2019 February California Bar

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rcharter1978

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby rcharter1978 » Sun May 19, 2019 3:28 am

devastated_examinee wrote:Damn, failed. Congrats to those who passed. Nearly 70% do not have the required minimum competence that is needed to practice law in California? I don't know about that one. I am sure everybody would like to know how the graders are really grading our exams at $3.25 an essay. But then again, graders have no incentive to increase the chances of people passing. If they did, it would create more attorneys along with more competition for them and every other attorney in California, which I'm sure is something they are trying to avoid. Oh, and we can't forget about licensed attorneys who have also failed because apparently they also lack the minimum competence to become California attorneys, but are competent to practice in another state. Quite an interesting business practice.

I have also seen scores from people who have received a second read on their essays. There is some substantial inconsistencies with grading. One essay received a 70 on the first read and a 55 on a second read. The amount of money they rake in every year from both the Baby Bar and the Bar Exam, would make one think that they would make an effort to hire professional graders with some consistency. I guess that would just make too much sense.


I totally agree about the second reads and I think it truly illustrates the subjectivity built into essay grading. It sucks when the "second read" scores would have resulted in a pass....because then the examinee was just the victim of bad luck in that they didn't get the second grader first.

The essay grading system has a high degree of subjectivity built in....which is why I don't think anyone should feel really bad about failing. I wated a tutor who could give me the best chance of learning how to write for the graders, but even then...a lot of it is subjective.

I had thought the pass rate would improve when the MBEs, which are more objective, were weighted equally.

All things being equal, the pass rate should have improved right? I mean the MBEs are worth 50% and a day has been shaved off the exam. The fact that the pass rate has not improved, to me means that the essays may have gotten more challenging to artificially depress the pass rate.

If this is the case, it means that he bar doesn't want a higher pass rate. When you pass, it will be in spite of the bar, not because of it.

So, IMO, it's fair to be annoyed, frustrated and pissed off.

I think those feelings will go away when you pass. They did for me.

ovcovc

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby ovcovc » Sun May 19, 2019 5:57 am

I have now managed to create a page on which I published the MBE-related advice / my method for choosing answers/ that I wrote in February after the exam (I waited to make sure I passed before peddling it!). Maybe some people will find it useful. Enjoy! :-) or not.


http://mbeadvice.com/

cob2018

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby cob2018 » Sun May 19, 2019 7:45 am

When I started studying for the bar, my husband had already moved to California because of his job so I was basically a “single” mother, working full-time, and I passed on my first attempt. I can tell you what I did but the best advice in the end of the day is to do what works for YOU. Focus on YOUR weaknesses.

For me, I have a really bad memory. So I bought just one book from the internet (conviser Mini review) and I made flashcards on each subject on Quizlet. The website is free and has this cool option where you can record yourself reading your flashcards. So, I listened to my flashcards literally during every single free time that I had (e.g., when I was driving, showering, cooking). You also have the option to “highlight” the flashcards and only listen to the ones you are getting wrong. Let’s say my daughter also memorized a lot of BLL lol. I started doing this back in November.

The second thing I bought was AdaptiBar. I did almost 1k questions. Practice, practice, practice. The website allows you to generate the questions you get wrong and I would review my wrong answers every, let’s say, 100 questions.

Last thing I bought was access to BarEssays. This was probably one month or so before the bar. I reviewed essays by subject. So I would, for instance, review my community property flashcards and do 5 essays. Now, this is where my advice will probably not work for everyone. I did not write one single essay in full but writing under pressure is my forte.

So I would just read the essay question and make a quick bullet point outline on the issues I had spotted (trust me, my answers were pathetic). This approach allowed me to review over 90+ essays before the bar. I would then read BarEssays model answers. I didn’t even bother reading the answers submitted by users (even the high scoring ones). I know some people are against reading perfect answers because they are unrealistic but it worked for me. I like to see the logic behind a good answer and, in the process, I learn new issues.

I thought the model answers were concise, to the point, and applied IRAC well. I actually liked the BarEssay model answers way better than the “perfect answers” that are in the Bar’s website. I created “outlines” from the model answers. They were somewhat lazy and consisted of only copying the black letter law from the model answers and pasting them to a word document. I think it is important to memorize BLL but it is also important to memorize saying things in a particular way; aka how you would actually write them. E.g., you need to memorize the introductory paragraph of community property. Period.

Finally, I really didn’t practice PTs. Again, I like to write so I understand this may be a weak spot for a lot of people. I think I read only one model PT. I read a few articles on how to attack PTs but none of them worked for me. Why? Because they all told me to either read everything first to get the big picture or to make an outline and freaking waste 1/3 of the time “preparing.” Now, remember the part where my memory sucks? Yeah, if I had read everything without writing or had just made an outline, I would have completely forgotten the directions and details by the first essay. And who got time to read things twice? Not me. So I wrote things as I read them.

