2019 February California Bar

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Happy88

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2019 February California Bar

Postby Happy88 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:09 am

I don’t think I’ve seen a thread created for this. If it was, I’ll delete it.

That being said, what are your strategies for essays and MBEs? Is it true that essays that came up in July don’t usually come up in Feb?

FinallyPassedTheBar

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:32 am

Adaptibar for MBE, BarEssays.com for essays, and Convisor mini-review book for black letter law. Aim for 2000 questions at +70% correct on Adaptibar.

That combo helped me pass the CBX after years of spinning my wheels.

aquagold11

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby aquagold11 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:37 am

Has anyone decided on a bar prep course yet? I'm trying to figure out if any of the bar prep courses have integrated the new Rules of Professional Conduct that came into effect in November (and are fair game for the Feb 2019 exam). Does anyone have any insight into this?

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a male human

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby a male human » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:58 am

Thanks for starting the thread! As usual, I'll drop in some helpful info collected over the years.

Wondering where to start?

I've been hanging around these TLS bar threads since 2013 and have seen the most effective tools that helped people pass the California bar. Feel free to ask if you have questions about preparing for the CA bar.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

These resources seem helpful to CA bar takers. Feel free to suggest your own!

[+] Spoiler
Investing in resources is an indicator of success, but you also shouldn't just buy everything willy nilly. The more choices you have, the more confused you're likely to be (and waste time on things that ultimately don't help).

So what are you supposed to buy? Well, I did the testing for you, as well as gather intel on what seems to be working for other California bar takers. On my second attempt at the CA bar, I've tried some that helped me pass, and I've tried some that didn't add any value. I won't include the latter.

Below is a list of resources I picked out that should give you the most bang for your buck. No need to overcomplicate things or go broke. Do your due diligence, pick a few resources that will work for you, and scrape all the meat off the bone.

You may not have the patience or mental energy to think about this if you're shell-shocked, gripped by anxiety, or overwhelmed with this beast of a task. You might be going through a rollercoaster of feels.

That's OK. Take solace in knowing that all the information and materials are out there. All you need to do is USE them.


Quick notes on the most effective supplements for...

- MBE on a budget? Emanuel's Strategies & Tactics for the MBE 6th ed. (see description and an inside look below -- will set you back ~$50, price varies around $45-75)
- MBE if you have $365 to shell out? AdaptiBar (see description below and a review)

Which one should you get? You can improve your MBE with either or both of these excellent tools. S&T has a broad selection of questions as well as excellent explanations, which is where you learn after doing the questions. Get AdaptiBar if you have the budget. AdaptiBar has all the official questions (including Civ Pro questions from the latest MBE Study Aid) but not the best explanations. If you want to pass on AdaptiBar, you could alternatively get the recent MBE Study Aid (don't get both since AdaptiBar includes these questions).

- Essays? BarEssays.com (see info and samples below, as well as a review)

- PTs? I don't know of a sure-kill supplement, but I have put together a guide (ver. 1.6); unlike the MBE or essays, PTs are better learned through exposure to a variety of them over trying to deeply understand the answer


Search by [star-ID] to jump to the description of a featured resource, tagged by sections of interest:

[*1] Strategies & Tactics for the MBE Vols. I & II (Emanuel) + Civ Pro resources [MBE]
[*2] AdaptiBar ($30 off) [MBE]
[*3] Law in a Flash [MBE] [Essays]
[*4] BarEssays.com ($25 off) [Essays]
[*5] Past CA essays and performance tests (and a guide to own the PTs) [Essays] [PTs]
[*6] BarIssues.com ($20 off) [Essays]
[*7] Options for condensed outlines and approach sheets [MBE] [Essays]


[*1] Strategies & Tactics for the MBE Volume I (Emanuel 6th edition): This is the MBE bible.

It's great (and may be the only MBE supplement you need) because it comes with 600 or so representative MBE questions that are all genuine and were previously administered (with the exception of author-written Civ Pro questions). I encourage you to study with the real deal.

Each subject is prefaced with a discussion of the tricky areas and how to deal with them. Some subjects have an overview of the major topics. There will be tips that revolve around multiple choice in general. The 200-question practice test at the back can be done to gauge your progress sometime in the final month leading to the bar.

How to use: Read the primer for each subject, answer every question on a separate sheet, and analyze their explanation in their entirety, including (A) through (D) for each question, including questions you get correctly. So essentially, go through the book cover to cover (which is what I did). It's worth it.

So what does it look like inside? Pics incoming:
Subject overview
Questions
Explanations

Link: 6th edition (2016) -- includes excellent author-generated Civ Pro questions

Get it in very good condition at least so that you don’t see the previous owners’ markings.

