February 2014 Bar Exam Cram Session – 4 Seats Left!

Hello All,

I don’t usually put advertisements on my blog. But, I do have students who only find out about our classes after they have already taken and failed the bar exam and they tell me that they wish I had put up more information about our course offerings. So, here goes . . .


TO LEARN MORE OR REGISTER

PREDICTIONS AND TIPS: I will be posting predictions as it gets closer to the bar exam (I know, it is close already, but I do promise this material to my enrolled students first). Also, take a look at last July’s predictions – anything that did not show up on the last bar exam that I was leaning towards as possibilities then are even more likely now (at least that is my opinion). And, remember, it never makes sense to study around what is being predicted. Anything could be tested – so your goal is to be ready for whatever comes your way.

Also, if you find this blog helpful, please spread the word. And, don’t forget to join our bar exam tips list (see my earlier post here, to sign up).

Remember to stay positive and to believe in yourself. You CAN do this! Stay tuned for predictions. Wishing you all the very best in your studies!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review and BarExamCramSession.com
(213) 529-0990

California Bar Exam Tip: Should I study while I am waiting for bar results?

Hello All,

I hope, like me, you have been able to take a break and enjoy the rest of your summer. I also want to thank those of you again who read my story of my battle with cancer (here) and made a donation. A few have done so anonymously and I was unable to thank you personally. I am deeply humbled. Please know that it is so appreciated.

So, as promised, I am back to answer some of the most commonly asked questions that I receive from those who are awaiting bar results.

One of the most common questions examinees ask is whether or not they should study while they wait for their bar exam results. My answer depends upon two things: 1) whether you took the July bar exam or the February bar exam and 2) whether you are a worrier or not.

JULY vs. FEBRUARY: If you have taken the July bar exam and are currently waiting for bar results, then my answer to you would be that it is safe for you to put your books away and wait for bar results. Here is why: because of the timing of the July bar exam results (November 16th) those who find out they did not pass the July bar exam, will know enough in advance to still adequately prepare for the next bar exam (the February bar exam). Since results come out on November 16, 2012, examinees who find out they failed the July 2012 bar exam will have almost 3 months to study for the February 2013 bar exam.

However, if you were awaiting results from a February bar examination, then your results will come at the end of May – only about eight weeks before the next July bar exam. This does not leave a lot of time to study before the next exam. As a result, my advice to February examinees is generally to study some in advance of the results so that in the event you do not pass the February bar exam you have already hedged your bet for the next bar round by reviewing early.

WORRIERS: For those of you who tend to worry more than others (and don’t get me wrong, worrying about your bar results just comes naturally, but some of us worry a lot more about things in general than others do) then it will just make sense for you to study at least some while you are awaiting your results.

So, what did I do when I took the bar? Well, after I packed up my bar review materials, lugged them back home after I took the last day of the bar exam, I didn’t turn another page in those books again. BUT, the week before bar results I tortured myself over the fact that I didn’t continue studying after taking the bar exam . . . what if I failed?

Well, fortunately I passed. But, I look at it this way: if you are worried about it, then go ahead and review your outlines for the MBE topics and even take a few MBE practice questions. If you receive passing results in November, you won’t be angry with yourself because you wasted a few hours studying while you waited for bar results. On the other hand, if you find out in November that you did not pass the bar exam, then at least you have a jump start on your studies.

In any event, I wish you the very best of luck to those of you who are waiting for bar results!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
barnonereview.com

Published in: on September 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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July 2012 California Bar Exam Predictions – Free Essay Examples

Hello All,

I have had several requests for examples of how Van Camp and Pereira are tested on an essay. Our course materials include over 150 past California bar exam essays. However, my students are also all given extra sample essays for the topic areas that I think are most likely on that particular bar round. My students have our essay books, which provide a solid coverage of the range of essays that can be tested. But, I provide additional essay handouts for some of the areas that appear to be more likely or more probable for each bar round. Again, no one can predict this exam and I certainly do not claim to be able to predict it. I have had some bar rounds where I have come up with as many as 5 out of the 6 essay topics and even the specific sub topic (i.e., predicting defamation, not just Torts). However, this is not something I claim to be able to do every time.

You should be prepared for anything that comes your way and one of the very best ways to do that is to review past bar exam essays.

As anyone who has taken the bar and failed will tell you, simply memorizing the law is not enough. You really need to see how the concepts are tested in the context of the actual exam. If you have not spent a lot of time reviewing essays, then today would be a great day to start – it is never too late to review essays and perhaps stumble upon one or two that  you actually end up seeing on day one or day two of the bar exam. Remember, the California bar examiners repeat the same or nearly identical essays over and over again. Exams from four years ago are seen again all of the time, as are 10 year old exams – negligence is negligence, products liability is products liability, defamation is defamation . . .

