2017 February California Bar Exam

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a male human
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Fri May 19, 2017 2:45 pm

dredd16 wrote:
a male human wrote:I've always observed that ping-pong arguments and setting up strawmen were a waste of time and that people do well by drawing straightforward conclusions.

But if you got a 90, maybe there is something to be said about ping-pong arguments (assuming you can do them within time)? I still don't believe there is enough time to do that for every essay, so I would greatly hesitate to recommend it.


From my experience, only ping-pong if there's a specific fact that would lead you to ping-pong. But I wouldn't write a long paragraph as a counter-argument. Maybe max 2 sentences and then shut that counter argument down with a solid fact in the fact pattern and then conclude. Move on. Issue spotting is #1 priority for CA essays. Miss a major one and you are already in 50/60 territory.

Agreed.

I do recall an 85 answer on BarEssays where it was just straight IRAC all day, no ping pongs.

I guess it couldn't hurt too much to acknowledge the indefiniteness of some issue or fact if you have the time.

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Guchster
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby Guchster » Fri May 19, 2017 7:56 pm

rcharter1978 wrote:
But I agree with others, you are pretty close. Had you just studied up on PTs you would have been good. I see no reason for a super major overhaul of your process. Maybe a little more work on timing, and work on PTs and you should be golden.



Agree with this all day.

angiesmirnoff, I'm not trying to rub salt in your wound, but given that MBE scores are higher in July for the reasons Joe Seperac has written about, you probably would've passed July had you had the exact same performance.

I'm not saying you shouldn't try to improve and brush up on skills (especially working on timing). I just wouldn't reinvent the wheel or feel like you need to rehaul your study process or the way your structure your essays (just work on your polish).

Everyone ITT is rooting for you and you have our support in destroying the July exam. Make us proud! 8)

sittin_pretty
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby sittin_pretty » Sat May 20, 2017 11:31 am

angiesmirnoff wrote:This is so, so, so helpful.
I have a question... if let's say I am writing about an Issue of Inadmissible evidence as a result of the illegal search. Based on the IRAC structure, where do I plug in the rules about the 4th Amendment? I guess this is what I mean by background law. To get to the issue of Illegal Search and Illegal Seizure, there are all these layers of constitutional law I have to discuss before I get there. Would 4th Amendment heading be part of a separate IRAC? I.


I. 4th Amendment Violation Generally
A. Describe general warrant requirement for searches.... do NOT get into long deep discussion about bigger purpose of 4th Amendment or the text or history of the Constitution, etc.
B. IRAC whether it is a "search"
C. Identify possible exceptions to warrant requirement and IRAC any that may apply
D. Conclude re. whether 4th Amendment right was violated
E. If applicable, and not 4th Amd violation, but something previous to it was, IRAC fruit of the poisonous tree

II. Admissibility
A. IRAC whether admissible as inevitably discovered otherwise
B. IF THE QUESTION IN EXAM OPENS THE DOOR TO IT, then go through evidence admissability analysis but ONLY IF question asks you to.

This is just a general framework off the top of my head, but as someone who used to write and grade constitutional law exams in a manner that simulates bar exam questions & grading (but not crim pro, so the above may have some flaws), this is generally what I would be looking for.

9xSound
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby 9xSound » Sat May 20, 2017 2:12 pm

a male human wrote:I've always observed that ping-pong arguments and setting up strawmen were a waste of time and that people do well by drawing straightforward conclusions.

But if you got a 90, maybe there is something to be said about ping-pong arguments (assuming you can do them within time)? I still don't believe there is enough time to do that for every essay, so I would greatly hesitate to recommend it.


Totally agree with this. Ping-pong arguments should be avoided, IMO. There is never a good place on the exam to write, "P will argue this. D will argue that. This argument will fail because... Blah." For one thing, it's amateurish. It's how 1Ls say, "Look, professor, I can see BOTH SIDES!" The bar exam is not 1L. On the bar, you advocate for the side that they've assigned to you, and if you have to argue BOTH SIDES, then you take them one at a time. Focus on establishing each individual element of the rule that your client is advancing, moving forward logically, mechanically, and unimpeded to an unequivocal conclusion that represents your client's position. Arguing counterpoints may seem like an effective polemic strategy, but on the bar it's a cross on direct. It diverts the grader's attention — and yours — away from your client's case. Who gives a rip what Burglar would argue in the middle of Prosecutor's case? You'll dismiss his counterpoint later under Defenses.

