Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

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ProspectiveStudent69

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby ProspectiveStudent69 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:00 pm

Worked full-time while studying. Make sure you start as early as possible!

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thelawyer1908

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby thelawyer1908 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:50 am

9xSound wrote:I worked full time and passed. It is not easy. I would suggest a few things:

1. Use Adaptibar. Do 200 mixed problems. Stop. Print your wrong answers and review them, hand-writing the rules that you missed in the white space. Do the next 200 problems, stop, print and repeat. After reviewing this round, go back and re-review your wrong answers from the first 200 again. With every new batch of 200 problems, repeat the process of writing out what you got wrong in the white space, and then re-review all of your previous incorrect answers. Shoot for 1,000 problems at least. You'll probably end up with 300 or more wrong answers that you'll be re-reviewing multiple times. This process is tedious, but you will become intimately familiar with those 300+ incorrect problems, and you will gain more from doing 1000 MBEs than you'd get from burning your way through 3000 problems — which you aren't going to be able to do working full time anyway. You'll find that you don't have to re-read the facts. All you'll need to read is your handwritten rules. The night before the MBE, re-review all of your wrong answers once again.

2. Don't bother trying to memorize the rules until three weeks before the bar. It's a waste. Focus on understanding the concepts and learning how to write about the significance of the facts.

3. Study every single day, before work, after work, and weekends/days off. Study at lunch. If you need to take a break, it had better be for the bathroom, and take some flashcards or an outline with you. Remind yourself that not passing is the one of the worst things you will ever experience in life except a death in the family or getting dumped. Failing the bar is just like getting dumped — but you're in front of the whole world when it happens. If you really need a break, drink a beer while you read your outline. Then get your ass back to work.

4. Avoid the temptation to dwell on how unfair it is that you have to work. Channel your energy toward beating the exam. Nobody gives a rip that you have to work anyway, especially not the graders. Go to your job when you have to, but become a machine about your prep the rest of the time.

5. If you get feedback from a bar prep company or a tutor on your practice essays, don't just read it and move on to the next practice exam. Rewrite your essay to incorporate that feedback. Focus on nailing that particular essay. You don't have the time to write hundreds of essays. Like the MBEs, you need to make every single thing you do count. With your limited amount of time, you will get more mileage from rewriting the same essay using the feedback as to what you did wrong than you'll get from turning and burning one more essay. Do as many as you can, of course. But you can't afford to flush what you just learned. And when you've fine-tuned your essays more or less into model answers, save them. Re-review them regularly, just like the MBEs. It works.

6. Try to take at least 2 weeks off work before the bar if you can. Take as much time as you can possibly get and spend those last few weeks memorizing the rules so that they're relatively fresh at show time. Keep doing MBEs. Don't bother writing over the last two weeks. Rote memorization and MBEs are all you should do.

Preparing while working is very difficult, but it isn't impossible. I did it and I passed. Focus on quality, not quantity, and you'll have a shot at passing.



I REALLY REALLY NEEDED THIS! Good luck to everyone! Working full time until maybe about two months before the Bar. Foreign student/applicant for the NY Bar.

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nelue

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby nelue » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:27 pm

Registered for the CA bar..working full time.
Last edited by nelue on Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby Bimmerfan » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:50 am

9xSound wrote:Everybody is going to approach their prep in the way that seems right and best to them, and that's great. But let's talk about burnout. First off, what is it? We talk about burnout as if it's the functional equivalent of a 2000-ton giant redwood crashing into our little mobile home. You're done. It's over, dude. You've reached, God have mercy, Burnout.

As a general concept, I consider burnout to be overblown and sometimes oversold. It's four weeks before the exam and you've been studying your tail off for two months and now you're sick of studying. You're burned out. Now what? Do you completely bail? Fall to pieces? Withdraw from the exam? No. You shut your laptop, close your books and go get drunk, or watch a movie, exercise, whatever. You go do something to recharge and then you get back at it when you're rested. What Sean said is perfectly good advice: take a day every few weekends to rest your head — if you need it.

My point with full-time workers is mathematical. We have to work: they don't. We will start studying early; so will they. While we are at work 40 hours a week, they will be studying for the bar. We will manage to cram in 3-4 hours of study a day, five days a week; they will study 8-12 hours a day, five days a week. We will study 10 hours a day (20 hours) on weekends; they will do the same, or maybe take one day off. We will barely get any rest, except to sleep. They'll get lots of rest and still they'll have twice as much time to prepare. The math is simply an unfortunate reality.

If you manage 4 hours a day x 5 (20 hours), plus 10 weekend hours x 2 (20) = 40 hours a week to prepare, and you're burning the candle at both ends. Yeah, you probably need a break once in a while. But can you afford it?

Non-working students can do 10 hours a day x 5 and watch TV all night (50 hours). They do another 15 hours on the weekend = 65 hours a week, and they're taking Sunday afternoon off. They get more study time, better study time, and they never have to change their focus between bar prep and their job.