My point is that there are only so many ways these topics can be tested. Therefore, reviewing past exams is an excellent way to improve your chances of understanding the issues and addressing the correct issues on exam day. Anything you see today or tomorrow, you will remember on the day of the exam.

Based upon the many requests for further explanation of certain concepts – like how does Van Camp and Pereira play out on a Community Property essay, what is/how do I handle the “primary rights” view (which is a minority and California held view) in Civil Procedure? – I have decided to provide some free essays along with additional study tips for the coming days/hours).

I will be happy to send you a copy of some of the essays that I think either help illustrate these concepts or that I think are worth reviewing right before the exam. In addition, I will be happy to send you tips regarding the coming days/hours.

How do I get the free essays and tips: If you want to receive essays along with additional tips and information about the exam, please send an email to me at: pass@barnonereview.com and include “send me essays & tips” in the subject line. Please include your first and last name and the law school you attended. (I do not release any of this information and never, ever, sell contact information that I receive from students or blog followers. Your information is kept confidential).

Further Predictions for day three: I will continue posting on my blog through the bar exam. After I know what was tested on day one, I will provide my suggestions of areas to focus on for day three’s essays (predictions of sorts). I will make these public on Tuesday afternoon while you are taking the exam. However, in order for me to do so, since I am not sitting for the test, I need to hear from examinees as to what was actually tested. My students will contact me, but, the more I hear from examinees, the more I will know and the more focused I can be about making suggestions for areas to study on day three.

Help me help you: So, if you have a moment, please feel free to email me on Tuesday during your break with your thoughts on what was tested. The more I know, the more I can offer to you.

Hang in there, I know these last few days can be tough, but, be positive and believe in yourself.

Best of luck to all who are taking the bar exam!

Also, I want to thank you all for following the blog, we have had over 10 thousand views in less than a week and the blog has now (as of this past week) received over 200,000 hits.

Thank you so much for the following and for your positive feedback via email – it is greatly appreciated.

Best,

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831
barnonereview.com

July 2012 California Bar Exam: Free “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop”

Hello All, 

June 2nd will conclude our series of free workshops for this bar round season as we will then need to focus exclusively on our enrolled students.

Our next, and final, “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” workshop will be held tomorrow, Saturday, June 2nd from 10:00 am until 12:30 pm in the city of Orange. This workshop will be taught by Lisa Duncanson (the author of this blog).

Workshop attendees will receive free handouts (including selected Bar Exam Writing Templates). Space is limited, but, at the moment there is still room in our morning workshop. To reserve your space, contact us at: (949) 891-8831 or via email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Note: if you wish to reserve a space this evening or early tomorrow morning, please send us an email and we will get back to you.

All the best to all who are studying for the July 2012 Bar Exam!

barnonereview.com

February 2012 Bar Exam – Day Two

Good morning bar takers!

Come back this afternoon to see more tips on last minute preparation for Thursday’s essays, my thoughts on what might be on the essays and just some good old fashioned encouragement! In the mean time, I thought hearing what a few examinees had to say to me privately (no names are included here) might be helpful to you.

Here is what a few of your fellow examinees had to say:

“Ms. Duncanson, your essay predictions were spot on!!!  I still don’t feel too good about my con law essay because it was tough, but I’m sure glad I had your blog to refer to when deciding which issues would merit some additional review!

The PT also, in my opinion, might as well have been a crossover PR/Business Associations (Partnerships) essay!  I am now eager to learn what your outlook is for PR come Thursday because I recall having read in your blog that the way PR is tested has a lot to do with how extensively it was implicated, if at all, in PT A.  Well, the gist of the PT concerned a proposed partnership between a lawyer and a non-lawyer to run a legal self-help business allowing customers who wish to represent themselves in legal matters (sort of like services provided by Legal Zoom).  One major sub-issue involved in the receptionist’s duties and their potential ethical implications under the code.  Unlike previous PTs in which the library contained case law, this PT had absolutely NO case law, but two sets of professional conduct code sections governing the prescribed/proscribed conducts in the fact scenario!  It also included a “formal opinion” from the State Bar of Columbia as to the code of professional conduct.

Just thought I’d give you a brief background of the PT and also let you know that, so far, you are batting 100% in the essay predictions!

Thank you!”

And another email from one of your fellow examinees:

“I just wanted to say thank you for posting something about the essays today. It really helps to move on to tomorrow having some closure about what happened today. I’m sure I missed a bunch, but hearing that I was at least writing on the correct subject areas (and that someone else was equally tripped up by Question 2 and rushed with Question 3) gives me some peace of mind. So thank you for taking the time to provide that information, and for making it available to the public.

