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Last Minute Tips and Tricks

Congratulations On Making It This Far!!!  

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You should feel relief after coming so far.  You have spent countless hours working, studying, and preparing for this Bar Exam.  We know you will do fine.

If you have taken anything away from our study methods and advice, please manage your time on the exam.

Everything we teach is based on time management and you need to spend the appropriate time on each question, whether it is the MPT, MBE or MEE.  Do not go more than 90 minutes per MPT, 30 Minutes per essay on the MEE, and try to not go beyond 2 minutes per MBE question.  We understand you will go beyond time on certain MBE questions, and that’s fine.  Our key concern in time management is making sure you have enough time to complete each MEE and MPT question.

Here is the rest of our last minute tips and tricks.

  1.  Do not, we repeat do not talk to anyone about about the first days questions.  You will have enough to worry about on day 2 and California takers, day 3.  You will have enough stress and do not need anymore wondering if you got a question right over someone else.  You also do not want waste brain power and energy looking for answers on questions you have already taken.  The answers are completed, those questions are over, you cannot change them.  Don’t stress and move on to the next day.  The second day is worth just as much as the first.
  2. The day before the exam, just go over your outlines and flash cards generally.  Do not cram the night before.  The night before the exam, you will not be able to jam anymore into your brain.  Relax, order food, and go to bed early.  You have a long couple of days ahead.
  3. Based on MPTs we have graded, a couple of key things have popped out.  First, make sure you address every code section, statute, and ESPECIALLY every case in your answer that you are given in your exam.  The examiners are looking for them.  Also, try to differentiate you case with how other cases were resolved in the file.  Example:  The law says our client Bob is an employee and not an independent contractor because he has no control, unlike Dan in the Johnson case who had complete control over how to do his job.
  4. Again, please make sure you only spend the right amount of time per question.  So many other examinees will go over the allotted time per question and because you won’t, you can answer all of the questions getting you more points.

Good Luck everyone.  We hope we have helped you and our predictions are correct.  We have done everything we can to help you succeed.  We look forward to welcoming you as members of the BAR.

We will be posting an additional article on Wednesday or Thursday about what happens from here.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!

The Turn: Bar Exam Studying After the 4th of July

Post 4th of July Bar Exam Studying, Focus and Selfishness.

We are not going to lie to you, the next three weeks will be some of the most stressful in your life.  Now is the time to focus completely on studying and prepare yourself for the Bar Exam.

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For the past few decades, the 4th of July signaled the beginning of the end of studying for the Bar Exam.

Most bar preparation companies’ schedule by this time will have you completed or near completed all the required lectures for each individual subject tested on the Bar Exam.  You would have reviewed the traditional law school courses such as Contracts and Evidence and begun to learn subjects that you may have never dreamed existed such as Conflict of Laws.  Do not worry if you did not complete every Barbri AMP question or  getting 100% on the Themis myProgess tracker.  Just make sure you have completed the lectures as they are the most important part of the program.  So where do you go from here?

First, you should be doing at a minimum 50 to 100 practice MBE questions per day.  We understand that this will take 2 to 3 hours per day to complete.  To be honest, it will be more as you go over all of the practice questions you got wrong.  You must learn why you got the question wrong, what was the correct law, and how to apply it.   We cannot understate the importance of constantly drilling MBE practice questions.   Most law students have not taken a multiple choice test in years and this is the hardest multiple choice test you will ever take.  You need to learn how to read the call of the question properly and how to understand the various fact pattern structures of an MBE question.  You should be focusing on subjects you are doing poorly in.  If you are hitting 70% or more on a subject, we suggest you more to another one.  Remember, you are not looking for an A, just a passing score.

Second, you should try to review one MEE subject per day.  Again, over the next two weeks, just one MEE subject per day.  The MBE subjects are the most important you need to spend the majority of your time on them.  However, try to complete a few essays a day.  To maximize your study time, use our Short Answer Method posted here:  Short Answer Method   

Also, to save time, we have offered our free MEE outlines in our forum for your studying needs.  When you complete an essay, again self-grade yourself and review anything that was incorrect to make sure you will not make that mistake in the future.  We also offer free grading and tips of your essays.  Just post them to the forum, private message us, or email them directly.

