CA bar tutor? please help..

rationaljd
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CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby rationaljd » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:10 am

I'm a repeater... Has anyone used Patrin Lin or Steven harris as a tutor? Recommend?

Thanks...

ChaseInk
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby ChaseInk » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:27 am

I used Steve a few years ago and would not recommend him. His study materials are decent (at least his yellow book with slimmed down rules), his method for answer essay questions is good, and the study calendar he provides you with is solid, but it's not worth the money he charges. His essay feedback is generic (he clearly just copy and pastes his responses to your answers from a stock answer he has without much individual feedback), the tutoring sessions (if you do it on the phone) are unfocused (on every session I had with him I could hear him typing in the background and not listening to me when I asked questions), and he rambles way too much.

rationaljd
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby rationaljd » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:11 pm

Thanks! That helps.

(I meant Patrick* btw. He does barexam101...)

rayforoc
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby rayforoc » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:57 pm

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Last edited by rayforoc on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rationaljd
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby rationaljd » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:11 pm

Thanks so much! Yeah I know about the other guy in SF but can't afford $$$$... Did your overall essay scores go up after using Patrick though?

rayforoc
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby rayforoc » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:34 pm

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Last edited by rayforoc on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FinallyPassedTheBar
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:40 pm

My honest opinion on the essays...it's mostly a crap shoot. All my essays grades have hovered around the 55/60 range no matter what I did. If it wasn't for the MBE weight increasing to 50%, I don't think I would have passed.

I'm not saying that you should forget about trying to increase your essays scores. It's possible that my personal writing style under time pressure simply sucks.
But in my opinion, you 'll get more "bang for the buck" with the MBE.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:13 pm

rayforoc wrote:
rationaljd wrote:Thanks so much! Yeah I know about the other guy in SF but can't afford $$$$... Did your overall essay scores go up after using Patrick though?


These are my scores from the first two:

Feb 2017 July 2017
Essay 1 = 70 (Wills) Essay 1 = 70 (CP)
Essay 2 = 50 (Remedies/Torts) Essay 2 = 55 (PR/Evid)
Essay 3 = 60 (Evid) Essay 3 = 50 (Remedies)
Essay 4 = 60 (BA) Essay 4 = 70 (Civ Pro)
Essay 5 = 55 (PR) Essay 5 = 60 (Torts)
Essay 6 = 55 (Crim law & Pro)
PT A = 55 PT = 55
PT B = 50

So a little, but that could be because of my inefficient knowledge of the BLL. Is his written feedback on essay good? Yes. Helpful? Yes.


It looks like you did fine-ish on the essays. You could use some work, but what really killed you was the PT portion.

The biggest issue with the PT portion is making sure you use everything they give you at least once. Every piece of evidence. Every case. Even if the evidence is redundant or the case is only minor. If you don't use something, it's points off.

I got that piece of advice from a former bar grader and it is pure gold.

PorscheFanatic
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby PorscheFanatic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:31 pm

What are people's thoughts on the other guy up in SF? Who is that and why does no one use his name?

rayforoc
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby rayforoc » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:12 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
rayforoc wrote:
rationaljd wrote:Thanks so much! Yeah I know about the other guy in SF but can't afford $$$$... Did your overall essay scores go up after using Patrick though?


These are my scores from the first two:

Feb 2017 July 2017
Essay 1 = 70 (Wills) Essay 1 = 70 (CP)
Essay 2 = 50 (Remedies/Torts) Essay 2 = 55 (PR/Evid)
Essay 3 = 60 (Evid) Essay 3 = 50 (Remedies)
Essay 4 = 60 (BA) Essay 4 = 70 (Civ Pro)
Essay 5 = 55 (PR) Essay 5 = 60 (Torts)
Essay 6 = 55 (Crim law & Pro)
PT A = 55 PT = 55
PT B = 50

So a little, but that could be because of my inefficient knowledge of the BLL. Is his written feedback on essay good? Yes. Helpful? Yes.


