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Author Topic: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee  (Read 89481 times)

A.

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #730 on: July 31, 2008, 10:41:52 AM »
General advice that should hold even if I donít pass:

Studying

I actually liked the BarBri method.  Itís nice and structured, and they tell you what to do every day.  If I hadnít liked it, then I would have abandoned it for something else.  One thing I didnít do is outline each dayís lecture after class.  I still think that would have been a waste of time.  But I did make extensive charts for Ks and Civ Pro, and attack outlines for the other subjects.  But I made the attack outline after the review session for the simulated MBE (second week of July).  By then, youíll know what your problem areas are.  Because I like efficiency, I donít believe in making outlines of stuff I already know well.

I also thought the BarBri lectures and questions alone were enough to prepare me for the MBE and its format.  I had access to PMBR questions and did a few.  Overall, I thought they were poorly written, and their explanations seriously sucked in comparison to BarBri.  But this is a personal call.  Some people swear by PMBR and used only their practice problems.  I guess if I fail, Iíll learn some more ďfine-line distinctionsĒ (although I found that toward the end of July, I had learned so many distinctions that I was having trouble seeing the forest for the trees.  But at some point, you have to recognize that the majority of questions arenít testing super-fine distinctions, and govern yourself accordingly.)

I also did most of my practice online, using the StudySmart software.  This allows you to see how youíre doing compared to other people (although itís rather skewed toward the gunners at the beginning).  You can see the explanations for each question you got wrong.  You can choose to design tests that consist entirely of questions you previously missed or marked to review (I did this a lot toward the end).  The downside is that the real exam is on paper, and you canít make markings on your computer (well I guess you could if you have a tablet).  But that didnít really bother me, and I did 2 full-day exams, a half-day exam, and the mixed review problems in the BarBri book, so that was enough practice with the paper format for me.  Itís not like I hadnít taken an exam on scantrons before.

Oh, and I only cracked open the non-CMR outlines twice...and that was just to clarify a few distinctions.  CMR is your friend.  Especially the charts (and the outlines if your state, like mine, has them).

Regarding subject frequency: like I said, I donít put much faith in them.  Sure, theyíre useful to see whatís tested every single year.  Definitely know those subject really well.  But just because, e.g., commercial paper hasnít been tested in the past decade doesnít mean it wonít be tested this time.  Study it.  Be able to say something coherent.  By the end of July, I was by no means a tax guru (our least-tested subject), but I could say a thing or two about basis, gross income, etc. (and surprise, surprise, one of the essays had a tax subpart).

Overall, my study schedule was something like:

9-12: lectures/internet
12-1: lunch
1-2: mess around
2-4: practice subject-specific MBE questions and review
4-5: general review/mess around on the internet
5-5:30: nap (I was careful not to set my nap time during what I thought would be potential test-taking time)
5:30-7:30: practice essays
7:30-9: dinner/Law & Order
9-11: general review
11-12: mess around
12:15: bed

As I got closer to the bar, there was a bit less internet and more general review, but I donít believe in stressing out and overworking myself.

The Bar

Not much really to add here, except a word about timing:  Iím generally a fast reader, so I set myself to do 18 questions per 20-25 mins on the MBE, even though we technically had 1.8 mins per question (1 minute and 48 secs.).  So after each section, I would have at least 30-35 mins (50 mins in the afternoon session, it turned out) left.  The key to this approach, however, is recognizing when to move on.  Donít spend 3-4 mins mulling a problem.  Just narrow it down and go with your gut, then star it and come back during the time thatís left.  Underlining is also good, because sometimes they will ask questions about a third party suing when most of the problem involves other people.  So yeah, reading comprehension is key.

I did the same thing for the essays.  In my state, there are 9 essays, and we have 36 mins for each one.  I gave myself 30 mins per question so that I would have half an hour to go back and check for spelling errors, edit the structure, etc.  One of our lecturers made a good point: donít spend too much time on any one essay.  Sometimes the examiners screw up and ask a question that really canít be answered in the amount of time you should spend on it.  Just do your best and move on.  Everyone else will feel the same way, and it will be scaled accordingly.  Really, donít get caught up on any single question.

