Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

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matt2016

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Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:23 pm

Hi guys. I am studying for my LSAT right now and am gonna apply for the next cycle, 2020, so I will have plenty of time until I start law school ( October 2019- fall 2020). I was considering taking the patent bar exam during this period but I have no idea about where to start from. mostly my concern is about references and sources that I have to study for this test.
Do I need to take any prep courses? which books are better?

Any help ?

FYI :I have studied Electronic Engineering and fall under category A.

QContinuum

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby QContinuum » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:08 pm

Welcome to TLS, Matt!

First, I strongly recommend focusing on the LSAT first and knocking it out of the park. I wouldn't try to split your attention between the LSAT and the patent bar, as there is no urgency to take the patent bar. Passing the patent bar won't noticeably impact your law school admissions results, whereas every single additional point on the LSAT will make a big difference in your results (including the amount of merit aid you receive).

As for patent bar prep resources in particular, you'll want to enroll in an (online) prep course. PLI is the gold standard, but is very expensive. Nevertheless, if you have zero previous patent background, I think PLI is probably the way to go. Omniprep is much cheaper, but will require much more effort on your part to ensure you learn and understand everything you need to learn. That said, success is possible using Omni.

I believe the other two "mainstream" offerings are Pieper and Wysebridge. I don't know too much about those, but I'd slot them in between Omni and PLI in terms of price and quality. Perhaps some of the TLSers who used Pieper and/or Wysebridge would be willing to chime in to share their experience.

(P.S. I split off your post into a new thread, as your question is unrelated to what the person who started the original thread was asking.)

kms181

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby kms181 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:50 pm

This thread might be helpful. viewtopic.php?f=41&t=263239&p=10382211#p10382211

And I agree with QContinuum- focus on the LSAT. If you truly have the time to study for and take the patent bar, though, do it now and get it over with.

However, many people in your position like to take their last few months of freedom before law school begins to relax and get out on one last vacation for a while. Once school starts you don't have much time for yourself, even over the following summers, and buckling down the few months beforehand to pass the patent bar might compound your stress.

matt2016

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:39 am

I am new to this forum so I apologize if I posted my question under an irrelevant topic.

I really appreciate your concern. Yes you are right and now my entire life is on the back seat cause I've just focused on LSAT. August is my last LSAT shot and its result plays a pivotal roll in my future.

I just wanted to have a clearcut plan for the time that I am done with LSAT. Also I thought maybe I could use the patent law passages as a practice for RC section, reading them in the same way as I practice for RC section of LSAT, as I do with "The Economist" magazine .

It may seem weird but the more I make myself exposed to legal materials, I feel more motivated and feel my engine spins faster than before. When I come across RC passages regarding the history of law, I really enjoy it.

But since I have you guys on this topic, if ever anyone does not want to take prep courses for patent bar, is it possible to do self study and read the original sources?

kms181

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby kms181 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:42 pm

It is possible, but access to the practice questions within prep courses is really the key to success for most. Straight up reading the MPEP (which is over 3000 pages, I believe) is tedious, boring, and in the end, may not prove useful. The practice question bank within prep courses serves to really hammer in not only where to find the answers to commonly asked questions within the MPEP, but also familiarizes you with the question formats to facilitate faster response during test day.

The two biggest issues in this test are 1) knowing where to find the information and 2) managing your time wisely. Simply memorizing the text/ reading the sources is often a losing battle for many- but if that's the way you learn, by all means, go for it. But for a test that has (i think the latest) a 47% passage rate, you may just want to bite the bullet and pay for a prep course that at least gives you access to practice questions. As I said in the thread I linked, Wysebridge was really the ticket for me, as after learning the gist of things, the practice questions were all I needed.

Best of luck!!

QContinuum

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:05 pm

matt2016 wrote:But since I have you guys on this topic, if ever anyone does not want to take prep courses for patent bar, is it possible to do self study and read the original sources?