Lastly, you need to be selfish.  For the next three weeks, this is all about you.  Unfortunately, you have to tell family members, spouses, children, they will just not see you.  Trust us, we had to do this as well.  You need to focus on studying and cannot afford any distractions.  To be honest, your family will understand.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!

MEE Practice: Short Answer Method

Practice More MEE Questions By Using The Short Answer Method!

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There is only so much time you have to study for the Bar Exam.  As we have said time and time again, Time Management and Efficient Studying are keys to passing this most dreaded test.  The Short Answer Method allows you to maximize your time and efficiently prepare for the Multistate Essay Examination.

The Short Answer Method is designed to allow you to quickly assess if you know the applicable law and are correctly applying that law to the facts of the essay question.

First, you need to have sample essays to prepare from.  The good news is your bar prep course should offer more than you will ever need.  However, if you are not enrolled in a bar prep course and would like some free essay questions or just want more practice, please see are free resources article here:  Free Study Resources, Including Essays

Second, you are not going to write the answer to any practice question, you are only going to issue spot and write a short answer.  Here is an example:

Sample Question

Paul signs a contract with DMC Corporation to buy a copier that costs $ 10,000  to be delivered in one month and an additional $ 2,000 for the copier to be installed.  Paul pays $ 12,000 to DMC at the signing of the contract.  Two weeks after signing the contract, DMC tells Paul they made a mistake and the copier should have cost $ 15,000 and $ 4,000 for installation.  DMC also tells Paul if he does not pay the additional $ 7,000, DMC will go out of business and Paul will not only never get the copier, but would lose the $12,000 already paid.  Paul agrees to pay the additional $ 7,000, but will only pay the additional $ 7,000 once the copier is installed.  DMC delivers the copier two weeks later and installs it.  Paul never pays the additional $ 7,000.  DMC sues Paul for the additional $ 7,000.

  1.  Does DMC get the additional $ 5,000 from Paul for the copier?  Explain.
  2.  Does DMC get the additional $ 2,000 from Paul for installing the copier?  Explain.

Short Answer Method

Once you have read the question, you need to come up with your answer rubric.  Here is our example:

  1.  Is there a contract?  Offer + Acceptance + Consideration = Contract.  DMC offers copier and installation, Paul accepts, consideration $ 12,000, copier and installation. Original Contract appears valid and is a bilateral contract.
  2. Applicable law:  UCC or Common.  Contract is mixed as copier is good but installation is service.  Split the contract, both laws apply to respective portions.
  3. Contract Modification:  Rescission, Modification, Accord & Satisfaction?  Unilateral rescission by DMC, not allowed no illegality, mistake, or impossibility.  Modification, technically yes, but may not be valid.  Accord & Satisfaction, no.  Was there valid consideration to change of contact?  UCC allows for no new consideration needed to be offered by DMC, but then modification must be in “good-faith”.  Common law requires new consideration.  Probably Paul has to pay additional $ 5,000 for copier but not the added $ 2,000 for installation.
  4. Defenses: Paul argues economic duress as a defense to contract modification due to potential loss of deposit.  Paul could have bought a copier elsewhere and sued for damages, therefore modification is valid if meets all other requirements “good-faith”.  DMC argues unjust enrichment and impossibility.
  5. Answer:  DMC does get the additional $ 5,000 as long as the court finds DMC modified the contract in “good faith”.  DMC does not get the additional $ 2,000 as there was no additional consideration given by DMC to Paul.

We hope you see what the Short Answer Method accomplishes.  Using this method, you are spotting issues, determining applicable law, applying the law to the facts, and determining a result.  Once you read the model answer, you can tell based upon the Short Answer Method rubric whether you would have answered the question correctly and gotten the most points without having to write a full answer.  Instead of spending time writing 2 pages, you are writing less than half a page that allows you to accurately check your answer, determine any mistakes, and adequately assess whether you answered the question properly.

If you were to complete this practice question as if it was a real Bar Exam MEE question, it would take you 30 minutes and over 2 pages.  By using the Short Answer Method, answering this question should only take half that time allowing you to practice more.   We hope the Short Answer Method helps you prepare for and pass the Bar Exam.  We know bar preparation time is precious and believe this method will allow you use that time wisely and efficiently.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!