I do not recommend the 5th edition (2012).


[*1] Strategies & Tactics for the MBE Volume II (Emanuel): This is the expansion pack to the above book, containing different questions. It's in a format where the answer appears right beneath the question. If you're doing a question for practice, you'll have to carefully cover the answer as you do each question.

The valuable feature in Vol. 2 is how the questions are categorized into labeled topics. For example, Q45 on page 166 is filed under Chapter 5 Formal Proceedings -- I. Grand Jury Proceedings -- A. Self-incrimination and immunity.

For better or worse, some headings contain answer spoilers for the concepts, e.g., Q46 on page 167 is filed under B. No right to have attorney present in grand jury room, which gives away the answer.

Nonetheless, if you liked Volume 1, this is great for additional authentic MBE questions, especially if you know or want to improve on specific issues.

How to use: Get it as an optional add-on to Volume 1. Don’t get it without Volume 1. Use as a supplement for specific issues.

What it looks like inside:
Question (1)
Question (2)
Table of contents (index)

Link: 2012 (latest) edition


AdaptiBar (below) is another great addition or alternative to the above Emanuel's books. It comes with the entire universe of questions released by the NCBE, at a higher cost.

Scroll down to [*7] for more information. Go here for my totally unbiased review. Feel free to PM me for a $30 coupon.

If you're re-enrolling, there's a substantial discount, no need for a coupon.


[*1] What about Civ Pro? There aren't a lot to practice with.

You can get official Civ Pro questions from AdaptiBar or the MBE Study Aid.

For free Civ Pro MBE questions...

- BarPrepHero has a practice exam with 30 Civ Pro questions here, not written by the NCBE.
- The NCBE offers 10 sample questions here.



[*2] AdaptiBar ($395/365): You know what this is for.

If you're on the fence, check my unbiased and totally original review (which some Virginia bar prep person took certain "inspirations" from, since corrected)... AdaptiBar Review: Is It Worth It?

This program is web-based and accessible via PC (desktop or laptop) and mobile site. It automatically adapts and adjusts to your individual strengths and weaknesses.

In total, there are 1,955 MBE questions (all 1,530 original NCBE-released questions + 200 simulated Civil Procedure questions + 15 new Real Property questions + 210 official MBE Study Aid questions). Subject performance and timing analysis feedback are provided. In addition, the program allows users to create printable PDF reports of questions that were answered incorrectly.

Moreover, the online app adapts to your strengths and weaknesses and can create customized full-length tests, too. Additional information regarding the program can be found in this flyer and at http://www.adaptibar.com/pricing.aspx.

Link: AdaptiBar

It is indeed rather expensive, but it’s probably the single best comprehensive option to study for the MBE, assuming you have the budget. Feel free to reach out for an offer code for $30 off.

If you're re-enrolling, there's a substantial discount, no need for a coupon.



[*3] Law in a Flash cards: I bought 6 boxes of these to patch up my weak subjects. They were especially handy when I had to be out, like when I was trying to learn some tricky Evidence concepts and I could whip out a few cards from my wallet while standing in line, or when I was trying to learn the various federal jurisdictions while waiting inside a noisy store.

Link: List of LIAF products



[*4] BarEssays.com: One of the most popular resources you'll see mentioned around the forums.

What does it look like inside?

Check out my my ultimate BarEssays review: Why Practicing Is Not Enough.

Here's a sample: Check out this essay that scored an 85! Imagine if you studied this and produced the same results on the bar...

If you're wondering what makes a passing essay vs. what doesn't on the California Bar Exam, this is a large repository of actual graded essays and PTs submitted by those who didn't pass.

But this doesn't mean the essays are all sub-par! While there are essays scored 40 and 50 that show what is not passing material, there are essays that earned 75, 80, or even 85.

The advantage of this repository is the variety of real answers you can study.

Because the State Bar doesn’t disclose how well its model answers did, it’s hard to tell whether they are barely passing or top scoring. All they indicate are that they are “passing” essays and that essays don’t need to hit all the issues, which is implied by answers A and B covering different issues (although each usually hits all the key issues).

There are over 3,000 essays that you can search by subject, range of score, year/month, and even typed/handwritten/both for anyone worried about handwriting. Some have grader commentary.

These essay examples are useful after you outline or write out an essay to check whether you discussed relevant issues and rules and used the facts properly. I'd look at least one below and one above 65, with grader commentary if available.

