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Lawyers: what was your Bar preparation method?

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Lawyers: what was your Bar preparation method?

Old 02-22-05, 11:56 AM
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Lawyers: what was your Bar preparation method?

What review course?
Study schedule?

Etc.

Thanks
Old 02-22-05, 12:01 PM
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Barbri

I didn't do anything from graduation until the Barbri course started, so that gave me about 3 weeks off. The first couple weeks of Barbri - I just went to the classes; no home study. Then in late June, I started studying and doing MBE questions - probably about 3 hrs per day at home in addition to going to bar review. After 2 weeks of that (which coincided with Barbri ending) I switched over to essay practice questions - about 3-4 hrs per day for 2 weeks. Then with about a week left and solely did MBE questions for about 3-4 hours per day.

In other words, I didn't knock myself out and I comfortably passed. However, do what you feel comfortable with - everyone is different.
Old 02-22-05, 12:07 PM
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Toad,

course?-I have taken and passed the bar exam in MN and CA. I took Barbri and PMBR. If you have an employer that is paying, take both. The PMBR course is 3 days and is scheduled not to overlap with Barbri. If you are paying, Barbri alone is sufficient. Taking Barbri raises your chances of success dramatically.

Study methods- Everyone does their own thing, but here is what I did. Go to EVERY lecture and review. Pay attention. Barbri is focused on getting you to pass, not teaching you the law. There are a lot of tips here. If you miss a class, get the tape for that class and listen to it. Use the class notes as your study guide. This will give you 80% of what you need for the essays. Do tons of the multisate multiple choice questions. These will prepare you for the MBE as well as halp with your issue spotting and black letter law.

I didn't do a lot of practice essays, but I read all of the example essays and answers. Barbri will give a calender telling you what to do every day up to the exam. If you do this, you will almost definately pass. I did not even come close to keeping to the schedule. Lots of multistate questions and reading all of the example essays and going to class. I have several BarBri books that I never even opened. However, depending on your level, you can do more or less. The Barbri review schedule is basically set up so that someone who didn't even go to law school would have a fighting chance of passing if they did everything suggested.

Good Luck. What state are you sitting for?
Old 02-22-05, 12:18 PM
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FL, unfortunately: one of the hardest exams due to the passing rate (raised last year, the passing score is now 136 average b/w multistate and FL state exams).

I am taking BarBri and PMBR.

BUT, I'm also working. I'm planning on:

9:00-1:00 --- BarBri class
1:30-6:30 --- work
7:30-12:00 --- study (questions, etc.)

I know it looks tough but I need the money.
Old 02-22-05, 12:20 PM
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BarBri worked for me. IMO the key is knowing the test format cold, and knowing every type of question they can throw at you. That means taking lots and lots of practice exams. If you do that, when you sit for the actual exam your comfort level will be much higher, and you won't have to waste time figuring out hte testing procedures.

Good luck.
Old 02-22-05, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Toad
FL, unfortunately: one of the hardest exams due to the passing rate (raised last year, the passing score is now 136 average b/w multistate and FL state exams).

I am taking BarBri and PMBR.

BUT, I'm also working. I'm planning on:

9:00-1:00 --- BarBri class
1:30-6:30 --- work
7:30-12:00 --- study (questions, etc.)

I know it looks tough but I need the money.

I worked (20-25 hours per week) up until 3-4 weeks before the exam. No problem.

I agree that going to the classes is the most important thing. I didn't follow their recommended study schedule at all - did what worked best for my me and my style.
Old 02-22-05, 12:26 PM
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Yeah, I'm doing about 20 hours/week until 2 weeks before. You can't beat full salary for that!

I'm just concerned that everyone else will be going to class, then studying for like 7-8 hours a day, doing constant MBE multiple choice questions, etc.

Do people do that?
Old 02-22-05, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Toad
Yeah, I'm doing about 20 hours/week until 2 weeks before. You can't beat full salary for that!

I'm just concerned that everyone else will be going to class, then studying for like 7-8 hours a day, doing constant MBE multiple choice questions, etc.

