2017 July Illinois Bar

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ndbigdave
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2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Tue May 23, 2017 10:10 am

I noticed there were some fairly active Illinois bar exam posts, but not one for this upcoming July so I thought I would start one.

My relatively brief story. I am licensed in Michigan, took and passed the 2015 July bar with an MBE of 141 and a scaled score of 142 on the Michigan essays. I came out to Illinois for a job in August 2016 only to have the job pulled in mid October leaving me in a state I was not licensed with about 10 months left on a lease. I was signed up for the February bar, and I sadly was a bit too arrogant having passed the Michigan bar with minimum effort (I listened to bar max lectures while I worked full time, did MAYBE 300 MBE questions, never wrote a practice essay - though admittedly my law school offered an "essay strategy class" in the fall of my third year. I literally worked up to the day before the bar. When I saw the high pass rate in Illinois I thought I was set, so I re-listened to my bar max lectures while I continued to work full time and then looked at a handful of outlines the days leading up to the test for the essay topics, I did do more questions but really only upwards of 500 or so.

My Feb 2017 was a humbling experience, I scored a 138.9 on the MBE (near what I did in Michigan and technically a "passing" score for IL), but my essays bottomed out to a 121.6 for a total scaled score of 261 - failed by 5 scaled points. I was shocked to see how poorly I had done on the MPT and with most of the essays. I honestly felt good with all but 1 essay (a corp question I was making things up for as I never really studied it and it was weak point in law school) and then 1 subsection of another question that required specific IL law that I knew nothing about. Otherwise I felt I had done enough to pass (and then-some). Admittedly, I did very, very little review for the IEE/MEE and other than reading about what the MPT is and viewing on example to get a taste, I never practiced it. I relied on my memory and many years of legal writing (I was a judicial clerk in Michigan for nearly 7 years followed by over a year as a chief law clerk turned associate at a high-volume med-mal firm that had me drafting motions/responses/memos on a daily basis - I consider myself a strong legal writer who can articulate legal concepts well.

What am I doing this time?

1 - I am banking in part that I can maintain/improve my MBE score, I have no timing issues as I have completed the MBE both in IL and Michigan with roughly 45 min to spare (or more) for each AM and PM session. I have signed up for Adaptibar for the first time and I am already 400 questions in, I have (and will continue) to review each question after answering regardless of if I am right or wrong. I am a fan thus far and love the analytical tools Adaptibar provides to measure strengths/weaknesses. Other than the Civ Pro questions (which I think are generally poor/weird/not quite NCBE quality) I am loving the program. I have also rented from Barnes and Noble the Emmanuel's Strategies and Tactic's 6th Edition - I had an older version that I did some questions out of when I "prepped" (using the term loosely) for Michigan and I did read the strategies/tactics and outlines which I thought were good. My plan is to be finished with Adaptibar about 30 days before the bar so that I will have the requisite time to learn more BLL for both MBE and MEE. I can always redo Adaptibar questions, questions in the Emmanuel's book or via BarMax. I think this will be more than enough and light years more than I have done in the past.

2 - For the essays. The first thing is to go into the exam with a different mindset for writing, having reviewed the sample passing scores that the Illinois Bar provided me (for $25) I was reminded on the type of writing necessary for the bar - treat the graders like children, explain every legal concept you make reference to, use more bold, highlights, headings to draw their attention to your points. I still believe my answers (in many respects) were sufficient, were written in IRAC and deserved higher scores in many cases (I do truly believe I got screwed as I could compare my scores to my GF who scored 11 points higher even though she has never written a memo in her life, my MPT was a 6.75, her's was a 9.5, I absolutely cannot explain how that is possible, especially in light of how well my essays were graded in Michigan...but I digress). Further, I do have outlines for every subject that were provided to me by a friend who had worked with a tutor 2 years ago and I am considering the MEE "one sheets" though I dont know anyone personally who has used them. Putting in more than 2 days of studying for the essays will clearly make a difference (having more substance) and then having a different plan of attack for how to write will also help raise my poor essay score.

I believe by starting as early as I have (5/14/17 with Adaptibar) and actually approaching my studying like an adult (for the first time) that I should be ok - especially with the revelation that the passion score is still just 266.

With all that being said, where are my other Illinois Bar takers at?

Suprman37
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby Suprman37 » Tue May 23, 2017 1:56 pm

I'll be there with you to in July.