High scorers tend to discuss all the issues and much of the nuances—but do not necessarily have excellent rule statements or analyses. While you want to look like the 70-75+ people, you’ll notice that they don’t always look like the impossible Barbri answers. These are real answers you can compare to see where you stand.

Link: BarEssays

Feel free to PM me for a coupon code that will save you $25 on a subscription.

You can also check out my free essay answer bank for limited and exclusive sets of graded student essays. Please donate your past answers if you want to help future generations who want to stand on the shoulders of giants.



[*5] Past essays and performance tests: These might be the only free things you get from the CA State Bar. They release exam questions from each administration.

Link: State Bar of California Past Exams

Note that there aren't too many 90-minute CA PTs posted as of yet. I would also practice with MPTs, which are also 90 minutes long. Get my PT guide (v. 1.6) to find where to get more MPTs than you'll ever need.

If you need to quickly find California essays organized by subject, check these out:

If you're looking for convenient access to individual questions organized by subject and issue, check out BarIssues.com below ($20 off).

For a budget version, here is an essay locator -- a list of essays organized by subject and issues contained therein (issues incomplete).

TLS user "Rap Genius" found a repository of all the essay questions and sample analyses here: https://sites.google.com/site/easybarpasser/past-exams/

I have also put together a guide to own the PTs (v. 1.6), with a step-by-step approach to answering a PT, strategies (including how to not run out of time), templates, and more.



[*6] BarIssues.com: Need to hone in on that mysterious issue you've never been able to tame ever since you laid eyes on it? Need to know which issues have been tested most frequently?

BarIssues is a directory of all the issues that have been tested on the California Bar Exam in the last 10 or so years. You can sort by frequency or the issue itself. A convenient link to the question and model answers is available whenever you explore a subject and its issues.

Price tag got you down? PM me for a code to get $20 off.



[*7] Options for condensed outlines and essay approach

- Lean Sheets are a well-known short outline available for all 50 states.
- Magicsheets are condensed outlines organized in logical groups and indentations.
- Approsheets are essay approach sheets (one pager checklists and flowcharts) that take you from a blank page to a finished essay or outline. These sheets help you make sure you’re attacking all relevant issues and answering each essay completely. You get ZERO points for an issue that you never raise, even if you know the rule for it. An IRAC can't sprout from a seed that's never planted.


PREVIOUS THREADS YOU CAN DIG THROUGH FOR EXTRA HELP
[+] Spoiler
2018 July: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=286381
2018 February: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=283574
2017 July: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=274836
2017 February: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=271217
2016 July: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=260090
2016 February: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=260833
2015 July: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=244425
2015 February: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=240022
2014 July: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=225140
2014 February: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=220409
2013 July: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=213457

justanotheruser

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby justanotheruser » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:43 am

Might make a lengthy/detailed post about my experiences, but for now I wanted to mention that I failed the exam over and over again. Finally passed on my sixth try.

Don't give up. But be real about changes you need to make in studying. And whatever plan you make, commit to it.

aquagold11

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby aquagold11 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:07 am

Thank you so much for your detailed post a male human!

Justanotheruesr, congrats on passing the most difficult bar exam in the country!! I would love to hear more about your experiences :)

If anyone out there is curious, I reached out to both Barbri and Themis.
Barbri has stated that they have incorporated the new Rules of Professional Conduct into their Feb 2019 material through supplemental materials.
Themis has stated that they have fully incorporated the new rules into their Feb 2019 textbooks.

Happy88

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Happy88 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:45 pm

A male human, you’re a star! I can’t thank you enough for this valuable info!

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a male human

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby a male human » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:52 pm

You're welcome! This thread gave me an opportunity to go through this list and reorganize, prune, and consolidate everything going into 2019.

BTW, the links to the PT guide aren't working because TLS automatically changes Google short links. Here's the full link instead https://www.dropbox.com/s/95q0aivag99b7 ... 6.pdf?dl=0

Grapes

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Grapes » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:01 pm

Strategies and Tactics for the MBE.

I opted for the Attorneys Exam, so I'm focused only on essays. Going to sign up for baressays . com and see how that is. might need to pick up the Barbri conviser.

I bought a workbook on CA bar essays, but the PR section is outdated, so will need to figure out the rule changes.

Bar2019

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Bar2019 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:24 pm

Check out this delightful study aid to help you memorize "Private Express Trusts"

I wonder if this guy will post more of these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5IPO1Gte24

Beatthebar89

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Beatthebar89 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:29 pm

Anyone in southern California willing to meet up and have a routine schedule studying? I am taking Themis and wanted to know if anyone was interested in getting a study room or meeting somewhere to review videos and do practice tests. I think it will be very productive to work things out with others and to exchange views so we can better understand our weaknesses. Let me know what you guys think.