UnlockingThe MPT: Another Key To Passing The Bar Eam

Multistate Performance Test (MPT):  To Be Welcomed, Not Feared

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The Multistate Performance Test, or MPT, is the portion of the Bar Exam that should be welcomed, not feared.  In Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) administered states, the MPT portion of the Bar Exam accounts for 20% of your total Bar Exam score.  This is a good thing.  By achieving a high score on this portion of the exam (a very realistic goal), it can mitigate any potential shortcomings in the other areas of the exam, the MBE and MEE portions leading to a passing score.

“The MPT is the only portion of the Bar Exam where you do not need to know any law.”

The MPT is designed to test an examinee’s ability to complete a task that a new lawyer should be able to accomplish after completing law school.  In essence, you will need to analyze a set of facts or laws and articulate a response in a given format.  The facts, the laws, the research, the format, are all given to you by the NCBE.  You must simply “perform” and complete the task in the allotted time.

When you open your MPT booklet, you will see two things, a File and a Library.  The File contains the instructions of the task you are to complete.  Examples of these tasks include:

  • A memo to a supervising attorney listing your opinion of how the law applies to your firm’s client’s particular set of facts
  • A demand letter you must write to opposing counsel
  • A persuasive brief or memorandum to a judge
  • A discovery plan
  • A letter to a client
  • Closing arguments

This is far from an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of how you will be tested.  Other documents in the File may include facts about your client’s case and prior research or advice from your “firm” about your client or the case.

The second set of documents in your MPT booklet is the Library.  The Library contains all of the legal authorities needed to complete your assigned task.  Some of these legal authorities are actual cases, regulations or statutes, others are fictitious, and some may be authorities that have been modified in some way.

First, as in everything we teach at EBP, we stress TIME MANAGEMENT.  You cannot, we repeat cannot, go over 90 minutes per MPT question.  This includes whether you are in a UBE jurisdiction where two MPTs are administered or in a jurisdiction where only one MPT is administered per Bar Exam.  Going beyond 90 minutes per MPT question will cause you to severely lose points as you are rushed or you are unable to complete other MEE/MPT questions.  You need to time yourself and cut yourself off at 90 minutes.  Trust us, the additional points you may obtain by going over 90 minutes on a MPT question will be far outweighed by what you loose on other written questions.  By practicing MPT questions ahead of time, you can come to a better understanding of where you need to be in completing the task (whether writing or reviewing the file or library) at any given time.

Second, read the File first.  This will give you a better idea of what you are looking for in the Library.

Third, as you review the Library, write down on your scrap paper every case, statute, or regulation referenced in the Library.  This does not mean only the legal authorities that are headlined in the Library.  Often, a case will appear in the opinion of another case.  You must mention both cases.  Failure to do so will cost you points.  Also, we hope you have had no previous exposure to the legal authorities or issues in the Library or File.  Often, the MPT is completely at odds with real life established law.  That is the point of the MPT.  You are analyzing the law and facts at hand, not what you have memorized previously.  Even if the MPT is wrong, you must treat it as correct law and analyze accordingly.

Fourth, when you have reviewed the File and the Library, you should begin to write.  You should plan ahead of time when you will begin to write, we suggest at the 30 minutes mark.  You need to get something down on paper around that time.  The first thing you should write is the format.  You MUST complete your task in the format assigned by the MPT.  We have heard countless stories of people who got zero points on the MPT because they completed the task their way.  The NCBE, your local state bar examiners, or even us do not care where you went to law school, what big law firm you interned at, or how your method of completing the assigned task is better. Its the NCBE’s way or the highway.  If you wish to fail the Bar Exam, the easiest way to do it is to not used the assigned format called for by the MPT.  In the MPT, the File will include the instructions to the assigned task and often an example.  Copy that example.  Before you begin to write your analysis, outline, or anything else.  You should complete the form letter with the conclusion at the end.  If your task is a demand letter, make sure you write “For the reasons above, this letter demands you to ….”.  The amount of points you obtain just from using the correct format with a conclusion are tremendous and quite easy to obtain.