You're putting in 40 hours a week at your job. The other 40 hours a week that you're focusing on bar prep amounts to a second job. They're putting in 65 dedicated hours a week and coasting, comparatively. Over a period of two or three months, you can see that "they" will go into the Convention Center with a substantially greater amount of time invested in preparing to blow you out of the water, performance-wise.

The bottom line is that you have to be a realist. You're at a disadvantage from the start and you're up against some stiff competition. During my prep, I studied every day. I didn't take breaks, although I drank a beer now and then. It didn't bother me, though. I liked it. And I knew one thing damned good and well: I wasn't going to fail the second time. I didn't go to law school to be denied the license. The specter of burnout didn't intimidate me. It can't intimidate you, either. This may sound silly, but you have to cultivate a mindset that you are a badass and that you can do anything, including working full time while preparing for the bar. Besides, we're only talking about a few months of dedication to reach a goal. Okay, for a few months, you aren't going to focus on having fun. You're going to focus on kicking that exam's ass down the block.

Don't worry about whether you're going to get burned out. You won't. Study hard. Make use of every possible moment to prepare. If you need a break, take one. But don't take a break just because it's on some schedule if you know you don't need one yet. For you guys who have to work, this is a fight. It isn't fun like "they" get to have. But it can be done.


This is a really helpful post.

Finished law school mid-December 2016 and started BarBri exactly when the program started (I believe it was a week before Christmas).

For the month of January, studied around 3-4 hours on weekdays and around 9-10 on weekends.

I then took the entire 4 weeks before the bar off from work and studied full time for four weeks. It wasn't enough...

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby Bimmerfan » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:01 pm

9xSound wrote:Everybody is going to approach their prep in the way that seems right and best to them, and that's great. But let's talk about burnout. First off, what is it? We talk about burnout as if it's the functional equivalent of a 2000-ton giant redwood crashing into our little mobile home. You're done. It's over, dude. You've reached, God have mercy, Burnout.

As a general concept, I consider burnout to be overblown and sometimes oversold. It's four weeks before the exam and you've been studying your tail off for two months and now you're sick of studying. You're burned out. Now what? Do you completely bail? Fall to pieces? Withdraw from the exam? No. You shut your laptop, close your books and go get drunk, or watch a movie, exercise, whatever. You go do something to recharge and then you get back at it when you're rested. What Sean said is perfectly good advice: take a day every few weekends to rest your head — if you need it.

My point with full-time workers is mathematical. We have to work: they don't. We will start studying early; so will they. While we are at work 40 hours a week, they will be studying for the bar. We will manage to cram in 3-4 hours of study a day, five days a week; they will study 8-12 hours a day, five days a week. We will study 10 hours a day (20 hours) on weekends; they will do the same, or maybe take one day off. We will barely get any rest, except to sleep. They'll get lots of rest and still they'll have twice as much time to prepare. The math is simply an unfortunate reality.

If you manage 4 hours a day x 5 (20 hours), plus 10 weekend hours x 2 (20) = 40 hours a week to prepare, and you're burning the candle at both ends. Yeah, you probably need a break once in a while. But can you afford it?

Non-working students can do 10 hours a day x 5 and watch TV all night (50 hours). They do another 15 hours on the weekend = 65 hours a week, and they're taking Sunday afternoon off. They get more study time, better study time, and they never have to change their focus between bar prep and their job.

You're putting in 40 hours a week at your job. The other 40 hours a week that you're focusing on bar prep amounts to a second job. They're putting in 65 dedicated hours a week and coasting, comparatively. Over a period of two or three months, you can see that "they" will go into the Convention Center with a substantially greater amount of time invested in preparing to blow you out of the water, performance-wise.

The bottom line is that you have to be a realist. You're at a disadvantage from the start and you're up against some stiff competition. During my prep, I studied every day. I didn't take breaks, although I drank a beer now and then. It didn't bother me, though. I liked it. And I knew one thing damned good and well: I wasn't going to fail the second time. I didn't go to law school to be denied the license. The specter of burnout didn't intimidate me. It can't intimidate you, either. This may sound silly, but you have to cultivate a mindset that you are a badass and that you can do anything, including working full time while preparing for the bar. Besides, we're only talking about a few months of dedication to reach a goal. Okay, for a few months, you aren't going to focus on having fun. You're going to focus on kicking that exam's ass down the block.

Don't worry about whether you're going to get burned out. You won't. Study hard. Make use of every possible moment to prepare. If you need a break, take one. But don't take a break just because it's on some schedule if you know you don't need one yet. For you guys who have to work, this is a fight. It isn't fun like "they" get to have. But it can be done.


Did you begin studying every day after you found out you didn't pass the first time?

I just received news that I didn't pass this past Friday and started studying on Monday night, reviewing my state essay topics. The July bar is more than 3 months away though and I only failed by a point.

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby Leprechaun » Wed May 10, 2017 10:42 pm

I worked full time while bar prepping and I also worked full time while in law school (I only attended law school part time so it took me 7 semesters plus Summers) so perhaps my bar prep strategies might help some of you. This is Texas specific but the strategies might be helpful in some other jurisdictions as well.