I would strongly recommend against that approach, especially for someone without any previous patent law background. Bite the bullet and enroll in a prep course. Even Omni would be better than nothing.

matt2016

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:10 pm

kms181 wrote:It is possible, but access to the practice questions within prep courses is really the key to success for most. Straight up reading the MPEP (which is over 3000 pages, I believe) is tedious, boring, and in the end, may not prove useful. The practice question bank within prep courses serves to really hammer in not only where to find the answers to commonly asked questions within the MPEP, but also familiarizes you with the question formats to facilitate faster response during test day.

The two biggest issues in this test are 1) knowing where to find the information and 2) managing your time wisely. Simply memorizing the text/ reading the sources is often a losing battle for many- but if that's the way you learn, by all means, go for it. But for a test that has (i think the latest) a 47% passage rate, you may just want to bite the bullet and pay for a prep course that at least gives you access to practice questions. As I said in the thread I linked, Wysebridge was really the ticket for me, as after learning the gist of things, the practice questions were all I needed.

Best of luck!!



All-right, I am convinced that prep courses for this test are essential. I do not mind spending money, my only concern is finding the best approach. But I am just a bit confused.

Since this is a subject matter test and the reference consists of +3000 pages of explanation, what is the mechanism of these prep courses ? Granted that they provide question banks similar to actual tests, but what else do they do ? Do they summarize that 3000 pages into a pamphlet of few hundred pages or do they go straight to the questions and make reference to the relevant sections ?

My confusion stems from my traditional way of studying ( mostly engineering materials). I would first read the sources, then I would start doing the tests and then based on what I have gained from the sources I would develop some skills for tackling the tests. I was wondering if this method was applicable in this respect? or is there any overlap btw my traditional method and how these prep courses approach?

Thanks.

kms181

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby kms181 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:22 pm

In short, your method does overlap, it's just the breadth of material makes it unlikely that reading the exact sources initially will help much.

For a baseline, the 3000+ page MPEP is broken down into chapters, and you are also tested on additional material such as appendices and some international things, but all of the material is available during the test (it's 'open book', although it's all taken online, so there's no physical book)

You pay a premium for courses like PLI because they offer video lectures for each chapter of the MPEP, along with outlines, summaries, charts and a smaller practice question bank. Wysebridge does not offer video lectures, but has chapter outlines, quick reference tools and summaries, charts, and a large bank of updated practice quizzes, along with previous test questions (the exact test questions are from 2002-2003, although I believe that the patent office hasn't officially released test questions since then.)

Basically the courses will provide outlines and materials for the most often tested areas of each chapter. The outlines teach you the broadest and most frequently tested concepts (akin to you reading the sources), then you do practice tests while using the MPEP to look up answers, and that helps you to develop skills for tackling the test. There's not a whole lot of strict memorization- you learn the ideas, remember which chapter covers what, and learn how to look it up.

I think I read once that you will likely know from memorization about 10-20 questions on the exam, and are expected to look up the remaining 80-90? Which is presumably why you're given 6 hours to answer 100 multiple choice questions (approx 3.5 minutes per question).

Your approach sounds much like mine was initially- I never had issues with standardized tests, but this one was a beast that I had to approach from a different angle than I was accustomed to, and my usual "review and remember" vibe wasn't going to cut it. I hope that helps!

matt2016

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:47 pm

kms181 wrote:In short, your method does overlap, it's just the breadth of material makes it unlikely that reading the exact sources initially will help much.

For a baseline, the 3000+ page MPEP is broken down into chapters, and you are also tested on additional material such as appendices and some international things, but all of the material is available during the test (it's 'open book', although it's all taken online, so there's no physical book)

You pay a premium for courses like PLI because they offer video lectures for each chapter of the MPEP, along with outlines, summaries, charts and a smaller practice question bank. Wysebridge does not offer video lectures, but has chapter outlines, quick reference tools and summaries, charts, and a large bank of updated practice quizzes, along with previous test questions (the exact test questions are from 2002-2003, although I believe that the patent office hasn't officially released test questions since then.)

