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 😉

Studicata Product Review & Discount

An Updated Review for July 2018! Read on to see what new features/products are available now!

Product Type: Study supplement/aid, rule drilling, issue spotting for the MBE, UBE/MEE, and California Bar Exams. If you already know about Studicata and are simply looking for the discount code, it is: right here and will save you 15% off your purchase.

Who is it for? Examinees sitting for the UBE/MEE, or the California Bar Exam (35 states, plus Guam, Mariana Islands, Palau, and the Virgin Islands). To see the full list of jurisdictions, click HERE.

Rating: 4.75/5

Mobile App: Yes, for flashcards.

What is it and What do you get? Studicata is a 3-in-1 product that includes detailed outlines (“Attack Outlines”), Flashcards, and short Summaries. In their words, you attack, drill, and master with each product, respectively.

Attack Outlines: The attack outlines cover every testable subject and its sub-topics in a well-organized, logical order and include the proper/necessary legal terminology, but in my opinion, are also worded in such a way as to promote understanding a concept rather than merely providing something to attempt to memorize. Understanding is key to the analysis and application of a rule, be it an essay or an MBE fact pattern.

The attack outlines are also beautiful in contrast to the black and white of bar prep company outlines, with color on topic headings and a colored scale ranging from orange to blue to grey, which shows the test frequency (and arguably the importance) of a rule or concept based on research conducted by Studicata of past Bar Exams. This is certainly where I would recommend starting. Remarkably, the attack outlines are also substantially shorter than the two outline books that bar prep companies send to you – my attack outline document is just under 200 pages, which I believe equates to roughly 3 MBE topic outlines. I would also like to note that Studicata has updated their frequency/percentage statistics since the February exam. In comparing their product from February to the product currently being offered, the frequency of certain rules have been adjusted. Whether this is based on data from the February exam or the most recently released MBE data, it is clear that the Studicata team is doing their due diligence in keeping abreast of not just changes in law, but also changes in testing trends and topic frequency. Finally, I decided to choose a random topic, read it aloud, and recorded it to compare the time it takes to get through one “Big 7” MBE subject as opposed to how long it would to read a traditional bar exam company outline. I tried to read it at a pace comparable to a typical lecture pace, while also trying to ensure I understood it. The total time spent was 50 minutes for Contracts and Sales. In other words, it is a massive time saver, thus allowing examinees more time to practice.

Flashcards come in 3 different PDF files which give you different options on how to print them (i.e. front and back, foldable, etc.) and comes with an app. They are therefore exceptionally easy to print, and you can bring them wherever you go through the app. Flashcards come for every topic testable on the UBE (MBE and MEE) and presumably for every topic tested in California and other territories. One of the great things about the flashcards is that they do not just cover rules and concepts, but there are also cards that focus solely on issues and gateway issues. In other words, Studicata has incorporated issue spotting and how certain analyses go into their flashcards. Thus, on top of drilling the rules, exceptions, and concepts, you can drill issue spotting and analysis, all of which are important to your essay writing.

  • The App: I am so impressed with the app that Studicata has developed that I feel the need to comment on it separately. This app comes with several different modes that are useful and allow the user to use several or a single study method to learn, including allowing the user to create custom study sets and even allow you to create folders to organize said study sets. The first study mode is Learn, where the user chooses a topic and goes through a set of flashcards, reading the substance of the card (be it a rule or an issue) and then the user must choose from 4 possible answers as to what the substance is. If you get a card incorrect, it alerts you and shows you the card a second time immediately thereafter for review. The next mode is Flashcards, which is the most like using physical flash cards – you read one side, swipe, and read the other. This mode also allows the user to “favorite” flashcards and for audio learners, you can click a button and the app will read the card to you. Write mode also has audio, or you can not turn your volume off and simply read one side of the flashcard, and you type (or “write”) the concept, rule, etc. and enter your answer. If you get one incorrect, it shows the correct answer and requires you to type it before moving on, which is another excellent way to retain information. Match mode shows a total of 12 cards (6 for one side, 6 for the other) and the user must match the name of the rule, statute, etc., with its definition. This may sound too easy, as process of elimination or carefully reading the cards would allow the user to figure out the match. While that may be true, I submit to you that that approach can help you learn. However, there is a catch: you are timed, so you have the time pressure component and can try to go faster each time. Not only is this a somewhat fun exercise, particularly in the context of studying for the Bar Exam, but in this blogger’s opinion the timer bringing in a speed component will prove fruitful when time demands you to recall rules or spot issues. Finally, there is Test mode, which is self-explanatory, but the user can customize the number of questions, whether you are tested by term or definition, and whether you want to answer by multiple choice, writing, or true/false (see below – click the thumbnail images to open a new tab and view full sized) Other Features: The Studicata App allows you to set a test date (or, should you want to, an earlier date). By setting a test date and beginning your review of a topic on the app, the app will then send notifications based on your test date as a reminder to study or review for a certain topic. I am not sure as to what criteria goes into sending along a notification, but I would recommend starting at different times rather than going into the settings and setting every topic up at the same time. I did the latter after I had played around with the app on contracts, and I get reminders for all of those topics at the same time. However, I think (I could be wrong but I am sure a Studicata representative would be happy to answer this) that if you do the topics as they come up in your bar prep program or your bar study schedule, then you should theoretically get reminders at different times, as it does remind me to do contracts at a different time than all the other topics. Regardless of the methodology behind the reminders and days until your test, it is undoubtedly a helpful feature that – at least as of this past summer – even some bar prep program apps do not have (and I used one of the main/major companies).