Argue affirmatively for what establishes the element, not what doesn't. If you absolutely must dismiss a counterpoint, cut to the chase. State quickly why it doesn't impair the element you're trying to establish and move on: "The temperature of the water isn't a factor because..." But you want to avoid sounding like a 1L in front of the judge/jury. With ping-ponging, you've abandoned your client to become God looking down over the proceedings and speculating on what is likely to happen. That isn't what the essays are about. They want you to advocate for your client, not pontificate like a pundit.

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a male human
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Sat May 20, 2017 2:22 pm

Does an essay have a client, though?

Agreed with using defenses as the place to provide counterarguments—legal counterarguments.

I think ping-ponging may be appropriate for objective PTs since you're typically writing a memo to your supervisor who wants to know arguments on BOTH SIDES and citation of cases that point in different directions. It's back to legal writing class. Even then, I've seen a PT answer that got a 70 without doing any ping-ponging. (I haven't seen enough PT answers to say it's totally unnecessary, however.)

9xSound
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby 9xSound » Sun May 21, 2017 2:59 pm

a male human wrote:Does an essay have a client, though?

Agreed with using defenses as the place to provide counterarguments—legal counterarguments.

I think ping-ponging may be appropriate for objective PTs since you're typically writing a memo to your supervisor who wants to know arguments on BOTH SIDES and citation of cases that point in different directions. It's back to legal writing class. Even then, I've seen a PT answer that got a 70 without doing any ping-ponging. (I haven't seen enough PT answers to say it's totally unnecessary, however.)


The PTs are a different animal. I still think ping-ponging sounds law schoolish, but my comments were geared more to the essays.

Yes, I would submit that essays have clients. The bar isn't about mediation (PTs aside). They want to see how well you can advocate for clients. In other words, you have to represent your client against his or her opponent(s). Sometimes the essay requires you to switch hats/clients from call to call. But in my view, every call should be approached as a lawyer advocating persuasively for a particular side in front of the jury, whichever side (client) is appropriate in view of the call. It promotes stronger arguments and stronger essays. Writing as a dispassionate spectator from the back of the courtroom is punditry, not advocacy, and it sidesteps the bar's mission of legal representation.

Many essays introduce the call of the question by saying, "X has come to you for advice." With this sort of call, you're clearly tasked with putting yourself in the shoes of X's attorney and arguing for X. While outlining, you need to consider points and counterpoints, sure. But when writing the essay, you should affirmatively establish the elements that support X's position, and do it unequivocally, the way X's attorney would in real life. In other words, don't be nice to Y. Don't let the unconscionable jerk off the hook by giving him a pass when the facts are gray — as they often are. You're X's attorney. X could sue you for malpractice if you don't fight tooth and nail for her side.

Conversely, a subsequent call may ask, "What defenses could Y reasonably raise against X?" Here, you'd switch hats and become Y's defense attorney, this time arguing vigorously for Y. In the end, you conclude based on the relative merits and in light of what the precise call of the question instructs you to do.

At times, the identity of the client can be a bit nebulous. But you still need to advocate on the bar, one side at a time. If the call asks, "What crimes has C committed?" you should approach the criminal elements like you're the DA. Ask yourself, would the DA let this guy off the hook? When you get to the defenses, you switch sides and argue like the PD. Conclude on the merits. The point is simply that lawyers don't pontificate impartially in court. They argue for sides. The essays test one's ability to take up any given side in any given dispute and advocate for that client's position. I don't view the essays as an exercise in showing what a fair and balanced mediator you'll be someday. They give you a side/client and they want you to argue like hell for that client.

sk1130
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby sk1130 » Mon May 22, 2017 1:04 am

Hey guys,

If someone can give me some feedback on my scores I would really appreciate it (PM or here). Feb 2017 was my first time taking it after graduating a semester early from law school. I did Barbri, but I didn't really follow the course. I watched all the lectures and did MBEs on my own but that's it. I never wrote an essay or did a PT, and I never took any timed exams. (Clearly, my scores reflect my unorganized study practices).

