Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It’s Time to Begin Preparation for the July Bar Exam

Congratulations to all the law school graduates and the families that supported you through your law studies.

Why a study plan? In order to pass the bar, you need two things: time-management and discipline. Sticking to a study plan will conquer both requirements. Thorough preparation is the key to passing the exam and having a plan in place will allow you to manage your time and using your discipline to stick to the study schedule. For a plan to work, you have to address your learning style as well as the substantive areas you will be tested on.

What do I mean by learning style? Ask yourself, how do you learn? What worked for you in law school? Some people like reading outlines, some like to do practice questions and then read the answer explanations, some like to do their own outlines, or make up flashcards. You should know the answer to this question by now. How do you best learn or memorize the substantive law? Also, ask yourself, when do you best learn? I personally am a better morning learner. As the day goes on, I start to lose focus. I also like to do my work in blocks of time. My colleague is like a sprinter. He focuses on his work in short bursts. I’m like a marathon runner. I like to do my work, and, not be disturbed for a few hours at a time. While practicing law, I tell my secretary to hold all calls for a stretch of time until I’m ready to take a break. What works for you? Do you like the evening hours to study, do you take frequent breaks. Know all of that before you write your study plan. Also, just prior to the bar, switch over to the bar schedule. Get up early, as if you are taking the bar, and work for those 3 hours as if you are sitting for the bar, break for lunch and do another 3 hour stretch to mimic the bar.

For your study plan, you should first start with relearning and reviewing the outlines with some practice questions thrown in and as you pick up the pace, you’ll reverse it and do more practice questions and essays and only use your outlines for clarification on questions you get wrong or confused about.

In the beginning, you are going to struggle with the voluminous materials, but keep at it and keep pushing the pace. It’s like training for a race. You first have to struggle through the repetition until it starts feeling right and you start performing at your optimal level.

Be realistic with your goals and your study habits. For example, you can’t go throughout the entire day with no lunch or no exercise or no breaks because you were unrealistic in the time aspect of your plan. You have to write a study plan that suits you and your personality without slacking off.

Don’t ignore your weak areas or your strong areas. You may not need to schedule as much time in your stronger subjects, but review them as consistently as you do all the other subjects. You may not need to read or reread the outlines of your strong subjects, but during those time periods, practice your questions. You may need those extra points on the bar. For your weaker subjects, don’t spend too much time obsessing on your lack of knowledge or take away from other subjects you also need to study; and do not ignore your weak subjects. All bar examinees have weak subjects. Again, spend time on those subjects as you would other subjects and just keep practicing. You’ll be surprised at how much you really do know in those weak subjects.

Where should you study? Again, that depends on your learning style. Can you get work done at home or does the distraction of the television or the computer or the phone make you turn it on? Does studying at your school make you study more or do your fellow students distract you and make you chatter rather than study? Make sure wherever you go that it is quiet. Turn off the phone, the text messaging, and the internet. This is too important for you and your career to be easily distracted. Let’s face it – none of us what to spend the next 6 weeks in constant study – it’s torture. As the holidays go by, the warm weather beckons you outside, you are stuck inside studying, studying, studying and having absolutely no fun at all. Just remember this is your career you are talking about. You sacrificed to go to law school, you can sacrifice for the next 6 weeks and you’ll be a lawyer for the rest of your career.

Should you have study partners? I am not a fan of them, myself, but I have changed my mind as I’ve seen many a successful pair that have pushed and pulled each other, with both coming out successfully in the end. I would not advise more than 1 other study partner except on rare occasions. For those who like to study alone, maybe once a few days, studying with someone can help keep you focused. I also think that knowing you are not the only one studying away is helpful to keep up your morale.

Friday, May 13, 2011

California Bar Results Percentage for February 2011 is 42.3%

The California Bar Exam results for February 2011 are now out. The pass summary rate for the general exam is 42.3%. 4364 people sat for the exam and only 1848 passed. Congratulations to those who passed. Contact barprofessors if you did not pass. We specialize in repeat takers.

The California Bar Exam Results Come Out Today

The California bar exam results for February 2011 come out today. Good luck everyone!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

California's Bar Exam Results for February 2011

California's Bar Exam Results for February 2011 will be released on Friday, May 13, 2011. Good luck to those waiting and, if you are not successful, contact Bar Professors for private tutoring. You can pass!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Texas Bar Exam Results for February 2011 is Out

The Texas Bar Exam results for February 2011 is out. The overall pass rate was 75%. Congrats to all who passed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MBE or Essays, WhenYou Fail the Bar

What happens if you only pass one section of the bar but fail the overall bar? Should you sit for that section that you failed or do you take the entire bar exam over again? I think it depends on which section you passed. I will use Florida as my test case. In this possible scenario, say you pass the Florida section but fail the MBE. Should you take the Florida section again to get carry-over points for your MBE score?

I think it depends on what your MBE score is. I usually tell my students that you have to stay competitive in the MBE and let your extra points on the Florida section pull you over the top. It is my experience that many of the students who pass the bar, do not pass the MBE or only has a 1-5 point pass on the MBE. That is why I think doing well on the Florida essays for those extra overage points can help you pass the overall bar, even if you do not pass the MBE.

Here is what I believe about the MBE. I do not think that a repeat taker will do substantially better that they do the first time around. Sure, you might get a few points higher – but if you need to raise your score substantially – i.e. say 7 points or higher, that is a big a mountain to climb.
First, evaluate your scores. Were there subjects that you were just horrible in or were you pretty consistent on each subject? If you were awful in real property, you may, by concentrating on that subject, be able to push your scores up. If you were consistent on each subject, the likelihood of you raising your points by more study is probably not going to happen.

Next, start to re-read your outline book, starting from your weakest subject to your best subject. Then you must again practice, practice, practice. I think commercial review courses will not help at this point. You have learned the most you will learn in your first go around. Listening to 4 hour multistate lectures will not help you.

I also believe that once you fail the bar that you would better spend your money on a private tutor, if a repeater is to spend any more money in the process. It is expensive, but working one on one with a qualified (and I mean qualified) tutor will push you over the finish line. To me, no price is too much to get you to your goal and start your life as a lawyer. A private tutor can help with the subject material, motivate you and keep up your confidence.

What you must decide is whether you think that you can score 7+ points on the MBE alone. Therein lies the dilemma. So the discussion now follows whether you should take the essays again.

Evaluate your essay scores. Did you pass the essays with a large margin? If you did, it’s an easier decision to make – you obviously write well and 3 more essays won’t freak you out. I think that if you sharpen up your writing with some more practice essays, you could get maybe another 5-10 points to bring over to your MBE scores. If you passed with only points to spare, you may not be able to pass another 3 more essays That’s the pros and cons of your situation. You must make the decision for yourself. Of course, it is easier to concentrate on only one section of the bar and if you think you can pull it up over 7+ points then go for the MBE alone. But you want to make sure that your second attempt is your last attempt. So do anything and everything to make that happen.

Don’t do anything rash or rush your decision making. But I would start reviewing the multistate subjects pretty much immediately. Don’t despair, don’t be depressed, but do get busy.

Next time, if you pass the MBE and not the essays, what should you do?