Happy88

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Happy88 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:35 am

I tried to buy AdaptiBar from now to start practicing, however it’s telling me that it won’t be active before January? What MBEs should I practice for then in the mean time?

Happy88

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Happy88 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:39 am

Any tips on how to handle full time job and studying? It will be my second time taking it so I’m hoping it won’t be as crazy hard as the first time.

Happy88

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Happy88 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:20 pm

I’m trying to purchase adaptibar but it’s teling me I won’t have access to it before January. Is that normal?

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MBernard

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby MBernard » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:53 pm

Happy88 wrote:I’m trying to purchase adaptibar but it’s teling me I won’t have access to it before January. Is that normal?


No, when I purchased adaptibar for the TX bar in February 2018 I had access to it starting in November. Maybe they changed their policy? I’d reach out to customer service. That’s a shame if they’re restricting early start.

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a male human

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby a male human » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:35 am

Happy88 wrote:Any tips on how to handle full time job and studying? It will be my second time taking it so I’m hoping it won’t be as crazy hard as the first time.

I have heard of people studying in the morning, during work (lunch), and after work. I like the idea of "paying yourself first," prioritizing bar prep before spending your brainpower on someone else. I might also sneak in some study time on the clients' dime, if you know what I'm saying.

Bottom line, make the time. Use the time constraint to get creative and focus on the activities that move the needle. One example of something that doesn't would be trying to memorize all the rules before jumping into an essay question, a fairly common trap.

JakeTappers

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby JakeTappers » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:07 pm

Any predictions out there yet for essay topics? Or anyone come up with their own?

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a male human

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby a male human » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:11 pm

JakeTappers wrote:Any predictions out there yet for essay topics? Or anyone come up with their own?

Out of curiosity, how do you plan to use the predictions?

BarSecret usually comes out with predictions pretty quickly.

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby JakeTappers » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:06 pm

I don’t, really. I got lucky with topics last time (and only take attorneys exam) but didn’t study enough. Just want to contemplate. And if something is really due like trusts or property, I’d like to get a head start on them since I don’t know them. Why?

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a male human

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby a male human » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:17 pm

JakeTappers wrote:I don’t, really. I got lucky with topics last time (and only take attorneys exam) but didn’t study enough. Just want to contemplate. And if something is really due like trusts or property, I’d like to get a head start on them since I don’t know them. Why?

Out of curiosity.

I'm trying to understand if there were reasons to seek predictions this early, other than using them as shortcuts, entertainment, or some semblance of peace of mind.

I agree it makes sense to prioritize subjects you're not familiar with. At the same time, I personally don't put much stock into predictions. Someone always gets burned by relying too much on it. Who should one even listen to? If you overlap everyone's predictions, you get all the subjects...

bacillusanthracis

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby bacillusanthracis » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:53 am

JakeTappers wrote:Any predictions out there yet for essay topics? Or anyone come up with their own?


Last February's exam taught me not to take any predictions seriously. The scope of the test nuked most essay predictions because it ended up testing 8 subjects (actually 9 if you were to analyze it real-world).

Also, even if you guessed right on all the subjects being tested, it's still not all that helpful because guessing e.g. Real Property doesn't enlighten you to what will be tested in that subject and how. Now, multiply that 5-6 times over.

"Know everything" isn't very helpful advice, but now it may be true. Still though, you do know the MBE subjects and the PT are going to make up the vast majority of the test, so it's reasonable to build your priorities off of that.

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby JakeTappers » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:33 pm

bacillusanthracis wrote:
JakeTappers wrote:Any predictions out there yet for essay topics? Or anyone come up with their own?


Last February's exam taught me not to take any predictions seriously. The scope of the test nuked most essay predictions because it ended up testing 8 subjects (actually 9 if you were to analyze it real-world).

Also, even if you guessed right on all the subjects being tested, it's still not all that helpful because guessing e.g. Real Property doesn't enlighten you to what will be tested in that subject and how. Now, multiply that 5-6 times over.

"Know everything" isn't very helpful advice, but now it may be true. Still though, you do know the MBE subjects and the PT are going to make up the vast majority of the test, so it's reasonable to build your priorities off of that.


I get this. But I'm asking for the reasons I said -- to see if something is really due that happens to be something that I am weak on, and mostly just curiosity. Also, I'm taking the attorneys exam, so MBE subjects don't have any effect on me. Lastly, I only studied 3 weeks before failing it this summer and likely wouldn't have ever memorized the dormant commerce clause rule so precisely had many places not predicted it (not that it mattered, i guess, but we'll wait and see what i got on the con law question).