So here, for example, as soon as I read the instructions and saw it was a brief, I made my headings, “Brief in Support of Forfeiture of the Bond,” “Summary of Facts,” “Analysis,” “Conclusion.” I then wrote a quick introduction (based on the instructions alone) that said something like this: The Cruz County District Attorney’s Office respectfully submits this Brief in Support of Forfeiture of Bond and argues that the $45,000 cash bond posted to release Henry Raymond should be forfeited because he failed to appear at the trial.

Then, I went to the “Summary of Facts.” I summarized the facts as I read the transcript from the hearing. I then went to the “Analysis” and did the same thing. E.g., I read the first case and summarized the case. In People v. Whatever, XYZ happened. The court ruled X. This is different/similar from the facts before this Court because... I made a few subheadings as I went that said things like “Case X is Not Applicable.” Because I didn’t waste time reading things more than once or making an outline, I even had time to write a little policy session about the implications of not forfeiting the bond (e.g., incentive for people not to show up for hearings). I will add though that I made very very short bullet point outlines for questions 1-5 just to make sure I didn’t forget any issues (hello bad memory).

I will say that one of the most important things for me was to keep a positive mindset. I know, for example, a lot of people panic when they get a bunch of questions wrong on AdaptiBar but getting something wrong brought me joy, literally. Because I knew I was learning something new before the bar, and not AT the bar. And that’s probably why I also focused on reading the model answers. My goal was always to learn new things.

The morning of the bar I did things to calm me down. For me that meant listening to classical music, doing yoga, and meditating. That is not to say things went down perfectly. My mind failed me a couple of times. I had a brain freeze during the professional responsibility essay. For the life of me I could not remember that the competence standard was that “Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” So I literally just wrote that lawyers need to be competent and explained why. I did not let that shake me and I moved on.

I will say that reading this board after the bar only made me feel bad about myself. All those discussions about who was right about the community property essay was pointless to me. I knew I had missed issues because one cannot simply spot them all. But I’ve been a law clerk for almost two years and I’ve read enough briefs at this point to know that two brilliant lawyers can submit opposing briefs, argue the law in different ways, reach different conclusions, and still submit excellent work product.

In the end of the day, your ability to spot the facts and analyze them in an intelligent manner is way more important than finding the right conclusion like some people make it seem. Heck, if there were one right conclusion to everything, SCOTUS opinions wouldn’t have dissents.

Keep it positive peeps and good luck next time!

ReasonablePersonSSC

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby ReasonablePersonSSC » Sun May 19, 2019 8:51 am

cob2018 wrote:When I started studying for the bar, my husband had already moved to California because of his job so I was basically a “single” mother, working full-time, and I passed on my first attempt. I can tell you what I did but the best advice in the end of the day is to do what works for YOU. Focus on YOUR weaknesses.

For me, I have a really bad memory. So I bought just one book from the internet (conviser Mini review) and I made flashcards on each subject on Quizlet. The website is free and has this cool option where you can record yourself reading your flashcards. So, I listened to my flashcards literally during every single free time that I had (e.g., when I was driving, showering, cooking). You also have the option to “highlight” the flashcards and only listen to the ones you are getting wrong. Let’s say my daughter also memorized a lot of BLL lol. I started doing this back in November.

The second thing I bought was AdaptiBar. I did almost 1k questions. Practice, practice, practice. The website allows you to generate the questions you get wrong and I would review my wrong answers every, let’s say, 100 questions.

Last thing I bought was access to BarEssays. This was probably one month or so before the bar. I reviewed essays by subject. So I would, for instance, review my community property flashcards and do 5 essays. Now, this is where my advice will probably not work for everyone. I did not write one single essay in full but writing under pressure is my forte.

So I would just read the essay question and make a quick bullet point outline on the issues I had spotted (trust me, my answers were pathetic). This approach allowed me to review over 90+ essays before the bar. I would then read BarEssays model answers. I didn’t even bother reading the answers submitted by users (even the high scoring ones). I know some people are against reading perfect answers because they are unrealistic but it worked for me. I like to see the logic behind a good answer and, in the process, I learn new issues.

I thought the model answers were concise, to the point, and applied IRAC well. I actually liked the BarEssay model answers way better than the “perfect answers” that are in the Bar’s website. I created “outlines” from the model answers. They were somewhat lazy and consisted of only copying the black letter law from the model answers and pasting them to a word document. I think it is important to memorize BLL but it is also important to memorize saying things in a particular way; aka how you would actually write them. E.g., you need to memorize the introductory paragraph of community property. Period.

Finally, I really didn’t practice PTs. Again, I like to write so I understand this may be a weak spot for a lot of people. I think I read only one model PT. I read a few articles on how to attack PTs but none of them worked for me. Why? Because they all told me to either read everything first to get the big picture or to make an outline and freaking waste 1/3 of the time “preparing.” Now, remember the part where my memory sucks? Yeah, if I had read everything without writing or had just made an outline, I would have completely forgotten the directions and details by the first essay. And who got time to read things twice? Not me. So I wrote things as I read them.

