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Author Topic: Gearing up for the bar exam  (Read 7193 times)

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2008, 06:04:53 AM »
Some advice from someone who failed (NY), albeit by a tiny margin, the first time...

My first time, I was feeling a lot like you. I was burned out from law school, realized that I was literally living my last few weeks of freedom before big girl life began and I had very little motivation. I studied, but not enough. I had to battle my self-discipline issues every day. I won't say that I didn't take it seriously enough, but when you realize in the back of your mind that just about every employer gives you two tries, it makes it a little easier to slack off. I will say this, though: it is so much better to put the time in up front and do it right the first time than have to go through that mess for the second time.

I studied on my own the second time. I didn't leave the house for a month. It kicked my ass, I lost 10 lbs (I only weighed 104 to begin with) and stressed myself nearly to the point of a nervous breakdown. I was on pins and needles right up until I looked up the results. It was awful, awful, awful.

The point is, it's a pain in the ass, but put in the work the first time. You do not want to have to do it again!
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

uh huh.

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2008, 07:16:19 AM »
I studied, but not enough.

Can you expand on what "enough" was for you? If you had an opportunity to go back and do it "right" the first time, how would you have changed your strategy? I am not at all effective if I stress myself to the point that you did during your second time, so I'm trying to figure out how I can avoid that (i.e. would buckling down starting next week help relieve some later pressure?). I appreciate any specifics you are willing to share.

slacker

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2008, 08:00:29 AM »
re: Admission in MN, you're missing something. You referred to the MN Rules for Admission rule 7A (admission after 5 of 7 yrs of practice) and missed rule 7B (admission on MBE score). I've given you the basics, I'll trust you can find the rest.

As for doing enough, think of the bar as a marathon, not a sprint. If you try to cram all the studying in at the last minute, you're going to feel overwhelmed and that may not be the best strategy. For over a month you're going to be attending BarBri. Don't let that be all you do each day. Go to class. I did morning sessions, so after that I'd take a lunch break. In the afternoon, I'd review notes and do practice MBE problems. Towards the last couple weeks (about a month out) I also started writing essays each day; generally three or so. Evenings were generally off. On weekends I think I generally didn't do much on Saturday unless I had some other course, and then started in again with review/essays/MBEs on Sunday. After a while, it was outlining on the essays but initially it was writing them out in full. You'll have about a week or more between the end of BarBri and the test. For that I hit the library from about 9 to 5 each day. The last couple days before the test I could barely stand to look at anything and didn't really try.

skeeball

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2008, 08:03:39 AM »
Tag for the interesting read.

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2008, 08:20:59 AM »
I studied, but not enough.

Can you expand on what "enough" was for you? If you had an opportunity to go back and do it "right" the first time, how would you have changed your strategy? I am not at all effective if I stress myself to the point that you did during your second time, so I'm trying to figure out how I can avoid that (i.e. would buckling down starting next week help relieve some later pressure?). I appreciate any specifics you are willing to share.

Basically, all that stuff you hear about having to treat bar study as a full time job is true. The first time around, I probably studied something like 2 hours a day (outside BarBri) 5 days a week until the last two weeks. Then I upped it to something like 5. It is incredibly difficult for me to sit down and focus. I can study for 20 minutes and then I need a one hour break. It's awful. And it's not that I'm lazy, I just can't focus. Same with the test-taking, unfortunately. I get to a certain point in an exam and I just want it over with, my mind starts to wander and I literally become apathetic. It's completely distructive, but it's very difficult for me to control.

The second time, I didn't take BarBri and I only had four weeks to prepare, but I studied 6-8 hours a day 6-7 days a week the first two weeks and 10-14 hours a day 7 days a week the last two. I had a lot of pressure to pass. My boyfriend passed the first time (though he took GA), and I didn't want to look like an idiot in front of him, my colleagues, my family, etc. It was just something I had to get done. I stll battled my concentration problems, but I've realized fear is an incredible motivator.
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2008, 08:22:20 AM »
I studied, but not enough.

