Bottom of My Class, Out of School for Two Years, Passed the Bar With Flying Colors - What I Did (GA)

Discussions related to the bar exam are found in this forum
hammer10k

New
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:04 pm

Bottom of My Class, Out of School for Two Years, Passed the Bar With Flying Colors - What I Did (GA)

Postby hammer10k » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:05 am

Took and passed the Georgia bar after working a non-law job for several years. I’m hoping this post will help anyone with anxiety about the bar exam as my strategy was the product of advice from friends, forums, and personal experience studying and on test day.

What I used:

• Barbri
• AdaptiBar (Online MBE Questions)
• Critical Pass (MBE Flashcards)

The Georgia bar, like many states, breaks the exam into two days:

Day 1 - Essays. The essay day consists of the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) in the morning and then state specific essays in the afternoon. The MPT tests your ability to take case-files and made up law and construct a brief/motion/contract for the fabled client. You’ll have two MPT cases over three hours in the morning. Prep for these is entirely done in the Babri/Kaplan courses and don’t require more than a few practice days. After lunch, you’ll have another three hours to write four state specific essays. Prep for the state essays are also entirely done through Barbri/Kaplan, aside from the MBE knowledge you pick up from other sources. The essay day is largely a test of time-management.

Day 2 – The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The MBE is a 200-question multiple choice test. You’ll do 100 questions over 3 hours in the morning, break for lunch, then another 100 questions over 3 hours in the afternoon. The MBE tests the basics of crim law, contracts, torts, etc. in confusing fact patterns that require you to spot layers of issues, then pick the answer that the question is targeting. In all, the MBE is a short test that will only cover a fraction of what you studied, so it’s important to touch on all the MBE subjects and have the basics of the black-letter-law down cold.

I had three months of part-time work to study, which is more than enough to pass the bar exam. Here’s what I did:

MBE – The MBE, to me, needed to be my ace in the hole. There was just too much risk that an essay question could appear that I simply hadn’t studied, so I hedged my bets by going strong on MBE prep. I bought the Critical Pass flash cards and started learning the black-letter-law for each MBE subject a month before Babri’s review course came online. These cards will give you the important elements of the different MBE subjects (crim, contracts, con law, property, torts, civ pro). For example, the crim set will have a flash cards for the elements of assault, battery, trespassing, etc. Start hammering these out while you build up stamina. I transcribed the cards by hand over the course of a week as well as read them aloud, speed read them, and then never picked them up again until the final week before the bar. The flash cards reintroduce the basics of what comprises the MBE, and largely the essays, so they are good to attack first.

Once I got comfortable with the black-letter law I started doing 25-50 AdaptiBar questions at night. These are mock MBE questions that you’ll do on the AdaptiBar website. It costs a couple hundred bucks but it is SO worth it. I had a friend fail the first time, add in AdaptiBar to his prep, and then pass when his MBE score jumped 30 points. I aimed for 2000 questions total. Towards the end I felt extremely comfortable doing 50 questions a night as you’ll start to know what they’re asking just by the structure of the question. Trend towards getting a 70% each session in the last few weeks.

Babri does a lot of MBE work as well. They are better than AdaptiBar in many ways so do these meticulously and do every set that is available. Same with the practice tests. Watch the lectures (sped-up) where the professor will break down by the question was right/wrong for each option. The only knock on Babri was that they had a finite amount of practice problems, whereas AdaptiBar has thousands and will break down exactly your strengths/weaknesses for each subject the moment you get done.

Essays - Once the Barbi course came online (late May), I did everything they assigned until about 90% complete. It’s long days but you can speed up the lectures and skim the areas you’re already comfortable with from the Critical Pass cards. Following Babri’s calendar early on is essential to success – they know what they’re doing. However, studying for the essays was also the first point in my prep where I started to deviate from the Barbri syllabus.