So here, for example, as soon as I read the instructions and saw it was a brief, I made my headings, “Brief in Support of Forfeiture of the Bond,” “Summary of Facts,” “Analysis,” “Conclusion.” I then wrote a quick introduction (based on the instructions alone) that said something like this: The Cruz County District Attorney’s Office respectfully submits this Brief in Support of Forfeiture of Bond and argues that the $45,000 cash bond posted to release Henry Raymond should be forfeited because he failed to appear at the trial.

Then, I went to the “Summary of Facts.” I summarized the facts as I read the transcript from the hearing. I then went to the “Analysis” and did the same thing. E.g., I read the first case and summarized the case. In People v. Whatever, XYZ happened. The court ruled X. This is different/similar from the facts before this Court because... I made a few subheadings as I went that said things like “Case X is Not Applicable.” Because I didn’t waste time reading things more than once or making an outline, I even had time to write a little policy session about the implications of not forfeiting the bond (e.g., incentive for people not to show up for hearings). I will add though that I made very very short bullet point outlines for questions 1-5 just to make sure I didn’t forget any issues (hello bad memory).

I will say that one of the most important things for me was to keep a positive mindset. I know, for example, a lot of people panic when they get a bunch of questions wrong on AdaptiBar but getting something wrong brought me joy, literally. Because I knew I was learning something new before the bar, and not AT the bar. And that’s probably why I also focused on reading the model answers. My goal was always to learn new things.

The morning of the bar I did things to calm me down. For me that meant listening to classical music, doing yoga, and meditating. That is not to say things went down perfectly. My mind failed me a couple of times. I had a brain freeze during the professional responsibility essay. For the life of me I could not remember that the competence standard was that “Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” So I literally just wrote that lawyers need to be competent and explained why. I did not let that shake me and I moved on.

I will say that reading this board after the bar only made me feel bad about myself. All those discussions about who was right about the community property essay was pointless to me. I knew I had missed issues because one cannot simply spot them all. But I’ve been a law clerk for almost two years and I’ve read enough briefs at this point to know that two brilliant lawyers can submit opposing briefs, argue the law in different ways, reach different conclusions, and still submit excellent work product.

In the end of the day, your ability to spot the facts and analyze them in an intelligent manner is way more important than finding the right conclusion like some people make it seem. Heck, if there were one right conclusion to everything, SCOTUS opinions wouldn’t have dissents.

Keep it positive peeps and good luck next time!


Excellent advice, especially on your practical approach to PTs. They are worth two essays, and writing all the time is necessary to get as many points as possible. I also found it helpful to read the point sheets in the PTs on the NCBE site—they provided insight into the fact patterns and the graders’ mindset.

maureenwct

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby maureenwct » Sun May 19, 2019 10:13 am

Hello,

Ok, so I will be a repeater in July. I don't know my scores yet - b/c i didn't receive the mailer. When I left the exam, I thought I hadn't written 'enough' - that I spent too much time writing well rather than writing long. I thought the Community Property Essay went ok, the Evidence one went well, and the PT went well, so I had some hope. I generally can compose well, but felt like I froze when I didn't 'know' the rule. I also felt that I wasn't hitting 1200-1400 words per essay as many higher scoring essays did. I also had difficulty because my exam soft software kept defaulting to a 9 point font, which I found very distracting. (anyone know how to preset Exam Soft to be in a large font?)

I am bummed b/c the topics on this exam 'worked' for my normal skill set. I am a practicing attorney, with a family law (non CA) and Wills background, I know the rules of evidence fairly well. Con law and Crim Pro weren't tested and they were my weak spots.

Suggestions for a repeater attorney would be welcomed.

maureenwct

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby maureenwct » Sun May 19, 2019 10:16 am

Links to any study schedules would also be welcomed. I am self--studying = have Essay writing by Basik, Bar Breakers, Mini Guides and a subscription to Bar Essays.

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rcharter1978

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby rcharter1978 » Sun May 19, 2019 10:54 am

maureenwct wrote:Hello,

Ok, so I will be a repeater in July. I don't know my scores yet - b/c i didn't receive the mailer. When I left the exam, I thought I hadn't written 'enough' - that I spent too much time writing well rather than writing long. I thought the Community Property Essay went ok, the Evidence one went well, and the PT went well, so I had some hope. I generally can compose well, but felt like I froze when I didn't 'know' the rule. I also felt that I wasn't hitting 1200-1400 words per essay as many higher scoring essays did. I also had difficulty because my exam soft software kept defaulting to a 9 point font, which I found very distracting. (anyone know how to preset Exam Soft to be in a large font?)

I am bummed b/c the topics on this exam 'worked' for my normal skill set. I am a practicing attorney, with a family law (non CA) and Wills background, I know the rules of evidence fairly well. Con law and Crim Pro weren't tested and they were my weak spots.

Suggestions for a repeater attorney would be welcomed.