Basically the courses will provide outlines and materials for the most often tested areas of each chapter. The outlines teach you the broadest and most frequently tested concepts (akin to you reading the sources), then you do practice tests while using the MPEP to look up answers, and that helps you to develop skills for tackling the test. There's not a whole lot of strict memorization- you learn the ideas, remember which chapter covers what, and learn how to look it up.

I think I read once that you will likely know from memorization about 10-20 questions on the exam, and are expected to look up the remaining 80-90? Which is presumably why you're given 6 hours to answer 100 multiple choice questions (approx 3.5 minutes per question).

Your approach sounds much like mine was initially- I never had issues with standardized tests, but this one was a beast that I had to approach from a different angle than I was accustomed to, and my usual "review and remember" vibe wasn't going to cut it. I hope that helps!


The fact that they break the chapters down into different categories is sooooo good. That is exactly what I would do but mine would be a time sink process. First creating a clear road map in abstract and then break it down to reach the details. I guess now I have a clear idea of what I am gonna face and what should I do. And it was very helpful. Thank you

And about that memorization thing, that was not me. Must have been someone else.

seems you are active in this field. How do you see the market for it. Since patent law is not as saturated as other law practices, do you still think a top tier law school matters or should I just be on the look out for the best offer, financial wise, regardless of ranking ? I am living in LA and am not inclined to move out for work.

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby elephant210 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:52 pm

I agree with the above advice to focus the LSAT now. Along the lines of waiting - I recently passed the patent bar (during my 3L year). I had a background in STEM, so after I summered with an IP firm, they covered the costs of the prep course. If you are okay with waiting to take the patent bar, that might be a way to save yourself some money. You will definitely want a prep course. I can only speak to PLI, it's what I used, but I thought it was a well-structured program that gave you what you needed. The best way to prepare was just doing the practice questions. It's really more training yourself how to look things up quickly - I probably looked up about 50-70% of the questions. Good luck!

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby Moabit » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:48 am

matt2016 wrote:The fact that they break the chapters down into different categories is sooooo good. That is exactly what I would do but mine would be a time sink process. First creating a clear road map in abstract and then break it down to reach the details. I guess now I have a clear idea of what I am gonna face and what should I do. And it was very helpful. Thank you

And about that memorization thing, that was not me. Must have been someone else.

seems you are active in this field. How do you see the market for it. Since patent law is not as saturated as other law practices, do you still think a top tier law school matters or should I just be on the look out for the best offer, financial wise, regardless of ranking ? I am living in LA and am not inclined to move out for work.


Here is my take. Patent bar may be a plus for those who have patent bar-eligible degrees that are not in huge demand among patent prosecution firms (such as mechanical engineering or biochemistry). Since you have the hottest degree, EE, of all in the current market, you should have no problem finding interested employers (during your 2L OCIs, or even earlier) who might eventually pay for your prep course, as was the case for one of the above posters. (But you will have to pay taxes on what your firm pays for your prep course, so it may not be completely free). Accordingly, you might wait until your 3L year before you study for the patent bar.

PLI costs about $2k, but it is the most straightforward way to pass the patent bar. With PLI, the exam itself is not too difficult, if you spend enough time to prepare. What I strongly suggest is to acquaint yourself with basic legal concepts of patent law before you start your patent bar exam preparation. This will make conceptualizing MPEP rules so much easier. My favorite is Janice Mueller's "Patent law" book. (You can start reading it right after you are done with LSAT.)