It looks like you did fine-ish on the essays. You could use some work, but what really killed you was the PT portion.

The biggest issue with the PT portion is making sure you use everything they give you at least once. Every piece of evidence. Every case. Even if the evidence is redundant or the case is only minor. If you don't use something, it's points off.

I got that piece of advice from a former bar grader and it is pure gold.


Thanks, SmokeytheBear! I did not do this, so going forward I will (as well as be cognizant of time management so that I don't screw it up again).

rayforoc
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby rayforoc » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:15 pm

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Last edited by rayforoc on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:49 pm

rayforoc wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:
rayforoc wrote:
rationaljd wrote:Thanks so much! Yeah I know about the other guy in SF but can't afford $$$$... Did your overall essay scores go up after using Patrick though?


These are my scores from the first two:

Feb 2017 July 2017
Essay 1 = 70 (Wills) Essay 1 = 70 (CP)
Essay 2 = 50 (Remedies/Torts) Essay 2 = 55 (PR/Evid)
Essay 3 = 60 (Evid) Essay 3 = 50 (Remedies)
Essay 4 = 60 (BA) Essay 4 = 70 (Civ Pro)
Essay 5 = 55 (PR) Essay 5 = 60 (Torts)
Essay 6 = 55 (Crim law & Pro)
PT A = 55 PT = 55
PT B = 50

So a little, but that could be because of my inefficient knowledge of the BLL. Is his written feedback on essay good? Yes. Helpful? Yes.


It looks like you did fine-ish on the essays. You could use some work, but what really killed you was the PT portion.

The biggest issue with the PT portion is making sure you use everything they give you at least once. Every piece of evidence. Every case. Even if the evidence is redundant or the case is only minor. If you don't use something, it's points off.

I got that piece of advice from a former bar grader and it is pure gold.


Thanks, SmokeytheBear! I did not do this, so going forward I will (as well as be cognizant of time management so that I don't screw it up again).


Yes. You should plan for ten minutes before time being up to stop writing wherever you are in your opus and quickly scribble out the framework of the rest of the answer, using every piece of evidence and law.

LockBox
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby LockBox » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:05 pm

The real issue I see with people here is that you largely relied on the tutor to hold your hand to get you across the finish line of passing the CBX. I only say that because I was in the same boat years ago.

What I did, however, was to take an honest look at myself, my strengths and my weaknesses and put together a program for myself that would put me in a position to pass. That's when I passed.

I did utilize a tutor, though I won't mention the name. But I'll say that all I did was use them for what I needed - for me that was essay grading/feedback. You don't need study materials, lectures, outlines etc. All you really need are all of the past released bar essay questions/answers, a tutor to give feedback and to write, write, write.

If paying money to someone to listen to them lecture you makes you feel better - it should, it's easy. But you won't pass.

To the poster who said the essays are a "crapshoot" - you couldn't be more wrong. That's why there are more than a single essay on the test. To give you the opportunity to write in a lawerly way across a number of subjects. It's not luck (largely). The more you think this way, the higher the likelihood that you'll be retaking in july. Get to work.

Snowflake1
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby Snowflake1 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:10 pm

LockBox wrote:The real issue I see with people here is that you largely relied on the tutor to hold your hand to get you across the finish line of passing the CBX. I only say that because I was in the same boat years ago.

What I did, however, was to take an honest look at myself, my strengths and my weaknesses and put together a program for myself that would put me in a position to pass. That's when I passed.

I did utilize a tutor, though I won't mention the name. But I'll say that all I did was use them for what I needed - for me that was essay grading/feedback. You don't need study materials, lectures, outlines etc. All you really need are all of the past released bar essay questions/answers, a tutor to give feedback and to write, write, write.

If paying money to someone to listen to them lecture you makes you feel better - it should, it's easy. But you won't pass.

To the poster who said the essays are a "crapshoot" - you couldn't be more wrong. That's why there are more than a single essay on the test. To give you the opportunity to write in a lawerly way across a number of subjects. It's not luck (largely). The more you think this way, the higher the likelihood that you'll be retaking in july. Get to work.