Are you taking the full exam or the attorney exam?

You have to get a higher score on the essays to pass if you only do the one day exam, so that might be something to think about.

maureenwct

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby maureenwct » Sun May 19, 2019 11:16 am

I was aware that I needed higher essay scores - I did sign up to do the one day attorneys' exam again. I reasoned that 65 in each would be enough to pass, and I was sure I could get that on the PT. But, who knows what happened? I assumed I could tank one or two essays if I scored 65 on one or two (evidence and wills being my strong suits) and the PT. That logic may or may not be valid, and may or may not have worked for me. I do know I answered the PR essay in a cursory fashion - well but not enough so I was expecting no more than a 55 on that section and possibly a 50 because I used an extra 10 min on the PT.

lars_08

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby lars_08 » Sun May 19, 2019 11:27 am

I took the attorney exam and passed in one attempt. I still don’t have a positive C&F but hoping that is done before June.

I’d like to share my study method- hopefully it may help someone else. I used only one book: Essay Exam Writing for the California Bar by Mary Basick. With the exception of the professional responsibility section being updated, I felt like it covered everything I needed in digestible amboitd. They did issue a supplement for the prof responsibility section for a free download on their website. The part most helpful was the actual CA essays at the end of each section with grading rubrics for each issue. Their #1 rule for essays is 1 hour max and 90 min for PT. They have a separate PT book which I bought but only thumbed through and practiced a couple of PTs because the timing and volume of information was so different from the new format.

With a full time job, kid and husband, the schedule was the most important thing for me to be able to manage the material. I started and ended with my weakest subjects and spent the last two weeks reviewing two-three subjects a week.

Happy to share more information. I was not a first time passer for my home state. I know how hard it is to peel yourself off the ground after not passing but you can do it. Sometimes it’s just a change in approach.

Bigslick90

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Bigslick90 » Sun May 19, 2019 11:59 am

Finally passed after 3 tries. This is exam is a beast. I’ve taken and passed 2 other state bar exams and finished in the top 10% of my class at a T20. This exam is by far the hardest. Don’t listen to the people who say the pass rate is only low because of the large number of unaccredited law schools.

The exam is hard because (a) essays are 1 hr vs 45 mins, which requires you to dig deeper into the topics, (b) higher passing score requirement, and (c) harder PT exam than in other states.

Few tips: 1. Study and leave yourself ample time to finish the PT section. Don’t make the same mistake I did the first two times of not studying the PT section. There seems to be more materials to review for California PT vs other states. 2. Study Professional Responsibility extremely hard. This section is tested almost every time. You need to be able to get this one down. 3. I used smartbarprep to study more efficiently. Smartbarprep materials give you a detail list of the issues that are most commonly tested so you can be efficient with your studying.

JakeTappers

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby JakeTappers » Sun May 19, 2019 12:00 pm

FWIW, I took the Attorneys exam in July and failed 1392 or something. I studied for about 3 weeks and was working full time and did not take any time off for it. My studying was just the California essays bluebook and outlining from that.

This time, I took the full 2 day. I studied a bit longer but was still working full time. Took a week off before this time. But I didn’t outline and did only Adaptibar (full 2000 questions - was at like 70% or so). I really didn’t re-study the essay only topics until the week before and just did 5 practice for each subject. Maybe read an outline.

Anyways, passed this time. Just wanted to throw that out there for those wondering which to take. Not positive it was the right move but I did pass. Also did the PT first and that is absolutely the right move.

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby tarakou » Sun May 19, 2019 12:46 pm

I’m a first-time attorney taker as well. Licensed in Florida for 5 years practicing in real estate/wills/trusts/corporations and work full time. I passed February’s one-day exam. I sacrificed a lot of my weekends by studying half-days on Saturdays and Sundays, reading and outlining from 7 AM to 1 PM, then took 5 days off before the exam to study everyday from 7 AM to 10 PM everyday. I didn’t use any commercial bar prep courses, but I did have the blue essay book and bought a 2018 Conviser Mini outline. I made my own schedule and tried to reserve one weekend per subject. I knocked out the subjects that I thought were easier or came more naturally (because I practiced in those areas) and reserved the harder topics for the weekends closer to the exam, so they’d be more fresh.

Unfortunately, I only got to practice about one essay per day leading up to the exam, and only had time to read through a couple of PT selected answers. I found that California’s essays were much harder than Florida’s essay portion and definitely are no joke.

Here’s what i did: I made flashcards and had my wife quiz me. She made separate piles of the rules I got right in one pile, and the stuff I got wrong in another pile. Then, she shuffled the pile that i got wrong and we went through those over and over until I got them right, then shuffled those cards back in with what i got right, rinse, repeat.

Oh and for PR, they made changes to the rules last November, but my materials were outdated. I ended up taking the outline from the blue book amd updating/adding to it based on the new rules. That helped immensely for the PR essay. I guess my best advice would be to try and figure out what works best for you. Not everyone studies the same way, and some attorneys have more experience in writing memos/briefs than others. Focus on your weak spots, but don’t ignore those areas you are comfortable with either. You got this!