Since you gave your story, I'll give mine. I'm currently admitted to practice in Indiana sitting for the essay portion only for Illinois in July. I was a non-traditional law student, graduating this past December in my late 30s with three kids under 6. As you can pretty much imagine, bar prep for the February bar was hectic. I had to work because I have bills and a family, and my kids wanted to spend time with me as usual. Bar prep took up a ton of time for an already crammed schedule. I usually get by in life on polish and charm, but I had a lot riding on the exam (job offer revocable on notice of bar exam failure) so I put in the work. I started bar prep late (around Jan 10 when the program started Dec 23) and felt like I was in an absolute grinder. The Kaplan videos bored me to tears (except the Family Law and Evidence guys). I didn't give 100% to the MPT portions because I had an MPT class in law school that I did very well in (also had one for MBE and Essay portion). I knew that my MBE score would be key, so I got about 400 of the retired questions and did those. They were so much better than the Kaplan questions, which I did about 1500 of anyway. Took the exam and was pretty nervous when those bloodbath results started trickling out. Fortunately, I passed. My MBE score was very strong. They don't give you your essay score in the state if you passed.

After much consideration, I've transferred my score to Illinois. I have the best chance of passing by doing the MBE again (if I scored the same this time as in February, I would only have to be outside of the bottom 1 percentile of essay scores to pass), but I honestly just don't feel like doing it again. I think I still have an extremely strong chance of just getting the 133 on the essay (if you transfer your MBE score, they only credit you with a 133 MBE). I really wish I could see my previous essay scores to better gauge, but my heart isn't in doing another MBE.

So, what am I doing to pass?

I'm not paying for another bar prep course. I didn't pay the book deposit for Kaplan and they wanted me to pay to ship the books back, so I have the books for the MEE, MPT, and most IL subjects without the Illinois distinctions. I have the Illinois Barbri books from 2016. I talked to the bar prep staff at my law school, and they said this should be enough to pass. I'm going to use these to make note cards to study off of, as that worked well for me last time. I'll be losing the lectures, but those didn't do much for me in February because of my learning style. I've got 2011-2017 Illinois essay questions and answers. I'm working on getting the same for the MEE. I think with all of that, I'll be ok. I'm not going to start studying until July 1. A lot of this stuff is fresh in my mind, and honestly, that's the time I can get away from the firm. I don't have time to learn everything, so I'm going to play the numbers (definitely know all there is to know about Illinois Civ Pro because it's 100% chance of being tested) and go from there.

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Tue May 23, 2017 2:12 pm

Suprman37 wrote:I'll be there with you to in July.

Since you gave your story, I'll give mine. I'm currently admitted to practice in Indiana sitting for the essay portion only for Illinois in July. I was a non-traditional law student, graduating this past December in my late 30s with three kids under 6. As you can pretty much imagine, bar prep for the February bar was hectic. I had to work because I have bills and a family, and my kids wanted to spend time with me as usual. Bar prep took up a ton of time for an already crammed schedule. I usually get by in life on polish and charm, but I had a lot riding on the exam (job offer revocable on notice of bar exam failure) so I put in the work. I started bar prep late (around Jan 10 when the program started Dec 23) and felt like I was in an absolute grinder. The Kaplan videos bored me to tears (except the Family Law and Evidence guys). I didn't give 100% to the MPT portions because I had an MPT class in law school that I did very well in (also had one for MBE and Essay portion). I knew that my MBE score would be key, so I got about 400 of the retired questions and did those. They were so much better than the Kaplan questions, which I did about 1500 of anyway. Took the exam and was pretty nervous when those bloodbath results started trickling out. Fortunately, I passed. My MBE score was very strong. They don't give you your essay score in the state if you passed.

After much consideration, I've transferred my score to Illinois. I have the best chance of passing by doing the MBE again (if I scored the same this time as in February, I would only have to be outside of the bottom 1 percentile of essay scores to pass), but I honestly just don't feel like doing it again. I think I still have an extremely strong chance of just getting the 133 on the essay (if you transfer your MBE score, they only credit you with a 133 MBE). I really wish I could see my previous essay scores to better gauge, but my heart isn't in doing another MBE.

So, what am I doing to pass?

I'm not paying for another bar prep course. I didn't pay the book deposit for Kaplan and they wanted me to pay to ship the books back, so I have the books for the MEE, MPT, and most IL subjects without the Illinois distinctions. I have the Illinois Barbri books from 2016. I talked to the bar prep staff at my law school, and they said this should be enough to pass. I'm going to use these to make note cards to study off of, as that worked well for me last time. I'll be losing the lectures, but those didn't do much for me in February because of my learning style. I've got 2011-2017 Illinois essay questions and answers. I'm working on getting the same for the MEE. I think with all of that, I'll be ok. I'm not going to start studying until July 1. A lot of this stuff is fresh in my mind, and honestly, that's the time I can get away from the firm. I don't have time to learn everything, so I'm going to play the numbers (definitely know all there is to know about Illinois Civ Pro because it's 100% chance of being tested) and go from there.