I agree with this. It's not a crapshoot. I had a good understanding of the law and did well on the mbe's, but neglected the essays and failed. Look at the essays that scored 75 vs the ones that scored 55, such as on BarEssays, you can see the differences.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby SmokeytheBear » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:19 pm

LockBox wrote:The real issue I see with people here is that you largely relied on the tutor to hold your hand to get you across the finish line of passing the CBX. I only say that because I was in the same boat years ago.

What I did, however, was to take an honest look at myself, my strengths and my weaknesses and put together a program for myself that would put me in a position to pass. That's when I passed.

I did utilize a tutor, though I won't mention the name. But I'll say that all I did was use them for what I needed - for me that was essay grading/feedback. You don't need study materials, lectures, outlines etc. All you really need are all of the past released bar essay questions/answers, a tutor to give feedback and to write, write, write.

If paying money to someone to listen to them lecture you makes you feel better - it should, it's easy. But you won't pass.

To the poster who said the essays are a "crapshoot" - you couldn't be more wrong. That's why there are more than a single essay on the test. To give you the opportunity to write in a lawerly way across a number of subjects. It's not luck (largely). The more you think this way, the higher the likelihood that you'll be retaking in july. Get to work.


Anyone looking to retake and pass, just ignore the above.

Your post was not helpful for those looking for assistance on passing after failing. "Just work harder" is not a strategy if the work you're doing isn't being done correctly. More so, the above emphasized text isn't true at all. Everyone has different learning capacities and absorb materially differently.

If you're not doing well at essays and you can't figure out why, just looking at old essays and writing essays a ton of times without knowing what you did wrong the first time or what others did right won't help.

What a good tutor should do is help you understand that the bar exam is just a game and they should give you the strategy, tailored to your weaknesses, to help you win the game. If your weakness is the MBE, the tutor will help you figure out the patterns in MBE questions for different subjects and give you the tools to spot the right answers. If your weakness is rule statements or application of facts in essays, they should give you a strategy on how to answer questions correctly, with simple rule statements and making sure the facts are applied.

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SilvermanBarPrep
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby SilvermanBarPrep » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:24 pm

Many students I work with contact the Bar Exam Toolbox for California tutors. I don't tutor California (since I never took that exam) so I'm often asked for rec's when working with students on the MBE.

Sean (Silverman Bar Exam Tutoring)

LockBox
Posts: 399
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby LockBox » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:12 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
LockBox wrote:The real issue I see with people here is that you largely relied on the tutor to hold your hand to get you across the finish line of passing the CBX. I only say that because I was in the same boat years ago.

What I did, however, was to take an honest look at myself, my strengths and my weaknesses and put together a program for myself that would put me in a position to pass. That's when I passed.

I did utilize a tutor, though I won't mention the name. But I'll say that all I did was use them for what I needed - for me that was essay grading/feedback. You don't need study materials, lectures, outlines etc. All you really need are all of the past released bar essay questions/answers, a tutor to give feedback and to write, write, write.

If paying money to someone to listen to them lecture you makes you feel better - it should, it's easy. But you won't pass.

To the poster who said the essays are a "crapshoot" - you couldn't be more wrong. That's why there are more than a single essay on the test. To give you the opportunity to write in a lawerly way across a number of subjects. It's not luck (largely). The more you think this way, the higher the likelihood that you'll be retaking in july. Get to work.


Anyone looking to retake and pass, just ignore the above.

Your post was not helpful for those looking for assistance on passing after failing. "Just work harder" is not a strategy if the work you're doing isn't being done correctly. More so, the above emphasized text isn't true at all. Everyone has different learning capacities and absorb materially differently.

If you're not doing well at essays and you can't figure out why, just looking at old essays and writing essays a ton of times without knowing what you did wrong the first time or what others did right won't help.

