Please help a repeat taker

yogitheforce
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:31 pm

Please help a repeat taker

Postby yogitheforce » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:40 pm

I have graduated law school 6 years ago and never really mustered the courage to take the bar.

I originally signed up for the Virginia bar, but did not feel ready, so I postponed it twice. I then took the New York bar, but failed by 10 points. I have not studied since and honestly don't know how much I remember.

I wanted to seek the advice of other students who perhaps have the same study habits as me. I have read enough forums to understand that you don't need to know EVERYTHING to pass, you only need to know enough to pass. The truth is that I have never been a good test taker. Under pressure, I crack like a whip and I cannot BS my way to couple points. I am the type of person who needs to go into the test confident, knowing that I've absorbed all the letters of the law. I realize that it's impossible to do, but that's how I mentally prepare. The moment I hit an essay question that I don't know, I freeze and then I start going into the "I failed" mode.

I have taken both Barbri and Themis. I've literally watched every lecture, outlined all the notes from the outlines, and studied. I get hung up on the differences between Barbri and Themis (which one is right?) and when I answer a question that I did not put on my outline, I freak out and start adding it to my outline. I therefore end up with 50 pages outlines that are as long as the books themselves. I end up with too much information that it's impossible for me to memorize.

I used to run out of time outlining, and when I do questions and get them wrong, it's demoralizing. I have no motivation to go forward so I postpone.

I'm not looking for a pity party, just really looking for constructive feedback as to how I can get myself out of this vicious cycle. I don't know if there's anyone out there like me, but I'd love to hear how you were able to get over the sheer amount of information, know which one to retain, and how to eventually pass.

Neve
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:45 pm

Re: Please help a repeat taker

Postby Neve » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:31 pm

Barbri or Thermis are both decent bar reviews. The majority take Barbri, Themis, or Kaplan. Their programs are cookie cutter so you need to customize it to your study habits.

The problem is investing time in the details and wasting time on creating a 50 page outline. Barbri and any other bar review course give you outlines to memorize. Rather than typing it out and/or creating your own, try annotating the ones the bar prep course gave you in the book.

Also the weaknesses that you listed indicate that you need to be more mentally prepared for the exam. A lot of it is about mindset - if you see a question that you immediately don't know the answer to think through it; what's the issue? Do you know any knowledge of the law regarding said issue? Apply the law you remember to the facts.

Also, here is a list of study supplements that is popular with bar students:

1) Emanuel's Strategies and Tactics for the MBE - available on Amazon. Fairly cheap book. Has good tips on approaching the MBE and contains lots of practice questions. Wish I used this book more during my bar prep.

2) Adaptibar (http://www.adaptibar.com) - I didn't use this, but wish I had since it has received raving reviews. The only con to Adaptibar is the price.

3) Barmax MBE Questions (https://getbarmax.com/barmax-mbe-questions/ - supposedly "comparable" to Adaptibar). At only $249, it's a good price, but Adaptibar has tracking tools to individualize your MBE study and show your progress in a method that Barmax can't. But Barmax seems to be more economical than Adaptibar. You also need an iOS device to use it. (I have not personally used this product.)

4) Critical Pass (http://criticalpass.refr.cc/8GVXRT9 - referral link contains a discount code for $$$ off) - Great flashcards for the MBE! You can't apply the law to an MBE question, if you don't know the law. I used Critical Pass for my bar study along with the CMR from Barbri and their simulated questions (although the Barbri questions are very different than actual MBE questions). I also used Emanuel's S&T during my study period, but not as much as I should have since it's a great resource.

LockBox
Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:05 pm

Re: Please help a repeat taker

Postby LockBox » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:38 pm

yogitheforce wrote:I have graduated law school 6 years ago and never really mustered the courage to take the bar.

I originally signed up for the Virginia bar, but did not feel ready, so I postponed it twice. I then took the New York bar, but failed by 10 points. I have not studied since and honestly don't know how much I remember.

I wanted to seek the advice of other students who perhaps have the same study habits as me. I have read enough forums to understand that you don't need to know EVERYTHING to pass, you only need to know enough to pass. The truth is that I have never been a good test taker. Under pressure, I crack like a whip and I cannot BS my way to couple points. I am the type of person who needs to go into the test confident, knowing that I've absorbed all the letters of the law. I realize that it's impossible to do, but that's how I mentally prepare. The moment I hit an essay question that I don't know, I freeze and then I start going into the "I failed" mode.