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby chickenb00b » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:52 am

Here's my insight (1st time passer):

If you did the same amount of preparation/research as me, you'll know that everyone stressed the importance of hitting all the issues, if not most of it. My Themis Bar Grader gave me 50/55s because I "missed issues XYZ." BarEssays also show many essays receiving below the needed 65 (or 62.5, rather), citing to an obvious mistake--failure to spot some issues. Past takers on TLS and other forums stress the same thing.

Naturally, that's what I tried to learn. I say learn because I didn't have to remember 13 (?) subjects for just a single day to spot the issues back in law school. It was just 1 subject--memorize the outline and go to the exam and forget about it. So, I don't think I'm particularly good at spotting issues, because that requires knowing the law well, or at least memorizing the law well. I've never been a good memorizer. I did well in law school by sheer analysis. So, based on my research, bar exam writing was different than law school writing.

I left the essay exam thinking I did well. Then, against all advice, I decided to see what others wrote. To my surprise (or not), I missed a crap ton of issues. Writing Requirement for assurances? OJ Exception? CA Evidence exceptions for spousal abuse? Standing? Market participant exception? The existence of a balancing test for the P&I analysis on Con law? The list goes on. So, I came to the conclusion that I missed more issues than I wrote about.

I passed. And here's what I know I definitely did well on. I developed the sh*t out of the major issues. Every subject/essay has their major issue(s). They are worth the most points--just like in law school. The facts will suggest to you what the major issue is. Commonly, it will be obvious. There will be strong facts to argue BOTH SIDES. So, for the issues that I did spot, the major ones, I did what I do best in law school, analyze it thoroughly.

I think that's a key thing most people miss. While there's some truth to spotting issues, and earning those free points for putting down even one sentence for a minor issue (e.g. the fact that they weren't married in the Evidence essay, and so there's no privilege (i didn't even talk about this)), I think the main priority is to learn how to analyze well and thoroughly. That has to be step 1. Step 2 is focus on hitting the main areas of each subject matter. Negligence for Torts, Murder for Crim, Hearsay/Character for Evidence, etc. Learn how to analyze those. Learn which facts are used to argue. Learn how to determine the strength of each fact and how much weight a fact finder gives to these facts. That has to be Step 2. It makes up 60-70% of the essays. Step 3 should then be the little minor parts of the law. The other 40% of the subject. Market Participant. If you knew that, good for you. I didn't. You would've gotten a few extra points than me. But that's step 3 for a reason. It's not that big of a deal.

Now, I'll admit the bar will often throw you a curve ball and make Step 3 into a primary issue on an essay. See Con Law for example. That issue (priv and immunities? Whatever the discriminating against out of state peeps is called) has only been tested 1 or 2 times. It's a minor issue when studying. It was a Step 3 for me. So I didnt know it well. I didn't know there was a balancing test. I know just minimally that you can't discriminate against out of state dudes unless you have no choice or whatever. So I relied on that. But you know what? that was just 1 of the 5 essays. Step 1 (learning to analyze) helps you analyze any essay. I saw some facts to argue why u should or shouldnt discriminate and I used it. It's all about step 1.

In other words, a grader can tell a passing lawyer-like answer from a mile away. Great analysis shows that. Apply the facts to the law. Argue BOTH SIDES. Weigh the strengths of argument. Definitely do this for the major issue of the fact pattern. If you're able to do it for the minor ones as well, good for you--a 70+ grade perhaps.

So, if you didn't learn how to write a great analysis yet, learn that. If you need help with that, feel free to PM me. I can help you (probably by telling you to analyze a short fact pattern and I'll tell you what I think of your analysis and how to improve and what to look for and/or tips/suggestion)

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cheme2014

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby cheme2014 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:31 am

Not looking forward to doing this thing... :/

Also not sure if I should just pay for Themis (since they've incorporated the new rules) or just go the self-study route. (Not an immediate retaker so I don't qualify for Barbri's free retake.)

JoeSeperac

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby JoeSeperac » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:59 am

FYI, I just finished my J18 CA bar score calculator:

https://mberules.com/california-bar-exa ... alculator/

This calculator will accurately estimate a Written Scaled Score and Total Score for the J18, F18 or J17 California bar exam administrations. J18 CA examinees can use the J18 calculator to do a post-exam analysis of their scores while F19 CA examinees can use the F18 calculator to test various scoring scenarios and estimate their F19 performance. There is also a form to submit if you want to know what your raw scores were on the MBE.



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