Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

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lnh819

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Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby lnh819 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:34 am

I know this has probably been hashed to death - and I'll just get fussed at and linked to old threads - but here goes.

People who comfortably passed on their second attempt at the bar - what did you do differently that made the difference? Did you try Adaptibar after skipping it the first time around? Did you switch bar prep companies? Did you focus more or less on the lectures than the first time around?

Also, if anyone has an Adaptibar coupon they can PM me - it'd be appreciated!

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rcharter1978

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:38 am

Completely scrapped the Barbri method and went with a study style that worked for me.

Got a tutor for essays.

Did a bar repeaters course (NOT through Barbri).

Took PTs way more seriously.

Did AdaptiBar.

I had at least a 70 point increase.

QuasiINrem

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby QuasiINrem » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:19 pm

rcharter1978 wrote:Completely scrapped the Barbri method and went with a study style that worked for me.

Got a tutor for essays.

Did a bar repeaters course (NOT through Barbri).

Took PTs way more seriously.

Did AdaptiBar.

I had at least a 70 point increase.


70 point increase!! Wow

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rcharter1978

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:28 pm

LOL, pretty dramatic, right?

:)

LockBox

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby LockBox » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:54 pm

QuasiINrem wrote:
rcharter1978 wrote:Completely scrapped the Barbri method and went with a study style that worked for me.

Got a tutor for essays.

Did a bar repeaters course (NOT through Barbri).

Took PTs way more seriously.

Did AdaptiBar.

I had at least a 70 point increase.


70 point increase!! Wow


Also, I think the point to take away is that it was at least a 70 point increase. Likely, it was a bit more so for those who fail(ed) by more than a 100, don't despair.

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rcharter1978

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:06 pm

LockBox wrote:
QuasiINrem wrote:
rcharter1978 wrote:Completely scrapped the Barbri method and went with a study style that worked for me.

Got a tutor for essays.

Did a bar repeaters course (NOT through Barbri).

Took PTs way more seriously.

Did AdaptiBar.

I had at least a 70 point increase.


70 point increase!! Wow


Also, I think the point to take away is that it was at least a 70 point increase. Likely, it was a bit more so for those who fail(ed) by more than a 100, don't despair.


EXACTLY

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby kidfromny » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:21 pm

lnh819 wrote:I know this has probably been hashed to death - and I'll just get fussed at and linked to old threads - but here goes.

People who comfortably passed on their second attempt at the bar - what did you do differently that made the difference? Did you try Adaptibar after skipping it the first time around? Did you switch bar prep companies? Did you focus more or less on the lectures than the first time around?

Also, if anyone has an Adaptibar coupon they can PM me - it'd be appreciated!


Failed first 2 times, then had to study for the new UBE, which I passed, I also psyched myself out in the beginning with having to learn a new test, so be glad you don't have to deal with that. 3rd time around I was sure to do at least 30-50 MBE practice questions and a few essays per night. But more importantly read the explanations as to why you got the question wrong, and re-read it again. I also re-read just about every essay answer there was in the Barbri materials as the date got closer. I read them similar to as if I were reading a book. I started my days with the subjects i struggled on, and after finishing a subject I would do practice Q's and essays. And finished my nights on a subject I was more comfortable with. It helped me sleep better to be honest.

You will realize that the material will slowly come back to you. Pace yourself and stay calm, staying calm throughout the process will do wonders for you. You're actually at an advantage to the other first timers. Also, when you take breaks, make sure you take legitimate breaks. Get your mind off of the material so you can regroup and get back to it more motivated.

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rinkrat19

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:38 pm

I didn't fail by a lot, and I don't know what I passed by, but here's what I did differently the 2nd time around.

(1) Didn't watch ANY of the Barbri videos. I was working full-time and had to be more efficient. I felt like watching the videos a 2nd time would take up 90% of my available study time, annoy me 150%, and only impart marginal improvement in score. I was actually surprised with how much material I retained from my first go-around.

(2) Got Adaptibar for questions, and the state-specific score tracking. Oregon's minimum passing score is much higher than the "you only have to beat 30% of test-takers" bullshit that Barbri keeps repeating.

(3) Read dozens of example essays. Outlined a few, did not write ANY. After thinking about a topic for a bit, on any essay that had a scoring rubric, I'd go through the rubric and HONESTLY check off the items that had DEFINITELY ABSOLUTELY popped into my mind, erring on the side of not checking items off. This way I got through way more essays with exponentially less mental exhaustion than if I'd actually written them.

