2018 February Illinois Bar

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RCinDNA
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2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:15 pm

As everyone may be aware, the Illinois bar results were released this past Friday so I figured I would start a thread for re-takers and anyone who is a first time applicant taking the February test administration.

Briefly about me, I did pretty well in law school, in large part thanks to the guides to 1L posted on this site, but this past July administration was pretty traumatic - nothing seemed to click and I went into the exam burnt out and exhausted. I think nothing started to come together until I started to ignore BarBri lectures and work real multiple choice questions! Disappointed, but I had a nagging feeling that I would need to re-take so I had been preparing myself for the possibility that I was one of those people whose passage would be 50%/50% so I am readying myself up for an all out effort.

Anyway, this can be a place to gather, vent, and share notes about the upcoming test administration. I've lurked here all throughout law school so I figure I would start the thread since TLS has been such a resource for me and this feels like the final stretch!

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:00 am

I ended up failing by 7 points - unfortunately, the scores in my stronger subjects on the MEE just could not get me over the hump and I was torpedoed by aggressive grading in two areas where it seemed the grader hated anything I typed.
Last edited by RCinDNA on Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:14 pm

You can pay $25 to see your essays and model answers as of today.

Get ready for the frustration of comparing your answer to a model answer that is substantially similar to your own wording yet not a recipient of full credit. :roll:

uhhuhjulia
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby uhhuhjulia » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:46 am

RCinDNA wrote:You can pay $25 to see your essays and model answers as of today.

Get ready for the frustration of comparing your answer to a model answer that is substantially similar to your own wording yet not a recipient of full credit. :roll:


is this offered to everyone or just those who need to retake?

adj
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby adj » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:03 pm

uhhuhjulia wrote:
RCinDNA wrote:You can pay $25 to see your essays and model answers as of today.

Get ready for the frustration of comparing your answer to a model answer that is substantially similar to your own wording yet not a recipient of full credit. :roll:


is this offered to everyone or just those who need to retake?


No, just those who need to retake. Essay answers are not available to those who pass. Only MBE thresholds are offered to those who pass for DC (133), Minnesota (145) and North Dakota (150). Each is offered for $25. I am considering doing it, but have not decided yet.

adj
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby adj » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:09 pm

RCinDNA wrote:You can pay $25 to see your essays and model answers as of today.

Get ready for the frustration of comparing your answer to a model answer that is substantially similar to your own wording yet not a recipient of full credit. :roll:


You are so right! I passed this July after a 3rd try. A couple of my essay answers each try were very similar to the model answers. Very frustrating, especially knowing you cannot challenge your score.

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:35 pm

adj wrote:
RCinDNA wrote:You can pay $25 to see your essays and model answers as of today.

Get ready for the frustration of comparing your answer to a model answer that is substantially similar to your own wording yet not a recipient of full credit. :roll:


You are so right! I passed this July after a 3rd try. A couple of my essay answers each try were very similar to the model answers. Very frustrating, especially knowing you cannot challenge your score.


I find that the most frustrating part is that there are few people you can vent to about this without sounding like sour grapes. I am also very leery of the anti-challenge policy.

Anyway, onwards to February!

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:01 pm

RCinDNA wrote:
adj wrote:
RCinDNA wrote:You can pay $25 to see your essays and model answers as of today.

Get ready for the frustration of comparing your answer to a model answer that is substantially similar to your own wording yet not a recipient of full credit. :roll:


You are so right! I passed this July after a 3rd try. A couple of my essay answers each try were very similar to the model answers. Very frustrating, especially knowing you cannot challenge your score.


I find that the most frustrating part is that there are few people you can vent to about this without sounding like sour grapes. I am also very leery of the anti-challenge policy.

Anyway, onwards to February!


I definitely agree with everything above. I failed the February 2017 IL exam by 5 scaled points with what I thought were preposterous essay scores. In Michigan for July 15 I scored 141 on the MBE and 142 on (admittedly somewhat different from Illinois) written portion. Fast forward to my first attempt in IL and I had a 139 on the MBE, but my essay score bombed out to a 121.6. I did not spend the time comparing my essays to the model answers, but when I read the model answers I did not come away impressed at all. Worst of all was my MPT which was a 6.75 and was about a full point lower than the average score - ridiculous to believe as I had been practicing for a year and a half and had spent nearly 8 years as a judicial clerk and chief clerk at a law firm where all I did was draft memos and do legal research/writing.

