How to crush the Essays

sandaltan
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How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:00 pm

Howdy folks. FWIW I thought I'd share what, at least to me, seems to be the most effective and efficient approach to prepare for the CBX essays. I don't know if this has already been discussed, so sorry if it's a repeat. This approach can be used with any test-prep course. I happened to use Themis. All you need are essay questions and model answers. It might seem backwards and counter-intuitive, but yeah whatever.

STEP 1: (if not already in print) print out essay question and model answer.
STEP 2: open up mock exam in examsoft using laptop you plan to use on exam days. Or just open up MS Word.
STEP 3: read question slowly and carefully. Do not panic. Do not issue spot. Be a blank slate. Just relax and take it all in. then read one more time.
STEP 4: read and copy entire model answer into examsoft. Do not issue spot. Do not guess or do your best. Just read the answer and copy it. You may want to read the model answer aloud to yourself as you type.
STEP 5: delete answer / open new examsoft window/mock exam.
STEP 6: read same question once more; issue spot/skeleton outline on piece of paper.
STEP 7: type your response without the model answer; if you get stuck, pull out model answer/review issue on-the-fly, type up answer and continue.
STEP 8: repeat step 7 until you can recall all issues and rules and you firmly understand how to apply the facts.
Last edited by sandaltan on Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

waxecstatic
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby waxecstatic » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:36 pm

Don't see why it can't work. It's basically all memorization anyway.

sandaltan
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:44 pm

It also eliminates the need for prior review. Just jump right to the essays as the first learning tool.

s1m4
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby s1m4 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:45 pm

This is a good idea, but as time goes on I think laziness will creep in and you may just return to outlining to be more efficient and save time. :D

sandaltan
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:51 pm

s1m4 wrote:This is a good idea, but as time goes on I think laziness will creep in and you may just return to outlining to be more efficient and save time. :D


Absolutely. In fact that should be the goal - to be able to quickly issue spot /w rule snippets and know how to apply the facts. no need to actually do it if you know you already can. But do this to learn how to outline /w rules first.

EZ as AsDf
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby EZ as AsDf » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:29 pm

I like this and I'll give it a try

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Danger Zone
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:18 pm

Same

atticus89
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby atticus89 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:36 pm

This is just great advice in general. If can widdle down your outlines for each subject to just a few pages, typing out chunks of them at a time over and over is a good way to memorize rule statements and get the muscle memory in.

RaiRai
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby RaiRai » Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:13 am

Good stuff. My problem is not knowing how to start after reading the questions. For the first minute or so, I always draw a blank and panic sets in. Then I read the model answer and go "ohhh, i knew that..."

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Amy wineBerry
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby Amy wineBerry » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:10 pm

Thanks for this. I'm going to give this method a go.

sandaltan
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:13 pm

RaiRai wrote:Good stuff. My problem is not knowing how to start after reading the questions. For the first minute or so, I always draw a blank and panic sets in. Then I read the model answer and go "ohhh, i knew that..."


This is a big problem for a lot of students. It happens all the time - they spend hours or days reviewing a 100+ page outline for a subject, then when they go to do their 1st essay they have no idea what's going on. Reviewing outlines for the essays is a gigantic waste of time, IMO.

This approach cuts right to the core of what the CBX essays actually test.

Kage3212
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby Kage3212 » Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:17 am

Do the CBX essays only test a very limited amount of issues within designated areas? Just wondering if there is anything peculiar about CBX essays that make this such an effective approach in that jx, or whether this approach can yield similar results in any jx.

waxecstatic
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby waxecstatic » Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:37 pm

sandaltan wrote:
RaiRai wrote:Good stuff. My problem is not knowing how to start after reading the questions. For the first minute or so, I always draw a blank and panic sets in. Then I read the model answer and go "ohhh, i knew that..."


This is a big problem for a lot of students. It happens all the time - they spend hours or days reviewing a 100+ page outline for a subject, then when they go to do their 1st essay they have no idea what's going on. Reviewing outlines for the essays is a gigantic waste of time, IMO.

This approach cuts right to the core of what the CBX essays actually test.


You can just go in order in which they're presented. You don't need to look at the broadest picture and work logically, like on a law school exam. usually, the order in which they're presented is the logical order anyway, i.e. (jurisdiction, joinder, discovery etc).

sandaltan
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:05 pm

Kage3212 wrote:Do the CBX essays only test a very limited amount of issues within designated areas? Just wondering if there is anything peculiar about CBX essays that make this such an effective approach in that jx, or whether this approach can yield similar results in any jx.


I only have experience with the CBX, but I would imagine that this approach can work with any jurisdiction that has essay questions and model answers as a memorization tool for the material that is frequently tested.

sandaltan
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:06 pm

waxecstatic wrote:
sandaltan wrote:
RaiRai wrote:Good stuff. My problem is not knowing how to start after reading the questions. For the first minute or so, I always draw a blank and panic sets in. Then I read the model answer and go "ohhh, i knew that..."


This is a big problem for a lot of students. It happens all the time - they spend hours or days reviewing a 100+ page outline for a subject, then when they go to do their 1st essay they have no idea what's going on. Reviewing outlines for the essays is a gigantic waste of time, IMO.

This approach cuts right to the core of what the CBX essays actually test.