Thanks for sharing and good luck!

I was originally going to do the exact same thing (transfer my MBE in and just do essays) but my previous firm went radio silent after saying they would pay for the bar application and I didnt want to spend the cash at that time - in retrospect I should have fronted the cash and tried to get reimbursed or just taken it on the chin, the material would have been more fresh in my mind and I could have solely focused on reading BLL/Outlines for the essays to keep material fresh. Cie la vie

Having taken my lumps by being lazy/arrogant the first time I am working to maximize my MBE, my goal is to get it near 150, but I would definitely take a few point improvement.

Seeing as I did absolutely horrendously on the essays I have almost no where to go but up, which in many respects calms my nerves as I know I can write, I just need to dive into the material more than a day or two before the bar.

I think you definitely have the right materials and will be fine, you can obviously write and there will a lot of low-hanging fruit to achieve the necessary 133 (which is frankly not a particularly high score).

Southpaw89
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby Southpaw89 » Fri May 26, 2017 1:21 am

I'm taking it for the first time in July, and am preparing with Barbri and Adaptibar. I'm at around 55% in Adaptibar so far with goal to be around 70 at gametime. I'm finding the Barbri MBE questions to be much more difficult than Adaptibar...

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Tue May 30, 2017 9:20 am

Southpaw89 wrote:I'm taking it for the first time in July, and am preparing with Barbri and Adaptibar. I'm at around 55% in Adaptibar so far with goal to be around 70 at gametime. I'm finding the Barbri MBE questions to be much more difficult than Adaptibar...


Thanks for checking in and good luck!

I am using Adaptibar + some outlines I was provided by a friend, I am considering purchasing Critical Pass Flashcards, the JD Advising's "One Sheet" (for the MEE) and/or Lean Sheets (for MEE primarily as well). Havent made up my mind as the Adaptibar questions are keeping me plenty busy in the evenings after work. My accumulative average is just over 60% (500 questions in) but the Civ Pro is the real outlier, other subjects are comfortably into the 60+ percent with others getting near 70%. As previously mentioned, I did "OK" on two previous MBE tests (141 and 139) but my hope is to catch a bit more low hanging fruit and get into the mid 140s or higher this time around by actually studying and reviewing questions.

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cron1834
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby cron1834 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:34 pm

Recent grad, checking in. Anyone using Themis? I'm supplementing with Critical Pass, thinking about Adaptibar.

champloo
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby champloo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:57 pm

cron1834 wrote:Recent grad, checking in. Anyone using Themis? I'm supplementing with Critical Pass, thinking about Adaptibar.


exactly my situation. i only started on Monday so i'm pretty behind. are you going with themis' schedule or following your own?

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cron1834
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby cron1834 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:54 am

champloo wrote:
cron1834 wrote:Recent grad, checking in. Anyone using Themis? I'm supplementing with Critical Pass, thinking about Adaptibar.


exactly my situation. i only started on Monday so i'm pretty behind. are you going with themis' schedule or following your own?

Doing their schedule... just slowly :lol: Hopefully after property it speeds up a little. On the one hand I want to move quickly to get back on the target pace, but on the other hand I keep forgetting details, exceptions, etc.

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rahulg91
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby rahulg91 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:23 am

Anyone have reliable data for the passage rate in February 2017?

P.S. Doing Barbri and reviewing with the Critical Pass cards. Might get Adaptibar next week if I still suck at these MBE questions though.

RaceJudicata
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby RaceJudicata » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:22 pm

Checking in, recent grad..

Have ya'll found critical pass to be useful? Currently using barbri and adaptibar... I've always learned things better when I have multiple sources, but also don't want to be overloaded/lack focus on any one particular method.

champloo
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby champloo » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:39 pm

cron1834 wrote:
champloo wrote:
cron1834 wrote:Recent grad, checking in. Anyone using Themis? I'm supplementing with Critical Pass, thinking about Adaptibar.


exactly my situation. i only started on Monday so i'm pretty behind. are you going with themis' schedule or following your own?