What a good tutor should do is help you understand that the bar exam is just a game and they should give you the strategy, tailored to your weaknesses, to help you win the game. If your weakness is the MBE, the tutor will help you figure out the patterns in MBE questions for different subjects and give you the tools to spot the right answers. If your weakness is rule statements or application of facts in essays, they should give you a strategy on how to answer questions correctly, with simple rule statements and making sure the facts are applied.


So I won't necessarily disagree with you. However, imho, I have seen a lot of people throwing money at passing the bar (buying supplements after supplements, tutors etc.), spending too much time reviewing, outlining etc. and not enough time writing. So again, while just working away won't necessarily help, I still argue that a majority of the focus for retakers (assuming they've already done the lectures/outlines routine) should be on practice. In fact, that's why I suggested that a tutor be utilized, but only for the limited scope of providing feedback on practice essays (e.g., grading them, citing errors, tips and suggestions).

I recall reading a post by someone who stated that their law school had a specific program for retakers - 10 weeks, 5 days a week of writing 2 full essays per day and doing 50 MBE's. The dean was the one in charge of reviewing/giving feedback, if I recall correctly. In any event, it stuck with me and there are numerous posters here that will emphasize practice over "learning skills" on the essays/MBE's.

So, again, i'm not saying you're wrong or that I disagree. But in order to pass, you have to do what's uncomfortable which is largely writing (and failing) over and over and learning from that.

rationaljd
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:01 am

Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby rationaljd » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:41 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
LockBox wrote:The real issue I see with people here is that you largely relied on the tutor to hold your hand to get you across the finish line of passing the CBX. I only say that because I was in the same boat years ago.

What I did, however, was to take an honest look at myself, my strengths and my weaknesses and put together a program for myself that would put me in a position to pass. That's when I passed.

I did utilize a tutor, though I won't mention the name. But I'll say that all I did was use them for what I needed - for me that was essay grading/feedback. You don't need study materials, lectures, outlines etc. All you really need are all of the past released bar essay questions/answers, a tutor to give feedback and to write, write, write.

If paying money to someone to listen to them lecture you makes you feel better - it should, it's easy. But you won't pass.

To the poster who said the essays are a "crapshoot" - you couldn't be more wrong. That's why there are more than a single essay on the test. To give you the opportunity to write in a lawerly way across a number of subjects. It's not luck (largely). The more you think this way, the higher the likelihood that you'll be retaking in july. Get to work.


Anyone looking to retake and pass, just ignore the above.

Your post was not helpful for those looking for assistance on passing after failing. "Just work harder" is not a strategy if the work you're doing isn't being done correctly. More so, the above emphasized text isn't true at all. Everyone has different learning capacities and absorb materially differently.

If you're not doing well at essays and you can't figure out why, just looking at old essays and writing essays a ton of times without knowing what you did wrong the first time or what others did right won't help.

What a good tutor should do is help you understand that the bar exam is just a game and they should give you the strategy, tailored to your weaknesses, to help you win the game. If your weakness is the MBE, the tutor will help you figure out the patterns in MBE questions for different subjects and give you the tools to spot the right answers. If your weakness is rule statements or application of facts in essays, they should give you a strategy on how to answer questions correctly, with simple rule statements and making sure the facts are applied.


That's exactly why I was looking for a tutor: feedback. Not looking for someone to hold my hands or spoonfeed me. Blindly practicing essays without the right approach would be stupid. Thanks, SmokeytheBear!

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

Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby LockBox » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:19 pm

rationaljd wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:
LockBox wrote:The real issue I see with people here is that you largely relied on the tutor to hold your hand to get you across the finish line of passing the CBX. I only say that because I was in the same boat years ago.

What I did, however, was to take an honest look at myself, my strengths and my weaknesses and put together a program for myself that would put me in a position to pass. That's when I passed.

I did utilize a tutor, though I won't mention the name. But I'll say that all I did was use them for what I needed - for me that was essay grading/feedback. You don't need study materials, lectures, outlines etc. All you really need are all of the past released bar essay questions/answers, a tutor to give feedback and to write, write, write.