I signed up for Barbri again and I plan on following their schedule, I signed up for Adaptibar, bought lean sheets and critical pass flash cards. Any advice would be amazing because I'm just so lost right now.

Essay 1: 60
Essay 2: 55
Essay 3: 60
Essay 4: 55
Essay 5: 50
Essay 6: 60
PT A: 70
PT B: 70

Raw written: 620
Scaled written: 1417.1300
Scaled MBE: 1256.0000

MBE percentiles:
Civ pro: 63.6
Con law: 24.6
Contracts: 4.6
Crim: 2.5
Evidence: 79.0
Real prop: 37.9
Torts: 27.7

Total scaled score: 1360.7345

Zebra
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby Zebra » Mon May 22, 2017 3:44 am

Can someone please explain the MBE percent breakdown? These reflect the percentage who scored below my score? As well as the local/national? Did 74% really do worse than I did? I'm confused

Zebra
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby Zebra » Mon May 22, 2017 4:01 am

JoeSeperac wrote:To anyone that failed, if you let me know your MBE sub-scores, I can tell you your raw MBE scores and % correct (by MBE subject and overall). For example, if your %tile for Civil Procedure is 19.7, it means that you scored better than only 19.7% of examinees nationwide on the 25 graded Civil Procedure MBE questions (out of about 23,000 February 2017 examinees). However, what these percentiles don't tell you are your raw scores (e.g. that you answered 13/25 of the Civil Procedure MBE questions correctly, meaning 52% correct for Civil Procedure). With this information, you can correlate your exam MBE scores to your practice MBE scores (e.g. if you were getting 70% correct in MBE practice but 55% correct on the exam, you should find a better source of MBE practice questions).

http://seperac.com/subscoreform.php




can you share the formula you used

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rcharter1978
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby rcharter1978 » Mon May 22, 2017 8:51 am

sk1130 wrote:Hey guys,

If someone can give me some feedback on my scores I would really appreciate it (PM or here). Feb 2017 was my first time taking it after graduating a semester early from law school. I did Barbri, but I didn't really follow the course. I watched all the lectures and did MBEs on my own but that's it. I never wrote an essay or did a PT, and I never took any timed exams. (Clearly, my scores reflect my unorganized study practices).

I signed up for Barbri again and I plan on following their schedule, I signed up for Adaptibar, bought lean sheets and critical pass flash cards. Any advice would be amazing because I'm just so lost right now.

Essay 1: 60
Essay 2: 55
Essay 3: 60
Essay 4: 55
Essay 5: 50
Essay 6: 60
PT A: 70
PT B: 70

Raw written: 620
Scaled written: 1417.1300
Scaled MBE: 1256.0000

MBE percentiles:
Civ pro: 63.6
Con law: 24.6
Contracts: 4.6
Crim: 2.5
Evidence: 79.0
Real prop: 37.9
Torts: 27.7

Total scaled score: 1360.7345


You need to learn BLL. To me, your low essay scores + high PT scores + low mbe scores tell me that you know how to write, but you dont know BLL.

You need to do whatever method worked for you and apply that to studying for the exam. I'm a little wary of buying every study tool even though I understand the temptation to do so. When I studied the second time I used my own method of learning BLL, which was odd, but effective for me.

Barbri is a good idea, for me, the cmr was the most helpful tool for bll. Followed by the big green and little green book. I personally didn't like Barbris essay materials and I thought their essay grading was bullshit but a lot of other people liked it so ymmv.

