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DurhamNC2017 wrote:I used Kaplan the first time, did not like Kaplan, and did not pass (missed by 1 point). I used Themis the second time, really liked it, and passed; I completed about 72% of the course. I went to a pretty good law school, graduated top 30% of my class, went to school at night, and had a pretty demanding job in the day.
Preparing for the first exam (July exam), I had a lot of other things going on (e.g. moving, looking for jobs, family stuff) and I just never really got to trust the way Kaplan was doing things and frankly going and sitting in a class was not what I needed. I prepared for about 2 months, generally followed the course, but did not do all the MBE questions. To the extent that I did not understand an issue, large or small, I made a note card. I probably did about 70 essays and maybe 600-700 MBE questions. I averaged a 6/10 on my essays and got a 135 on the MBE in terms of my actual bar score.
The second time (Feb. exam), I actually had a lot more going on (e.g. my wife and I had a child around Jan.1, we had a lot of family stuff to take care of, and I had a job that depended on me passing). I was only able to spend about 6 weeks fully engaged in studying. I did about 85-90 essays and about (I think) 950 multiple choice. I used my old note cards and made new ones too. For the last week or so, I focused a lot on memorization. Just reviewing outlines and drilling myself on notecards. I really wanted to be able to tick through rules on my essays and get as many "free points" on the MBE, which I thought of as particular rules or issues that I just knew cold. For the 6 weeks or so I studied, I only worked a little bit (a few hours a week at most), tried to put in at least 8 hours a day actually studying, and I tried to work out at the end of every day. I really benefited from having a schedule like this; for me working out is very relaxing so I really looked forward to it at the end of each day. Also, and I think this is key, I probably spent more time on going over my answers, right or wrong, compared to anything else. This really helped me.
Despite all of the stuff I had going on in my personal life and taking a little less time than recommended to study, I passed. The exam I took had a very low pass rate (in the 30% range), and I saw the rates before I got my results so I was not feeling very confident.
My overall recommendations to those taking it again:
- Pick a daily schedule and try to stick to it but plan to do something you like at the end of each day. I tried to make the last thing I did every day be an MBE problem set and then the first thing I'd do in the morning would be to review the answers, 1 by 1, for an hour or so.
- Spend a lot of time reviewing right and wrong answers
- Focus on putting your essays in a good, lawyerly format (e.g. IRAC)
- If you get an essay topic on the exam you don't know, skip it till the end, and then try to, to the extent you can, tick through as many rules or portions of rules as you can.
- If you enjoyed a particular topic in law school, for me Con. Law and Crim Pro., max out on studying those, especially if they are MBE and state topics that are the same or nearly the same. This way, studying will not seem so bad and hopefully you can really max out your points on those topics.
- Generally try to treat the studying as a job especially if you are not working. e.g. get up early, work until lunch, work after lunch for several more hours, quit around 7 and then do something other than study. If you are working, dedicate the hours between 6-10pm after work to studying and study all day one weekend day, and start a bit earlier than 2 months away if you can. Save stuff that you like for when you think you'll be tired.
- Know that you are going to get frustrated and feel like you'll fail. Just move forward from it. Just keep going on.
- Save some time at the end to do straight memorization.
- Consider Themis- I really recommend Themis, I liked the way the lectures were short and followed by some multiple choice questions. E.g. each topic is broken into chapters of about 20 minutes or less each and after each chapter you have 5 mc questions.
Thanks very helpful
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- Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:14 am
Anyone have a sense of how much the Barbri CMR changed from the J15/F16 version to the J16/F17 version? Looking to buy a used CMR online (after foolishly throwing out my previous books), and curious if I can get by with an earlier CMR version.
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- Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:07 am
LMMadison wrote:Anyone have a sense of how much the Barbri CMR changed from the J15/F16 version to the J16/F17 version? Looking to buy a used CMR online (after foolishly throwing out my previous books), and curious if I can get by with an earlier CMR version.
New property topics were added to the MBE for the February 2017 exam. I'd recommend getting the current version if you can.
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