If paying money to someone to listen to them lecture you makes you feel better - it should, it's easy. But you won't pass.

To the poster who said the essays are a "crapshoot" - you couldn't be more wrong. That's why there are more than a single essay on the test. To give you the opportunity to write in a lawerly way across a number of subjects. It's not luck (largely). The more you think this way, the higher the likelihood that you'll be retaking in july. Get to work.


Anyone looking to retake and pass, just ignore the above.

Your post was not helpful for those looking for assistance on passing after failing. "Just work harder" is not a strategy if the work you're doing isn't being done correctly. More so, the above emphasized text isn't true at all. Everyone has different learning capacities and absorb materially differently.

If you're not doing well at essays and you can't figure out why, just looking at old essays and writing essays a ton of times without knowing what you did wrong the first time or what others did right won't help.

What a good tutor should do is help you understand that the bar exam is just a game and they should give you the strategy, tailored to your weaknesses, to help you win the game. If your weakness is the MBE, the tutor will help you figure out the patterns in MBE questions for different subjects and give you the tools to spot the right answers. If your weakness is rule statements or application of facts in essays, they should give you a strategy on how to answer questions correctly, with simple rule statements and making sure the facts are applied.


That's exactly why I was looking for a tutor: feedback. Not looking for someone to hold my hands or spoonfeed me. Blindly practicing essays without the right approach would be stupid. Thanks, SmokeytheBear!


Actually, nevermind - I will disagree with what Smokey said above.

True, blindly writing over and over won't necessarily help you pass the bar. But to think that the bar is some "game" that you just need to unlock the secrets of is foolish. Yes, you do earn points for doing things correctly, but this doesn't mean that a tutor who teaches you these supposed things is any better than a tutor merely giving feedback on your essays.

I had this same argument with my own tutor. Look, some people can pass this thing, no problem. However, for repeaters, I think the key is to learn from your mistakes by doing it over and over and learning from your mistakes. It doesn't mean write an essay, get a 55 on it, then just move on. Same with the MBE. Doing 2,000 questions doesn't mean you know anything.

But, especially for the repeaters club, you need to have a large sample size under your belt. You need to write out 100+ essays and receive feedback on them before you can be in a position to do well on game day. Having a tutor "teach" you the secrets of the bar is just wasting your time, money and resources. I didn't believe it when my tutor suggested it and I don't believe it here. My message is the same - get to work. That includes writing a lot, and taking a lot of timed tests, but it also requires looking critically at where you are at, what you need to do to learn the material and adjusting accordingly.

dredd16
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby dredd16 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:13 am

LockBox wrote:Actually, nevermind - I will disagree with what Smokey said above.

True, blindly writing over and over won't necessarily help you pass the bar. But to think that the bar is some "game" that you just need to unlock the secrets of is foolish. Yes, you do earn points for doing things correctly, but this doesn't mean that a tutor who teaches you these supposed things is any better than a tutor merely giving feedback on your essays.

I had this same argument with my own tutor. Look, some people can pass this thing, no problem. However, for repeaters, I think the key is to learn from your mistakes by doing it over and over and learning from your mistakes. It doesn't mean write an essay, get a 55 on it, then just move on. Same with the MBE. Doing 2,000 questions doesn't mean you know anything.

But, especially for the repeaters club, you need to have a large sample size under your belt. You need to write out 100+ essays and receive feedback on them before you can be in a position to do well on game day. Having a tutor "teach" you the secrets of the bar is just wasting your time, money and resources. I didn't believe it when my tutor suggested it and I don't believe it here. My message is the same - get to work. That includes writing a lot, and taking a lot of timed tests, but it also requires looking critically at where you are at, what you need to do to learn the material and adjusting accordingly.


100%. When you look at your essays, you have to ask yourself two questions:

1. did I miss any issues? were they big issues or subissues?
2. How was my analysis? Did I explain in full detail to someone without a legal education how the facts connect to the rule?