But, for you I think it's more a matter of bll, which is lucky for you because I think it's a pretty simple fix.

oliveoil
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby oliveoil » Mon May 22, 2017 1:03 pm

Spartan_Alum_12 wrote:I am fortunate enough to be a 1st time passer this past July and I want to share a method I used that may be a useful tool for some people here on the essays.

When beginning an essay, the first thing I would do is read through the fact pattern and bracket each fact on the side of the text and put a number next to it. Every fact was then numbered and I usually had a good feel of the essay. Then I would read the fact pattern again and issue spot, writing the issues down below the text or on the scrapped paper. Below each issue I would put the fact number that corresponded with each issue (obviously some facts go to multiple issues).

I felt this saved me a lot of time and organization when outlining and structuring the essays. I wasn't wasting time thinking about how to outline, this was just simple methotical method that worked and gave me all the info I needed to type out the essay. My IRAC was basically in front of me on the scrapped paper. If one of my numbered facts was not on my scrapped paper under an issue I would take some time to think about something I was potentially missing, as usually all facts are there for a reason on the CA bar.

My scrapped paper would look something like this:

Issue underlined
1
2

Issue underlined
3
4
5

Then in examsoft I would type out the issue as a heading, type out the rule out of memory, go up to bracketed numbered fact in the fact pattern and type that fact out pretty much verbatim linking it up to the rule or an element of the rule I typed above using because, repeat for all the numbered facts for the issue, and then conclude.



To the person who gave this advice, thank you so much. I knew writing was my weakness when I started to study. I used this strategy and passed! Thank you!

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Guchster
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby Guchster » Mon May 22, 2017 1:12 pm

sk1130 wrote:Hey guys,

If someone can give me some feedback on my scores I would really appreciate it (PM or here). Feb 2017 was my first time taking it after graduating a semester early from law school. I did Barbri, but I didn't really follow the course. I watched all the lectures and did MBEs on my own but that's it. I never wrote an essay or did a PT, and I never took any timed exams. (Clearly, my scores reflect my unorganized study practices).

I signed up for Barbri again and I plan on following their schedule, I signed up for Adaptibar, bought lean sheets and critical pass flash cards. Any advice would be amazing because I'm just so lost right now.

Essay 1: 60
Essay 2: 55
Essay 3: 60
Essay 4: 55
Essay 5: 50
Essay 6: 60
PT A: 70
PT B: 70

Raw written: 620
Scaled written: 1417.1300
Scaled MBE: 1256.0000

MBE percentiles:
Civ pro: 63.6
Con law: 24.6
Contracts: 4.6
Crim: 2.5
Evidence: 79.0
Real prop: 37.9
Torts: 27.7

Total scaled score: 1360.7345


Agree with others that you need to invest time in learning substance. This was my second bar that I passed on the first time (I also took NY), and I busted my ass from early December all the way through the bar exam. Given the amount of prep people commonly do, even smart and/or naturally gifted people like you, it seems like you tried to phone it in.

Given your insane PT scores, you clearly know how to write. As others have suggested, your subject essay score and MBE scores reflect someone who just didn't know the content. I bet if you spend time truly investing in the process--practice issue spotting, practice the hell out of adaptibar questions, memorize/internalize California essay subjects, etc.--you would crush the bar.

Personally, I recommend spending plenty of time with your CMR and adapitbar. Use each multiple choice question as an opportunity to internalize and/or refresh BLL. The CA subjects will flow naturally from there as you practice essays.

For what it's worth, I never practiced a single PT either. I don't know what score I got on the bar because I passed on the first try, but I think it was the right move for me to focus on things I knew nothing about like CA essay subjects. I think you should let the PT take a backseat in this second prep.

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a male human
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Mon May 22, 2017 1:19 pm

Zebra wrote:Can someone please explain the MBE percent breakdown? These reflect the percentage who scored below my score? As well as the local/national? Did 74% really do worse than I did? I'm confused

Yes, it's percentile ranking. Higher the better.

Agreed with rcharter and Guchster regarding sk1130's score report.