What really chapped my ass was being 1 point away from a regrade which I feel would have made a significant difference, I truly believe I had a rough grader. That being said, I learned I would have had to have scored at least a 131 to pass as the difference between your original score and re-grade are averaged out to give you the new score which is an asinine process. If you really did get screwed on an essay or two (or more) the re-grade would then have to give you scores over what you really are due to pass. This process, combined with a lack of formal appeal does students right at the cutoff no favors at all .

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:02 pm

I do not want to read tea leaves here but I do think that depending on where your number or test booklet falls in the grading pile, you may encounter more hard graders than not. If the individual graders have already seen 100+ essays, I think that the earlier essays with the bare minimum response might get full or average credit but fatigue can set in (or the graders may be aware of the overall number of 4-6s they've given out and just get stingy) and you just get less forgiving graders. Seeing "duty, breach, causation, damages" might get you closer to full credit whereas "a duty, a breach of that duty, causation, damages" might get you docked depending on who is evaluating your answer.

And I do think there is something inherently faulty about penalizing those with work experience and direct knowledge of competently serving a client because they are not recent students so the memory game ends up being combined with the challenge of bifurcating what you know is the case in the real world versus the exam world. But I also understand that waiving in and reciprocation were supposed to address this.

Perhaps there would be more changes in the bar administration if the graders were required to defend their grades and/or bar passage directly impacted whether any student loans came out of deferment. I failed by essentially missing 1 point on an MEE essay so I fall into that "stunned but so used to arbitrary grading that expected it" crowd.

Anyway, I believe you passed so congratulations! Definitely feel free to vent but I could definitely use some of your advice as to how you approached studying which lead to successful passage for you this time around versus prior test administrations.

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:34 pm

RCinDNA wrote:I do not want to read tea leaves here but I do think that depending on where your number or test booklet falls in the grading pile, you may encounter more hard graders than not. If the individual graders have already seen 100+ essays, I think that the earlier essays with the bare minimum response might get full or average credit but fatigue can set in (or the graders may be aware of the overall number of 4-6s they've given out and just get stingy) and you just get less forgiving graders. Seeing "duty, breach, causation, damages" might get you closer to full credit whereas "a duty, a breach of that duty, causation, damages" might get you docked depending on who is evaluating your answer.

And I do think there is something inherently faulty about penalizing those with work experience and direct knowledge of competently serving a client because they are not recent students so the memory game ends up being combined with the challenge of bifurcating what you know is the case in the real world versus the exam world. But I also understand that waiving in and reciprocation were supposed to address this.

Perhaps there would be more changes in the bar administration if the graders were required to defend their grades and/or bar passage directly impacted whether any student loans came out of deferment. I failed by essentially missing 1 point on an MEE essay so I fall into that "stunned but so used to arbitrary grading that expected it" crowd.

Anyway, I believe you passed so congratulations! Definitely feel free to vent but I could definitely use some of your advice as to how you approached studying which lead to successful passage for you this time around versus prior test administrations.


Yes I did pass IL in July 17, would love to know my scores but I also know that will never be the case.

I am unusual case so my study habits and style really shouldn't be copied by anyone. I was 30 when I sat for my first bar exam and by the time of my exam had over 7 years experience between being a judicial clerk and a clerk at a high-volume law firm. I was a solid if unspectacular student in my night classes, I happened to excel in a few core classes: Civ Pro, Evidence and Conflicts of Laws I won the book award, I came in second for contracts and was top 5 in a huge class for Crim Pro. I did ok in Torts and happened to work in a personal injury/medical malpractice firm which gave me more practical experience Though I didn't do so well in the classes I loved criminal law and Con Law. Property was a shit show (mix of a lack of interest an a self-admitted terrible Prof). This foundation I think helped me a ton when it came to the MBE and because there is a decent amount of MBE subjects crossing over to the essays.

My first two times around (MI July 15 and IL Feb 17) my studying consisted of listening to Barmax lectures while I drove to work, on walks and some at home. I then used a older Mini Convisor to review the other subjects while praying certain ones wouldn't appear. In Michigan I felt lucky, my topics were in my wheelhouse and I was able to crush a few while avoiding abjective failure on any of them (MI is 15 essays, 20 min each, scored on a 10 point scale) I had a few 10's and my lowest were two 5's (the goal is usually to avoid any 2's or 3's). I did less than 200 multiple choice questions. I was lazy and arrogant, but it worked out. I scored a 141 MBE and 142 Written.