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rcharter1978

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby rcharter1978 » Sun May 19, 2019 2:28 pm

maureenwct wrote:I was aware that I needed higher essay scores - I did sign up to do the one day attorneys' exam again. I reasoned that 65 in each would be enough to pass, and I was sure I could get that on the PT. But, who knows what happened? I assumed I could tank one or two essays if I scored 65 on one or two (evidence and wills being my strong suits) and the PT. That logic may or may not be valid, and may or may not have worked for me. I do know I answered the PR essay in a cursory fashion - well but not enough so I was expecting no more than a 55 on that section and possibly a 50 because I used an extra 10 min on the PT.


You'll have a better idea when you see your scores, but given the subjectivity built into essay grading, I think it's hard to assume that you'll get any particular score unless you wrote the model answer. Cause I'm convinced the model answer writers are just writing with a happy shit eating grin knowing that this essay question was just written for them.

I do better on multiple choice questions, so I would prefer to add in the MBEs. Especially since you have to study the MBE subjects anyway for the essays. It's also the most objective area of the test (though it still has some subjectivity baked in).

But if you're signed up for the one day exam next time it's probably water under the bridge at this point.

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby masonjarrr » Sun May 19, 2019 2:43 pm

1. Prepare well enough so you aren't at the mercy of arbitrariness of graders. (I failed my J18 where my K essay received a 80 on 1st read, and 60 on 2nd read, and I failed by 12 points). I could complain, but I knew grading substantive material always carries the human error, and what could I do to overcome it? Do so well, any degree of human error is compensated.

2. [Unconventional Advice] If you are naturally good at a subject(s), try to get a substantial understanding of the subject, and prepare yourself to do really well in that/those subjects. Do this, IF that/those subjects are almost certain to be tested. If you score 75 or 75+ in those subjects, they will compensate the lower scores to raise your average to 65. Imaging an 80 in an essay, which has 15 points to give away to other essay scores.

3. You can ALWAYS learn to type faster. This point always gets lost. Typing close to 100WPM will give you an incredible advantage against the timed exam. I found myself stuck, thinking, uncertain at a couple of essays, and felt I wasted a lot of time. However, I never felt like I was rushing to finish or anxious of having less time that I needed. TRY to practice typing FASTER as you study if you're a slow or average typist.

4. Read Emanuel's Guide to MBEs + do all questions (I attest my easy running through MBE portion to Emanuel). It's not the previously tested questions, but their comprehensive advice on how to approach each subject's questions that does wonders. [ I didn't use any other resource; I also did over 1500 Themis questions, but I felt Emanuel was the real help]

5. Make your own outline to study from. Almost always write rules in your own language, you won't forget them that way.

lexingtonhr

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby lexingtonhr » Sun May 19, 2019 2:48 pm

Well, I've finally decided, with weighing the pros and cons, that I was going to sit this one out for upcoming July. My head isn't in it. I need to take care of myself mentally before I prepare to do this again. I know that if I sign up now, I will most likely fail again. I know my limits and this is one of them. I need a break.

For me, I need to hone in on my weaknesses in a much greater length. I don't plan on failing this 3rd time. My goal is to pass and move on with my life. But I need to prioritize it without scrambling to sign up for the July bar. I felt a great sense of relief knowing that a break is very much needed right now. I need to come up with a plan of attack to finally beat this thing once and for all.

Thanks to everyone for the advice and encouragement. You guys are great. I'm so glad I found this forum. Best of luck to you all.

CALTEX

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby CALTEX » Sun May 19, 2019 2:58 pm

maureenwct wrote:Hello,

Ok, so I will be a repeater in July. I don't know my scores yet - b/c i didn't receive the mailer. When I left the exam, I thought I hadn't written 'enough' - that I spent too much time writing well rather than writing long. I thought the Community Property Essay went ok, the Evidence one went well, and the PT went well, so I had some hope. I generally can compose well, but felt like I froze when I didn't 'know' the rule. I also felt that I wasn't hitting 1200-1400 words per essay as many higher scoring essays did. I also had difficulty because my exam soft software kept defaulting to a 9 point font, which I found very distracting. (anyone know how to preset Exam Soft to be in a large font?)

I am bummed b/c the topics on this exam 'worked' for my normal skill set. I am a practicing attorney, with a family law (non CA) and Wills background, I know the rules of evidence fairly well. Con law and Crim Pro weren't tested and they were my weak spots.

Suggestions for a repeater attorney would be welcomed.



I am an attorney and I passed on my second try, on this Feb 2019 exam. Below, is my earlier post. I had to learn to write for the bar - which is not how practicing lawyers write. I am a family law attorney too, so I get where you are coming from. I am glad to share my suggestions if you want to message me. And my prior post, which I set forth below may give you some ideas. I also recommend Themis Bar Review.