I posted this in my school's facebook group and thought it might help some of the recent graduates here as well.

For my friends that are about to graduate, congratulations, you did it! If you are like me, it became “real” pretty quickly that now you have another major hurdle to clear, the bar exam. I realize that everyone learns differently, and that everyone requires different motivation and strategies, but I know when I graduated, I really did not know what to expect concerning the bar exam, and I searched all over the web reading things about people that had been there and done that. Therefore, I thought I’d put my experience here, in the hope that it would help some of my friends to know what to expect and how to approach this endeavor.

First things first, I did not take “Prepping for the Bar”, (a course offered at my school) so I can’t speak as to how that might change your experience. I learn best from lectures, not notes. If you knew me in law school, you probably know that I’d have writers cramp if I took more than 3 to 5 pages of notes the whole semester for a course, many courses I’d have maybe 1 or 2 pages as I was much better at just paying attention to the professor and learning from their lecture, not from reading notes or outlines.

My exam prep style in school was typically one of cramming. I’d hit each exam really hard right before it came up (the days leading up to it) and would only prep for one subject at a time when possible. I never really experienced test anxiety as I viewed exams as “opportunities to compete”, and there is not a whole lot of things I love on this planet more than the joy of competing. Quite frequently, on exam days, my only prep would consist of listening to old school rap music, eating out, and doing things like go cart riding or shooting, things that would basically get me mentally “pumped up” to compete that night on exams.

I write all of that to let you know that is NOT a good approach to the bar exam. It will not work. I had to commit myself to a significant change to be successful in this journey. I began my prep 2-3 days after graduation, and I probably averaged 3 .5 hours per day of prepping up through the final day of the bar exam. I took Barbri, as I knew I had to have some structure and some accountability in my study plan, or else I would have not done well. After taking their course, I highly recommend it, and no, I’m not a Barbri rep.

Since I had not taken Prepping for the Bar, I really did not even know what the bar exam encompassed, so I’ll cover that first in case you were like me. Day one begins with the MPT and is 10% of your bar exam score. The MPT is basically a closed universe, performance task, in a short time window (90 minutes). The great thing about the MPT is that everything you need is provided, you just show up, synthesize the material, and roll with it. You don’t need to memorize, you just read, apply, and produce a written work product. It could be anything from a will to a brief to a memorandum, but they will include a basic template or instructions that will give you an idea of what they expect as output, so you don’t have to be an expert at creating wills or briefs, or demand letters or memorandums, etc.

Day one ends with a 90 minute session that is ½ Texas Civil Procedure and Evidence (5% of your bar exam grade) short answer 20 questions, and ½ Texas Criminal Procedure and Evidence (5% of your bar exam grade) short answer 20 questions. When I say short answer, that is exactly what I mean. You literally only have a few hundred characters to answer the questions. It basically covers a walkthrough of a civil case and a criminal case from beginning to the end based on a fact set it will give you.

Day 2 of the bar exam is a 200 question, multiple choice beast that accounts for 40% of your bar exam score. 100 questions in the AM, and 100 questions in the PM. Covers Evidence, Torts, Criminal Procedure & Criminal Law, Property, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law and Contracts. You get 3 hours for each set of 100 questions and a break for lunch in between.

Day 3 is the Texas Essays and accounts for 40% of your bar exam score. You have 12 essays (with multiple parts) and you have 6 essays in the 3 hour AM session, and 6 essays in the 3 hour PM session and a lunch break in between. Topics that are fair game include Trusts & Guardianships, Wills & Estate Administration, Family Law, Uniform Commercial Code, Consumer Rights including DTPA & Insurance, Business Associations, and Real Property including Oil and Gas. This also includes crossover from the MBE topics and can include additional topics such as Income Tax, bankruptcy and estate and gift taxes.

You can use your laptop for the MPT, and for the Texas Essays. On the MBE, you use scantron. One nice thing about using your laptop, unlike on our law school exams, you can copy and not just cut and paste. That can save you tremendously valuable time when doing rule statements.

Now that you know what all the exam encompasses, it can help you figure out your gameplan of attacking it. Barbri can absolutely consume you if you let it. They have a step by step schedule for every day of the week and if you follow that, you could literally put in 8 to 10 hours a day, which if you work full time like I do, that is not a possibility. I had to study more efficiently than that. What you choose to do or not to do, again will depend largely on your study style and learning methods.

Barbri has lecture books which contain fill in the blanks that correspond to their lectures. I listened to every lecture and I filled out every blank in that book. I would do the lectures on 1.0x to 2.00x speed, depending on the professor, and depending on how much I was understanding. Many times, I would find myself going back and “rewinding” to cover concepts again if I found myself daydreaming or otherwise interrupted. I followed their schedule religiously when it came to the lectures. I did not skip around, and I took them in the order they presented them.