Doing their schedule... just slowly :lol: Hopefully after property it speeds up a little. On the one hand I want to move quickly to get back on the target pace, but on the other hand I keep forgetting details, exceptions, etc.


know what you mean. i keep trying to memorize even a little before moving on to the next set of lectures. i'm religiously using critical pass's mobile app during down time to memorize what i've learned so that i can keep up with themis' schedule.

champloo
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby champloo » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:41 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:Checking in, recent grad..

Have ya'll found critical pass to be useful? Currently using barbri and adaptibar... I've always learned things better when I have multiple sources, but also don't want to be overloaded/lack focus on any one particular method.


cp's mobile app is great to use during down time. whenever i'm smoking, taking a shit, in the elevator, etc. haven't received the actual cards yet so i'll reserve judgment on that until i start using them.

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cron1834
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby cron1834 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:09 am

Yeah, I only got the app--seems way more convenient to me than the physical cards. But I'm sure some others like to get off a screen once in a while.

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:32 am

rahulg91 wrote:Anyone have reliable data for the passage rate in February 2017?

P.S. Doing Barbri and reviewing with the Critical Pass cards. Might get Adaptibar next week if I still suck at these MBE questions though.


Here is the link to the scoring memo for February 2017:

https://www.ilbaradmissions.org/feb-201 ... ent-charts

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cron1834
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby cron1834 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:51 pm

ndbigdave wrote:
rahulg91 wrote:Anyone have reliable data for the passage rate in February 2017?

P.S. Doing Barbri and reviewing with the Critical Pass cards. Might get Adaptibar next week if I still suck at these MBE questions though.


Here is the link to the scoring memo for February 2017:

https://www.ilbaradmissions.org/feb-201 ... ent-charts

So, a 266 combined scale-score is the pass cut-off... but that looks like a pretty high percentile ranking according to this chart (45th percentile, maybe?). I was of the impression that first-time pass rate was like 80-ish% and overall pass rate was like 70-ish%... ? What am I missing?

RaceJudicata
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:15 pm

cron1834 wrote:
ndbigdave wrote:
rahulg91 wrote:Anyone have reliable data for the passage rate in February 2017?

P.S. Doing Barbri and reviewing with the Critical Pass cards. Might get Adaptibar next week if I still suck at these MBE questions though.


Here is the link to the scoring memo for February 2017:

https://www.ilbaradmissions.org/feb-201 ... ent-charts

So, a 266 combined scale-score is the pass cut-off... but that looks like a pretty high percentile ranking according to this chart (45th percentile, maybe?). I was of the impression that first-time pass rate was like 80-ish% and overall pass rate was like 70-ish%... ? What am I missing?


July had (and always has) a higher passing rate because February has more second time takers. I can't find the similar scoring memo for July 2016. I think the percentage was somewhere in the 70s, but not 100% positive.

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cron1834
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby cron1834 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:30 pm

Oh, I didn't realize they re-did the percentile ranks per exam, though it was a running annual metric. That makes a lot more sense. I'm a little behind on my schedule, so starting to get a tad worried/not thinking straight :lol:

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:39 pm

cron1834 wrote:
ndbigdave wrote:
rahulg91 wrote:Anyone have reliable data for the passage rate in February 2017?

P.S. Doing Barbri and reviewing with the Critical Pass cards. Might get Adaptibar next week if I still suck at these MBE questions though.


Here is the link to the scoring memo for February 2017:

https://www.ilbaradmissions.org/feb-201 ... ent-charts

So, a 266 combined scale-score is the pass cut-off... but that looks like a pretty high percentile ranking according to this chart (45th percentile, maybe?). I was of the impression that first-time pass rate was like 80-ish% and overall pass rate was like 70-ish%... ? What am I missing?


A few points:

1 - You are correct, you need a combined 266 to pass in Illinois, there was talk the number would raise to 268 but it has been locked in for the foreseeable future at 266.

2 - Keep in mind that this is for February which includes many re-takers, and those that are "first time takers" that were likely non-traditional students, that is a mix for lower scores (generally speaking). It was also the first time the MBE was based on 175 rather than 190, most experts have come to the conclusion that it made no difference, I am a bit more dubious that the scoring MAY have tended to be lower.

3 - The link I provided, which is information straight from the IL bar, includes all-takers and doesnt break numbers down by first-time and repeat takers nor does it reflect how many students sat for the bar.

4 - While following trends over the last 5 years the results have shown a consistent drop in passage rates, a part of that for sure was the raising of the required score from 264 to 266 (this change occurred for July 2015), but it has been consistently declining year-to-year for both July and February takers
2017:
Feb - Not exactly known, but appears to be somewhere in the mid 40%s

2016:
Feb - 63% passed
July - 72% passed

2015:
Feb - 69% passed
July - 76% passed

2014:
Feb - 75% passed
July - 81% passed

2013:
Feb - 75% passed
July - 85% passed

2012:
Feb - 72% passed
July - 85% passed

All data pulled form the NCBE website, links available if you want.