If you can get accepted to UCLA, with your EE degree, you'll have it cut for you pretty much anywhere in CA (or else). So focus on LSAT now. Also (please don't take this as an offense), since English is probably your second language, use any opportunity to perfect your writing skills (don't neglect legal methods classes while in law school!). This will make you even more attractive to employers. (I simply noticed that your degree is in Electronic Engineering, which is common for foreign degree holders, whereas US degrees are typically in Electric Engineering.) Best of luck!

matt2016

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:25 am

elephant210 wrote:I agree with the above advice to focus the LSAT now. Along the lines of waiting - I recently passed the patent bar (during my 3L year). I had a background in STEM, so after I summered with an IP firm, they covered the costs of the prep course. If you are okay with waiting to take the patent bar, that might be a way to save yourself some money. You will definitely want a prep course. I can only speak to PLI, it's what I used, but I thought it was a well-structured program that gave you what you needed. The best way to prepare was just doing the practice questions. It's really more training yourself how to look things up quickly - I probably looked up about 50-70% of the questions. Good luck!


congrats on passing it and it seems PLI is the best and worth spending a premium. Thanks. How long did you study for it? is it difficult for one who has not entered law school yet ?

matt2016

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:57 am

Moabit wrote:
matt2016 wrote:The fact that they break the chapters down into different categories is sooooo good. That is exactly what I would do but mine would be a time sink process. First creating a clear road map in abstract and then break it down to reach the details. I guess now I have a clear idea of what I am gonna face and what should I do. And it was very helpful. Thank you

And about that memorization thing, that was not me. Must have been someone else.

seems you are active in this field. How do you see the market for it. Since patent law is not as saturated as other law practices, do you still think a top tier law school matters or should I just be on the look out for the best offer, financial wise, regardless of ranking ? I am living in LA and am not inclined to move out for work.


Here is my take. Patent bar may be a plus for those who have patent bar-eligible degrees that are not in huge demand among patent prosecution firms (such as mechanical engineering or biochemistry). Since you have the hottest degree, EE, of all in the current market, you should have no problem finding interested employers (during your 2L OCIs, or even earlier) who might eventually pay for your prep course, as was the case for one of the above posters. (But you will have to pay taxes on what your firm pays for your prep course, so it may not be completely free). Accordingly, you might wait until your 3L year before you study for the patent bar.

PLI costs about $2k, but it is the most straightforward way to pass the patent bar. With PLI, the exam itself is not too difficult, if you spend enough time to prepare. What I strongly suggest is to acquaint yourself with basic legal concepts of patent law before you start your patent bar exam preparation. This will make conceptualizing MPEP rules so much easier. My favorite is Janice Mueller's "Patent law" book. (You can start reading it right after you are done with LSAT.)

If you can get accepted to UCLA, with your EE degree, you'll have it cut for you pretty much anywhere in CA (or else). So focus on LSAT now. Also (please don't take this as an offense), since English is probably your second language, use any opportunity to perfect your writing skills (don't neglect legal methods classes while in law school!). This will make you even more attractive to employers. (I simply noticed that your degree is in Electronic Engineering, which is common for foreign degree holders, whereas US degrees are typically in Electric Engineering.) Best of luck!


That is correct, English is my second language and for sure I will work more on my writing skills. I came here in late 2016 and got my bachelors back in my home country. Right now I am studying for LSAT full time and am taking it in September. It is a big challenge for me. hopefully I can get a high score and ...
I didn't know how hot is EE in this practice. That gave me a good feeling. Thank you

But let's not consider/exclude prep course expenses at this point, what is the benefit in it if I pass it before getting into law school as opposed to passing it in my 2L/3L ? If you think there is no difference and no benefit in passing it before law school, then what do you recommend me to do during this gap ( from October till fall 2020) ?

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby Moabit » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:10 am

matt2016 wrote:But let's not consider/exclude prep course expenses at this point, what is the benefit in it if I pass it before getting into law school as opposed to passing it in my 2L/3L ? If you think there is no difference and no benefit in passing it before law school, then what do you recommend me to do during this gap ( from October till fall 2020) ?

Provided that you do not want to retake LSAT, you may indeed spend some time learning about patent law. Again, I would start with Mueller's book and read at least a couple of times chapters on 101, 102, 103, 112, Correcting/Reexaminations, IPR, PGR, PCT (don't worry if you don't know what any of these stand for yet). Then read a bit about what an office action is on various patent blogs. That will prime you well to take on patent bar preparation course(s). (Patent infringement chapters are not as relevant to the patent bar.) Half a year between LSAT and start of law school is enough time to pass patent bar, if you are persistent.