I was cocky for IL. Used the barmax lectures again, likely did more than 200 questions, but did almost nothing but some cramming to prep for essays. I thought if I could just replicate my MBE score it would be a cakewalk to get the necessary written score, especially with the MPT which I thought would be easy points. I ended up with a 139 MBE and got destroyed on the essays with a 121.6.

Having been humbled, I purchased adaptibar and got through about 1,250 questions (I'd have to look at one of my old posts to confirm) and I reviewed all but 100 of the questions I did (right or wrong) and I took that made a huge difference. I knew the law far better by doing and reviewing so many questions. I also spent more, albeit not a lot, of time prepping for essays by reading outlines I purchased from SmartBar Prep and honing in on the topics predicted by the folks at JD Advising. My plan was still super focused on the MBE but I did take time for essays. I once again used the barmax lectures. I don't know my score sadly, but I did pass and definitely felt like I had the best grasp of the material this third time.

My advice for a retaker? Use adaptibar, get through the questions, review every one you do and allow the analytical tools to refine your studying as time goes by. Spend 80% or more of your time with the MBE subjects, it's the best way to maximize your time as you KNOW those 7 will be on the MBE and a few will crossover into the essays. If you can get your MBE to a 140+ (which is at the national average or barely above) you'd need, at most, a 126 on the written portion - which is not a high score at all.

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:25 pm

ndbigdave wrote:Yes I did pass IL in July 17, would love to know my scores but I also know that will never be the case.


I think that one explanation is that the state graders run the MBE through first and then know how many points an examinee needs to pass. I think they may stop grading once you hit the minimum. I have heard of a few other states, specifically Texas and Florida, releasing statements about the examinees with top scores but I have never found an article or web mention from Illinois on the same topic. So, in a way, they may not release the scores because they only have reliable files on anything below the minimum. There is not really any reason to avoid reporting the full score otherwise.

adj
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby adj » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:08 pm

RCinDNA wrote:
ndbigdave wrote:Yes I did pass IL in July 17, would love to know my scores but I also know that will never be the case.


I think that one explanation is that the state graders run the MBE through first and then know how many points an examinee needs to pass. I think they may stop grading once you hit the minimum. I have heard of a few other states, specifically Texas and Florida, releasing statements about the examinees with top scores but I have never found an article or web mention from Illinois on the same topic. So, in a way, they may not release the scores because they only have reliable files on anything below the minimum. There is not really any reason to avoid reporting the full score otherwise.


Your theory is likely correct, why else would the scores not be released? It would be reasonable to allow us to pay for the results, but even that is not an option.
I have to agree with Dave, AdaptiBar is a must. I failed both July 2016 and February 2017 exams. I used Barbri for my first two attempts. In retrospect, the lectures were a waste of time and the course did not spend enough time on how to tackle the MBE strategically. For the July 2017 exam, I did 1200 AdaptiBar questions and I kept pushing until I reached the 68-70% range. I also love the convenience of the mobile app. I was able to do questions anywhere without carrying bulky books around. I am also a non-traditional, part-time law school grad who works full-time, so the app came in very handy. I also used the Emmanuel MBE Flash Cards because they were easy to tote around as well. The cards helped with black letter law, buzzword memorization. The Emmanuel strategies and tactics book also helped with combating red herrings common on the exam. I also agree that a good grasp of the MBE subjects will get you through the majority of essays. If I think of anything else, I will post, but these are the biggies that made a difference for me.

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:10 am

Yes, supplementing with Adaptibar seems to be the credited response. A friend of mines took a local class that used each actual question as an opportunity to practice essays - that seems ingenious though could be overkill since there are more than enough practice questions out there. I also was a part-time student working full time so I had bills to pay and family responsibilities taking up part of my focus.

It is really too bad that examinees who come so close aren't allowed to get licensed but just take more state specific CLEs to give them more practical skills to ensure their "competence" (i.e. to bring in more revenue since a second time taker is paying $500 and I think they could generate more money from increasing CLE requirements for the first few years).

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:17 am

Well, it seems a perfect time to intensify studying now that the weather seems to have started its nosedive.

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rahulg91
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby rahulg91 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:55 am

If anyone wants Critical Pass MBE Flashcards, I got them. $80.

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KaleidoscopeDream
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby KaleidoscopeDream » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:26 pm

not retaking but just posting to say i'm around if anyone wants study tips, just to chat/vent, etc

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:04 pm

Tomorrow will be tough (swearing in day). Extremely tempted to close my office door for the entire day or call in sick.