(4) When doing practice questions in Emanuel or Adaptibar, I wrote down the rule statement for every single question in a notebook, whether I got the question right or wrong. No particular order or anything--I ended with a notebook of disjointed sentences, one after another. Then I'd read through the whole notebook after I did my daily questions.

(5) I'd had a problem with issue-spotters since law school (I sucked at them). The biggest improvement was realizing that I'd never gotten into the habit of starting at the very beginning of the topic. I'd leap right to an analysis of disparate impact or whatever, instead of starting with the Constitution and which clause or amendment was relevant. This lost me SO many easy points. Just forcing myself to baby step from the very beginning in each question made huge difference. (Obviously if you aren't as retarded as I was at essays, there won't be such an easy improvement.)

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby gaagoots » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:25 am

LockBox wrote:
QuasiINrem wrote:
rcharter1978 wrote:Completely scrapped the Barbri method and went with a study style that worked for me.

Got a tutor for essays.

Did a bar repeaters course (NOT through Barbri).

Took PTs way more seriously.

Did AdaptiBar.

I had at least a 70 point increase.


70 point increase!! Wow


Also, I think the point to take away is that it was at least a 70 point increase. Likely, it was a bit more so for those who fail(ed) by more than a 100, don't despair.


My second time I passed with at least 127 point increase. My 1313 felt like a kick in the teeth but I started Adaptibar next morning after the fail.

I didn't cut corners, I worked full time and did maybe 2,000 MBEs (Adaptibar) My mbe scores didn't save the day (I paid NCBE to get a range) but it was my written that saved my ass. No tutor, half-assed watched lectures on weak areas. I memorized my Whitney Roberts bar essay cheat sheets, my lean sheets and critical pass. I hand wrote all practice essays in blue books, somehow that forced me to get to the point and not ramble. Most importantly I removed the huge stress factor in my life.

A year ago I remember the bar results day. At 6:00 the Cal Bar timer rolled back 90 seconds to 120, others I met in the young lawyers division said they saw it happen too. My dad was with me and when I saw the green lettering, "the name above appears on the pass list for the July 2015 California Bar Exam" shock and tears...come rushing at the same time. I said in another post a while back. I think 2nd timers have a higher pass rate but it's not published specifically in the stats. Best of luck everyone!

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby Genius » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:48 pm

I dropped Barbri the second time. Did not even listen to lectures. I knew it was packaged too much with fluff that did not help.

I reread the outline for every subject to refresh memory. During each reading I looked up barbri's model answer and I typed up model answers for every test they covered and planned to use it in verbatim in practice tests. This process took half the time for overall prep.

The second half, I got Emanuels MBE books and did them in the mornibg. I also got baressays and printed out almost every exam question ever tested on every subject. I answered most questions under timed condition per subject per day. Towards the last 2 weeks or so I mixed up random subjects and did about 5-7 per day. So my day was 8-12 MBE, 1 to 8 essays. This worked out for me. I felt like I knew every answer on the MBE.

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a male human

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby a male human » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:58 am

1. I got into a habit of consistent study.
2. I practiced real MBE questions and targeted my weaknesses.
3. I eschewed lectures in favor of practice.
4. I realized there is a finite set of issues to know within the bar universe. Instead of creating and spotting issues, I checked for issues.
5. I stayed at a hotel during the bar.

#4 made so much sense because no one really taught me "issue spotting" in law school. It was this mystical process of divination where you hope that you somehow see the issues glowing out from the fact pattern (also note: they are called fact patterns for a reason).

I go much deeper into each of these points in my guest article here http://barexamtoolbox.com/5-things-diff ... -bar-exam/

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby starryski » Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:05 pm

i stuck with adaptibar. it helped me raise my MBE by 10 points. i started using it earlier the second time around. and doing at least 50 a day. i did not practice one single essay. i read as many answer essays as i could though. i stuck with pieper but did not watch his videos. i followed some of the syllabus. it was easier the 2nd time around bc i didn't focus on such minute details that would have gotten me just minimal points on an essay. i made sure i knew the most basic rules for each topic so i could write at least SOMETHING. i took the bar in NY feb btw and failed the previous july by only 5 points. but i dont think my method the second time around would help with first timers. i still remembered A LOT that i learned the summer before. so a lot of the material was not new to me.