The other major things I did with Barbri, was the practice multiple choice questions. I did over 1100 questions, and when I say I “did” them, I didn’t simply answer them and move on. I would go through and read the explanations whether or not I got the question right or not, this was probably the most valuable thing I did. I really do feel that if you have time for nothing else, do all the multiple choice questions and review them to find out why you got them right and why you got them wrong.

The great thing about Barbri is the questions have timers so it helps you figure out the proper pace, also, at the end of the question modules, it will break it down within topic and category so you can see what areas you are strong in and what areas you are weak in. You can use this to brush up on learning the law of weak areas by using Barbri Amps which are short, interactive questions that teach you the law, rather than trying to trick you with hypotheticals. They served me well as memorization drills that really helped me learn the black letter law.

Things that I did not do in Barbri - I did not skim the sections, outlines, etc, in advance like they recommended. I did not have time for that and I didn’t want to reinforce and teach myself the wrong stuff or interpretations by reading it in advance, I don’t learn well that way. Also, I did not read the outlines after the lectures, like Barbri recommends, again, I am an auditory learner and learner through interactive questions, not through reading. I like to see the law being applied, not just reading the law.

I did not write out the essay questions that Barbri would assign, other than the few that were graded. I’m fairly good at producing a coherent essay if I know the law so I thought that would be a waste of valuable time, but you know your own learning style.

I did not do any of the practice MPT’s other than the graded ones. Everything is included that you will need for the MPT on gameday, and I’m not one that makes outlines, drafts, etc, and I’m good at processing things within time deadlines, so I didn’t feel necessary to waste limited study time on MPT practice. However, that being said, when you do practice them, put yourself under time constraints so you figure out whether or not you can do it. If you can’t, you will need to work heavily on producing a product under timed, stressed conditions. That is an area you should be able to nail down if you practice and manage time well.

There is simply no substitute for putting in the time. The nice thing about Barbri is it shows you how you are doing against your peers percentage wise. Use this to tailor your study plan. Don’t be concerned if you are literally getting only 20% to 40% of the questions right in the beginning, that’s all I was getting and it scared the hell out of me, but again, I hadn’t taken Prepping for the Bar, so some of the material I literally had not seen since 1L year.

Barbri gives you short question sets, 18 at a time, so it’s not overwhelming and if you just learn the concepts that questions are presenting, you will do fine. Their multiple choice question sets are very difficult and a “good” score is 9 to 12 of the 18 correct generally. That will get you where you need to be. Keep in mind for the bar, you don’t have to know EVERYTHING, you only have to know ENOUGH.

Barbri offers practice tests and these are key to understanding where you stand. Take these tests as scheduled, and use them to figure out what areas you are weak in and watch the videos in the couple of days afterward explaining why each question is right or wrong. If you are doing exceptionally well in some topics, don’t waste time studying that topic, that is not efficient, move to a weak area instead. Redo the Barbri Amps if necessary to learn the law, you have to learn the law, period, and there is a lot of law to learn.

Towards the exam date, Barbri offered additional workshops on the Procedure and Evidence Portions. They were worth it even if for nothing more than getting the handouts. The handouts if I remember correctly were only 40 to 60 pages each and they are "memorizable" as some of the questions are used over and over and over again, just worded slightly differently

. If you can kill the MPT and the P&E, that’s 20% of the test you will have done well in and you can give yourself some breathing room on the rest.

Now, the Texas Essays. The absolutely best thing I did for the Texas Essays was not to even look at the questions that Barbri had, but to memorize the Barbri suggested answers. The examiners tend to ask the same types of questions over and over with different facts, so if you memorize the answers, you will be well ahead of the game and can apply the answers to many different fact sets just by changing the names.

Additionally, this will show you the areas they test out of the broad categories, so you won’t spend valuable time learning crap that has a small probability of being tested

. Now, the hardest part for me was mental management. I’m not one that feels anxiety usually, but the weight of this exam can do that to you. Bar prep will beat you down, it will piss you off, it will make you feel STUPID and feel that you have wasted the last few years of your life.

Admittedly, there were a couple nights of prep where I did little more than sit in my office and cry, literally. That might make me sound weak, but I did.

You will be scared that you are only getting 60% of the questions right. Don’t let that get you down. If necessary, take a day off, refresh, and then get back to it. Get some accountability partners. I’m not one that used study groups in law school, and I didn’t either for the bar, but I did use mental help partners from my classmates that I could talk to, share thoughts with, share fears with, and share strategy with. Don’t be afraid to talk to your classmates and be there for them if they need you too, it’s a two way street.

A lot of people say don’t study the week of the exam, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. I got down to Austin on the day before the exam. I studied that day for a couple hours on the P&E portion memorizing those Barbri handouts. The next day, I used the “one sheets” and “leansheets” to brush up one last time for the MBE rules. You have to know the rules or you won’t do well. I found the MBE to be much easier than the Barbri questions, not nearly as long, and not nearly as many “twists”, therefore if you were on track with Barbri time management, there was plenty of time on the real exam. The next night I studied the essay answers hard to get the patterns down for the next day’s essays. I got up at 4:30 AM that morning and spent two more hours getting those patterns down. After the morning session, I then spent a few minutes at lunch going over the topics I still knew where upcoming in the afternoon session. It helped me greatly in my opinion.