Suprman37
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby Suprman37 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:30 pm

RCinDNA wrote:Tomorrow will be tough (swearing in day). Extremely tempted to close my office door for the entire day or call in sick.

Don't let it get you down. Richard Daley and Michelle Obama we're once in your shoes.

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ndbigdave
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby ndbigdave » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:45 pm

RCinDNA wrote:Yes, supplementing with Adaptibar seems to be the credited response. A friend of mines took a local class that used each actual question as an opportunity to practice essays - that seems ingenious though could be overkill since there are more than enough practice questions out there. I also was a part-time student working full time so I had bills to pay and family responsibilities taking up part of my focus.

It is really too bad that examinees who come so close aren't allowed to get licensed but just take more state specific CLEs to give them more practical skills to ensure their "competence" (i.e. to bring in more revenue since a second time taker is paying $500 and I think they could generate more money from increasing CLE requirements for the first few years).


I am not really sure if there is a "magic suace" involved with the Adaptibar system, frankly I think the whole algorithym talk is bunk, they only have their set of licensed questions to give to you and most people will complete 75% to 100% meaning you will see them all (or nearly all of them) the order of which is irrelevant. That being said, the tracking information is something you COULD do for yourself, but it would be a waste of time to do so. Why create an excel sheet (or some other similar system) to track your success rate per subject and sub topic when that time could be sent actually doing questions, reviewing outlines or doing something fun. Adaptibar's analytical tools are useful in finding relative strengths/weaknesses so that you can go back over the right subtopic outlines or listen to that portion of a lecture.

As a test subject (because I actually know the numbers) my girlfriend used Adaptibar on her third try on the bar having failed Michigan July 2016, Illinois Feburary 2017. Her MBE score went from a 122 to a 125 to a 135 after using Adaptibar. She had previously used BarBri the previous two times and had the advantage of not working at all the first time and then part-time the second time, so she definitely had done a resulthost of questions, listened/watched lectures and read outlines (even creating her own) but just really struggled with multiple choice questions. I wish I could explain what the weaknesses were exactly - part of it could be over analyzing, part of it was just not knowing the black letter law quite well enough to parse out the nuanced MBE topics (meanwhile she usually did well on essays where she good "BS" a bit and speak in more generalities or be "close enough" for the rule). What caused a 10 point jump for July 2017? I think it was a combination of doing REAL questions, and then I took the time to analyze her results and, when analyzing the official NCBE MBE Outline which specifically states which subtopics are tested more heavily than others, I could tell her what outlines to re-read and what lectures to listen to again. That, and repeatedly saying "do the questions and review the right answer whether you get it right or wrong!" Obviously SOMETHING clicked because the score jumped significantly enough to think it wasnt just dumb luck on a few questions.

This time around, as she is trying again for IL February 2018, she will do Adaptibar again, this time starting a bit earlier and creating a schedule that will allow her to get through all of the questions (she completed about 70-75% of it the first time). I found a tremendous deal on Critical Pass cards that she can use to drill certain rules or concepts of law (which Adaptibar's analytics will show clearly). She still has her BarBri books and some other tools I purchased (SmartBar Prep outlines for essays as an example).

I could likely go on for pages, but I think the key is to understand how you learn, recognize your weaknesses through the process and practice with REAL materials (real MBE questions, real former essay questions to review) I think you can spend 80% (or more) of your time focusing on the MBE topics and then look into the educated guesses for what the MEE topics will be (yes there is no promise as to the topic/subtopic but it is better than wasting time on subjects that never will appear).

I feel like I am addicted to these boards now after lurking for a while and learning a great deal from those who came before me, now that I have had success in Michigan and Illinois (and waiting into DC) I have spent the last nearly 3 years researching the bar exam, reading countless articles and digesting the advice I have found here at TLS, from tutors I have contacted and from numerous other takers. I want to give back and see others succeed while trying to lower the stress level as well.

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RCinDNA
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Re: 2018 February Illinois Bar

Postby RCinDNA » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:29 pm

I don't think of it as a magic sauce - I think it is just that having access to a bank of actual test questions and going through them. I know of other first time passers, some of whom are in jurisdictions with very difficult bar exams, who had the discipline to order tons of questions and work through them outside of Adaptibar. Adaptibar simply has all the questions organized for you so you can focus on particular categories.




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