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby TLSaul2001 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:11 am

I wrote this about a year ago after I passed my second attempt: (Note the seperac stuff is NY centric advice)

As someone who failed February and passed July, here's the most basic advice I can give (take it with a grain of salt but they are things that worked for me)

1) Send your score into Seperac.
They did an 8 page report breakdown on my score and it gave a lot of really good insight into where I screwed up and how I could improve

2) MBE MBE MBE MBE
Some of you might have bombed the Essays but a lot of you likely failed in large part due to low MBE scores. The MBE is the one part of the test that you can 'predict' the most. It's 27 torts, 27 contracts, 27 etc.... While the questions will be different obviously, you know what to study. Do as many practice questions that you can. I had a 124 MBE in February and got it up at a 135 for July. Not a huge jump, but enough to get me over the hump.

3) Focus on procedural failings
Think about what you messed up on the test in terms of time management or strategy. For me, I had about 15 MBE questions that I had to completely guess on during the 2 sessions because I ran out of time. I also spent too much time on the NYMC which only gave me 15 minutes for one of my essays. To the surprise of no one, I got a 34 on the essay which I had 15 minutes to work on at the expense of maybe 1 or 2 extra NYMC questions that I got right as a result of wasting my time. These were little things but in the end definitely had an impact on my score. Fix errors like this and leave the passing or failing of the next test rest on your knowledge, not your time management skills.

3) Be honest with yourself about your study habits for the failed exam.
This one is tough but vital. Be brutally honest with how you spent your time preparing for the test. What I found was that I simply didn't spend enough time studying. There were plenty of days where I'd finish around 3pm and figure screw it, I'm good for the day, time to enjoy the night with my wife. I cut a lot of corners on weekends, I didn't do all the required assignment from Barbri, etc. In the end I simply didn't study enough to pass this exam and I took that knowledge with me and made the time commitment adjustments I needed to make to pass the next time around.

4) Start studying now
You still probably have most of your bar prep materials left over, it doesn't hurt to slowly get back into the groove of studying right away. Just a few hours a week at first can help get your mind ready for the grind that's going to ensue

5) Remember what failing feels like
Any time you find yourself slacking with studying or thinking you can skip a night, just remember what you feel like right now. Remember that feeling of failure and dread that is sitting in your stomach as you think about all the studying you have to do over again. You DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS A THIRD TIME, so make sure you put enough into the test the second time around to make sure that doesn't happen.

You feel like shit right now, you're staring at another 3 months of prep and studying and another 12 hour exam. But the only thing that will make this feeling go away is passing in February. I hovered over my e-mail last night 99% convinced that I failed again, I couldn't even imagine a world in which I passed. But sure enough, I clicked open that PDF and saw the passing letter and it was one of the best feelings of my life. Things suck right now but you have the power to make them right. Good luck.

LockBox

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby LockBox » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:24 pm

I'm writing this post in an effort to give back to the TLS community as I know I benefited greatly from it. I was a repeater who just passed the July 2016 CBX. I wasn't the strongest writer or test taker, but I was able to pass because of a lot of information found here. I didn't use a ton of resources, just a few that really, really worked. Feel free to PM me with any questions. Generally, I followed a plan of 9 weeks of full-time study (e.g., 9am - 5/6pm) - no weekends (needed to recharge). Also, the minimum rule was 2 x 50 - I had to write out NOT LESS THAN 2 essays per day, and complete NLT 50 MBE's per day. This included review.

For the 9 weeks, the general overview was a 4-3-2 breakdown: the first 4 weeks was phase 1 which was review + writing going over each subject once (keeping to the 2 x 50 rule). I would take, say the first two days for contracts. Start with a brief review and then do 50 contracts MBE's followed by essays. In two days, I would do the same for property etc. The next phase was 3 weeks where I focused on practice exams (e.g., 3 essays in a day or 100 MBE's followed by review). The last phase was 2 weeks and it still included writing, but a lot more outlining. For me (as i'm sure it is for many repeaters) you need to be WRITING and APPLYING your knowledge - not reading.

Another tip that helped me was I started a word doc and separated it by the 14 subjects. Each time I read an essay or reviewed an MBE question that had a good rule statement, it went into the word doc. By the end, I had a 20-30 page doc only detailed with rules (including CA distinctions). In my final prep days before the exam, I reviewed this document exclusively.

1. PT's: to be honest, this wasn't an issue for me. I didn't really practice any PT's as this was the only area I was naturally strong in. I did, in the week leading up to the bar, take 15-30 minutes to outline a PT from the BarBri book, get a general idea of how I would write it and then read the model answer, paying attention to the nuances - the audience, the tone, demeanor of a high-passing answer. Otherwise, I've heard good things about the PT prep classes.

