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You can do it!
Last Post 01/10/2011 9:36 PM by Seburo
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12/07/2010 12:56 PM
Author: Sunny [21813]
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Preparing for the bar exam can be frustrating. It's frustrating to know that you're sacrificing a large amount of time to study for a test that you may not pass. I want to offer a few words of encouragement and advice to those of you preparing for the exam.

1: You can do it! Think about how far you have come. You graduated from college AND law school. This is not to mention all of the standardized tests and exams you had to take and the papers you had to write. Most people cannot claim these accomplishments. Don't let an exam that is written in such a way to weed many people out cause you to lose sight of all that you have accomplished!

2: Bar review courses may not be the way to go. I didn't do BarBri, PMBR or any other bar review course. Well, that's not entirely true. I bought the red and blue PMBR books used from someone on craigslist. I did every single question in both books TWICE.

3: Don't waste time. I wasted so much time, at first,making flash cards and outlines. WASTE! Highlight the answers you get wrong and move one. Read what you highlight weekly. Look up the law you don't understand and find someone (someone with no legal knowledge) to explain it to. Repeat the questions that you get wrong, 1-2 weeks after you got them wrong.

4: Don't wast time reading outlines. You don't have to read outlines multiple times. I only read the Conviser outline once. I bought PMBR CDs for the MBE topics from Craigslist and listened to them over and over again. Eventually, it sticks like a song that you hear over and over.Remember: YOU KNOW THIS STUFF ALREADY!

5: Application! Application! Application! This is the most important. You have to apply the law in order to really know it. Doing lots of multiples is the key.

6: Don't neglect the essay portion. A lot of people put this off until the end. Not a good idea IMO. From the beginning, I read several essay questions and answers each night. I did this in cycles and repeated the questions 3 times. Again, repetition caused the desired writing style and answers to stick. You can know the law, but if you don't give the graders what they want and how they want it, you will not get maximum number of points.

7: Do what works for you. There are lots of people offering there advice here. Most of them mean well. However, they can be misleading and confusing. I'm here just offering my unsolicited advice because I know how some of you feel and I want to help. But maybe what worked for me may not work for you. In the end, you have to figure out what kind of leaner you are, what you are lacking, and a good study plan.

8: Pray! I prayed a lot. This brought me much comfort and calmed my nerves. God cares for you and will help you if you lean on Him.

9: Laugh and Cry! I actually cried more than I laughed because I was tired, frustrated, depressed, broke... And while am still feeling some of the same emotions, I am happy that the bar exam is behind me. Hang in there because soon it will be behind you too. Best wishes.

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12/07/2010 1:42 PM
Author: Mikey [21813]
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Thx so much for your input. I am repeating bcos i did poorly on the ESSAYS. Hence, this time around i am working on the ESSAYS quite early in my preparation (started last wk).

I had a 142 on the MBE and eventhough i intend to increase my score by purchasing STRATEGICS & TACTICS, i have not started using it yet. Plan to do so first week in January. Currently plugging away 50 PMBR qns daily as i did back in the Summer. However, my score then was consistently 70% and was not surprised to have scored 142. I am constitently score around 75% so far on TORTS, CONTRACT & PROPERTY (already finished ALL qns in the Red book).

Should i be concerned that i am NOT scoring more than 75% since i want to increase my MBE score? Pls advise.

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12/07/2010 1:45 PM
Author: refreshing [21813]
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thanks for the words of encouragement. It's refreshing to see a post with advice, that's not followed up with a website or some personal contact info for a tutor (or some other spam).

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12/07/2010 3:26 PM
Author: repeater- take 2 [21813]
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That was a dear message you posted. I thank you for your kind words of inspiration and hope those of us who are studying for the bar exam take comfort in your words.

Thanks and pay it forward!

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12/08/2010 11:25 PM
Author: blah [21813]
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I vowed never to be "that guy" giving advice out to prospective bar takers, but under the circumstances of the stupidity of this initial post, I felt a few words were in order.

First, whoever posted this initial post was clearly not a California bar passer. For those of you taking the bar in states other than california, no sweat. Just put in a few hours, do about 50 multiple choice questions a day, and you'll pass.

I took and passed the Feb 2009 california bar exam as a first time taker. Studying for the CA bar exam was the hardest thing I have had to endure in my life (major tragedies aside).

The first bit of advice I would give to any bar taker is do not listen to anyone who gives you advice on "how to study" for the bar exam. You have got to realize that studying for the bar exam is essentially like being in a three month "finals" mode. You and you alone know exactly how you learn best, you know your own study habits, and you know what works for you. Don't change that because it's the bar exam.

To all those who tell you "All you have to do is x amount of multiple choice questions," or "All you have to do it xyz" you need to smile and nod and completely ignore them.

Here is the only advice you will ever need for studying and passing any state's bar exam:

1. You know what works for you. If you are a flashcard person and always have been, keep doing flashcards. I, for one, never used my own outlines in law school, and just grabbed outlines from upperclassmen and modified them. Hence, during barbri, I just used the barbri outlines as my study tools. BUT, I know plenty of people who COULD NOT study without making their own outlines, and they continued that process through the bar exam with much success. In other words, implement the same study strategies for the bar that you implement for a law school final.

2. Take Barbri. If you already took barbri, probably no need to take it again. If you didn't take barbri the first time, now is a good time to invest in the course. I don't remember what the statistic is, but a ridiculous percentage of law school grads take barbri. This means two things: 1. A ridiculous percentage of law school grads will have bar exam answers that look the same, and 2. Answers that look the same are a good thing. You want to adopt the same exam style as a majority of the people so that your answer will "fit in" with the rest.