Make no mistake, having patent bar is a plus on resume (especially for the lower-tier firms). But it is good to take it just before you start your patent prosecution work, because some of that stuff will fade away from your memory if you don't use it. Patent bar preparation will do little to your ability to draft claims or specification or an office action response. So ideally, once you take patent bar, you want to start looking for patent prosecution work (already as a student intern, many firms cultivate such relationships early on, some don't). However, you probably don't want to take on such work during your 1L year.

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby elephant210 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:00 pm

matt2016 wrote:
elephant210 wrote:I agree with the above advice to focus the LSAT now. Along the lines of waiting - I recently passed the patent bar (during my 3L year). I had a background in STEM, so after I summered with an IP firm, they covered the costs of the prep course. If you are okay with waiting to take the patent bar, that might be a way to save yourself some money. You will definitely want a prep course. I can only speak to PLI, it's what I used, but I thought it was a well-structured program that gave you what you needed. The best way to prepare was just doing the practice questions. It's really more training yourself how to look things up quickly - I probably looked up about 50-70% of the questions. Good luck!


congrats on passing it and it seems PLI is the best and worth spending a premium. Thanks. How long did you study for it? is it difficult for one who has not entered law school yet ?



PLI recommends 150-200 hours. That's probably about what I spent, but it wasn't all immediately before I took the exam. I had taken my school's patent law course so I had a good background. I worked through most of the PLI course in the fall semester. Then did the practice questions in the spring before I took the exam.

I think having some law school under your belt makes it a little easier just because most of the questions are procedural. I think the language they use is a little more familiar after some law school. But there are a lot of people who take it before law school and don't have any issues.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby totesTheGoat » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:57 pm

QContinuum wrote:
First, I strongly recommend focusing on the LSAT first and knocking it out of the park. I wouldn't try to split your attention between the LSAT and the patent bar, as there is no urgency to take the patent bar. Passing the patent bar won't noticeably impact your law school admissions results, whereas every single additional point on the LSAT will make a big difference in your results (including the amount of merit aid you receive).


I disagree with this, and here's why.
1) Patent bar is a quick study and take sort of thing. You shouldn't have to spend more than a month or so studying for it.
2) It doesn't really affect your admissions to law school, but it can substantially affect your path through law school. There are part- and full-time jobs open to law students with USPTO reg numbers.
3) Either you take it while prepping for the LSAT, while prepping for finals during law school, while prepping for the bar, or you're useless for the first couple months of your career while studying for the exam. There's no really good time to take it, but the earlier you take it, the more doors open for you.

That said, I used PLI. It's a bit pricey, but I passed it on my first shot with a compressed study schedule.

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby Moabit » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:20 pm

QContinuum wrote:
First, I strongly recommend focusing on the LSAT first and knocking it out of the park. I wouldn't try to split your attention between the LSAT and the patent bar, as there is no urgency to take the patent bar. Passing the patent bar won't noticeably impact your law school admissions results, whereas every single additional point on the LSAT will make a big difference in your results (including the amount of merit aid you receive).

I am with QContinuum on this. Don't split time between LSAT and patent bar. You will have many opportunities to pass patent bar. You will have one or may be two chances to take LSAT. As a foreign-educated applicant, you want focus on LSAT and do as best as you can to get into a good school.

matt2016

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:13 pm

Moabit wrote:
matt2016 wrote:But let's not consider/exclude prep course expenses at this point, what is the benefit in it if I pass it before getting into law school as opposed to passing it in my 2L/3L ? If you think there is no difference and no benefit in passing it before law school, then what do you recommend me to do during this gap ( from October till fall 2020) ?

