California Bar Exam Tip: What to do while waiting for bar results

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Hello All,

With the July 2012 bar exam results just around the corner, many of you who are waiting are wondering whether you should study while waiting for results, and, if so, what you should study.

For guidance as to whether you should study, see my prior post here.

If you have decided that you feel the need to study during the coming weeks leading up to the bar exam, here is what I recommend:

1. Take one or two topics and simply begin conducting a light substantive review of those topics. I recommend starting with a favorite topic – something that comes easily to you.

2. If you have decided to begin studying now, keep in mind that the point of studying now, is to provide yourself with a form of insurance, should you find yourself needing to take the bar exam again. Should you find out on the 16th that you did not pass the bar exam, then you will be ahead of the game because you have already begun some studying. And, if you do pass, then you really won’t care that you gave up a few hours here and there in the weeks leading up to results. The point is not to create anxiety, but instead to alleviate anxiety. So, the goal isn’t to study for hours and hours each week leading up to the 16th. Instead, simply take on one or two subjects. Spend an hour tomorrow morning (Saturday) simply reviewing one subject. Use it as an opportunity to shake off some cobwebs and then move onto the rest of your day. Do the same thing on Sunday morning and you will have put in two hours of study this weekend.

3. If you really have a definite feeling about your performance on the last bar exam – you are just certain that you did not pass – then  I would suggest completing MBEs. I do not recommend that you conduct an extensive substantive review prior to completing MBEs. Instead, start with Torts and complete one MBE at a time – pick the best answer choice and then immediately check the explanation to see if you were correct or not. Initially you will likely miss more questions now than you were missing right before the exam. However, most of the students that I work with who are repeating the bar exam are able to get right back to the scores they were getting in practice the week before the last bar exam, by simply doing practice MBEs for about 10 to 14 days. Be sure to use MBE sources you have already used previously – this way you will be able to compare your practice scores now to where you were in practice the days leading up to the bar exam.

4. Try to make it a game. When you are completing practice MBEs tell yourself you are going to pick the correct answer and then really focus on the fact pattern, carefully read the call of the question and focus on picking the best answer. Be sure to remain positive. Again, the point of studying now is to alleviate stress not increase stress. Much of this will simply come from your attitude about beginning your studies.

Remember to do the MBEs one at a time to get the correction value – it will cause your scores to go up more quickly than doing 30 or 50 at a time AND it is less painful to do one at a time (sitting and tackling 50 MBEs in one session is pretty tough after a long break from studies and a likely lack of familiarity with the questions). Remember also that your MBE scores will usually go back up to where you were right before the exam with or without substantive review – the students I work with who are repeaters generally have their percentages back to where they were right before the exam simply by doing and correcting the MBEs.

There is no right or wrong way to return to your studies. But, I do recommend that you ease into it by simply putting in one or two hours over the weekend. Be positive about it, go somewhere you enjoy studying and tell yourself that this is just bar exam insurance – if you find out on the 16th that you passed the bar exam you really will not care about a few hours lost to studying.

All the best to all who are waiting for results!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson

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

California Bar Exam: July 2012 Bar Results – One Month To Go!

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Hello Everyone,

Results for the July 2012 California bar exam will be released on November 16th. For those of you who are waiting for results, this may be one of the longest months of your life. I wish you all the very best of luck on November 16th.

So, what should you do while waiting for bar results?

For some of you, the last thing you want to do is to even think about the past bar exam (what you wrote, what you didn’t write about, issues you spotted or did not spot, etc.) while others are researching the questions and looking up detailed issue analysis for the past essays and performance tests. How each examinee deals with their wait is different. However, one common ground most examinees who are waiting for bar results generally share is anxiety.  It is hard, especially as the results date draws closer, not to think about the exam . . . and, it is nearly impossible not to feel at least some anxiety .

One of the most common questions I receive during this time from examinees is whether or not you should study while waiting for bar results.  The answer depends largely upon you.

No one wants to plan for failure, but, given the pass rates on the California bar exam you may want to have a back up plan in case you do not get the news that you are hoping for on November 16th.  Does this mean that you should begin studying right now? No, not necessarily. However, you may want to begin some studying now.  Here are some of the reasons you might want to begin some studying:

1) Studying a little now might help relieve some anxiety by jumpstarting your studies in the unfortunate event that you do not pass the July 2012 bar exam. (Note: if studying right now would increase your anxiety, then this option is likely not for you).

2) If you do not feel like you did well on the last exam. (If you think you did not pass the July 2012 bar exam, then why not begin doing some bar study now?  Consider it insurance in the event that you do not pass the exam).

3) You work full time and can not quit your job or take time off from work in the event you end up needing to take the February 2013 exam. (I work with many repeat bar examinees, most of whom must work full time and are often juggling their bar studies with work and family obligations. Therefore, time is critical and must be managed carefully and effectively. For those of you who work full time, having to repeat the bar exam is particularly challenging. As a result, if you think you might be re-taking the bar exam in February, you may just want to start doing a little studying now).

For those of you who think you may want to study some in the weeks leading up to bar results, stay tuned for advice on what kind of studying you should do, how much, what, etc.

All the best to those of you who are waiting for results for the July 2012 California Bar Exam!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson

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

February 2013 Bar Exam Study Tips: Begin Your Studies Early

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Hello Everyone,

If you are taking the February 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, I recommend that you begin your studies now.

Here is what I recommend (for first time takers):

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 the most trouble).

4.     Set aside time now, 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. if you are currently in law school and about to take the February 2012 bar exam, I recommend that you devote four hours per week during the months of October and November to early bar study.

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 or less available.  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 review program.

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 handouts, 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 July 2012 bar exam!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson

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