‘Tis the Season!

Welcome one and all!

You dread – I mean…read – correctly. Another Bar Exam is upon us and for those who have not started studying early, Bar Prep is just around the corner.

But before I jump into substantive posts, polls, etc., I do want to belatedly wish a big CONGRATULATIONS to all the bar examinees who passed the July Bar Exam!

Next, I want to tell those who may not have passed in July that regardless of the number of times you have taken it, whether that was your first or fifteenth time not passing, what matters is that you are here. Meaning that if you are reading this, I am assuming you are taking the upcoming Bar Exam (I believe all registration deadlines have passed by now), which I can only assume means you have found that determination and drive to go it again. I would also point out that by having taken the exam previously, you do have a bit of an advantage in that you know what to expect on the exam days, you have become intimately familiar with the format of the exam, and hopefully you found some things that either worked better for your own personal studying and/or found things that do not work for you.

People study and absorb material effectively in different ways, and if that means that the traditional bar prep program is not your thing or their schedule was not effective for you or whatever the case may be, the important thing is that you remember that the Bar Exam is not an IQ test and it does not represent your knowledge of the law. Think about it: you could be absolutely brilliant at criminal law, constitutional law, and property law, etc. (you get the picture) but that does not mean there will be essays on those topics. Furthermore, you could be brilliant in a subject, got an A+ in law school, etc., but maybe there are some MBE questions that fall into the one single subcategory of a subtopic of a subject. In other words, not passing the bar exam (note/tip: take the word ‘fail’ out of your vocabulary) is not a reflection on your intelligence or abilities as a lawyer. One last point to illustrate this/some food for thought: If you went to law school to be a litigator – private or public, it doesn’t matter – where precisely are your skills as a litigator tested? To the extent that one could argue those skills are tested, how analogous is that to a real life scenario? Does a 90 minute MPT or a 30 minute essay really reflect your best briefs, allow you to show your courtroom demeanor and strategies? In real life are you ever going to be disallowed from doing something that you were likely taught to do in law school – shepardizing, researching, staying abreast of the newest law etc.? I think these are points to remember and think on if you are repeating the exam. Do not let the past define your future, do not let this exam turn into more of a monster than it already is. It is just a hurdle you need overcome to get to the place you want to be, and every single one of you can pass this time around.

That said, repeat takers and first time takers alike, welcome and stay tuned for additional tips and tricks, supplement reviews, discount codes, alternate ideas or study strategies, and more!

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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.

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!

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.