My biggest problems were lack of time due to work along the way, and in feeling grossly inadequate by missing so many questions along the way. However, that kept me going and motivated and made me work harder, and again, you don’t have to know everything. Good luck to y’all, I hope that helps some and hope it gives you an expectation of what lies ahead, you CAN do it. If you have any questions or just need someone to holler at, feel free to holler, people were there for me, and I plan to be here for other people.

A couple more things, make sure you do the practice tests under exam conditions, I was quite surprised by how exhausted I got doing that. I would always do a lot better on the first half then I would the 2nd half. Sometimes toward the end, I would even miss 10-15 questions in a row as I lost focus. Deshun made a great suggestion to me and it worked, after every 20 to 25 questions, I’d take a few minutes off and would just sit there and go to my “happy place” in my mind, it gave me the stamina to power through. I’m not one that typically has text anxiety, this was different, I was literally throwing up the 1st day of the exam before it started. This test will mess with your psyche like no other. Just realize that’s normal and that you aren’t weak and that you can do it. Good luck!!

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby dehaven » Thu May 11, 2017 11:12 am

9xSound wrote:I worked full time and passed. It is not easy. I would suggest a few things:

1. Use Adaptibar. Do 200 mixed problems. Stop. Print your wrong answers and review them, hand-writing the rules that you missed in the white space. Do the next 200 problems, stop, print and repeat. After reviewing this round, go back and re-review your wrong answers from the first 200 again. With every new batch of 200 problems, repeat the process of writing out what you got wrong in the white space, and then re-review all of your previous incorrect answers. Shoot for 1,000 problems at least. You'll probably end up with 300 or more wrong answers that you'll be re-reviewing multiple times. This process is tedious, but you will become intimately familiar with those 300+ incorrect problems, and you will gain more from doing 1000 MBEs than you'd get from burning your way through 3000 problems — which you aren't going to be able to do working full time anyway. You'll find that you don't have to re-read the facts. All you'll need to read is your handwritten rules. The night before the MBE, re-review all of your wrong answers once again.

2. Don't bother trying to memorize the rules until three weeks before the bar. It's a waste. Focus on understanding the concepts and learning how to write about the significance of the facts.

3. Study every single day, before work, after work, and weekends/days off. Study at lunch. If you need to take a break, it had better be for the bathroom, and take some flashcards or an outline with you. Remind yourself that not passing is the one of the worst things you will ever experience in life except a death in the family or getting dumped. Failing the bar is just like getting dumped — but you're in front of the whole world when it happens. If you really need a break, drink a beer while you read your outline. Then get your ass back to work.

4. Avoid the temptation to dwell on how unfair it is that you have to work. Channel your energy toward beating the exam. Nobody gives a rip that you have to work anyway, especially not the graders. Go to your job when you have to, but become a machine about your prep the rest of the time.

5. If you get feedback from a bar prep company or a tutor on your practice essays, don't just read it and move on to the next practice exam. Rewrite your essay to incorporate that feedback. Focus on nailing that particular essay. You don't have the time to write hundreds of essays. Like the MBEs, you need to make every single thing you do count. With your limited amount of time, you will get more mileage from rewriting the same essay using the feedback as to what you did wrong than you'll get from turning and burning one more essay. Do as many as you can, of course. But you can't afford to flush what you just learned. And when you've fine-tuned your essays more or less into model answers, save them. Re-review them regularly, just like the MBEs. It works.

6. Try to take at least 2 weeks off work before the bar if you can. Take as much time as you can possibly get and spend those last few weeks memorizing the rules so that they're relatively fresh at show time. Keep doing MBEs. Don't bother writing over the last two weeks. Rote memorization and MBEs are all you should do.

Preparing while working is very difficult, but it isn't impossible. I did it and I passed. Focus on quality, not quantity, and you'll have a shot at passing.



Agree mostly with this, except STRONGLY disagree with #2. You should be memorizing from the get-go. The bar is largely a rote memorization game and the more you memorize early on the better -- especially if you're dealing with the time/energy constraints of having a job while studying for this thing.

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SEC_Law

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby SEC_Law » Fri May 12, 2017 2:00 pm

Has anyone here taken the Louisiana bar? Seeing that LA has no MBE and is solely based on essays, I'm interested to see the approach someone took who has no background in civil law such as me.

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby Guchster » Fri May 12, 2017 2:35 pm

rcharter1978 wrote:Good advice, but I'm not entirely sure I agree with #3 in its entirety. Not passing the bar sucks big fat monkey balls, but life goes on and its not the end of the world.

Silverman Bar Prep pointed out that you can get burned out if you don't take time out. I also think you can get burned out if you put too much life or death pressure on yourself. That pressure can really crush you, and I think thats part of what got me the first time around.

Take your studies seriously, recognize that you're not in an optimal position if you're working, but try to keep it all in perspective.