Do people do that?

I'm sure there are. I wouldn't worry about that though.
Old 02-22-05, 12:34 PM
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My circumstances were different: I was starting a new job (my current job, in fact) and could afford neither the time nor the money for five-days-a-week lectures.

So I stepped off the beaten path of BarBri/PMBR and instead bought the MicroMash review program, a study-at-home course. They sent me ten Emmanuel-style outlines, which were helpful, and some multistate prep software, which was awesome. Their software just throws thousands of questions at you in exam-session-sized chunks; you answer all of the questions (while a visual timer counts down), and then you get your score and explanations for every answer. This was a godsend; you get used to the pacing and the very peculiar way the questions are asked.

I drilled on these packages for three months, while also working a new, full-time job. I worked full-time all the way until the day before the exam. And I completely destroyed the Ohio exam: above average on the written questions, and off-the-scale well on the multistate section.

In the end, it's really just a question of your motivation. If you push yourself through the grind, you have an excellent chance of passing, no matter which program you use. If you don't, you're almost certainly going to fail. Your effort is the sole determinant of your outcome.

- David Stein
Old 02-22-05, 12:41 PM
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BarBri.

I didn't start until the lectures, then after they were over, I lived in the library until the exam.


Oh yeah, I passed.
Old 02-22-05, 01:36 PM
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Did anyone fail?
Old 02-22-05, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Toad
Did anyone fail?

JFK Jr - multiple times.
Old 02-22-05, 01:52 PM
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I agree with most. Attending the Barbri lessons was helpful (but in my opinion not critical), but the key for me was the practice exams. I went to class. Then played golf (or watched a movie if raining). Then took a two hour practice multistate exam and read or outlined one or two essay questions (about 2.5-3 hours). Then went to the bar and shot pool. Then went home and read through an outline before bed. Rinse, repeat. I still maintain that some people get TOO intense.

And yes, I passed with flying colors...
Old 02-22-05, 02:09 PM
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I agree with what everybody above has said.

There are people that do everything Barbri says. they read every page, do every outline and take every practice test. That takes 7-8+ hours a day. for most law students it's not necessary. Remember, you don't need to get an A on it, you just need to pass. Of course it is much easier to say that from the perspective of one who is over with it and isn't taking the exam in 2 months.

Like micromash, Barbri has similar multistate software. I agree that the software is a fantastic prep tool. I'm not saying Barbri is better, just that whatever program you use, the MBE software is something you should look into using.

I worked full time as well while preparing. Went to classes at night. I took 2 weeks off before the exam and passed. If you are a decent test taker, you should do fine by attending lectures, reviewing notes and taking the practice tests. If you are not a good test taker, you will have to spend extra time on those skills.

I had several people in my classes who put in full days studying and never saw their friends, family or TV. They were a nervous wreck from day one. I am sure most of them passed, but they got so caught up in the details that they were on the edge of a breakdown the entire time. I, on the other hand was pretty easily distracted. I saw a lot of movies, spent time with friends and family and didn't pull any all nighters. I did attend all lectures, did tons of MBE questions and read most of the sample questions and answers. I probably barely passed. But I passed both state exams my first time. I'm not bragging, I'm just saying do what you have to do, but have some perspective.
Old 02-22-05, 02:22 PM
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Took BarBri and PMBR, followed their schedules, didn't knock myself out, passed two bar exams (PA and NJ) easily.
Old 02-22-05, 04:26 PM
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I suck at multiple choice tests, so I'm screwed.
Old 02-22-05, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Toad
I suck at multiple choice tests, so I'm screwed.
That may be an asset, in the long run. The multiple choice section is usually the reason people fail: they think they know how to take multiple-choice exams, and they blow it off. Since you're concerned about it, you're more likely to practice the hell out of those questions, which will hugely increase your chance of passing.