 

Summaries: The summaries are condensed 2 to 4 page per subject summaries that list off the rules you should know and have memorized and therefore are not only good for their condensed nature but can be used in a number of ways. I know some people who used them towards the end of studying to make up for perhaps not studying as much or as hard as one should have on a topic or were used in the same manner due to the fact that studying for the bar can be difficult in and of itself, but life happens; if you get sick and are out of commission or there is a family emergency or something else that may throw a wrench in your study pattern, and thus this could be a fast way of catching up. However, I liked to use the summaries not only as review but as a checklist. I would put a check next to a rule that I had memorized, and highlight or circle any that I misunderstood or had not entirely memorized, which I found to be a very useful self-assessment tool.

*NEW Product* ESSAY TEMPLATES: For an additional $29.00, you may elect to get Studicata’s Essay Templates, which provide practice for issue spotting, sub-issues, and organizational structure for essays in 6 of the big 7 MBE topics – Torts, Crim Pro [less crim law], Evidence, Contracts, Constitutional Law, and Civil Procedure. The essay templates also are helpful for understanding a particular process and can even be easily diagramed out. For example, there are bolded, bracketed, statements saying things to the effect of “If there is X then Y,” and “If X is not present then Z.” Finally, the Essay Templates show examples of rules and application thereof, and contain fill-in-the-blank aspects to provide extra practice and retention. A sample of the new essay templates can be viewed HERE.

Purchasing the Product: Examinees may purchase the Attack Outlines for $89.00, or upgrade to the full 3-part system for $168.00. If you choose to add on the new Essay Templates for $29.00, your total comes to $197.00, before using a discount code. In contrast, the old price was $267.00.

Bonuses to Buying the 3-part System: Examinees who purchase the 3-part Studicata System are granted access to a closed Facebook group with fellow examinees as well as professionals in the field and will similarly be granted access to weekly Question and Answer videos as well as Essay Dissection videos. The videos will also be viewable by product users and start June 1st. However, the Studicata Co-Founder doing these videos has made other videos public and available on YouTube covering a number of topics from substantive/black letter law videos to schedule advice videos and can be viewed on their YouTube Channel Here.

DISCOUNT CODE: To save even more, whether you bundle or only purchase 1 product, claim a 15% discount by clicking here  (savings vary depending on how and what you purchase)

What do I get out of this? Nothing. Seriously. I have no financial incentive to promote the product, my code is not part of the new Studicata Affiliate program (which purchasers may want to look into) whereby you can earn commissions to get your money back. I reviewed this product because I found it immensely helpful and this website is about law and bar preparation and so on, and Michael, the Co-Founder allowed me the opportunity to review the changes in his product.

Have Questions? If you have any further or more nuanced questions regarding Studicata, I would encourage you to visit their Homepage and use the chat function to speak to a member of their team.

A Fresh Start & Welcome

Hello Bar Examinees!

The time has come, the time some of you have been dreading and others probably repressed any thought of the workload associated with Bar Preparation.

Repeat takers or prior visitors to this website will probably notice that I have archived a significant number of posts. Part of that is due to the nature of some posts relating to the amount of time left before the exam. For example, I usually post something in or around mid-June or January, and do the same at the beginning of July and February and sometimes the last week or two weeks. Other posts that I archived were brief posts on lifting spirits and motivating or trying to provide brief comedic relief that only law students, graduates, examinees, and so on would understand find funny. Finally, I also plan on revamping the site in some aspects as time allows, so it made sense to me that I would

I will also be posting additional materials that I make as time allows, and I have also archived posts on suggested alternate methods of studying with examples. Below you can find discount codes and product reviews as well as diagrams and flowcharts I have uploaded. I will also be posting a poll or two to see whether there are requests for a certain topic or subtopic to make some sort of study aid for, as well as a poll on progress because I did that this past February and it was a popular post that gathered a good number of responses. For any other questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to leave a message in the comment section or contact me via the contact page, on twitter, or on facebook.

Happy Studying!