The one thing I will add is that the first call for the Trusts/Wills question (whether Dave, the unknown 25 yr old son, had a legal claim to the trust) specifically said answer according to CA law. I wasn’t quite sure what this was looking for, but I thought it would be worth mentioning since I know there’s a pattern of there being at least one specific CA law question.

Ok, on to tomorrow!! Thanks again :)”

Note: I added the underlining above to highlight the apparent California interrogatory (call of question). Please bear in mind, I have not seen the test. I have heard from many, many examinees and have put together what sounds like was tested. But, your focus should not be on day one any longer. However you feel about your performance on day one, you can still get through day two and three with flying colors. So much of this exam is about rising above how you feel, forging onward, pushing ahead. And, to that degree (regardless of what you might think about the bar exam, whether it is fair or not) if you were a client, you would want your lawyer to be able to do just that – forge ahead, work through whatever physical difficulties the day might present and simply do their absolute best on their behalf. So today and tomorrow – do the absolute best on YOUR behalf!

I have a story I want to share with you. The semester before I was to take the bar exam (back in 1994) my best friend was taking the bar exam in February of 1994. She felt so horribly about day one of the exam, was so certain that she had failed, that she packed her bags, got on the elevator to head down to the lobby of her hotel, check out and head home. Now what you need to know first is that this friend of mine was tough, not a baby, not weak and was smart. But, she had convinced herself that she had failed and that was simply that.

While on the elevator another bar taker asked her where she was going (it was pretty obvious she was leaving). She told him she was going home. He asked her why and she explained that she knew she had already failed the bar exam. (I think you may know where I am going with this by now). Well, the short version is that this fellow bar taker talked her into staying, told her, “Hey, at least you will know what the MBEs are like so that when you take it next time you will be better prepared”. So, she stayed for day two and she stayed for day three and guess what? She passed. She told me about how she was sure she had failed the test before she got her passing bar results, how she had planned to walk out, how she did feel like day three was a “little bit easier” but, that she still believed that she had missed too many issues and had not finished enough of the essays to pass.

So, the moral of the above, true story, is that you should never give up, not today, not tomorrow.

And one last thing, if you think an essay is hard or the MBEs are hard or the PT is/was hard . . . remember that you are not alone in thinking that way. It is hard. But, you can do it. So stay as positive as you can and hang in there.

I am packing up and saying goodbye to my Ontario students this afternoon. But, will be back online with more tips and areas to focus on by this afternoon.

All the best to you! And, thank you so much to all of you who have written to me personally – it is much appreciated and it really makes me feel like what I am trying to do here is worthwhile. So thank you. Also, feel free to comment on my blog, it can only help others.

Best,

Lisa Duncanson

Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
barnonereview.com

February 2012 Bar Exam Predictions, Tips and Essay Scenarios

Hello All,

First of all I want to wish you all the very best of luck on the exam tomorrow. If you have been following my blog you will know that I do not really like to call my “predictions” predictions. I do not claim to be able to predict the bar exam. I have simply come up with some essay scenarios that I think might be worth considering. So, please review my “predictions” with that in mind.

There have been over 9,000 views of our blog in the past several days. Thank you for your interest . . . it definitely encourages me to continue providing free advice and handouts. I also want thank those of you who have expressed your appreciation via private emails – I truly appreciate it. And, I also appreciate your suggestions of things to include in the future. Please keep your suggestions coming after the bar exam. And, if you have any questions, I am still accepting questions via email at: pass@barnonereview.com at no charge. I will answer any and every question that I can.

After I learn what is tested on day one of the essays, I will post what I think may be more likely to show up on day three’s essays. I will be in Ontario, meeting with my student’s immediately after day one of the bar exam. I will put together my initial ideas about what I think might be tested on Thursday sometime tomorrow afternoon (while you are all taking the performance test). I will likely make some additional comments once I find out what was tested on the performance test. So . . . stay tuned.

Above all, stay positive, believe in yourself, trust your instincts and recognize that the bar examiners are not expecting perfection. At this point, believing in yourself is key, choose to believe that passing IS within your reach, it can only help you.

Best of luck to all who are taking the exam tomorrow!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
barnonereview.com

Making Flash Cards Will Improve Your MBE Score!

Hello Everyone,

This is a repost of an earlier post on the value of making flash cards and how this can improve your MBE scores.

MBEs are tough – you would have to look pretty hard to find someone to disagree with you on that one. However, you CAN make those MBEs easier. Here’s how – make flash cards of every missed MBE. Okay, I know what you might be thinking – Why should you make flash cards when you already go through and read the explanations for the questions you miss and then make notes, isn’t that enough?