I have taken both Barbri and Themis. I've literally watched every lecture, outlined all the notes from the outlines, and studied. I get hung up on the differences between Barbri and Themis (which one is right?) and when I answer a question that I did not put on my outline, I freak out and start adding it to my outline. I therefore end up with 50 pages outlines that are as long as the books themselves. I end up with too much information that it's impossible for me to memorize.

I used to run out of time outlining, and when I do questions and get them wrong, it's demoralizing. I have no motivation to go forward so I postpone.

I'm not looking for a pity party, just really looking for constructive feedback as to how I can get myself out of this vicious cycle. I don't know if there's anyone out there like me, but I'd love to hear how you were able to get over the sheer amount of information, know which one to retain, and how to eventually pass.


I was a repeat taker and think I can offer some constructive feedback. Basically, my opinion is that while you are working a lot, you are doing what is easy and not what is hard. You should be failing DURING prep - not during the bar. Meaning, you should be testing yourself constantly, not outlining. In fact, i'd recommend you put your outlines aside and start a program of testing yourself everyday. 2 x 50: no less than 2 essays per day and no less than 50 mbe's per day and whatever amount of PT's you need to do.

Test yourself. Get a bar grader to give you grades and feedback. Stop watching mindless videos and writing in outlines. You need a problem-solving based approach. The test, and i'd argue the practice of law, is not about "knowing" the law, but about applying it to certain facts/issues. You can't get better at that without doing it over and over (though some can). Get to to work if you want to pass this thing.

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a male human
Posts: 1874
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: Please help a repeat taker

Postby a male human » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:55 pm

yogitheforce wrote:I have graduated law school 6 years ago and never really mustered the courage to take the bar.

I originally signed up for the Virginia bar, but did not feel ready, so I postponed it twice. I then took the New York bar, but failed by 10 points. I have not studied since and honestly don't know how much I remember.

I wanted to seek the advice of other students who perhaps have the same study habits as me. I have read enough forums to understand that you don't need to know EVERYTHING to pass, you only need to know enough to pass. The truth is that I have never been a good test taker. Under pressure, I crack like a whip and I cannot BS my way to couple points. I am the type of person who needs to go into the test confident, knowing that I've absorbed all the letters of the law. I realize that it's impossible to do, but that's how I mentally prepare. The moment I hit an essay question that I don't know, I freeze and then I start going into the "I failed" mode.

I have taken both Barbri and Themis. I've literally watched every lecture, outlined all the notes from the outlines, and studied. I get hung up on the differences between Barbri and Themis (which one is right?) and when I answer a question that I did not put on my outline, I freak out and start adding it to my outline. I therefore end up with 50 pages outlines that are as long as the books themselves. I end up with too much information that it's impossible for me to memorize.

I used to run out of time outlining, and when I do questions and get them wrong, it's demoralizing. I have no motivation to go forward so I postpone.

I'm not looking for a pity party, just really looking for constructive feedback as to how I can get myself out of this vicious cycle. I don't know if there's anyone out there like me, but I'd love to hear how you were able to get over the sheer amount of information, know which one to retain, and how to eventually pass.


You gave yourself a lot of time to absorb the background material. Now it's time to put that knowledge to use.

You forget 99% of the stuff you listen to or read anyway. The best way to improve is to DO what matters... keep USING the thing you want to remember later... and CHECK that you used it right.

For you, I'd suggest:

1. Stop "studying" and start learning (favor practice over lectures; lectures are even more worthless at this point)
2. Have the courage to enjoy mistakes now and learn (like LockBox says)
3. Don't be afraid to redo problems until you actually "get" it.

Have you ever felt "if I study a subject really well and circle back around to it after studying the others, I've forgotten half of the first subject"? It seems like you rely on your outlines excessively. Rather, gain a bar intuition by actually putting that knowledge to use. Knowing the rules conceptually is different from knowing how to use them.

Basically, your ego is going to become a punching bag. But it feels better to become competent and put this exam behind you forever. If you're the "type" who needs to be confident, I'm sorry to say this is a difficult exam and you likely won't find such comfort. Embrace the discomfort. What you gain from discomfort is remembered long after discomfort has faded.

Get better by practicing + being honest with your own performance. That will wean you away from outlines and give you confidence and motivation as you see yourself doing well. If you've never been a good test taker, learn how to be one. The bar is a learnable skill.

Or if you're the type to "freak out" over missing information, going into another occupation is an option. No shame in that. Don't force yourself to become a lawyer no matter how lost in life you are (now that's a recipe for depression!).