Prior post:

I passed the Attorney Exam ( Day 1 - no MBE) on my second try! I did not pass in July 2018 and I was super bummed. But I dusted myself off, picked up my pride, and registered for the Feb 2019 exam. I passed the Texas Bar Exam MANY years ago and it was a 3 day exam. That said, nothing has challenged me more than the CBX. It is tough, but you can do it. If I can at my age, you all can.

I studied Themis, both times ( free the 2nd go round!) and I credit my dedicated essay writer for his constructive criticism for my essay improvement. My advice, for what it's worth, is write at least 2 essays every day and make note of and incorporate in your outline all of the rule statements from the model answers. On the PT, write one of those beasts every week. 3 days before the exam, I wrote 3 of them in one day. It was horrible, but I did it.

Also, during round 2 I endured a root canal and later food poisoning from some hot wings I ate on Super Bowl Sunday.
But I forced myself to press on.

I want to give away my study materials to whoever's needs them. If you live in the Burbank/Glendale area, message me and I am glad to meet you at a Starbucks and give them to you and I am glad to share my study strategies if you think it will help.

Hang in there and NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

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rcharter1978

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby rcharter1978 » Sun May 19, 2019 4:11 pm

lexingtonhr wrote:Well, I've finally decided, with weighing the pros and cons, that I was going to sit this one out for upcoming July. My head isn't in it. I need to take care of myself mentally before I prepare to do this again. I know that if I sign up now, I will most likely fail again. I know my limits and this is one of them. I need a break.

For me, I need to hone in on my weaknesses in a much greater length. I don't plan on failing this 3rd time. My goal is to pass and move on with my life. But I need to prioritize it without scrambling to sign up for the July bar. I felt a great sense of relief knowing that a break is very much needed right now. I need to come up with a plan of attack to finally beat this thing once and for all.

Thanks to everyone for the advice and encouragement. You guys are great. I'm so glad I found this forum. Best of luck to you all.


No one knows you better than you. Good luck. I hope you keep studying even a little to keep your knowledge fresh for February 2020.

lexingtonhr

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby lexingtonhr » Sun May 19, 2019 4:23 pm

rcharter1978 wrote:
lexingtonhr wrote:Well, I've finally decided, with weighing the pros and cons, that I was going to sit this one out for upcoming July. My head isn't in it. I need to take care of myself mentally before I prepare to do this again. I know that if I sign up now, I will most likely fail again. I know my limits and this is one of them. I need a break.

For me, I need to hone in on my weaknesses in a much greater length. I don't plan on failing this 3rd time. My goal is to pass and move on with my life. But I need to prioritize it without scrambling to sign up for the July bar. I felt a great sense of relief knowing that a break is very much needed right now. I need to come up with a plan of attack to finally beat this thing once and for all.

Thanks to everyone for the advice and encouragement. You guys are great. I'm so glad I found this forum. Best of luck to you all.


No one knows you better than you. Good luck. I hope you keep studying even a little to keep your knowledge fresh for February 2020.


Of course, I will still keep grinding, keeping the info still fresh in my mind. I will definitely not waste this upcoming months. That is the plan.

jptx

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby jptx » Sun May 19, 2019 6:38 pm

maureenwct wrote:Hello,

Ok, so I will be a repeater in July. I don't know my scores yet - b/c i didn't receive the mailer. When I left the exam, I thought I hadn't written 'enough' - that I spent too much time writing well rather than writing long. I thought the Community Property Essay went ok, the Evidence one went well, and the PT went well, so I had some hope. I generally can compose well, but felt like I froze when I didn't 'know' the rule. I also felt that I wasn't hitting 1200-1400 words per essay as many higher scoring essays did. I also had difficulty because my exam soft software kept defaulting to a 9 point font, which I found very distracting. (anyone know how to preset Exam Soft to be in a large font?)

I am bummed b/c the topics on this exam 'worked' for my normal skill set. I am a practicing attorney, with a family law (non CA) and Wills background, I know the rules of evidence fairly well. Con law and Crim Pro weren't tested and they were my weak spots.

Suggestions for a repeater attorney would be welcomed.

As an attorney who took both the one day and two day California, take the two day unless you just cannot do multiple choice. I got in the habit of changing the font and point size of the font before I would answer a question. It may be possible to change the default font, but I could not find how, so when I practiced that was the first thing I did. I also switch to a bigger screen computer, used an external mouse and external keyboard the second time. It made a difference in speed and fewer typing mistakes. This last test was hard. I would not have passed the attorney exam.

apprentice2020

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby apprentice2020 » Sun May 19, 2019 6:52 pm

cob2018 wrote:When I started studying for the bar, my husband had already moved to California because of his job so I was basically a “single” mother, working full-time, and I passed on my first attempt. I can tell you what I did but the best advice in the end of the day is to do what works for YOU. Focus on YOUR weaknesses.

