July Homestretch Motivation

Hi all,

I wanted to do a quick post after consulting my calendar and realizing that not only is it July 1, but in give or take 20-some days you will be sitting for the Bar Exam. I just want to say and for you to know that AHHHH OH MY GOD THE NEVER ENDING SUMMER IS NOW TOO CLOSE TO ENDING AND YOU SHOULD BE BUGGING OUT!

Apologies, but I know that the majority of you are feeling at least some component of the above statement and wanted to reassure you that is normal, both for first time takers and repeat takers. First timers, it will be a new experience for you and it is unlike any exam you have previously taken and you are probably nervous or afraid and may  be taking the exam in very unfamiliar locations. Repeaters, I think it’s a safe bet to say there is a fear of not passing again and like first-timers, you may also not be in an ideal or familiar location. It doesn’t matter.

Stay calm, and study on. Give yourselves credit for the amount of work you have put in thus far, and keep practicing and reviewing. Remember: mind over matter. Whether you are a bit (or very) scared, anxious, uncomfortable, or anything of that sort, sit down with a sibling or parent or – if they are not taking the exam – a very good friend, and just start talking about the law, talk about issues and how or why X doesn’t matter because the law states you need Y and Z. Literally verbally regurgitate what you know or recall, even if you decide to record yourself or simply read material out loud. I found that doing so tended to boost my confidence, underscore the result of all the time and hard work I had put in, and also illuminate areas that required clarification.

I know that July 1st seems to have this psychological effect on a lot of examinees despite the fact that, from another point of view, it’s just one day fewer than you had yesterday. Be confident, be strong, and do not let last minute nerves or fear of not passing send your study schedule/system into disarray or deter you from sitting for the exam. To paraphrase Nelson Mandela:

Courage is not an absence of fear, but the strength to overcome it.

 

 

Condensing Down & Bar Exam Countdown

Hello All!

I have been getting questions about whether or not to condense things, if so, how to condense, and if there is enough time to do so.

My first and most important point would be if you do not feel as though you will have time to study every topic and condense them down or never did that for law school and are trying it for the first time with approximately a month left until the exam, it may not be for you. However, if you would like to condense down and feel you have enough time to do so or have done enough practice at this point that you can identify specific subtopics to focus on, go for it.

As far as my procedure regarding condensing and memorizing, I’ll use Civil Procedure and Contracts and Sales as examples, because I felt that I did nail down those outlines. In fact, none are longer than 5 pages.

The process I used: So you have your outline book (hypothetically) which has long outlines (I think contracts and sales was around 70 pages), and lecture handouts, which usually average anywhere from a mere 10 page reduction or as high as a 30 page reduction. So when viewing lectures, I took notes in the margins and if there was something I didn’t understand or needed to review, I marked it in the margins as well and inserted the relevant info. Then I used and reviewed my Critical Pass and Studicata supplemental resources to ensure my understanding and consistency among elements. Finally, I broke everything down into an outline as I understood it, including issues to spot, rules/tests, exceptions, side notes, memory devices, and abbreviations. Then, after the fact, went back and color coded them, as I was a big color-coder in law school. It sounds like a lot of work but honestly I was able to do them in 2 days (while still doing work for my prep program) and in one day if I had little to do or decided to dedicate a day to a particular topic I was weak in.

Finally, I also experimented with differing formats, which partially depended on the topic but also whether organization or substance needed to be focused on, etc.. For example, see below for a fairly non-traditional/ different outlines in terms of structure, color-coding, etc. but effective nonetheless:

 

 

If outlines are not for you, don’t worry – this post is meant for those who have asked questions regarding outlines. Keep practicing essays and MBE questions and study hard!

As a side note, I did not make outlines for every topic and also used more traditional formats, but I found that certain alternatives were more effective.

Time for a Quick Survey and Post

Just a 3 question survey for examinees to help see if commonalities exist, general confidence, and what MBE topic you feel worst about – even if it is essays on the topic that scare you. It is completely anonymous. You can take the survey HERE!

Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Examples

Hello Examinees!

Due to requests, I decided to post some of my memory devices for various areas of law. I will endeavor to continue adding additional topics and subtopics, but for now I figured I would post what I have.

Criminal Law:S_64271a8f-750a-4912-b35e-acdb873ef200SELRES_64271a8f-750a-4912-b35e-acdb873e
For criminal law, I focused on intent because not only can you list out crimes by memorizing the different categories of intent, but you know which defenses can apply to a crime in light of its intent requirement.
SPECIFIC INTENT: Specific Intent crimes are a CATS BAFFFLER (note the extra ‘f’). Conspiracy, ATtempt, Solicitation (the inchoate crimes), and Burglary, Assault, Forgery, False pretenses, First degree murder, Larceny, Embezzlement, Robbery.
GENERAL INTENT: “I learned General Intent Crimes in My KRIB. Manslaughter, Kidnapping, Rape, false Imprisonment, and Battery.