Or if you really want this, you could stop thinking of yourself categorically as a "type" and learn the skills needed. I know you can, because you took this step to create this topic and ask for help. This means you know deep down that you can learn it.

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SilvermanBarPrep
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:19 pm

Re: Please help a repeat taker

Postby SilvermanBarPrep » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:18 pm

Focus heavily on practice and less heavily on pouring over outlines. I don't mean this at all to say that studying the outlines have no place in bar prep; they certainly do. But it's also true that the outlines aren't always utilized correctly; you should be working through MBE questions and when you answer a question incorrectly go back to the part of your outline that explains the concept that had you known you'd have answered the question correctly. In other words, use the outlines as reference tools. The essays are similar in that you should be spending time working through released essay questions and using the outlines to fill In gaps in knowledge that you would have missed had any given essay been on your exam.

You've got to practice the skills that are going to allow you to score points on the exam. If you were learning to play chess it wouldn't be enough to read the rulebook; you'd have to play the game, and play it a lot, to get good at it. The same holds true for the bar exam; the rules have their place in the process for sure, but there is far more to this than memorizing law.

Sean (Silverman Bar Exam Tutoring)

L_William_W
Posts: 173
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:20 am

Re: Please help a repeat taker

Postby L_William_W » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:38 pm

yogitheforce wrote:I have graduated law school 6 years ago and never really mustered the courage to take the bar.

I originally signed up for the Virginia bar, but did not feel ready, so I postponed it twice. I then took the New York bar, but failed by 10 points. I have not studied since and honestly don't know how much I remember.

I wanted to seek the advice of other students who perhaps have the same study habits as me. I have read enough forums to understand that you don't need to know EVERYTHING to pass, you only need to know enough to pass. The truth is that I have never been a good test taker. Under pressure, I crack like a whip and I cannot BS my way to couple points. I am the type of person who needs to go into the test confident, knowing that I've absorbed all the letters of the law. I realize that it's impossible to do, but that's how I mentally prepare. The moment I hit an essay question that I don't know, I freeze and then I start going into the "I failed" mode.

I have taken both Barbri and Themis. I've literally watched every lecture, outlined all the notes from the outlines, and studied. I get hung up on the differences between Barbri and Themis (which one is right?) and when I answer a question that I did not put on my outline, I freak out and start adding it to my outline. I therefore end up with 50 pages outlines that are as long as the books themselves. I end up with too much information that it's impossible for me to memorize.

I used to run out of time outlining, and when I do questions and get them wrong, it's demoralizing. I have no motivation to go forward so I postpone.

I'm not looking for a pity party, just really looking for constructive feedback as to how I can get myself out of this vicious cycle. I don't know if there's anyone out there like me, but I'd love to hear how you were able to get over the sheer amount of information, know which one to retain, and how to eventually pass.


I passed NY on my 3rd attempt. I went from a 118.6 to a 149.3 on the MBE.

These books will give you tips on how to attack MBE questions (unfortunately they don't have one for civ pro):

https://www.amazon.com/MBE-Bootcamp-Torts-Mbe/dp/0735597375/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512329467&sr=1-1&keywords=emanuel+mbe+bootcamp

https://www.amazon.com/MBE-Bootcamp-Evidence-Mbe/dp/0735597405/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512329467&sr=1-3&keywords=emanuel+mbe+bootcamp

https://www.amazon.com/MBE-Bootcamp-Property-Mbe/dp/0735597391/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512329467&sr=1-4&keywords=emanuel+mbe+bootcamp

https://www.amazon.com/MBE-Bootcamp-Contracts-Mbe/dp/0735597367/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512329467&sr=1-7&keywords=emanuel+mbe+bootcamp

https://www.amazon.com/MBE-Bootcamp-Constitutional-Law-Mbe/dp/0735597383/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512329467&sr=1-9&keywords=emanuel+mbe+bootcamp

https://www.amazon.com/MBE-Bootcamp-Criminal-Law-Procedure/dp/0735597340/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512329467&sr=1-10&keywords=emanuel+mbe+bootcamp

Also, use these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00NOFDDLG/ref=tmm_other_meta_binding_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&qid=1512329747&sr=1-4

https://www.amazon.com/Strategies-Tactics-Multistate-Emmanuel-Emanuel/dp/1454873140/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512329843&sr=1-1&keywords=strategies+and+tactics+finz

Forget Adaptibar- it's crap (I speak from experience). I can't give advice on the MPT since I screwed up on that section. Everything Sean Silverman says is correct.




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