You have to be real critical of yourself when grading/evaluating your own essays because you're trying to write a perfect essay. Because come test day, you won't be writing the perfect essay but you will have addressed all your mistakes and write an essay that will be 70+ by that time.

LockBox
Posts: 399
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby LockBox » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:43 pm

dredd16 wrote:
LockBox wrote:Actually, nevermind - I will disagree with what Smokey said above.

True, blindly writing over and over won't necessarily help you pass the bar. But to think that the bar is some "game" that you just need to unlock the secrets of is foolish. Yes, you do earn points for doing things correctly, but this doesn't mean that a tutor who teaches you these supposed things is any better than a tutor merely giving feedback on your essays.

I had this same argument with my own tutor. Look, some people can pass this thing, no problem. However, for repeaters, I think the key is to learn from your mistakes by doing it over and over and learning from your mistakes. It doesn't mean write an essay, get a 55 on it, then just move on. Same with the MBE. Doing 2,000 questions doesn't mean you know anything.

But, especially for the repeaters club, you need to have a large sample size under your belt. You need to write out 100+ essays and receive feedback on them before you can be in a position to do well on game day. Having a tutor "teach" you the secrets of the bar is just wasting your time, money and resources. I didn't believe it when my tutor suggested it and I don't believe it here. My message is the same - get to work. That includes writing a lot, and taking a lot of timed tests, but it also requires looking critically at where you are at, what you need to do to learn the material and adjusting accordingly.


100%. When you look at your essays, you have to ask yourself two questions:

1. did I miss any issues? were they big issues or subissues?
2. How was my analysis? Did I explain in full detail to someone without a legal education how the facts connect to the rule?

You have to be real critical of yourself when grading/evaluating your own essays because you're trying to write a perfect essay. Because come test day, you won't be writing the perfect essay but you will have addressed all your mistakes and write an essay that will be 70+ by that time.


Not to go in circles here, but I agree with you as well, 100%.

For me, it was difficult being "critical" of my own work. I would look at an essay I wrote and think "eh, that was close enough." Or "that issue was kinda addressed." This is why I failed the first time. The reason I passed was because I contracted a tutor to (1) grade 20-30 of my essays, (2) give me feedback as to why I scored the way I did (e.g., how could this 55 have become a 65), and (3) didn't pay for or use any other service of theirs.

I know there are people who need to be taught the law - I was fuzzy on some issues and clarified with Q&A with my tutor. But the focus wasn't on "learning" some secrets of the bar and certainly not "learning the law." The emphasis was on understanding how/when negligence applies to a fact pattern by writing out a number of torts essays and getting feedback. For me, going through this process is what cemented how the bar works. If you're repeating in February, I would argue you would benefit from the same process.

Also, remember tutors are primarily in business to sell you a product. True, if they were smart, they would do what was needed to help you pass so that their reputation would speak for itself. However, in the middle there, they will sell you a lecture or strategy session as well.

james11
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby james11 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:38 pm

I am a former repeater who passed a couple years ago. I'm posting below a copy of my previous post, detailing what I did to pass the second time. It was a difficult time in my life but looking back I think I'm a better person for getting through it. I'm sure many of you will feel the same way. My previous post:

I passed. It was my second time. The nightmare is over for me. I've avoided my friends/family for months. I had thoughts of quitting or moving out of state after the first time, but I gritted my teeth and gave it another go. For those of you who were not successful, I encourage you to keep at it. Eventually you will pass.

The first time I did well on the MBE but failed every single essay. My essay scores were 55, 55, 55, 60, 62.5, 55.

I hired a tutor and also heavily used BarEssays.com at the advice of many other posters on this board.

My daily schedule was as follows: wake up, 20 MBEs (I had mbe material from kaplan, barbri, and strategies+tactics), review subject, lunch, practice essay, spend some time and compare my essay to the examples on BarEssays.com, 20 more MBEs and/or more review and/or speak with tutor.