For me, I have a really bad memory. So I bought just one book from the internet (conviser Mini review) and I made flashcards on each subject on Quizlet. The website is free and has this cool option where you can record yourself reading your flashcards. So, I listened to my flashcards literally during every single free time that I had (e.g., when I was driving, showering, cooking). You also have the option to “highlight” the flashcards and only listen to the ones you are getting wrong. Let’s say my daughter also memorized a lot of BLL lol. I started doing this back in November.

The second thing I bought was AdaptiBar. I did almost 1k questions. Practice, practice, practice. The website allows you to generate the questions you get wrong and I would review my wrong answers every, let’s say, 100 questions.

Last thing I bought was access to BarEssays. This was probably one month or so before the bar. I reviewed essays by subject. So I would, for instance, review my community property flashcards and do 5 essays. Now, this is where my advice will probably not work for everyone. I did not write one single essay in full but writing under pressure is my forte.

So I would just read the essay question and make a quick bullet point outline on the issues I had spotted (trust me, my answers were pathetic). This approach allowed me to review over 90+ essays before the bar. I would then read BarEssays model answers. I didn’t even bother reading the answers submitted by users (even the high scoring ones). I know some people are against reading perfect answers because they are unrealistic but it worked for me. I like to see the logic behind a good answer and, in the process, I learn new issues.

I thought the model answers were concise, to the point, and applied IRAC well. I actually liked the BarEssay model answers way better than the “perfect answers” that are in the Bar’s website. I created “outlines” from the model answers. They were somewhat lazy and consisted of only copying the black letter law from the model answers and pasting them to a word document. I think it is important to memorize BLL but it is also important to memorize saying things in a particular way; aka how you would actually write them. E.g., you need to memorize the introductory paragraph of community property. Period.

Finally, I really didn’t practice PTs. Again, I like to write so I understand this may be a weak spot for a lot of people. I think I read only one model PT. I read a few articles on how to attack PTs but none of them worked for me. Why? Because they all told me to either read everything first to get the big picture or to make an outline and freaking waste 1/3 of the time “preparing.” Now, remember the part where my memory sucks? Yeah, if I had read everything without writing or had just made an outline, I would have completely forgotten the directions and details by the first essay. And who got time to read things twice? Not me. So I wrote things as I read them.

So here, for example, as soon as I read the instructions and saw it was a brief, I made my headings, “Brief in Support of Forfeiture of the Bond,” “Summary of Facts,” “Analysis,” “Conclusion.” I then wrote a quick introduction (based on the instructions alone) that said something like this: The Cruz County District Attorney’s Office respectfully submits this Brief in Support of Forfeiture of Bond and argues that the $45,000 cash bond posted to release Henry Raymond should be forfeited because he failed to appear at the trial.

Then, I went to the “Summary of Facts.” I summarized the facts as I read the transcript from the hearing. I then went to the “Analysis” and did the same thing. E.g., I read the first case and summarized the case. In People v. Whatever, XYZ happened. The court ruled X. This is different/similar from the facts before this Court because... I made a few subheadings as I went that said things like “Case X is Not Applicable.” Because I didn’t waste time reading things more than once or making an outline, I even had time to write a little policy session about the implications of not forfeiting the bond (e.g., incentive for people not to show up for hearings). I will add though that I made very very short bullet point outlines for questions 1-5 just to make sure I didn’t forget any issues (hello bad memory).

I will say that one of the most important things for me was to keep a positive mindset. I know, for example, a lot of people panic when they get a bunch of questions wrong on AdaptiBar but getting something wrong brought me joy, literally. Because I knew I was learning something new before the bar, and not AT the bar. And that’s probably why I also focused on reading the model answers. My goal was always to learn new things.

The morning of the bar I did things to calm me down. For me that meant listening to classical music, doing yoga, and meditating. That is not to say things went down perfectly. My mind failed me a couple of times. I had a brain freeze during the professional responsibility essay. For the life of me I could not remember that the competence standard was that “Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” So I literally just wrote that lawyers need to be competent and explained why. I did not let that shake me and I moved on.

I will say that reading this board after the bar only made me feel bad about myself. All those discussions about who was right about the community property essay was pointless to me. I knew I had missed issues because one cannot simply spot them all. But I’ve been a law clerk for almost two years and I’ve read enough briefs at this point to know that two brilliant lawyers can submit opposing briefs, argue the law in different ways, reach different conclusions, and still submit excellent work product.

In the end of the day, your ability to spot the facts and analyze them in an intelligent manner is way more important than finding the right conclusion like some people make it seem. Heck, if there were one right conclusion to everything, SCOTUS opinions wouldn’t have dissents.

Keep it positive peeps and good luck next time!


Thank you SO much for providing a breakdown of your approach to the PT. Writing is not my strong point. I am very intimidated by the PT because the file and library are so dense and long.