Just want to reiterate this point.

I took the NY Bar right after law school. Had two months to dilly dally and had the luxury of studying alone away from the world for 2+ months. I passed on my first try.

I just took the CA Bar in February 2017 (RESULTS COME OUT TODAY AND I'M DYING), and it was a completely different experience studying for it while working full time. I put so much pressure on myself this time around--mainly driven by the amount of sacrifice I did in the months leading to the bar and the fact that my co-workers kept reminding me about it and wishing me luck and saying I was going to kill it--that it freaked me out on test day in ways that didn't happen during the NY Bar. I was waking up with panic attacks and couldn't sleep at all the days of the exam and it 100% had to do with all the pressure I put on myself.

Work hard now and sacrifice but don't take it so far that you turn this into a life or death situation on the days of the bar--such that you couldn't do it again if needed.

Sadly, the fear of having to re-take might actually be the reason I end up having to re-take at the end of all of this.

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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby Lawyerinwaiting89 » Sat May 13, 2017 8:48 am

I passed the UBE in February 2017 while working full-time. I had the reverse experience of failing while not working and passing while working. What I realized coming out of this is that you just need to trust your instincts about what type of prep experience works for you. Everyone always asks for advice or a schedule and the responses are often specific to what worked for the person responding. Some people like lectures; some don't. Some people like Adaptibar; some don't. Some people like reading outlines; some don't. There's really no magic formula. You just have to sit down with only yourself and ask yourself what works and does not work for you. I just wanted to offer some insight from my experience that I hope calms some peoples' nerves.

I took two bar exams in July 2016 after graduating from law school. I had the traditional experience (graduate, some quick celebrations, then started a bar prep course in very late May/early June). I did not work during the summer, but I did have some other distractions. 1) I was in a wedding; 2) I opted to continue working on one of my cases from my law school clinic; 3) I realized in mid-June that my lease ended the DAY before the first bar exam started (aka the day that I was traveling to the site and NOT 2 days after I got back from the exam like I had believed; 4) I thus went into panic mode and spent a ton of time trying to find a new apartment out of state for an earlier move-in date; 5) I ended up opting for a storage unit out of state; 6) I "moved" most of my stuff into the storage unit the week before the exam; 7) I finished moving out the day that I left for the exam, meanwhile sleeping on an air mattress for about 5 days because my bed was packed up. I was studying with basically just a lamp by my mattress.

All of that said, I was mentally so distracted. Even when I was "studying," I was worrying about some other details. And these weren't things that I could really avoid or put off because of the timing. My family helped me in some ways, but they did not live near me, and, inevitability, I just had to deal with the distractions.

Additionally, and more importantly, I knew within about a week of starting bar prep that the Kaplan program was not really designed for my learning style. I wasn't retaining much from the long lectures and I always felt like everything was so rushed; I hated moving onto a new topic every day or two before I felt that I had absorbed all of the material. I did as much as I could, but I didn't complete all the required assignments and I never felt very confident.

In the end, I failed one state's exam by 9 points and the other state's exam by 4 points. I was crushed and went to a very dark place for a while. Even though I knew all of the above-mentioned factors pulled me down, it didn't necessarily help with the defeat that failing brings. Further, I realized that I should have listened to my gut about what I needed to do to maximize my study time.

When I got the results, I was working full time (clerking) and knew that I wouldn't be able to take time off prior to the February exam. I was pretty nervous because of the time constraints and also the bar that I opted to retake switched to the UBE, so all of the essay topics and the MPT were brand new to me. I chose to self-study and it was the best decision that I could have made. I took control of my own learning. I did what worked for me. I read outline books cover to cover, used Emanuel's 6th Edition, and made my own notes. Reading and then synthesizing material is what worked for me in law school, NOT professors' lectures. I am never comfortable unless I spend enough time with a subject to learn the big ticket items AND the details. I hate moving onto something else unless I have the comfort that I studied effectively and could tell some random person on the street all the random info I memorized. With my prior Kaplan bar prep experience, I was much too focused on checking tasks off the daunting to-do list and making my percentage of overall prep tasks go down. I was worried about how other people were studying and comparing myself to my classmates going through the process. It's like the first go-around I completely forgot that studying and talking to others about exams didn't help me in law school, and I just did everything in alternative, unfamiliar ways because that's what was offered. I was too afraid to just take the exam into my own hands, which is exactly what I did while working full-time and it paid off.

I passed with a 15 point margin. I passed while only studying 2-3 hours most days (only at nights) and 6-12 hours on the weekend. I studied with only taking about two afternoons off until the day before the exam. I say all of this because for so long I was blaming all of the distractions that I had last summer for failing; there is no doubt, of course, that they did not help me. However, my biggest issue the first time is that I let fear of straying from a commercial prep schedule get inside my head. You really can't control most distractions because it's usually just a result of bad timing or poor circumstances. I put working full-time in that category. If you can't reasonably quit or cut down hours, then so be it. But you can control how you prep. While uncertain for sure, there's a good chance that I might have passed the first time had I just trusted my instincts and formed my own plan.