Evidence:
This may look familiar, as my law school professor and some supplements and at least one bar prep program use it but here we go:
Hearsay EXCLUSIONS (no unavailability required) “I Learned Hearsay Exclusions on PBJ PAPERS.” Learned: learned treatise; PBJ = public records, business records, judgements of prior convictions; PAPERS: Present sense impression, Ancient documents, Past physical condition [for med diagnosis or treatment], Excited utterance, Recorded recollection and State of mind (present state of mind).
NOTE: If it works better for you just PBJ PAPERS or vice versa, but while it is not heavily tested for some reason it seemed for class and bar prep one extra one that is tacked on is learned treatise so that is why I made it into that sentence. There are other exclusions which do not require unavailability but I’m assuming/from my experience are scarcely tested like vital statistics and family records under the same provision [FRE 803].
Hearsay Eexemptions: “HE Packs A Powerful Punch” (Hearsay Exemptions: Prior inconsistent statement, Admissions*, prior consistent statement, and prior statement of ID;
*on admissions: ‘admissions run on C-JAVA’ or alternatively ‘admissions run on Coffee & JAVA [Co-conspirator, Judicial, (And) Vicarious Admissions].
Non-Hearsay uses of out of court statements that are valid LIKE Me – Independent Legal significance (the order of the L and I are reversed but it never hurt me), Knowledge of listener, Effect on listener, and [state of] Mind (or Mental state).

Torts: Here I used analogies (Harry Potter, specifically the Chamber of Secrets)
Assault: Ron assaulted Draco even though Ron suffered the harm and was the initial aggressor because [Draco’s] words are inadequate provocation and thus by casting the Slug-Vomiting charm, Ron put Draco in imminent apprehension of bodily harm.
Battery: Draco could have battered and would have battered Harry but for the fact that they were in a dueling club amidst a dangerous climate in the school, so consent is implied at the very least.
Transferred Intent: One could further argue that Justin Finch-Flechy was also assaulted by Draco via the snake he conjured because there was intent which was transferred (i.e. transferred intent applies to assault) and Draco’s action put Justin in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact and thus Justin can recover nominal but in same cases punitive damages. However, a court could rule either way depending on whether they find that Justin’s presence at the dueling club constituted implied consent.
Then if you want to have some fun, pretend one of them won their claim or that instead, Justin or Draco’s parents sued Lockhart and Snape for negligence. Look to the standard/duty owed in the situation and whether it was breached, the cause of the injuries (but-for and proximate causation), and the injury at issue (damages!).

I hope people find some of these to be helpful and at the very least demonstrate some of the alternative and suggested methods of memorizing the law. Any feedback is welcome!

Study hard!

Monday Motivation

Hello Bar Examinees!

Is this you?

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Well that’s okay, everyone should take the Bar seriously. The key is to keep pushing. Remember, this may seem overwhelming, but it is temporary.

Some wise words to go by – and remember, mind over matter!

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. —Henry Ford

EDIT/NOTE: I know this was not published Monday. I scheduled it to be published Monday – or so I thought – and for whatever reason it did not get posted. However, the message and point are still valid despite it being a Tuesday 😉

Of Supplements, Bar Studying, and Discounts

A lot of people have inquired of me about my opinion on supplements. I personally feel that if you are wondering about supplements for bar preparation, there is usually a reason or area that you have come across that is troubling or confusing to you.

In such situations, I think it wise to purchase them sooner than later – you do not want to be 2 weeks out from the exam and purchasing a product to desperately drill and hope some information soaks in for the MBE or MEE.

I have made plain how I feel about Studicata and its utility and you can find my full review here: Studicata Review and Discount or simply click right here and utilize my discount code, which will save you 15% off your purchase.

There are also people who have asked about Critical Pass flashcards and as far as they go, it depends; did flashcards work for you in law school? If so, they are quite comprehensive and meant for the MBE and you can find my discount code for them HERE.

Finally, stay tuned for visual aids/new material from me this week!

A Quick Post – Tips and Strategies

I received a question regarding strategies I have used, suggested in the past, or if I have any “original” strategies to suggest. At the moment I cannot think of any original strategies in particular, but I polled a couple of friends and I have a list of the non-traditional study methods that my friends and I have used.

      1. Mnemonics;
      2. Analogies (fictional – tv series, movies, books)
      3. Analogies (based on real life experiences)
      4. Short songs/nursery rhymes
      5. Altering song lyrics
        ^This can actually be  quite amusing and border on fun
      6. Identify your weak areas, take time to understand the rules, write them down in your own words, and read them aloud
      7. Group Study/Discussion (these days, very easy to do over the internet and great for people that lean towards auditory learning or have a keen memory for discussions)
      8. Acronyms
      9. Puns or “Punning” (For example pairing a rule with its term or issue that gives rise to it; ex: Gross Negligence)
      10. When in doubt, do what has worked for you thus far. Let’s face it, part of the reason people are asking or wondering about alternate methods is likely due to the volume of material that must be memorized, the fact that the exam is painfully long, perhaps not passing your first time, etc. However, you have come this far and gone through how many years in the world of academia that – in my opinion – you should let practice exams, essays, and questions reveal if you need additional help or alternative methods to remember something. As they say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.