Actually that method is not very effective. Here’s why, you never have the ability to store in one place all of the points of law and fact patterns that are causing you trouble. As a result, you never provide yourself the opportunity to continually review those specific trouble areas so that you can fix them.

Also, by only reading through the explanations you are studying in a very passive manner. Passive studying, while useful and better than not studying at all, will not likely work when it comes to making corrections. Think about it this way: if you are having trouble doing something, the way to do it correctly is to practice doing it until you get it right. If you simply read through explanations those explanations will likely leave you pretty quickly – you probably will not remember it the next time you see that same problem or issue.

By making flash cards you will create your own study tool that will be specifically designed (by you) to address your own problems. In addition, you are actively involved in your studying. By creating a flash card that fully explains the reason why you missed the MBE question, you will now have a tool that you can utilize to permanently fix that problem. This will only work if you actually take the time to think hard about the question – ask yourself why you missed it. Was it because you didn’t understand what a taking by force (in a robbery question) could factually include?

Whatever the reason is, write it down, make the correction on a flash card and then go back and “flash” the cards you have made. Re-read your flash cards regularly and you will be on your way to getting higher scores on those MBEs.

Remember that MBEs (the ones written by the National Conference of Bar Examiners) can often turn on little details. By practicing these questions and studying the explanations in an active way you will improve your score. It takes a great deal of work and real dedication to make a significant impact in your MBE scores. But, it is do-able. You simply have to work at it regularly and actively – passive reading of explanations will never cure a low MBE score.

For a free guide to making flash cards for the MBEs, send an email to: pass@barnonereview.com and ask for the free “How to Make MBE Flashcards” Handout. We will be happy to email it you.

Happy flash card making – do it – it really works!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
barnonereview.com

Bar None Review – New Phone Number – (949) 891-8831

Please note: The Bar Exam Guru’s phone number has changed.

Best of luck to all who are studying for the July 2010 bar exam!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831
barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam Tips: Video Available for Criminal Law

Hello Everyone,

If you would like to see an approach for writing a Homicide/Murder Essay, check out the video on our home page:

Criminal Law Homicide Approach – A Quick Review (excerpt from a past FYLSE Prep Class)

Good luck in your studies!

Bar Exam Tips: Preparing for Your Bar Exam Preparation

Hello Everyone,

If you are taking the July bar exam, then I recommend that you begin (if you have not already begun) your studies now.  It is never too early to start preparing for the bar exam.  If you are in your last semester of law school you are probably busy with your final classes and perhaps looking into or seeking employment opportunities.  While these are both important, you should not delay in preparing for your next major hurdle – that of passing the bar exam.  If you have not already chosen a bar review program, then you had better get going on that very quickly.  Whether you have enrolled in a course or not, you should begin your studies now.

Here is what I recommend:

1.     Prepare for your bar prep by determining where you will study when you are not in class (will it be your bedroom, an office, a library?  Think about it and make a plan).

2.     Make a list of your best and worst subjects in law school.

3.     Identify your strengths and weaknesses early (for example, do you have trouble with MBEs or with writing?  You ought to know by now which areas you have difficulty with in terms of testing.  This will be important as you will want to devote more time to the areas that present trouble).

4.     Set aside time each week to study for the bar.  Your bar class will likely not begin until after you graduate from law school.  However, you should NOT postpone your studies until then.  Instead, begin taking practice mbes so that you can begin to familiarize yourself with the format of the bar exam and re-acquaint yourself with subjects that you have not studied in a long time.

5.     Begin preparing your family and friends for your upcoming unavailability (see our post about “disconnecting” during bar studies).  Your family and friends know what it has been like to have you in law school.  They certainly remember that you have midterms and finals and that during those few weeks each year that you were probably unavailable.  However, they may not have an appreciation for the battle that is ahead of you when you begin your preparations for the bar exam.  You will do yourself a great service in explaining to everyone now what this process will require.  Let your family and friends know that you will be unavailable once you begin your bar studies.  It is very helpful to prepare those around you for your absence.  I am not suggesting that you don’t talk to anyone at all for two months.  However, if you are serious about passing the bar exam, you will limit your social activity and focus on your studies.  To really have an excellent chance of passing the bar on your first attempt (or any attempt for that matter) you will need to study all day and everyday for two months.  During this two month period of time you will need to take breaks.  BUT, you will not have time to go out several nights a week, to take lots of phone calls, spend copious amounts of time emailing and text messaging and surfing the net.

Stay tuned for more advice in the coming days and weeks.  Also, if you are interested in receiving our free MBE strategies call our office at (213) 529-0990 or simply send us an email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Congratulations to all of you who are about to graduate from law school and good luck to all who are awaiting bar results from the February 2008 bar exam!

Sincerely,

Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
barnonereview.com

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