The MBE median score has continued to drop over the last few years as well,the 2016 accumulative median score was a 138.6 (between Feb and July) meanwhile the median IL February MBE score was approximately a 133 (exactly what you need if you split the score 50/50 between MBE and Written Portion). There are a multitude of articles attempting to explain why the scores keep dropping - the MBE keeps getting "tougher" and more nuanced, even though the NCBE has a specific scoring metric and system to account for relative "harder" tests (so this is a weak explanation) and the more likely explanation that there are MANY students taking the bar that likely should not have been in law school to begin with - I also posit that many law schools are failing to prepare students for the bar by way of less stringent classroom requirements, test methods the use of open book/note exams and courses offering up a multitude of ways to score points to save a GPA.

That being said, a 266 is not a high threshold, neighboring state Michigan requires the equivalent of a 270 to pass (as an example) and hitting the usual median score is likely somehwere in the low/mid 60%s - so take heart that with some effort and studying you can pass (and do so comfortably).

sheeeluh
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby sheeeluh » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:49 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:Checking in, recent grad..

Have ya'll found critical pass to be useful? Currently using barbri and adaptibar... I've always learned things better when I have multiple sources, but also don't want to be overloaded/lack focus on any one particular method.


I really like critical pass for basic black letter law when im too tired of listening to lectures. here is a code for 10 dollars off http://criticalpass.refr.cc/sheilaa

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Steve2207
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby Steve2207 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:16 pm

Checking in. This will be my third attempt at IL.

First exam, I psyched myself out and received a 251 in July 16. Afterward, I was working at a local firm while studying for my second attempt, and even though they gave me the last few weeks off, I still received a very disappointing 264 in Feb. 17. Currently using Themis as my guide in Bar prep, but I have also purchased Barbri and am using some of their materials at the same time as a supplement for some subjects, and to gain more writing practice.

Just a few points from my perspective having done this twice now:

1. Passing Illinois USED to be fairly easy, but the state is now making a concentrated effort to reduce the number of attorney roles, and minimum competence WILL NOT cut it anymore in this state.
2. The 25 experimental questions on the MBE did have an impact on scores, and we will likely see another decline this July. (I say this because I raised my MBE practice set percentages significantly between my first and second attempt, yet my score dropped by 2 points! {Incidentally the number I failed by!}
3. I am not going to endorse any bar prep provider over another, but I will say that, if you are using Themis, you have real questions already, so there is no real need to supplement. (I have used both Themis and Adaptibar, and while they are very similar I prefer the Themis setup, and the more dated questions on Adaptibar seem too simple at times for me personally.)
4. The biggest change I intend to make is to practice more MPT’s this time, and I think people should prepare more thoroughly for this portion of the exam. (I scored a mere 4.5 on both previous exams, and if I had hit even close to the median in Feb., I would be an attorney right now)

All that said, Good luck to everyone in July, and don’t underestimate this exam!

Suprman37
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby Suprman37 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:56 am

In F2017, did Illinois have the law firm ethics MPT or the Findings of Fact/Statements of Law one?

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:08 am

Suprman37 wrote:In F2017, did Illinois have the law firm ethics MPT or the Findings of Fact/Statements of Law one?


I dont have it in front of me now, but it was a Memo, based on Rules of Professional Conduct/Conflicts (in a nut shell).

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rahulg91
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby rahulg91 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:45 am

Anyone finish doing the laptop registration? Is the MBE not administered through this software? It seems the three exam files are for the MPT, IEE, and MEE.

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:46 am

rahulg91 wrote:Anyone finish doing the laptop registration? Is the MBE not administered through this software? It seems the three exam files are for the MPT, IEE, and MEE.


Only the written portion is done the ExamSoft.

The MBE is done through scantron and youll be provided pencils at the test center.

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rahulg91
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Re: 2017 July Illinois Bar

Postby rahulg91 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:50 am

ndbigdave wrote:
rahulg91 wrote:Anyone finish doing the laptop registration? Is the MBE not administered through this software? It seems the three exam files are for the MPT, IEE, and MEE.


Only the written portion is done the ExamSoft.

The MBE is done through scantron and youll be provided pencils at the test center.


Awesome, thanks! Also PSA to finish the laptop registration, I think we have a week left!




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