Can you expand on what "enough" was for you? If you had an opportunity to go back and do it "right" the first time, how would you have changed your strategy? I am not at all effective if I stress myself to the point that you did during your second time, so I'm trying to figure out how I can avoid that (i.e. would buckling down starting next week help relieve some later pressure?). I appreciate any specifics you are willing to share.

Basically, all that stuff you hear about having to treat bar study as a full time job is true. The first time around, I probably studied something like 2 hours a day (outside BarBri) 5 days a week until the last two weeks. Then I upped it to something like 5. It is incredibly difficult for me to sit down and focus. I can study for 20 minutes and then I need a one hour break. It's awful. And it's not that I'm lazy, I just can't focus. Same with the test-taking, unfortunately. I get to a certain point in an exam and I just want it over with, my mind starts to wander and I literally become apathetic. It's completely distructive, but it's very difficult for me to control.

The second time, I didn't take BarBri and I only had four weeks to prepare, but I studied 6-8 hours a day 6-7 days a week the first two weeks and 10-14 hours a day 7 days a week the last two. I had a lot of pressure to pass. My boyfriend passed the first time (though he took GA), and I didn't want to look like an idiot in front of him, my colleagues, my family, etc. It was just something I had to get done. I stll battled my concentration problems, but I've realized fear is an incredible motivator.
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

uh huh.

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2008, 11:19:24 PM »
Thanks to both slacker and London Bound for your thoughts - you've given me a good idea of what I will need to be doing.

slacker

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2008, 01:04:47 AM »
When all is said and done, you need to find what works for you. Some general suggestions I have include figure out what are your weak points. Make sure you start on those early, so that you have the most time. If you're working on MBE questions, keep alternating subjects so you keep hitting different rules throughout. Along with keeping up with essay subjects from lectures, don't forget to do some review problems on occasion.

Oh, and ignore predictions about what subjects are going to be tested. At the very least, don't let someone's predictions give you the feeling that you can ignore certain subjects. (Although I will say if you're taking CA bar, make sure you've got CA PR vs. Model Code down.)

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2008, 05:15:01 AM »
When all is said and done, you need to find what works for you. Some general suggestions I have include figure out what are your weak points. Make sure you start on those early, so that you have the most time. If you're working on MBE questions, keep alternating subjects so you keep hitting different rules throughout. Along with keeping up with essay subjects from lectures, don't forget to do some review problems on occasion.

Oh, and ignore predictions about what subjects are going to be tested. At the very least, don't let someone's predictions give you the feeling that you can ignore certain subjects. (Although I will say if you're taking CA bar, make sure you've got CA PR vs. Model Code down.)

I agree with this. BarBri is not great at doing this for you. They mark up your essays and give you points for stuff you get right, but you get very little feedback on what you can do to get better. Same with MBE. It helps to know what particular subtopics of, say Contracts, you are struggling with. I recommend at least a little bit of tutoring for the essays and an MBE software that identifies your strengths and weaknesses based on subtopics (Micromash is a good one).
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

unlvcrjchick

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Re: Gearing up for the bar exam
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2008, 01:12:09 PM »
Question for those of you who took BarBri: would you say knowing the outlines in the Conviser book (I think that's what it's called) cold is all that you need to know to pass, or is it a must to study cover to cover the in-depth outlines in the other books as well?  I ask because someone - who passed the bar the first time - said that all he did was study the Conviser  to get the substantive law down cold, and the rest of the time, he just did practice essays/MBE questions.  I hope what he said is true, for it seems downright impossible to memorize all of the stuff in the 8 BarBri books.  It would also help ease the pressure, for I have to go out of town 5 days before the bar exam, and won't return until the Sunday before the bar exam; I plan on studying by listening the audio lectures I have uploaded to my iPod, and I'm hoping that is enough.