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.

 

 

Survey/Poll – Last Chance!

Hi Folks!
Last week I posted an anonymous survey/poll and was hoping for more responses so that I could do a post on what the data indicates and it is also set for results to be viewable (by you) upon completion. It’s just 3 questions and again, anonymous. The data I am trying to get is where I should focus study aids and strategies or tips on MBE topic-wise, confidence level at ROUGHLY the halfway mark, and % complete at this point. In other words, the questions are which MBE topic you worry about most, selecting a range for your % complete, and choosing an answer to describe your confidence level.

Currently (and surprisingly) Constitutional Law is the most “worriesome” topic for the MBE thus far; I thought it would be property and/or evidence, which are in 2nd and 3rd place. The survey link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X5Y8GMJ or can be found in my original post Here

Keep studying!

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!

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.

Bar Tips to Keep in Mind – Not Fall Behind!

Just some broad tips to help ease the pain and stay on track. I know it is memorial day weekend everyone is likely to be off on Monday and perhaps you have not fallen behind, but may fall behind due to some sort of festivities, be it a barbecue or a birthday. I also have noticed on top law schools forums (TLS is great, their bar prep/discussion forums are here and worth checking out) that there are people behind “already” to use their words and are on the panic train. But fear not! I have you covered.

  1. Keep track of your time and budget it wisely from the start. If you are taking the UBE and are NOT sure how to allocate your time I suggest locking down the “big 7” MBE topics and the MPT first. Why? The MBE is 50% of the score, your MPT’s are 20%, and since the big 7 are fair game for the MEE, assume conservatively (this can be argued, but since there have been recent test sessions with as many as 4 MBE focused or related essays, I will call this a conservative estimate) that 2 of your 6 essays are either entirely MBE topics or that they will be mixed in with hybrid essays, such that they account for a portion of your total score equal to two essays. That would mean that the Big 7 and MPT’s alone can add up to 80% of your total score.
  2. As Bar Prep begins, make sure you stay on top of practice essays and MBE question sets to identify what subjects  or subtopics need attention (i.e. identify your weak points and study, practice, review, practice, study, practice, then repeat).
  3. DO NOT PANIC! Remember, this exam is only as much of a beast as you make it, and you have invested time in law school and internships/externships/clinics/law reviews, and so on.
  4. Use what you know! Cant fit any more mneumonics, acronyms, or songs into your brain? Use what you know best and try analogizing. Have a book or movie series you know by heart? A lot of rules and tests can be put into the context of your choice. Have a memorable law school moment or real life experience that applies? Then use that – whatever works best!
  5. Do not be afraid to ask for help! If there is a major subtopic you do not understand, reach out to someone, whether it be someone at a bar prep company or a study buddy or people online, whether it is one of us, a friend, a discussion or thread in a forum (top law schools appears to have fairly lively, and multiple, bar prep threads/discussions).

Note: These are 5 tips specific to the bar exam, but make sure that you are getting enough sleep, shoot for exercise of some sort for 30 minutes a day, eat healthy and get your essential vitamins and proteins!