Babri will assign lectures on Georgia specific topics. These go very in-depth to the law that could appear on the essays. I watched the lectures, filled in the study guides, and then studied the trend sheet that Babri provides. Some subjects are not worth looking at more than once. For example, Commercial Paper/Secured Transactions had not appeared on the Georgia bar for over a decade. I made the call that I wasn’t going to dedicate any more time to those subjects after the initial lectures.

A good piece of advice I got from a buddy who passed the bar after failing twice was that he tried too hard to memorize everything about the essay topics the first couple times. He passed once he starting focusing strictly on the basics of the topics and firing out the essays quickly and cleanly. For example, you’ll watch a several-day lecture on Corporations that covers nearly every possible scenario that could appear. In reality, you don’t have enough time to learn every scenario so you need to nail down the basics – how a corp is formed in Georgia, the different types of businesses, the role of directors, managers, how to unwind the corp, etc. You have roughly 45 minutes per essay and are better off ensuring that you pick up 3/5 points on each essay topic by knowing the basics and being able to write a clear and concise essay. You also had a finite amount of words allowed in your answers. There wasn’t a single essay on test day that required me to dig deep into my knowledge bank and write a novel.

Most important to essay prep is the Babri model-answer booklet. The Babri book takes the last decade of essay questions that have appeared on the Georgia bar and then gives you model answers. They will assign you practice essay from the book and then want you to compare your attempt to the model answer. I felt more comfortable going straight to the model answer and constructing the Babri answer in my own words. This allowed me to double-dip: I could study the correct answer immediately while training myself to write like a Babri writer.

By the end of my prep, I used the assigned essay time by starting at the front of the book and reading every question and model answer. The nights leading up to the exam had me reading the model answer book front to back a dozen times. By the time test day came, I was so fine tuned to answer like a Barbri model answer that I was able to fire out essays using the Babri format and all the Georgia law that I had gained from the mode answers and lectures. This gave me comfort knowing that, at worst, I’d have average answers for each essay question.

I studied about 8-10 hours a day for several months. Going to the gym each day for 45 minutes and taking Friday nights off kept me refreshed. Remember that everything that has a beginning has an end. It’ll seem like you are going to be trapped in bar prep forever but in reality, it goes fast. Buckle down from Day 1 and know that you’ll never had to take it again.

mathandthelaw

New
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:23 pm

Re: Bottom of My Class, Out of School for Two Years, Passed the Bar With Flying Colors - What I Did (GA)

Postby mathandthelaw » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:36 pm

Really inspirational story. Although I'm a CBX hopeful, I still found this accurate for my experience as well. I didn't do as many Adaptibar questions as you, but I studied similarly. I hope I passed. I personally liked Barbri but thought they worked you too hard. I wish I jumped off the wagon after the last subject and did all CBX past essays instead of trying to catch up with their program and trying to memorize all the these. An essay showed up that was similar to one from a few years ago in CBX and if I had just read that one, I would have killed that essay instead of hoping I passed it.

I graduated with honors, but it literally means nothing if I don't pass the bar. Honestly, grades don't matter that much in the long term unless you want to work for a judge. I know people who passed and have great jobs lined up who were ranked way below me. And it doesn't mean that they will not amount to just as great of lawyers.

Anyway, congratulations on your success.

hammer10k

New
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:04 pm

Re: Bottom of My Class, Out of School for Two Years, Passed the Bar With Flying Colors - What I Did (GA)

Postby hammer10k » Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:11 pm

mathandthelaw wrote:Really inspirational story. Although I'm a CBX hopeful, I still found this accurate for my experience as well. I didn't do as many Adaptibar questions as you, but I studied similarly. I hope I passed. I personally liked Barbri but thought they worked you too hard. I wish I jumped off the wagon after the last subject and did all CBX past essays instead of trying to catch up with their program and trying to memorize all the these. An essay showed up that was similar to one from a few years ago in CBX and if I had just read that one, I would have killed that essay instead of hoping I passed it.

I graduated with honors, but it literally means nothing if I don't pass the bar. Honestly, grades don't matter that much in the long term unless you want to work for a judge. I know people who passed and have great jobs lined up who were ranked way below me. And it doesn't mean that they will not amount to just as great of lawyers.