Legallywoke
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby Legallywoke » Mon May 22, 2017 2:09 pm

Anyone selling their feb 2017 Barbri books for a fair price? Please PM me.

sk1130
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby sk1130 » Mon May 22, 2017 7:30 pm

Thank you so much rcharter1978, Guchster, and amalehuman! I really appreciate your feedback :)

avfay05
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby avfay05 » Tue May 23, 2017 3:45 pm

Is anyone attending the free Bar Guru How to Pass the CA Bar workshop in Torrance tomorrow night? I am driving from San Diego if anyone needs a ride.

justanotheruser
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby justanotheruser » Wed May 24, 2017 2:31 pm

I'm going to be re-taking the exam, but am considering a tutor. Any tips/info/recommendations on private tutors?

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rcharter1978
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby rcharter1978 » Wed May 24, 2017 11:13 pm

justanotheruser wrote:I'm going to be re-taking the exam, but am considering a tutor. Any tips/info/recommendations on private tutors?


Well, it depends on what you want/need. What was your score breakdown? Do you feel confident on essays or MBE or nothing?

I can say that for me, personally, I was totally lost when it came to essay writing, and my scores reflected it. So for me, just me, it was important that I get a former bar grader that could help me with my writing. However, amalehuman has a tutoring service, and he has some really neat resources that he has come up with, he also seems to have a good birdseye view of bar strategy.

But, we're coming up on June pretty quick, and I know that former bar graders can fill up pretty quick. AFAIK, there are two former bar graders turned tutors in N. Cal, and one in S. Cal. Before I turned around the two in N. Cal were full, which was fine because the one in S. Cal was significantly less and offered more.*

*--but he is not a tutor that works well with everyone!

dredd16
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby dredd16 » Thu May 25, 2017 12:13 am

justanotheruser wrote:I'm going to be re-taking the exam, but am considering a tutor. Any tips/info/recommendations on private tutors?


I had a private tutor. Check out my story here: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=277682&p=9987596#p9987596

Getting a tutor is going to depend on your scores. If you are only weak on MBEs, then it would be a waste. If you are weak in essays AND PTs, getting a tutor would be helpful only if they were a former bar grader AND can provide you invaluable feedback on a shit ton of essays (mine provided feedback on like 24 essays and 7 PTs).

BUT, if you have gotten at least a couple 65+ scores on the bar's essays and/or PTs, then getting a tutor might be a waste of money and your savings can be better used in getting certain resources + self-studying. Like if you're getting only 60s-65s on essays but 55s on PTs, then maybe just getting the red PT book everyone talks about will be enough. If you've gotten only 60s on everything, maybe (?) a tutor is right for you but that 60s can be attributable to missed issues.

My own story/guide (link above) should cover most if not all the things that you might learn from hiring a bar tutor. If you were close to passing, my tips should help your game. If you were 100+ points away from passing, you might need a little more hands-on grading of your essays.

Hope this helps.

Legallywoke
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby Legallywoke » Fri May 26, 2017 11:26 am

Looking for a tutor that was a former bar grader for the July exam.
Please PM me if you have any recommendations, whether they were helpful in identifying your problem areas, and price info.

Thanks in advance!

My feb scores:
1. 60
2. 55
3. 50
4. 55
5. 55
6. 60
PTA 55
PTB 65

MbE: 152.3 (ca: 84.3, national: 88.7)
Total: 1364.29

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rcharter1978
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby rcharter1978 » Fri May 26, 2017 6:01 pm

Legallywoke wrote:Looking for a tutor that was a former bar grader for the July exam.
Please PM me if you have any recommendations, whether they were helpful in identifying your problem areas, and price info.

Thanks in advance!

My feb scores:
1. 60
2. 55
3. 50
4. 55
5. 55
6. 60
PTA 55
PTB 65


MbE: 152.3 (ca: 84.3, national: 88.7)
Total: 1364.29


Yeah, you could benefit from a tutor. I used a former bar grader, but I've always said, he can be rather harsh and very no-nonsense (which was hard because I like a little nonsense and sugar coating). He was $2600, and for that price I believe I got 24 graded essays and maybe 2 PTs and an hour long phone tutoring session like 1-2x a week. He was also pretty flexible in terms of working the program around my schedule/what I wanted to get done.

