Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Open Bar

In the comments, I'm seeing sporadic posts about studying for the Bar Exam...that wonderful experience.  If you feel like you're struggling, you're not alone, just read posts from years past around this same time period.  Anyway, this is just an open thread for people to ask questions, vent their anger, insult me personally, or anything else. 

50 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the boalties out there who've passed the bar, what techniques did you use (i.e., schedule, review sessions, etc)? Anything that you've found particularly helpful?

6/12/2013 4:53 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Everyone is different, but for me the keys were:

Avoiding other bar studiers (but group study has always been distracting for me).

Writing LOTS of practice essays. Can't emphasize this enough.

Making my own subject matter outlines and then condensing them down steadily until each was a page-long list of cues and reminders(maybe a page and a half on some of the bigger subjects).

Exercise. It makes you smarter, I swear to god.

Good luck!

6/12/2013 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick (and others), did you find practice essays helpful even before you had a chance to really memorize rule statements? Thanks for your help/support!

6/13/2013 10:34 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Chicken and egg situation. You're never going to learn the rules without actually putting pen to paper. You're going to feel frustrated when you're first learning the materials and you have to deal with a massive essay that raises multiple issues, etc. In the end, what worked for me was initially outlining an essay or two per subject. But I agreew with Patrick: there's no greater bang for your buck than writing out essays. The Bar is a quirky exam that rewards you for writing non-sense. You want to practice writing non-sense. No comment on the application of that particular skill to the actual practice of law.

6/13/2013 11:08 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

10:34, I say yes. I know people who got into trouble by putting off practice essays because they felt they didn't know the rule statements yet. But writing the essays before you know all the rules was, for me, the best way to actually learn the rules. And, as Armen rightly points out, it is also the best way to learn how to write passing-quality nonsense (a/k/a "BS") when you're asked to write on an area of the law you know nothing about.

6/14/2013 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For everyone: how bad was the worst plateau during this period? I've been chugging down the BarBri KoolAid like nobody's business until yesterday, and I've done little to nothing in these last 48 hours.

6/14/2013 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to practicing, can anyone recommend any additional sources/tips for the essay portion? Specifically, I'm looking for a bit more insight on structure, preparation, checklists, strategy etc. then I feel like BarBri is providing.

6/16/2013 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Gil said...

Hello Boalties:

I am a Boalt alum (Class of '03) the owner of BarEssays.com, a website that will significantly enhance your studies for the essay portion of the California Bar Exam(regardless of whether you are in a review course like BarBri, Kaplan, etc.).

Every year I provide free standard accounts on BarEssays for all Boalties (a $99 value) - no strings attached. Hundreds of Boalties in years past have credited my site to helping get through and and pass the bar exam.

If you are interested, email me at info@BarEssays.com and I will provide the Boalt coupon code.

Good luck!

-Gil (Boalt '03)

6/16/2013 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Patrick said. My approach to essays was the same attitude as jumping into a cold pool for the first time - you know it's going to suck, but you just do it and once it's done, it ok. Practically speaking, my equivalent to taking the leap in the pool was hitting the button on a stop watch (and then typing for 30 minutes). Condensing the information down to flash cards helped me immensely too. The year I took the exam (summer '08) there was an obscure Constitutional Law question. I based the entire essay upon a single flash card I had prepared on the topic. Without that flash card I would have been totally screwed. In short, this is an 8 week period where you have to put aside every procrastination tendency you have ever had. You don't even have to work very hard for very long every day. Just be consistent. As a wise friend told me, your knowledge of law for the bar exam needs to be broad and shallow.

6/18/2013 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2012-er here (passed NY). I had the same frustration with the essays in the beginning. But like everyone else, it really helped to write out the essays anyway. I was able to learn the rules this way, and as someone else mentioned, practice the nonsense writing (when you have to make up a rule and apply it). There's also a particular pattern that starts to emerge when you view enough of the sample answers. You eventually want to conform your answers to that pattern. The more you do, the closer you can get to following the sample answer format.

Also, exercise cannot be overstated. I probably got in the best cardiovascular shape of my life that summer (super low resting heartrate). I ran between 3 and 4 miles every day because I was so damn stressed out, neurotic, frustrated, etc. I took it all out on the treadmill. I swear it kept me sane!

6/20/2013 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but any comment on this?

http://www.dailycal.org/2013/06/23/berkeley-law-employee-files-lawsuit-against-supervisor-and-administration/

6/27/2013 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when and how graduating students are informed about Order of the Coif?

7/09/2013 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to this, the Registrar typically notifies folks by mail in October. I'm not sure why it should take that long, though.

7/09/2013 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earlier today, Boalt notified Order of the Coif recipients by email.

7/10/2013 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the GPA cutoff was? Maybe people who received don't mind sharing...

7/10/2013 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else hear anything? I haven't heard of anyone else actually being notified.

7/11/2013 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can confirm Coif email notification on Wednesday the 10th.

7/12/2013 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, the email notification didn't share cutoff information.

7/12/2013 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's get back on track here. Anyone have advice specific to the final two weeks?

Thanks!

7/15/2013 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did practice essays until the answers all started to feel the same. You'll notice that each subject is looking for the same basic points. Once in a while they'll throw a curveball and get into a more obscure area, but after doing enough essays to feel comfortable in a subject you will notice what an outlier feels like.

My last couple weeks, I worked on preparing a quick script for attacking a given subject. If you can identify the subject area, spitting out a few quick sentences with the basic rules will get a bunch of points. Then you spend the rest of the time applying the facts to the rules.

That's all they really want. They don't care how smart you are and they are not looking for showoffs. They want a clear statement of the rules that apply and to see a reasonable argument applying the facts to the law.

Good luck, Boalties!

7/16/2013 10:32 AM  
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