Anyway, congratulations on your success.


Thanks man, I'm sure you passed. An honors student like you knows how to study. The combo of Babri and Adaptibar means your MBE should be well above average. Don't sweat it too much.

mathandthelaw

New
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:23 pm

Re: Bottom of My Class, Out of School for Two Years, Passed the Bar With Flying Colors - What I Did (GA)

Postby mathandthelaw » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:21 pm

hammer10k wrote:
mathandthelaw wrote:Really inspirational story. Although I'm a CBX hopeful, I still found this accurate for my experience as well. I didn't do as many Adaptibar questions as you, but I studied similarly. I hope I passed. I personally liked Barbri but thought they worked you too hard. I wish I jumped off the wagon after the last subject and did all CBX past essays instead of trying to catch up with their program and trying to memorize all the these. An essay showed up that was similar to one from a few years ago in CBX and if I had just read that one, I would have killed that essay instead of hoping I passed it.

I graduated with honors, but it literally means nothing if I don't pass the bar. Honestly, grades don't matter that much in the long term unless you want to work for a judge. I know people who passed and have great jobs lined up who were ranked way below me. And it doesn't mean that they will not amount to just as great of lawyers.

Anyway, congratulations on your success.


Thanks man, I'm sure you passed. An honors student like you knows how to study. The combo of Babri and Adaptibar means your MBE should be well above average. Don't sweat it too much.


I appreciate the positive words.

To be honest though, I'm not great at MBEs. Above average, but not great. I definitely learn by doing, and I did a lot of MBEs, essays, and PTs. I'm also not as great at memorization as some people I know, though, so that had me worried. I'm good at foundational understanding, and I'm pretty good at essays. But I'm not a fast reader. I just finally figured out what worked for me study-wise in law school but I feel like I over-worked myself for the bar. I'm just worried I may have barely failed because I totally messed up my Community Property essay.

If I had to go back I'd do every CBX essay from the past ten years. Trying to memorize and follow Barbri's program only allowed time to do some of those essays. Every law school exam in which I did all of the practice exams of that same Professor, I did really well in that class, like A- and above. I also memorize as an auditory learner, rather than from flashcards. I tried to talk out a lot of it out, but I ended up making flashcards for every subject and borrowing my friend's Critical Pass cards. I just hope what I did worked, even though I stepped outside my usual track record.

The fact that you followed Barbri, Adaptibar, and Critical Pass flashcards gives me hope that I did pass, despite going outside my comfort zone. Because I studied similarly to you.

L_William_W

Bronze
Posts: 293
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:20 am

Re: Bottom of My Class, Out of School for Two Years, Passed the Bar With Flying Colors - What I Did (GA)

Postby L_William_W » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:58 pm

With the exception of using Adaptibar (which are questions that don't accurately represent what's on the MBE), I agree with everything the OP did.

There are only so many ways the examiners can ask the same essay questions. Over the years, the questions and answers follow a similar pattern. If you do as many essays as possible and understand why an answer is correct, that'll enable you to succeed on the essays.

The MPT was my Kryptonite so I can't comment on that.

Instead of using Adaptibar, use Strategies and Tactics, Finz, and Kaplan.

hammer10k

New
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:04 pm

Re: Bottom of My Class, Out of School for Two Years, Passed the Bar With Flying Colors - What I Did (GA)

Postby hammer10k » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:07 pm

L_William_W wrote:
The MPT was my Kryptonite so I can't comment on that.


The MPT was strange both in prep and on the exam. I turned it into a strict time-management exercise and aimed to get each done in 1.5 hours. The best way to complete them for me was to go directly to the cases and start typing the law as I read through. I'd wind up with a bunch of paragraphs of pure case law and then just had to fill in the facts from the file. It might not of been the best method but it ensured that every big legal point was on paper so I wouldn't forget it and have to double-back, and then could trim the unneeded law out as I answered the questions.



Return to “Bar Exam Prep and Discussion Forum?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Civengrpe and 20 guests