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montana_wildhack said...

The bar exam is a complete mindfuck no matter where you sit for the exam. It's a game, and you have to learn how to play by the Examiners' rules. Passing or failing the bar, in the great majority of instances, has little or nothing to do with intellect - it's just how well you can regurgitate the formula the bar graders want to see.

I took and passed the bar on my first try in Arizona, California, and Virginia - and although I went to a top law school, I was not a great student. I studied very hard for my first bar exam (Virginia) and went to all the Bar/Bri classes - so when I passed, I chalked it up to 2 months of full-time study and hard work. Two years later, when I took the Arizona bar, I studied for about 4 weeks - I borrowed the AZ Bar/Bri books from a co-worker, snuck into a few of the AZ specific lectures at ASU (Community Property was the only one really worth it), and passed the exam by a wide margin - I scored 480 (410 was needed to pass) with a 150 scaled on the MBE. I don't know what I scored on the VA exam because if you pass, they don't release your scores.

Most recently, I passed the California bar exam. I was working full-time up until less than a week before the exam, and I used only Bar/Bri books that I purchased off EBay. I studied with and sat for the exam with a good friend of mine who is also licensed in mulitple jurisdictions, and she failed the CA exam. She also took one week more off of work than I did to study prior to the exam.

So how did I pass three exams, in three very different jurisdictions, with three very different study methods? I READ and WROTE EVERY SINGLE ESSAY in the Bar/Bri practice essay exam books. Multiple times. I would read the questions, write out my answers, and then read the model answers and compare them to my answers. Then, I would make a list of what I missed in my answer, review those topics in the CMR, and then a few days later go back and rewrite the essays again. Later, rinse, repeat.

I really do think that unless you are totally bombing the MBE (meaning you are scoring less than 125 scaled), you don't need to spend a great deal of time studying for the MBE. Those questions are riddles wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma; answering them "correctly" is about being able to make an educated guess about what THE BAR EXAMINERS think is the "best" answer, not what you think is the "right" answer - seriously, you need to learn to substitute their judgment for yours. Because, like I said before, the bar exam is a mind game and the key to passage is learning how to not let the bar examiners psych you out. You just need to figure out what they want, and give it to them - a thousand MBEs and many regurgitated essays will be more than sufficient to do so.

Anyway, I hope that is helpful for you guys... believe me, I was never sure that I passed any of my bar exams until I got my results. In fact, when I was waiting for my VA results, I was so sure I failed that I got an ulcer while waiting for my results - LOL!! Hang in there and good luck next time. :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006 10:21:00 PM

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