You can just go in order in which they're presented. You don't need to look at the broadest picture and work logically, like on a law school exam. usually, the order in which they're presented is the logical order anyway, i.e. (jurisdiction, joinder, discovery etc).


Yup. The model answers typically address each issue as they appear in order on the question, which makes sense.

waxecstatic
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby waxecstatic » Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:16 pm

How about the defenses, and if a person doesn't really have a viable defense. Is it worth saying a "possible defense could be....but that is absent given the fact?"

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robinhoodOO
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby robinhoodOO » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:39 am

waxecstatic wrote:How about the defenses, and if a person doesn't really have a viable defense. Is it worth saying a "possible defense could be....but that is absent given the fact?"


It depends (haha). I really only stick to what the facts indicate is in question. That said, it's "plus-points" so if you have time and it naturally flows, then go for it I say.

You can pretty much dissect from obvious facts (or sometimes "silent facts"--i.e. waiver) the obvious defenses, though. Reviewing outlines and models will help you issue spot defenses.

rhs100
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby rhs100 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:31 am

OP - when you talk about model answers, are you talking about the ones released by the board? NY always has two different model answers . . .

Bar Slayer
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby Bar Slayer » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:23 pm

waxecstatic wrote:How about the defenses, and if a person doesn't really have a viable defense. Is it worth saying a "possible defense could be....but that is absent given the fact?"


It's all about opportunity cost. You'll likely get some points for this but will be sacrificing a lot of time if you don't properly IRAC the main claims/defenses. Of course, if you can't think of the "right" answers, it's better to do this than to write nothing at all.

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Redamon1
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby Redamon1 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:38 pm

I've never used ExamSoft but signed up to use it for the bar. How it important is it to prep with the software ahead of time? For example, I'm afraid during my practice essays and practice tests that I'm relying on time-saving shortcuts in MS Word that won't be available in ExamSoft e.g. cutting, pasting, bold, underline, Ctrl + Z etc.

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robinhoodOO
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby robinhoodOO » Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:15 pm

Redamon1 wrote:I've never used ExamSoft but signed up to use it for the bar. How it important is it to prep with the software ahead of time? For example, I'm afraid during my practice essays and practice tests that I'm relying on time-saving shortcuts in MS Word that won't be available in ExamSoft e.g. cutting, pasting, bold, underline, Ctrl + Z etc.


I used it during law school and from my understanding they can lock out certain features depending on where you sit. Not sure, though. If I recall, there are no macros (i.e. ctrl/x for cut); however, you can use the copy/paste feature with right click, etc., and right-click for 'undo,' and they also have a font tab above the document area where you can highlight and underline. There is also spellcheck, but it's possible they lock you out of that feature for the Bar (not sure). And, I suppose it's possible the macros can be activated, but I didn't have them when I used it for essays for school. Basically, it's like a limited word doc.

I'd definitely recommend doing a practice essay (not timed) on it just to get used to it. That way you know how to log-in, use the basic features, switch to the next essay page/essay, etc. It's all very straight forward, BUT the absolute last thing you want is to not know how to do something because you're stressed (i.e. how to change pages to start a new essay). So, do a practice run or two and familiarize yourself.

Kage3212
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby Kage3212 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:20 pm

Should we be bolding and underlining in essays when we take them on exam day? I don't mean headings, I mean significant facts and what not in your substantive paragraph responses. Everything I have heard thus far is to "blend in" so as not to stick out to the graders who then might become "awake" when reading your essay. My inclination is that bolding and underlining/italicizing in the actual paragraphs may awake a sleeping bear (i.e. look at this special snowflake who is bolding and underlining everything). Insight?

sandaltan
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:02 pm

rhs100 wrote:OP - when you talk about model answers, are you talking about the ones released by the board? NY always has two different model answers . . .


If you're using a prep course I'd use the model answers they provide. If you're studying on your own just keep in mind that the state-released answers 1) are high scoring but also 2) sometimes have erroneous rule statements.

sandaltan
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:04 pm

Kage3212 wrote:Should we be bolding and underlining in essays when we take them on exam day? I don't mean headings, I mean significant facts and what not in your substantive paragraph responses. Everything I have heard thus far is to "blend in" so as not to stick out to the graders who then might become "awake" when reading your essay. My inclination is that bolding and underlining/italicizing in the actual paragraphs may awake a sleeping bear (i.e. look at this special snowflake who is bolding and underlining everything). Insight?


No, not in my opinion. It simply takes too much time to bold/underline/italicize and you need every second. I simply listed each issue in ALL CAPS and then started my discussion under them. Keep it simple, stupid :)

sandaltan
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Re: How to crush the Essays

Postby sandaltan » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:07 pm

Redamon1 wrote:I've never used ExamSoft but signed up to use it for the bar. How it important is it to prep with the software ahead of time? For example, I'm afraid during my practice essays and practice tests that I'm relying on time-saving shortcuts in MS Word that won't be available in ExamSoft e.g. cutting, pasting, bold, underline, Ctrl + Z etc.


I simply think its helpful to prep using the actual software you'll be using on exam day. If you can practice on examsoft why wouldn't you? you shouldn't be using any formatting features in ms word anyway if you'd prefer to practice that way. If you use examsoft to practice you not only get the practice of using the software and seeing it on screen but you also get the benefit of typing practice on the comp you'll be using.




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