I may do 17 at lunch and review, 17 when I get home and 17 if I have time before bed and review the next day. Or at least that's the goal. Just make sure you have time to review. Don't kill yourself too early.


Where are you getting MBE from though? The study smart portal? Adaptibar?

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

Re: CA Barbri -- Balancing Barbri Assignments, Memorization, and Additional Practice

Postby cndounda1985 » Sun May 31, 2015 2:45 am

goldeneye wrote:
cndounda1985 wrote:
atticus89 wrote:
cndounda1985 wrote:At this point in the process you should be doing things open book, however as the weeks go by and you eventually start memorizing more law, you should switch to closed book. Honestly, true memorization of everything doesn't really occur until last few weeks of bar. However, as you continue to review and do MBEs plus essays...you will eventually know a lot of the law. It's basically constant practice, memorization and repetition. After studying a certain rule or seeing it over and over, you will have it memorized. People, usually leave the fine nitty gritty memorization of certain rules towards the end. It's still very early, but you should continue to practice, watch the lectures and work on learning the law. Also, practicing writing out the essays and outlining also teaches you the law. As you study certain essays, you will start seeing the patterns of how the examiners will test certain subjects. It's a lot now but it will all come together towards the end. Hope this helps.


Would you recommend sticking with Barbri or adding additional MBEs? Or is that just case by case? I just don't have any sense of how much of the huge MBE book they gave us will be covered just by following the program so I don't want to front-load everything and freak out early if it'll come in time anyway.



It's really up to you..but i think most people recommend doing 33-50 MBEs per day. I would lean more towards 33 because you want to also review the questions you get wrong and review the law. You don't have to do them all in one seat down, I break mine up in increments of 17. I may do 17 at lunch and review, 17 when I get home and 17 if I have time before bed and review the next day. Or at least that's the goal. Just make sure you have time to review. Don't kill yourself too early.


Where are you getting MBE from though? The study smart portal? Adaptibar?



I'm using adaptibar and using Kaplan red book MBEs, as well as the NCBE released MBEs the OPE 1-4. These i think are more similar then what is on the actual bar exam.

Kage3212
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:34 am

Re: CA Barbri -- Balancing Barbri Assignments, Memorization, and Additional Practice

Postby Kage3212 » Sun May 31, 2015 10:42 am

atticus89 wrote:Doing CA Barbri online -- I'll try to explain this as general concerns first before some specific questions at the end. I know there's a big Barbri/bar review thread, but I thought this directed discussion might be more helpful than sifting through pages of complain posts about how much work Barbri assigns.

I've been trying to dig around for info on this, but was a little concerned with what I saw some people posting. I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out exactly what is expected of us at any given point in the Barbri Pace Program. For example, when we're assigned MBE practice questions and essays just a few days after learning the material, are we supposed to have this info memorized, practice by looking at our notes/outlines, or practice without looking at notes/outlines? I guess I'm confused about whether the goal is memorization or application at this stage. For me the challenge isn't really understanding the law or even applying it (if I have my notes open) -- it's just that I'll read a question, recognize an issue, know that they're getting at a particular element, but I don't remember the precise statement of the rule needed to answer the question, so I can't answer without looking at my notes.

I found some 'study schedules' of people who passed and to paraphrase many of them were as follows:
9-1: Lecture
2-5: Review lecture notes and practice MBE
5-7: practice outlining essays

To me it all seems vague. Are people practicing MBEs and lectures even on days when the work isn't assigned? For example, this is what my Pace Program assigned for last Wednesday, along with anticipated times:
(1) PR lecture - 3.5 hours
(2) Review lecture notes - 1 hour
(3) Crim Law/Pro essay writing lecture - 1 hour
(4) Power Advantage (one of those short videos) - negligible time
(5) Write out and self-grade Crim essay 1 - 1.5 hours
(6) Analysis video for Crim essay 1 - 1 hour
(7) 'Prepare' for Torts - 1 hour

When it says 'review' or 'prepare' I generally try to spend as close to the suggested time as possible either reviewing an outline, reviewing lecture notes, or making flash cards. So that's 9 expected hours of directed study right there with no MBE practice, no outlining 3 essays/night, none of the stuff I've seen a lot of past bar-takers recommending. In fact, up to today my Paced Program has assigned I believe only 60ish MBE questions total. So I thought it would be helpful if current Barbri students and past bar-takers could all compile their thoughts here about the following:

(1) What, if anything, are you doing to add to or deviate from the paced program? If you're adding MBE/essays, how do you know what to add?
(2) When you're doing the practice MBEs or essays, are you using your notes to answer (open book style)? At what point in the 10 week process are we expected to be answering without notes? (For example, my first 2 classes in week 1 were Crim Law/Pro -- should I have that stuff memorized by...week 3? Week 5? Or does it not matter until July when the focus shifts to memorizing?)
(3) When are you memorizing and at what stage in this 10 week process are we expected to have a good chunk of the material memorized?

I guess my concern stems from the fact that I feel like I'm putting the time in every single day so far (I'm 100% up to date with my assigned study plan), but of the 4 classes I've had so far (Crim Law, Crim Pro, PR, and Torts) I don't really feel like I 'know' much. I get it, I understand it, and I understand how to apply it, and when I see a practice question I know what the issue is and where to find the answer but I still need to look it up before I can answer (since the questions often get at specific elements of the rules). Through my searching around the various threads here, I feel that many have similar concerns. Any input is appreciated here!


You may be able to save time on the "prepare for X" assignments. For example, Partnerships in PA. Obviously a state specific subject, but the professor began her lecture by stating that partnerships in PA has only ever been tested TWICE, and thus is not an absolute necess. Additionally, many lecturers say "if you know what is in this handout we have you filling out, you will be all set." So, if you prepared reading a bunch of extraneous info. found in the CMR, you may have wasted some time and did yourself a disservice, when you could have spent that time truly studying the information contained in the handout; the important information. I will briefly prepare for some classes, but I get more quality studying done after watching the lecture and studying the contents contained therein.




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