Through this process I realized that I failed every essay the first time for three reasons- 1) my formatting was all wrong. I did not have a good grasp on irac and my review course did not teach this to me; 2) I did not memorize the rule statements enough; 3) I did not hit enough subissues.

The final couple weeks before the bar exam I made flashcards with all the rule statements and memorized like crazy.

I can tell you that failing the bar was worst academic experience of my life but I learned a lot about self discipline and getting through a major set back.

Good luck to all.

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Alt123
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Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby Alt123 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:45 pm

I don't know how accurate they were, but I will say I was thankful that I had access to both barbri essay grading and my school gave us free access to Kaplan's essay bank with 5 graded essays. At least from Barbri, the feedback was very in depth. I got documents back with in-line changes discussing most of the things I did wrong and it seemed to help me a lot. However, I can definitely see why people might be iffy concerning how accurate it is to an actual bar grader (afaik, test prep companies just require you to be a licensed CA attorney, not that you were a former bar grader). My scores on Barbri ranged from 65-75 on the ones I got returned to me. However, I heard from others that they got as low as 45-50 on almost everything they submitted, so maybe they got a hard grader or something.

Either way, I think being able to get feedback on essays is a good idea... It's hard to be critical of yourself and I think someone scoring me and correcting me made it sting enough for me to be able to actively think about the critiques when it came time to practice essays in the future.

james11
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:11 pm

Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby james11 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:05 pm

Alt123 wrote:I don't know how accurate they were, but I will say I was thankful that I had access to both barbri essay grading and my school gave us free access to Kaplan's essay bank with 5 graded essays. At least from Barbri, the feedback was very in depth. I got documents back with in-line changes discussing most of the things I did wrong and it seemed to help me a lot. However, I can definitely see why people might be iffy concerning how accurate it is to an actual bar grader (afaik, test prep companies just require you to be a licensed CA attorney, not that you were a former bar grader). My scores on Barbri ranged from 65-75 on the ones I got returned to me. However, I heard from others that they got as low as 45-50 on almost everything they submitted, so maybe they got a hard grader or something.

Either way, I think being able to get feedback on essays is a good idea... It's hard to be critical of yourself and I think someone scoring me and correcting me made it sting enough for me to be able to actively think about the critiques when it came time to practice essays in the future.


I would be highly skeptical of the big box review course graders. They were entirely unhelpful to me. I failed every single essay on my first time taking the bar using those big company review course "graders." Which is not a surprise as most of them have no real grading experience and get paid $5/essay because they can't find another job out of law school.

If you hire someone to grade your essays make sure it is a known person with a LOT of experience, which is what I did. That being said, I do believe it is possible to self grade just by comparing your own essay to the real ones that scored 55, 65, 75 on BarEssays.com. You won't have anyone hold your hand through the process but it is a lot cheaper and makes you sit down and think through things.

dredd16
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:36 pm

Re: CA bar tutor? please help..

Postby dredd16 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:53 am

james11 wrote:
I would be highly skeptical of the big box review course graders. They were entirely unhelpful to me. I failed every single essay on my first time taking the bar using those big company review course "graders." Which is not a surprise as most of them have no real grading experience and get paid $5/essay because they can't find another job out of law school.

If you hire someone to grade your essays make sure it is a known person with a LOT of experience, which is what I did. That being said, I do believe it is possible to self grade just by comparing your own essay to the real ones that scored 55, 65, 75 on BarEssays.com. You won't have anyone hold your hand through the process but it is a lot cheaper and makes you sit down and think through things.


For Barbri essay graders in California, the only requirement was that you had passed the CA bar. So primarily the makeup of Barbri course graders were people who were in between legal jobs. Because of this very low standard, you would get varying levels of grading. IIRC, Barbri pays hourly, but they expect graders to grade X amount of essays in an hour and so their essay graders aren't able to give you thorough feedback and are forced to just stick to the Barbri rubric and give you canned feedback responses.

So yeah...big box graders are generally unhelpful if you really really suck at essays.




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