Other general advice: donít rehash problems after the exam.  It does no good.  Just forget about it and move on.  That said, it is rather therapeutic to talk about the exam in generalities with your fellow examinees.  E.g., ďthat female dog was tricky!Ē, ďwas it just me, or were there a lot of Ds?Ē, ďdid the proctor really have to spell Ďclosedí to us?Ē, ďcan you believe they threw in a tax question!?Ē, etc.  But donít talk about specific problems.  Really, donít be that annoying person who does that.

Yup, I think thatís about it.

A.

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #731 on: July 31, 2008, 10:45:30 AM »
Oh, and another thing: should you take classes just because they're on the bar?  Heck no.  There's no way I'd want to take secured transactions or tax just because they're on the bar exam.  Take the classes you enjoy.  BarBri will teach you what you need to know.

That said, was, e.g., Evidence more manageable because I'd taken a course on it?  Of course.  But it can easily be learned with BarBri.  I know several people who didn't take Evidence and who did just fine with the evidence practice problems after going to lecture, reviewing the CMR, etc.  So don't waste your time.

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #732 on: July 31, 2008, 10:52:26 AM »
I LOVED my Evidence class. Easily my fave subject in law school.
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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #733 on: July 31, 2008, 11:31:03 AM »


Lunch break.  Studied my outlines in my car strategically parked across the street and made an attempt to each a sandwich sorta.







Alci's overview of the July 2008 (non-NY) Bar Exam:



12:45-2: lunch.  We had to turn in our USB drives before we could go to lunch, so that cut lunch time by about 15 mins.  I used some of my westlaw points (all of them, actually, since I basically only use Lexis) to buy a cooler.  Wise investment.  I went to Subway the night before to get a sandwich, which I kept in my cooler in the trunk of my car.  Other people were scrambling to find stuff to eat.

I also reviewed some notes of the subjects that are always tested, but hadnít come up in the morning session.





A, you are my brother from another mother.  We had the exact same attack strategy in terms of logistics.  Last year, I also got a cooler, put a couple sandwiches in there, put it in the trunk of my car, and parked my car directly across the street from the Jacob Javits Center so that I could avoid the scrambling and wasting time.  Went back to my car during the lunch break, ate a little bit (not too much, didn't want the 'itis!) and calmly looked over the subjects that I knew were frequently tested that I had not seen during the a.m. session while everybody else stood in line at the local [pick one] restaurant nearby wasting valuable time.  Good strategy.

I felt the same way about the MBE when I came out.  About 20 or so questions that I absolutely knew without a doubt, about 20 or so that I had no idea, and the rest were the 50/50 ones in the middle where I could narrow it down to 2 answers quickly and then decide from there. 

You're spot on about the moving on advice.  So many people get caught up because they simply get hung up on ONE question (on the essays or on the MBE) and they let valuable time pass.  I am a SLOW and deliberate reader, and even I made it through both the a.m. and the p.m. sessions with at least 30 minutes to spare because I just kept it moving, and went back to answer questions that I skipped at the end after completing all the questions.

Good biz, sounds like you got it in the bag.
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Gary Glitter

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #734 on: July 31, 2008, 12:00:09 PM »
that MBE was a nightmare
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A.

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #735 on: July 31, 2008, 12:03:49 PM »
Good biz, sounds like you got it in the bag.

One can hope.  But regardless, out of sight and out of mind until it's time for results to come out.  Bar trip, here I come!

I LOVED my Evidence class. Easily my fave subject in law school.

Yeah it was one of my top three.  But I would imagine the corporate types view evidence in the same way that I view secured transactions...so for those types, they don't really have to bother.

A.

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #736 on: July 31, 2008, 12:04:58 PM »
that MBE was a nightmare

Yeah it was tricky.  Not sure what to make of it though.

Nowhere Man

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #737 on: August 01, 2008, 11:05:31 PM »
Yall dont understand how much I love reading these Bar Prep stories...

Sounds like you did fine to me!
But when you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out, in!

A.

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #738 on: August 23, 2008, 08:04:59 AM »
So my friends from North Carolina were informed that their results were mailed yesterday.  Damn that's quick!  How did they read the essays (12 per applicant) so fast?  It would be awesome to find out this early, though, and know whether or not to start studying again...we still have another 2 mos.

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Re: Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« Reply #739 on: August 24, 2008, 11:26:59 AM »
Did you take the bar in [clerkship state]?
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