Provided that you do not want to retake LSAT, you may indeed spend some time learning about patent law. Again, I would start with Mueller's book and read at least a couple of times chapters on 101, 102, 103, 112, Correcting/Reexaminations, IPR, PGR, PCT (don't worry if you don't know what any of these stand for yet). Then read a bit about what an office action is on various patent blogs. That will prime you well to take on patent bar preparation course(s). (Patent infringement chapters are not as relevant to the patent bar.) Half a year between LSAT and start of law school is enough time to pass patent bar, if you are persistent.

Make no mistake, having patent bar is a plus on resume (especially for the lower-tier firms). But it is good to take it just before you start your patent prosecution work, because some of that stuff will fade away from your memory if you don't use it. Patent bar preparation will do little to your ability to draft claims or specification or an office action response. So ideally, once you take patent bar, you want to start looking for patent prosecution work (already as a student intern, many firms cultivate such relationships early on, some don't). However, you probably don't want to take on such work during your 1L year.


Nice. I will keep them in mind and kick this plan off right after taking LSAT. I will save your posts. They enlightened me. Thank you so much

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:26 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
First, I strongly recommend focusing on the LSAT first and knocking it out of the park. I wouldn't try to split your attention between the LSAT and the patent bar, as there is no urgency to take the patent bar. Passing the patent bar won't noticeably impact your law school admissions results, whereas every single additional point on the LSAT will make a big difference in your results (including the amount of merit aid you receive).


I disagree with this, and here's why.
1) Patent bar is a quick study and take sort of thing. You shouldn't have to spend more than a month or so studying for it.
2) It doesn't really affect your admissions to law school, but it can substantially affect your path through law school. There are part- and full-time jobs open to law students with USPTO reg numbers.
3) Either you take it while prepping for the LSAT, while prepping for finals during law school, while prepping for the bar, or you're useless for the first couple months of your career while studying for the exam. There's no really good time to take it, but the earlier you take it, the more doors open for you.

That said, I used PLI. It's a bit pricey, but I passed it on my first shot with a compressed study schedule.


good to hear that you nailed it on your first shot. I was not planning on studying for it while I am studying for LSAT, it is about starting an auto pilot plan for after LSAT. Everything starts from thinking about doing an intern in a patent law firm prior to entering law school, in order to get more exposed and building a network and ... So I assumed I might be able to open up better and more professional opportunities if I pass patent bar exam as opposed to be an ordinary assistant in a law firm.

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby pfunkera » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:23 am

I would advise taking it when you have some time and get it out of the way. I graduated law school in early December, but I tried to take the patent bar right before Thanksgiving break. I failed with a 69% because you need a 70% to pass :(. Well, I took the patent bar again between Xmas and New Years (passed this time), and then my state's February bar exam. I worked full time through all of that as well so those 3-4 months were absolute hell. Looking back, I wish I would have taken the patent bar much earlier. Once law school starts, it will be easy to come up with excuses for why you don't have the time to study for it.

I did PLI, but I would recommend skipping the Pre-AIA preparation as I don't think I had a single Pre AIA question. There will be 5-10 repeat questions so if you can memorize the old questions, you can save yourself some time on the actual test. I answered the repeat questions in a few seconds so that gave me extra time to search the MPEP for the answers on the other questions. Many of the answers are direct quotes from the MPEP so if you search efficiently, the answers are right there. Being able to efficiently search and knowing where to search the MPEP is key as all the answers are in there.

matt2016

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Re: Patent Bar Prep Recommendations?

Postby matt2016 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:56 am

pfunkera wrote:I would advise taking it when you have some time and get it out of the way. I graduated law school in early December, but I tried to take the patent bar right before Thanksgiving break. I failed with a 69% because you need a 70% to pass :(. Well, I took the patent bar again between Xmas and New Years (passed this time), and then my state's February bar exam. I worked full time through all of that as well so those 3-4 months were absolute hell. Looking back, I wish I would have taken the patent bar much earlier. Once law school starts, it will be easy to come up with excuses for why you don't have the time to study for it.


I guess taking it before law school is the wisest decision.



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