This is not to say that commercial bar prep companies don't work and that the majority of people don't succeed using them. However, full-time workers have more limited time to spend testing the waters, so you can't spend 50-60% of your prep time watching lectures and filling in notes IF THAT DOESN'T WORK FOR YOU. (If it does, then great; it's just about being confident in your prep tactics). What I found going through this experience for the second time while working is that I was actually more calm knowing that when I sat down to study, I was studying what I wanted and felt that I needed to work on. I didn't move on from a topic until I felt comfortable. I used methods that had worked for me in school. And, ultimately, because I was so busy working, I didn't have the luxury of time to let the exam get inside my head and make me second guess my prep. I just treated prep like a nightly task before I got the reward of much-needed sleep. So while it's certainly daunting to be working while concurrently trying to study, and everyone is different, just know that it's entirely possible to succeed if you don't ignore the voice inside your head telling you what does and doesn't work for your retention. You'll have an idea pretty quickly.

P.S. I am taking a second jurisdiction in July so I am about to embark on this path again while working full-time (same job). So I'll be visiting this forum for support!

dehaven

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Posts: 18
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Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby dehaven » Sat May 13, 2017 4:48 pm

Lawyerinwaiting89 wrote:I passed the UBE in February 2017 while working full-time. I had the reverse experience of failing while not working and passing while working. What I realized coming out of this is that you just need to trust your instincts about what type of prep experience works for you. Everyone always asks for advice or a schedule and the responses are often specific to what worked for the person responding. Some people like lectures; some don't. Some people like Adaptibar; some don't. Some people like reading outlines; some don't. There's really no magic formula. You just have to sit down with only yourself and ask yourself what works and does not work for you. I just wanted to offer some insight from my experience that I hope calms some peoples' nerves.

I took two bar exams in July 2016 after graduating from law school. I had the traditional experience (graduate, some quick celebrations, then started a bar prep course in very late May/early June). I did not work during the summer, but I did have some other distractions. 1) I was in a wedding; 2) I opted to continue working on one of my cases from my law school clinic; 3) I realized in mid-June that my lease ended the DAY before the first bar exam started (aka the day that I was traveling to the site and NOT 2 days after I got back from the exam like I had believed; 4) I thus went into panic mode and spent a ton of time trying to find a new apartment out of state for an earlier move-in date; 5) I ended up opting for a storage unit out of state; 6) I "moved" most of my stuff into the storage unit the week before the exam; 7) I finished moving out the day that I left for the exam, meanwhile sleeping on an air mattress for about 5 days because my bed was packed up. I was studying with basically just a lamp by my mattress.

All of that said, I was mentally so distracted. Even when I was "studying," I was worrying about some other details. And these weren't things that I could really avoid or put off because of the timing. My family helped me in some ways, but they did not live near me, and, inevitability, I just had to deal with the distractions.

Additionally, and more importantly, I knew within about a week of starting bar prep that the Kaplan program was not really designed for my learning style. I wasn't retaining much from the long lectures and I always felt like everything was so rushed; I hated moving onto a new topic every day or two before I felt that I had absorbed all of the material. I did as much as I could, but I didn't complete all the required assignments and I never felt very confident.

In the end, I failed one state's exam by 9 points and the other state's exam by 4 points. I was crushed and went to a very dark place for a while. Even though I knew all of the above-mentioned factors pulled me down, it didn't necessarily help with the defeat that failing brings. Further, I realized that I should have listened to my gut about what I needed to do to maximize my study time.

When I got the results, I was working full time (clerking) and knew that I wouldn't be able to take time off prior to the February exam. I was pretty nervous because of the time constraints and also the bar that I opted to retake switched to the UBE, so all of the essay topics and the MPT were brand new to me. I chose to self-study and it was the best decision that I could have made. I took control of my own learning. I did what worked for me. I read outline books cover to cover, used Emanuel's 6th Edition, and made my own notes. Reading and then synthesizing material is what worked for me in law school, NOT professors' lectures. I am never comfortable unless I spend enough time with a subject to learn the big ticket items AND the details. I hate moving onto something else unless I have the comfort that I studied effectively and could tell some random person on the street all the random info I memorized. With my prior Kaplan bar prep experience, I was much too focused on checking tasks off the daunting to-do list and making my percentage of overall prep tasks go down. I was worried about how other people were studying and comparing myself to my classmates going through the process. It's like the first go-around I completely forgot that studying and talking to others about exams didn't help me in law school, and I just did everything in alternative, unfamiliar ways because that's what was offered. I was too afraid to just take the exam into my own hands, which is exactly what I did while working full-time and it paid off.