My problem areas were much as I suspect yours were, I didn't know how the hell to write for the bar exam. He really whipped me into shape, and taught me what I had to put in my essays, and more importantly....what I could leave out of my essays. Given the strict time limitations that was a huge help for me.

Discouraged
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby Discouraged » Sat May 27, 2017 3:28 pm

Hi everyone –

I failed the July 2016 Cali Exam and have never felt so crushed in my life. I passed this time and I owe so much to the support of this forum. One person in particular offered advice and to just be a friend as I went through the process again. I am so grateful for the help this person gave me, whether it be fielding crazy, panicked questions to telling me to man up and practice the hell out of essays. I came back to the forum to pay forward what this person did for me.
I am not a tutor and do not represent that I know how to ace the July 2017 exam. Also, I’m not advertising any program that you have to spend thousands of dollars on. I wholeheartedly agree with the overriding advice being offered—which is to find a plan that works for you and see it through. That was my struggle because I wanted to do all of Barbri (I’m very OCD about completing things) and then was not getting the practice I needed in the areas deep down I knew I was struggling in. I think it comes down to being honest with yourself about what areas scare you and confronting those, either by writing essay after essay, doing multiple choice, or PTs.

All of you are super smart and can totally do this! You are not alone and don’t let anyone around you make you feel like not passing means you are inadequate or dumb. I worked through some major self-confidence issues studying the second time and I know it’s tough. But you can definitely succeed.

All that being said, I’m happy to share what worked for me and to just talk if you need someone to vent to or to check in with as you start studying. I found having someone who had been through this before to just shoot a message when I was feeling particularly down or even encouraged after a good practice made all the difference.

You got this guys! Best of luck! <3 :D

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optimistic_owl
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby optimistic_owl » Sat May 27, 2017 9:28 pm

if anyone is looking for a proponics / bar secrets account... I have one that doesn't expire until August. (they do 6 month subscriptions, and I got one in early/mid February to prep for the Feb 2017 test!)

Looks like they cost $130 now, but I'd happily to sell my info to one of you for 50% of the price ($65). Logic here being... we will both have used it for one test sitting :)

feel free to message me if interested.

I really enjoyed using this. I pretty much relied on it exclusively during the final 1-2 weeks for memorization drills (in addition to doing lots of practice!). And it worked! I felt much better after the Feb 2017 test than I did during July 2016.

If I were to do this test again, I would be using this much earlier. (Also get your hands on an AdaptiBar account if you can!) Proponics is great for visual learners because it shows you all the BLL and helps you categorize the many areas within a given subject into one, easy-to-digest expandable/collapsable graph! plus, these guys keep the material updated... and the tests/elements seemed identical to what was used in BarBri. highly recommend!

good luck to all the test takers out there!

JoeSeperac
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby JoeSeperac » Mon May 29, 2017 9:37 am

Zebra wrote:
JoeSeperac wrote:To anyone that failed, if you let me know your MBE sub-scores, I can tell you your raw MBE scores and % correct (by MBE subject and overall). For example, if your %tile for Civil Procedure is 19.7, it means that you scored better than only 19.7% of examinees nationwide on the 25 graded Civil Procedure MBE questions (out of about 23,000 February 2017 examinees). However, what these percentiles don't tell you are your raw scores (e.g. that you answered 13/25 of the Civil Procedure MBE questions correctly, meaning 52% correct for Civil Procedure). With this information, you can correlate your exam MBE scores to your practice MBE scores (e.g. if you were getting 70% correct in MBE practice but 55% correct on the exam, you should find a better source of MBE practice questions).

http://seperac.com/subscoreform.php




can you share the formula you used


It is an estimation. NCBE used to release raw MBE sub-scores between 1995-2004 so I take that data and then try to correlate it to the current percentages.

drawingasmile
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Re: 2017 February California Bar Exam

Postby drawingasmile » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:30 pm

Hey all - do you guys know when we would get back our essay answers? Thanks!




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