- David Stein
Old 02-22-05, 06:51 PM
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I used BarBri, but I do have caveats (strong ones). I do not believe that BarBri is anything more than busywork (jesus, you fill in blanks). There are two main keys -practice questions, both MBE and essays, AND MAKING YOUR OWN CUSTOMIZED OUTLINES. You have to have dynamic outlines at every stage of the game. I passed with what can modestly be termed flying colors, and I didn't exactly clean the clock grades wise in school, at any level. I was constantly changing my outlines to include information that I was not getting down. By the end, I feel my outline was very good, for me, not for everyone. I was basically doing nothing but questions for the last six weeks of studying.

Look, anyone can pass, or fail, a bar. And I do mean anyone. I met a kid who went to Catholic (FOURTH TIER) and was 200/201. He sat next to me at swearing in. Conversely, a member of UVA's law review failed VA (and lost her job). It's all about putting the time in. I can tell you from your schedule that you are looking at trouble. You will not have steam to make it through the last 2 hours of the day on that schedule. Clearly, you cannot do anything about it (likely), but it's necessary for you to make the most of your time.
Old 02-22-05, 07:13 PM
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I will be taking the Bar in July, and I will NOT be doing the Barbri course. I'll keep you informed.
Old 02-22-05, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Josh
I can tell you from your schedule that you are looking at trouble. You will not have steam to make it through the last 2 hours of the day on that schedule. Clearly, you cannot do anything about it (likely), but it's necessary for you to make the most of your time.
I know I'm looking at trouble, as I also haven't cleaned up grades-wise either.

I am hoping that the BarBri reviews will be SOMEWHAT beneficial.

I am hoping that by working in a law firm for 4 hours/day, I'll be immersing myself in law, which can't hurt for general knowledge purposes.

I am hoping that at night, I'll have enough steam to work for a good 3-4 hours before I go to bed. Then get up at 7:00am. That's 7 hours of sleep/night, which is about what I get now.

I'm also going to be studying on weekends -- did anyone else here make the most of their weekends, or was that your "off" time?


How much time each day did you study, Josh (not including BarBri class)? Did you study on weekends? What else did you do with your time while not studying?
Old 02-22-05, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Josh
There are two main keys -practice questions, both MBE and essays, AND MAKING YOUR OWN CUSTOMIZED OUTLINES. You have to have dynamic outlines at every stage of the game.

I don't agree that you have to have your own customized outlines. I used the BarBri outlines exclusively and had no problems.
Old 02-22-05, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
I don't agree that you have to have your own customized outlines. I used the BarBri outlines exclusively and had no problems.
Same here... relied on BarBri's outlines, had absolutely no problem.

I'll say this: I learn far, far better by listening than by any other method... so BarBri was pretty necessary for me. YMMV as always.
Old 02-22-05, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by WildcatLH
I'll say this: I learn far, far better by listening than by any other method... so BarBri was pretty necessary for me. YMMV as always.

Same here.
Old 02-24-05, 02:45 PM
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Update for me: I decided to go the Micromash way. Here's hoping it works in my favor. I seem to have learned best outside of class, so I'm hoping it will help me more than Barbri would (and save money). I've taken all the classes covered on the MBE and Pennsylvania's essays except Family Law. So I hope I'll pass!

Taking the MPRE in a couple weeks...
Old 02-24-05, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson
BarBri.

I didn't start until the lectures, then after they were over, I lived in the library until the exam.


Oh yeah, I passed.
I did that too. I went to class in the morning and paid careful attention. Then I went home and did nothing for the rest of the day.

Once the classes ended, I spent 12-16 hour days every day in the library. I split my work 40% multiple choice / 40% reading outlines / 20% writing practice essays. Other than that, I didn't do anything other than occasionally listening to review cds.

I didn't study at all once the test started. It wouldn't have done any good, and it would have likely confused me. In fact, on the first night of the test, I drove 60 miles to my hometown to shop.

In hindsight, I could have done about 80% less work and still passed. Only 3 people out of my graduating class failed the test, and one of them didn't really study because she was getting married/moving out of state.

Edit: Typo

Last edited by CaptainMarvel; 02-24-05 at 03:29 PM.

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