2. MBE: I will advocate for Adaptibar. Not just for the questions, but also for the interface. I had, at my fingertips, a breakdown of which subjects I was doing well in, and which ones I was not doing well in. My daily 50 MBE questions would be made up of: First 10 MBE's on the weakest subject, Next 10 MBE's on the 3 lowest scoring subjects, last 30 MBE's on all subjects. Sometimes this would change because I would be focused on, say, Civ Pro. Once I became stronger, I would find other subjects would dip, percentage-wise so I would have to work on those. This cycle repeated until test day.

3. Essays: This was my weakest subject. I read many blogs about not procrastinating and just writing it. It sucks to write everyday - it really does. But what sucks more is failing the bar. I kept failing, as I submitted some essays to bar-grader tutor who would consistently (at the beginning anyway) give me 50/55's. The tutor wanted me to review my outlines more to "learn the law." I disagreed and continued writing (and largely, failing). Others may disagree on this, and your mileage might vary. But for me, I knew I learned by doing the law, not reading it. On game day, I really did feel like my essays were polished, on point, and that I destroyed (largely) each one. The practice, mainly from the first phase (first four weeks), is what I felt bolstered my ability on game day, under the stress and tension of the exam.

Finally, i'll say that I kept myself accountable. I had an excel sheet with tabs for each section. Each day I wrote in which previous bar exam essays I did that day, whether I outlined/wrote (or both), and, if applicable, what my score was from my bar grader. Others have advocated for writing in which issues were missed, which rules were incorrect etc. but I would just write these in red in the word doc that I wrote the essay in. For the MBE's I would write down how many questions I did, and what my daily percentage was so I could see trends. Adaptibar had my overall percentage for me each day when I started.

In closing i'll say that I'm by no means an expert or a super intelligent person. Nor do I believe you have to be either of these to pass the bar. I do think there is a high level of understanding of the law required coupled with diligent effort. Some people may pass just by reading outlines or whatever, but I knew I had to had to had to write everyday and even more so to have a shot. The mental aspect of this journey is a whole other issue which i'll leave to others to handle and/or talk about. It was difficult for me, as I did not really believe it could be done. But I moved ahead and kept working. I'm glad to say that I passed and I hope that this post helps you as you prepare, believe and work towards passing.

Good luck.

narfkarta

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby narfkarta » Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:08 pm


aunt_pearl

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Re: Second-Time Passers - What Made the Difference?

Postby aunt_pearl » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:53 pm

Took the California Bar in February, failed. Took it again in July, and passed.

My first try I got:
Essay 1: 60
Essay 2: 55
Essay 3: 50
Essay 4: 50
Essay 5: 55
Essay 6: 55

PTA: 60
PTB: 60

Scaled MBE: 1464

For a total score of 1330.

I reviewed the substantive law, but what I really worked on was structure, structure, structure. IRAC is your very best friend on essays and PTs. Making all of the essays look pretty and easy to read counts for wayyyyyy more points than it should. For instance, for a crime essay, I'd structure like this:

The issue presented is did X commit Burglary when he entered Y's house.

The rule is at common law, burglary was defined as the 1) breaking and 2) entering 3) of a dwelling 4) of another 5) at night 6) with the intent to commit a felony there in.

Breaking
Breaking is defined as breaking the plane of the dwelling. Opening an unlocked window may qualify as breaking, however walking through an open door would not.

Here, ... occurred. Because the plane of the dwelling (was/was not) broken, there (will/will not) be breaking here.

In conclusion, there (is/is not) a breaking here.

Entering
The defendant must have physically entered the dwelling in a burglary. Only part of the defendant's body (eg an arm) need be present in the dwelling.

Here, the defendant did (x). Because the defendant did (x), the defendant (did/did not) physically enter the building.

In conclusion, there (is/is not) an entering here.

Repeat for all elements of the test. It's long and tedious and a fucking bitch to type out repeatedly. however, it's worth it.

The second thing is don't listen to people who haven't taken the bar. Almost everyone in your life has failed a test at some point or another. But the bar, and especially the CA bar, is sui generis. I got lots of helpful "advice" from people who meant well, but had no idea what I was going through. At best, they pissed me off, and at worst, they gave me horrible advice that would have guaranteed my failure a second time.



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