Your "write as you read" approach might be what I need to get through that part of the exam.

cob2018

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby cob2018 » Sun May 19, 2019 7:04 pm

Thank you SO much for providing a breakdown of your approach to the PT. Writing is not my strong point. I am very intimidated by the PT because the file and library are so dense and long.

Your "write as you read" approach might be what I need to get through that part of the exam.[/quote]

You’re welcome. Writing helps most people memorize and become familiar with information so, for example, by the time you get to the cases, you already will have a good understanding of the facts and that makes comparing and contrasting the case law SO much easier

jptx

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby jptx » Sun May 19, 2019 9:21 pm

Does anyone have an explanation why statistically attorneys taking the one day exam fare better on the February exam administration as opposed to the July exam administration? The February administration generally has about a ten percent higher pass rate for attorneys (but less for the overall population of takers), and this statistic is consistent since at least 1990.

Grunt2Grad

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby Grunt2Grad » Sun May 19, 2019 9:55 pm

Didn't pass July 18 then passed Feb 19. Here is my take on what I did different to pass and how I approached things:

1) There is WAY TOO MUCH information out there. It is so overwhelming. The first time I sat for the exam I had Barbri, I had Critical Pass, I had BarEssays, I had books that I found on Amazon etc. It was just way too much and extremely overwhelming. The 2nd time around I used AdaptiBar and BarEssays and drilled, drilled, drilled.

2) I got a tutor that was a bar grader for the sole purpose of getting feedback on actual timed practice exams. My exam writing improved exponentially in just a few sessions. I get that not everyone has the luxury of paying for this option but if you can find a way, DO IT!

3) To the extent you can control it, get yourself as far away from toxic relationships, friendships, or jobs. This process beats you down enough as it is, having other people in your life doing it will only hurt you.

4) I bombed the PT on my first pass, I did the same on this one. I froze and legit probably wrote about 500 words for my PT (somehow still passed). That being said, dont be me. The PT is where you can make up a lot of ground.

5) You are only human. It is not realistic to say you are going to get 12 hours of good studying in a day. I made myself sick on the first time and I failed. Second time around I made time to hangout and be balanced.

There is nothing that I am going to say that will make things better. I know that feeling. Its like your heart dropped to the floor. You cycle being pissed, sad, motivated etc. You will hear "I know you are smart, you will get this" and it will get exhausting, but the truth is all you can do is take some time to recover and either get back on it or move on. I hope everyone chooses to keep trying and I hope you all get the feeling of relief and joy of being done with this soul sucking process.

yespasscbx

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby yespasscbx » Sun May 19, 2019 10:19 pm

Passed on my third try. Here's what I did and hopefully these would be helpful to some of you.

1. Practice. Do the questions and write out the essays. I had wanted to find the shortcut, but I was wrong twice. The last time, I LITERALLY did every question in Emanuel's Strategies & Tactics (Yes, it is the MBE Bible!) and read the full explanations for both wrong answers and correct answers. I downloaded every essay question and model answer available on the CalBar website and LITERALLY wrote out every essay and compared mine to model answers. It was A LOT OF work, but hardwork is rewarding, as proved by the success of my third try.

2. Practice (again!) is more important than the black letter law review. I would say I did not purposely do any black letter law review on my third try. I just did not need to do so - black letter law is incorporated into the full explanations in S&T (I understood why so many people recommended it after I completed the first section of it) and model answers to essay questions. When you repeat reading the rules, you automatically remember them!

3. Play some psychological games to make the journey less scary or daunting. For example, I decomposed Emanuel's Strategies & Tactics into 12 mini-books so that I did not feel like I was holding a thick brick with that 'there's a lot more to do' perception. I was more motivated by telling myself 'let's finish this book within 3 days' and got that sense of achievement when I actually did it.

4. Regarding PT, I recommended John Holtz's Performance Test Course. I did it for my first try and used his methodologies all the time. I consistently got 70 the first and second time. As I passed this time, I cannot see my score, but I felt good about PT this time, too. His methodologies are systematic and easy to apply. Besides his assignments, I did not practice any additional PT questions before the exam.

5. Get relaxed and don't freak out. I was very nervous sitting in the test center ... this time, I tried to talk to my neighbors before the exam started. I found out that the gentleman sitting next to me had tried four times and the lady next to him had tried twice just like me. So you're not alone as a repeater. We all work very hard and we deserve the success sooner or later. Do not give up and wish you good luck!

hastingsgal

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Re: 2019 February California Bar

Postby hastingsgal » Sun May 19, 2019 10:35 pm

Grunt2Grad wrote:Didn't pass July 18 then passed Feb 19. Here is my take on what I did different to pass and how I approached things:

1) There is WAY TOO MUCH information out there. It is so overwhelming. The first time I sat for the exam I had Barbri, I had Critical Pass, I had BarEssays, I had books that I found on Amazon etc. It was just way too much and extremely overwhelming. The 2nd time around I used AdaptiBar and BarEssays and drilled, drilled, drilled.



Congrats!! I did almost the exact same thing to pass the second time and totally agree.



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