Feb. 2017 (PA) - Barbri, General Thoughts

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YalteseFalcon

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Feb. 2017 (PA) - Barbri, General Thoughts

Postby YalteseFalcon » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:59 pm

I generally avoid reading these boards during exams (and now the bar), because they tend to amplify stress and anxiety more than is healthy or helpful, and because I "literally can't even."

Yet, here I am, looking for some commiseration! I'm admitted in NJ, but worked in a non-legal field for a few years. I've never practiced. Now I'm sitting for PA in February. I am enrolled in Barbri now.

Because of the lapse between my legal studies/previous bar prep and now, I had forgotten almost every bit of substantive law I had ever learned. It's been 4 years since I had last even looked at most of this material. Barbri has thus been a complete refresher for me. Impossible to say how effective it's been until after the exam. I can say that my average on the MPQ/MBE sets is 60.8%, with some subjects a bit higher and some (RP, Contracts) lower.

Like many others, I'm behind schedule compared with the perfect pace. This is a bit overwhelming because I feel like I SHOULD be doing all of the lecture prep/review as prescribed. That is, previewing it, performing the lecture, than reviewing it. I'm watching the lectures and completing the handouts as I go. If there is something that stands out, I handwrite a flash card. If there's an area of law on an MBE question I don't understand, I handwrite a flash card. To date, I haven't actually reviewed any of the flash cards yet--I've just written them out.

I've outlined a few of the essays, and have submitted 2 graded PTs and 2 graded essays. I've received good feedback on what I've submitted, however, I'm not yet holding myself to the strict time limit. I seem to be identifying the correct issues, but often not recalling the precise rules. So, on more than one occasion I've consulted notes to refresh my memory. So, I don't put a ton of faith in the scoring that I've received so far...it's just been one more teaching tool I've used to memorize and apply the substantive law.

A few general things I struggle with:

(1) Maintaining a memory of the PA distinctions for the essays. This is probably a challenge for any exam taker. Still, because the distinctions aren't reviewed as frequently in the Barbri curriculum compared with the MBE content, I don't have a ton of faith that I will recall them on test day. As I type this now, I can remember like...three. J/S liability generally abolished in PA, affirmative defenses are under the heading of New Matter in answers, and duress is a defense to first degree murder in PA. How are you others managing to commit the distinctions to memory?

(2) What some general thoughts on the best way to approach an essay when you spot the issue, but cannot recall the specific elements of the rule, or the elements of the exception? I've read some posts where test takers are encouraged to just invent something sensible enough and apply it. This makes sense, set against the alternative, which I suppose is writing nothing.

(3) Whichever way you cut it, the Feb. pass rate in PA is discouraging. I understand that there are many reasons for the lower pass rate. But, on its face, it's not a pretty statistic to be faced with.

(4) As we enter the final three weeks of bar prep, I'll be far more reclusive than I have already been. I see lots of people reporting real score improvements on the MBE in these final weeks. Although I don't expect a 20 point boost, I'm wondering if these bumps are indeed happening, and how you ladies and gentlemen have managed to achieve them.

Thanks for reading. Back to review. Break a leg.

psm11

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Re: Feb. 2017 (PA) - Barbri, General Thoughts

Postby psm11 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:45 pm

YalteseFalcon wrote:I generally avoid reading these boards during exams (and now the bar), because they tend to amplify stress and anxiety more than is healthy or helpful, and because I "literally can't even."

Yet, here I am, looking for some commiseration! I'm admitted in NJ, but worked in a non-legal field for a few years. I've never practiced. Now I'm sitting for PA in February. I am enrolled in Barbri now.

Because of the lapse between my legal studies/previous bar prep and now, I had forgotten almost every bit of substantive law I had ever learned. It's been 4 years since I had last even looked at most of this material. Barbri has thus been a complete refresher for me. Impossible to say how effective it's been until after the exam. I can say that my average on the MPQ/MBE sets is 60.8%, with some subjects a bit higher and some (RP, Contracts) lower.

Like many others, I'm behind schedule compared with the perfect pace. This is a bit overwhelming because I feel like I SHOULD be doing all of the lecture prep/review as prescribed. That is, previewing it, performing the lecture, than reviewing it. I'm watching the lectures and completing the handouts as I go. If there is something that stands out, I handwrite a flash card. If there's an area of law on an MBE question I don't understand, I handwrite a flash card. To date, I haven't actually reviewed any of the flash cards yet--I've just written them out.

I've outlined a few of the essays, and have submitted 2 graded PTs and 2 graded essays. I've received good feedback on what I've submitted, however, I'm not yet holding myself to the strict time limit. I seem to be identifying the correct issues, but often not recalling the precise rules. So, on more than one occasion I've consulted notes to refresh my memory. So, I don't put a ton of faith in the scoring that I've received so far...it's just been one more teaching tool I've used to memorize and apply the substantive law.

A few general things I struggle with:

(1) Maintaining a memory of the PA distinctions for the essays. This is probably a challenge for any exam taker. Still, because the distinctions aren't reviewed as frequently in the Barbri curriculum compared with the MBE content, I don't have a ton of faith that I will recall them on test day. As I type this now, I can remember like...three. J/S liability generally abolished in PA, affirmative defenses are under the heading of New Matter in answers, and duress is a defense to first degree murder in PA. How are you others managing to commit the distinctions to memory?

(2) What some general thoughts on the best way to approach an essay when you spot the issue, but cannot recall the specific elements of the rule, or the elements of the exception? I've read some posts where test takers are encouraged to just invent something sensible enough and apply it. This makes sense, set against the alternative, which I suppose is writing nothing.

(3) Whichever way you cut it, the Feb. pass rate in PA is discouraging. I understand that there are many reasons for the lower pass rate. But, on its face, it's not a pretty statistic to be faced with.

(4) As we enter the final three weeks of bar prep, I'll be far more reclusive than I have already been. I see lots of people reporting real score improvements on the MBE in these final weeks. Although I don't expect a 20 point boost, I'm wondering if these bumps are indeed happening, and how you ladies and gentlemen have managed to achieve them.

Thanks for reading. Back to review. Break a leg.


Hey man!

In regards to that PA Feb Bar stat, if you look at the first time taker pass rate its about 75%. You said this is your first time taking PA so focus on that stat!

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bulinus

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Re: Feb. 2017 (PA) - Barbri, General Thoughts

Postby bulinus » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:17 am

Go over every single essay question available to you, even if you don't have time to do a full breakdown on it. ~30% of my essay Qs in July 2016 were analogous to things I had seen in the essays.



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