3. Put in the time. For the California bar exam especially, you need to put in 2-3 months of dedicated studying, no exceptions, no part-time work. Anything less and you are guaranteeing failure. You need to treat this like a law school "finals week" that lasts three months, period.

4. Know your study habits. If you can wake up and put in a solid 8-9 hours of studying and be done by 5 pm, fine. Other people (like yours truly) have massive ADD. As such, I would always make sure I slept a solid8 hours a night, would hit the barbri lecture from 9 to 12, take a long lunch to relax, hit the library for another three hours, take a dinner break, and hit the library for another 3 hours minimum. Usually I did not go to sleep until 10 p.m. or so. BUT, I did not force myself to adopt a ridiculous schedule (like my roommate who decided to be at the library at 6 am everyday) and I passed the bar exam (unlike my roommate who burned out after the first month because of the ridiculous schedule he put himself under).

5. Know that barbri punts on the performance test. At least in California, barbri's approach is "You only have to pass 2/3 sections" Therefore, barbri focuses its efforts on the essays and the MBE, and tells you to "write whatever" on the performance tests. This is ridiculous. Why wouldn't anyone want to do their best in each section, to make up for their shortfalls in the other sections? Treat the performance test like an essay, they are just as layered. Also, work as many performance tests into your schedule as possible.

6. It's all about getting into a comfort zone. Accept the fact that you will NEVER know everything there is to know about the 14 areas of the law (in CA) that will be on the bar exam. The goal is to get to the point that you are comfortable fielding any question they throw at you, not that you will knock each one out of the park.

I know I probably sound like a dick, but the biggest problem with the bar exam is that there are so many people trying to tell you their individual recipe for success, and that is such garbage. WHAT WORKS FOR SOMEONE ELSE WILL NOT NECESSARILY WORK FOR YOU. Most people do not even really spend the time to take a step back and really focus on what will work for them. I've tried to make the foregoing advise as generic as possible in so far as all persons who have passed the CA bar exam will likely tell you that their approach was in line with what I outlined above.

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12/09/2010 1:25 AM
Author: CBX First Time Passer [21813]
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Blah, Great advice!

First, I completely agree with the “finals mode” approach for the two months of bar prep. Second, thank you for preaching the gospel on DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

Fortunately, I did not listen to my classmates who insisted that creating my own outlines was the only way to pass the CA bar. I NEVER made my own outlines in law school so it made absolutely no sense to start creating them for the bar exam. Like you, I used outlines from upperclassmen and re-arranged information so that I could understand it. I did the same thing with my BarBri materials and it worked out just fine. Also, there was no way I was waking up at 5am to be in the library by 6am. Didn’t do it in law school so why would I do it for bar prep – made no sense. But of course, I had classmates preaching to me about getting an early start and making sure to start my day at 7 or 8am. I politely informed them that I am the only one who knows how and when I study best.

Your entire post in on point and I hope folks read it and understand that they NEED to be in the driver’s seat during bar prep.

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12/10/2010 5:55 PM
Author: Dustin [21813]
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Hi all,
I took and passed the Feb 2010 California Bar exam.
I agree with lots of what the original poster said, especially points:
5) Application
7) Do what works for you
8) Pray

5) Application
If you do nothing else, take practice essays and multiple choice under timed conditions and then review the answers. For the essays, make sure you have good model answers (NOT the ones on the calbar website. Those are perfect and you don’t need to be nearly as close as those to pass). Compare the issues you found with the model answer. Make sure your writing ‘reads’ like an attorney. Many people who take barbri and other prep courses won’t pass if they’re writing isn’t attorney-like.
For the MBE, do timed practice, look at every answer whether you got it right and wrong and know why. Then be able to do it again.

7) Do what works for you
Bar prep, like law school, is very individualistic. You have to do what works for you. Personally, I never used outlines or flash cards. I only did practice questions and hypos. If you’re an outline person, do it. If not, don't change.

8) Pray
This is huge! I prayed a lot as well. Orienting your mind and spirit to pass is huge in my opinion.

I WOULD recommend you take a bar prep program. I took barbri and it was great, although very pricey. If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative that still has a very good pass rate (75% overall), check out Themisbar.com . No, I don’t work for barbri or Themis – just giving my perspective.
This is my advice. I write several posts on my website every week on different topics of the bar, including mindset and goal setting. I’m not intending to be spammy by including the website. It’s purpose is to help you pass. There are no ads right now and we don’t ask for your email or anything like that.

www.ipassedmybarexam.com
Either way, good luck!
Dustin

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12/11/2010 2:17 PM
Author: blah is FOS [21813]
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I agree with the OP. "People" like "Blah" crack me up. Blah had the same opportunity to post advice, but waits until OP is kind enough look back and help others, Blah attacks and tries to discredit. The "advice" that Blah gives is very general and quite rhetorical. Blah's advice is the kind that you get from most people who don't really want you to know how they passed. The OP is much more specific and comes across as genuine. Blah probably read and said, "Oh, #@$%! Why is this person here giving aways all the secrets. It's competitive enough out there." So Blah tries to temper the OP's advice, with his/her very vague and useless advice. What a joke!

Thank you OP and I wish you much success for the kindness you have shown.

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01/10/2011 9:36 PM
Author: Seburo [21813]
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Sunny, thank you so much for your encouraging and insightful post! I keep coming back to this as I prepare for the Feb. '11 exam.

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