I passed with a 15 point margin. I passed while only studying 2-3 hours most days (only at nights) and 6-12 hours on the weekend. I studied with only taking about two afternoons off until the day before the exam. I say all of this because for so long I was blaming all of the distractions that I had last summer for failing; there is no doubt, of course, that they did not help me. However, my biggest issue the first time is that I let fear of straying from a commercial prep schedule get inside my head. You really can't control most distractions because it's usually just a result of bad timing or poor circumstances. I put working full-time in that category. If you can't reasonably quit or cut down hours, then so be it. But you can control how you prep. While uncertain for sure, there's a good chance that I might have passed the first time had I just trusted my instincts and formed my own plan.

This is not to say that commercial bar prep companies don't work and that the majority of people don't succeed using them. However, full-time workers have more limited time to spend testing the waters, so you can't spend 50-60% of your prep time watching lectures and filling in notes IF THAT DOESN'T WORK FOR YOU. (If it does, then great; it's just about being confident in your prep tactics). What I found going through this experience for the second time while working is that I was actually more calm knowing that when I sat down to study, I was studying what I wanted and felt that I needed to work on. I didn't move on from a topic until I felt comfortable. I used methods that had worked for me in school. And, ultimately, because I was so busy working, I didn't have the luxury of time to let the exam get inside my head and make me second guess my prep. I just treated prep like a nightly task before I got the reward of much-needed sleep. So while it's certainly daunting to be working while concurrently trying to study, and everyone is different, just know that it's entirely possible to succeed if you don't ignore the voice inside your head telling you what does and doesn't work for your retention. You'll have an idea pretty quickly.

P.S. I am taking a second jurisdiction in July so I am about to embark on this path again while working full-time (same job). So I'll be visiting this forum for support!


For all those taking the bar, this is gold. This pretty much sums up the advice I give. Thanks for sharing!

9xSound

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Posts: 46
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 2:01 am

Re: Full-time worker bar review support group - July 2017

Postby 9xSound » Sun May 14, 2017 2:07 pm

Bimmerfan wrote:
9xSound wrote:As a general concept, I consider burnout to be overblown and sometimes oversold. It's four weeks before the exam and you've been studying your tail off for two months and now you're sick of studying. You're burned out. Now what? Do you completely bail? Fall to pieces? Withdraw from the exam? No. You shut your laptop, close your books and go get drunk, or watch a movie, exercise, whatever. You go do something to recharge and then you get back at it when you're rested. What Sean said is perfectly good advice: take a day every few weekends to rest your head — if you need it.


Did you begin studying every day after you found out you didn't pass the first time?

I just received news that I didn't pass this past Friday and started studying on Monday night, reviewing my state essay topics. The July bar is more than 3 months away though and I only failed by a point.


That's the right thing to do, Bimmerfan. I failed the July 2014 CBX after taking a leave of absence from work for eight weeks to prepare. When I clicked on the link and got the message that my name did not appear on the pass list, it stunned me like a taser. However, I could see my wife teetering on the brink of a meltdown as she processed what this news meant. I needed to face the setback with strength and confidence for her sake, even though my confidence had been seriously shaken. She said, "What now?" This was all within 60 seconds of learning that I hadn't passed. I looked her in the eyes and replied, "I'm getting out my outlines to prepare for February. And I'm going to find someone to put a fresh pair of eyes on what I'm doing because [my last prep program] obviously didn't work."

And that's what I did. I had all of my outlines in front of me within five minutes of getting the bad news. Some of my classmates were running victory laps on Facebook and I couldn't bear to watch it. I dove right back into my outlines, even though my heart ached and I had zero desire to restudy the negative implications of the Commerce Clause or the doctrine of res judicata. Repeating the bar demanded more self-discipline than anything I think I have ever done in life.

So to answer your question, I began studying again from the moment I learned that I didn't pass, and I studied every single day right up to the February bar while working full time. I was mad as hell. When my scores arrived, I found to my surprise that the highest written score I had received on anything was a 60. And here I had won first place in a writing contest in law school, among other awards and distinctions for my writing prowess. While taking the bar, I thought that the essays and PTs were too easy! Nobody I knew who passed or failed mentioned a single issue that they had discussed on the test that I had missed. In fact, I knew people who passed who had missed obvious issues that I had not missed, like negligence per se on essay 6. The only part of the bar that had seemed hard was the MBE. I thought, if I fail, it'll be because of the MBE. It wasn't. I got a 1493, which was well above the average. When I sent my essays to my tutor, he nitpicked them according to his writing methods. He also offered to keep working with me for free, which was nice. But in that moment, I knew that I needed to find somebody else to give me a new approach for the modern bar exam, which I did. I later came to see just how outdated the approach was that I had been taught. Would have been great for a hand-written bar exam in 1988, but it was inadequate for a 2014 laptop test.

I'm writing all of this to emphasize two main points: (1) if you failed the bar, get out your outlines immediately. You have to be strong and face the demon head on. The longer you delay, the less prep time you'll have and the harder it will be to get back into game shape for July. (2) Find a new tutor or prep coach to work with. Get a fresh pair of eyes to assess what you're doing. As I've written before, people fail their first bar exam for any number of reasons. But most repeaters fail for the single reason that they go into subsequent exams doing the exact same thing they did the first time. They make all the same mistakes. You have to shake up the works.



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