TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

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CyanIdes Of March

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TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:26 am

Hi all,

I was wondering, has anyone taken and passed the TX bar w/o having watched the video lectures? I just do not think they are helping me, and worse, they completely drain my willpower to study. I admit I am here looking for some confirmation from others that the lectures aren't integral to passing this test, especially because everyone I know personally has been pretty skeptical of that move. But I simply am not learning by filling in blanks. I'm just mindlessly writing down words and counting down the minutes on the video at 1.5x speed. I've never loved lectures in general, I learn a lot better from reading and taking very short-notes. So, am I going to fail this test if I skip the lectures or what?

Also, I switched to just reading the big outlines Barbri supplies (so far, just for Wills) a few days ago and I did pretty well on the diagnostic, much better than I had with any subject prior. Only thing is, is that there's about 1900 pages left to cover and that's going to be difficult to do while also trying to incorporate practice problems and essays. Not to mention Barbri more or less says that trying to outline the material is a recipe for failure. And I know I could read the CMR, but I'm very skeptical of that book since Barbri put a question in one of the torts question-sets that literally could not be answered with just having read the lecture notes + the CMR. The only place with the information necessary to answer that particular question (it was a problem concerning product liability and design defects), at least in non-ambiguous way, was to have read the large outline for torts. I'm not sure what real MBE questions will look like, but so far reading the CMR feels like reading a book with several pages missing. Beyond that, it just seems like the big outlines are just better at teaching the material in general. I was a pretty garbage law school student in a non-TX school, so I wonder if I need the extra material to get a grip on these subjects.

Any comments or tips would be really appreciated. I'm pretty far behind on the barbri material right now but I could, if it really was absolutely necessary, catch up with a few days of overtime... but somehow reading 1900 pages seems more appealing than watching any more video lecture.

EDIT: Now I'm thinking skip lectures for the most part, do big outlines for the MBE stuff, and just do CMR for the TX topics. Seems unlikely that the extra pages on the essay topics will help more than hurt, but might be worth the extra 500 pages for the MBE Q's so at least if a weird question comes up that happens to have not been in the MBE, I'll have at least seen it before...
Last edited by CyanIdes Of March on Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby RCSOB657 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:34 am

Tagging for my own purposes. (Have no idea, good luck!)

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CyanIdes Of March

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:37 am

Glad that my questions are somewhat relevant to someone else at least. I near had a panic attack the other day thinking I was definitely going to fail this test and the only thing that eased my nerves even a little was having done so well on the Wills diagnostic problems after reading the entire big outline section on it. Then again, I read that thing at a snail's pace and it would take me until September to finish the whole thing at that rate...

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby SilvermanBarPrep » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:41 pm

Having never taken Texas a few grains of salt should be taken with my advice. The big outlines from Barbri would be an excellent studying tool if we weren't so limited by time. They still provide a really great benefit but I think they should be used in a specific way: as a reference tool when you're not fully grasping something from the Barbri Conviser Mini Review (CMR). The CMR provides you with the law you need but it leaves out the helpful examples; when you need them head over to the bigger outlines.

As to videos, it depends. You can definitely get the same exact information from the outlines; I'd use them only if you deem listening to lectures to be superior to reading the material on paper.

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby texas1100 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:09 pm

agreed ^^ I found the lectures to be a big waste of time. But you obviously have to process the information from another source. So as long as you're doing that, it's fine to skip them. Practice is key. Study the material then flip through an essay to get an idea for how it's being tested

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby de5igual » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:17 pm

CyanIdes Of March wrote:Glad that my questions are somewhat relevant to someone else at least. I near had a panic attack the other day thinking I was definitely going to fail this test and the only thing that eased my nerves even a little was having done so well on the Wills diagnostic problems after reading the entire big outline section on it. Then again, I read that thing at a snail's pace and it would take me until September to finish the whole thing at that rate...


Here's the thing -- you'll always find random MBEs or essay question prompts that won't be addressed in Conviser or the lecture notes, but the point of the lecture notes and conviser is that they contain information sufficient for you to pass. Your goal isn't to get every point right, just to get to the magic threshold (maybe around ~60-65% correct). As you noted, you won't have enough time to thoroughly go through the big outlines and memorize every point, but if you can get the lecture notes down cold and get a solid grasp of most of Conviser, you're pretty much going to pass.

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby cookiemints » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:59 pm

I skipped the video lectures and passed TX on my 1st try. It's not necessary imo. Conviser is good to get you to a relatively high pass % without having to know the entire body of law. I used the full outline for my weakest subjects and those that were relatively short compared to the other subjects. It's painfully slow, and halfway through you wonder if you've just wasted the last 7 days, but you feel better when your % correct on the practice questions shoots up/essay questions are easier to answer.

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby Tiredbuthappyitsover » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:22 pm

Skip the lectures and focus on doing TONS of essays and practice MBE questions after gaining a basic foundation in each subject! Try Adaptibar for real MBE practice questions and Critical Pass flashcards to help consolidate and memorize the information-PM me your email if you need a discount code to sign up for either.

Personally, I made sure to complete at least 2,000 MBE questions, and I did some MBE questions every day. I always reviewed the questions I got wrong, and even the ones I got right to understand WHY an answer choice was correct and why the others were wrong. After all, sometimes I just guessed correctly and got the right answer, but I couldn't rely on this for the real bar exam.

Also, I took lots of full-length MBE exams and reviewed my mistakes. If I didn't know a rule of law or misunderstood it, I wrote it out in a notebook by subject (i.e. torts, contracts, etc.) and then reviewed those rules of law periodically.

And, I actually wrote out essays in full format while studying (and then I graded them). I didn't do this 100% of the time, but I did it at least 50% of the time. It was an uncomfortable process but it was ultimately VERY helpful to actually learning the information and memorizing it. Even when I didn't write out the essay in full format though, I outlined my answer at the very least and then graded that. I used the model answers from the Texas BLE site to grade the essays I wrote in practice.

Other stuff: I focused heavily on the MBE as well as memorizing information for the Texas Essays (80% of your grade), and I didn't worry too much about the MPT/P&E until a few days before the test. That being said, do at least one or two practice MPTs at the beginning of your prep to make sure you can complete your task in the time allotted! To study for the P&E portion, I exclusively did 10 recent practice exams and studied the difference between the Texas rules v. federal rules.

I truly wish each of you the very best!! GO KICK BUTT!

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:30 pm

Not TX, but wrt long outlines - I gave up on those, it was just way too much time. I used the lectures to create my own outlines and studied from those, supplmented with the CMR and the long outlines only where I was confused. After taking the exam it was pretty clear that the agency/partnership lecture did NOT really cover what was tested on the exam, but I think generally speaking, learning the material that is covered in the lectures (however it works for you to do that) is sufficient to pass. That's really what you're paying a prep company to do - focus your studying on the necessary materials only. The long outlines are just hugely overkill.

(Again, not TX, so take with a grain of salt probably.)

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Re: TX Barbri: Skip Video Lectures? Read the big outlines?

Postby Leprechaun » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:29 pm

I think it's interesting that for the most part, we all have different learning styles, some much different. If I hadn't watched the videos, I would have failed miserably.

This was my experience as I drafted this "guide" for some of my friends that have limited time to study (they work full time like I did)

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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