Fifth, you should complete a very brief outline before you write your analysis.  Type it in your answer so you can see it and follow it as you complete the task.  Make sure that outline lists every legal authority in the Library.  If a legal authority is in the Library, its most likely there for a reason.  As you complete the task, remove the portion of the outline that relates to it that you have typed in the answer.  That way you are sure you mention all the necessary legal authorities in your answer.

Lastly, a significant portion of examinees will never practice an MPT prior to taking the Bar Exam.  This can be a very costly mistake.  You need to become accustomed to the time constraints of the MPT.  Professional Bar Exam takers who work with national bar prep companies often cannot finish MPTs in the allotted 90 minutes.  You need to become familiar with how to review the File and Library and how to structure your answer to the format required by the MPT.

Obtaining a high score on the MPT can be the difference between passing and failing the bar exam.  We have provided sample MPT answers in our previous article on free resources.  You can find that link here:  Free Resources

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!

 

Bar Exam Panic: Everybody Does It

It’s OK To Panic, Everyone Does, You Will Be Fine.

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Everybody Panics.  The Bar Exam, for better or worse, is the culmination of your legal education.  For most, it takes three years to get here.  For others, four or five years, just to get the opportunity to take the Bar Exam.  It is natural to feel the pressure leading up to the longest test of your life after so much hard work in law school.  Yes, you will panic, the creators of Efficient Bar Prep panicked, they passed the Bar Exam and so will you.

“Sometimes I wish that I could go into a time machine right now and just look at my self and say, ‘Calm down. Things are gonna be fine. Things are gonna be all great. Just relax.‘   Tristan Wilds

A quick story.  One creator of EBP had just completed his last exam and was going home, getting ready for graduation.  Sitting outside his door was a couple of boxes.   Now usually, as everyone does in the internet shopping world we live in, a smile forms on your face as you can’t wait to open your latest Amazon box.  However, his smile quickly soured.  The boxes, and these were large boxes, contained his bar prep course books, flashcards, and a few notebooks he had purchased for the Bar Exam.  If you are taking a bar prep course, you know the books we are talking about.  MEE prep book, MBE prep book, lecture notes, MBE questions book, MPT prep book, short-outline book, medium outline book, expanded outline book.  He sat down looking at those books thinking, “Oh My God”, I can’t pass this.  But he did and so can you.

At Efficient Bar Prep, we base our study methods and advice on logic.  Logically, you will pass for the following reasons:

  1.  Your here.  No, we are not being conceited and saying that we are the Bar Exam gods that will grant you a passing score.  Your here because you want to do everything you can to pass the Bar Exam.  That simple fact alone gives you a tremendous advantage.  Law schools are also panicking about more of their students failing the Bar Exam.  They have done studies to figure out why more people are failing.  Law schools have uncovered a startling fact.  The more you study for the Bar Exam, the more likely you will pass the Bar Exam.  Your here learning how to take the Bar Exam, doing thousands of practice MBE questions, simply working and studying hard.  This is the number one indicator of future success.
  2.  You passed law school and all you need to do is pass, not ace, the Bar Exam.  Whether you graduated with honors or with a 2.5 GPA, you would not be granted the opportunity to take the Bar Exam without taking and passing classes that contain the material the Bar Exam is based on.  All you are doing is passing another test, and even though it is far larger than any test you took in law school, it is just another test on the law.  In essence, the Bar Exam is just an accumulation of all those previous exams you have already taken and passed.  Your just doing it again.
  3. The majority of applicants will pass the Bar Exam and so will you.  63% of Bar Exam test takers past the July 2015 bar exam.  Essentially two-thirds of all Bar Exam applicants passed.
  4. You can miss 70, 80, possibly 90 of the MBE questions and still pass the Bar Exam.
  5. This studying process, this panic, this Bar Exam, is the same for every Bar Exam applicant.  You are not alone in what you are feeling, it will pass for you as it does for everyone else.
  6. Lastly, take a break.  If panic grips you, go to the movies, play a video game, play music, go to the gym, or just go for walk.  Giving yourself some time for rest and relaxation.  Don’t burn yourself out.  A few hours or a night away from studying will not cause you any harm and most likely will help you.

Just remember, everyone will have that PANIC moment.  It’s fine, it’s ok, it will pass.  Just “Keep Calm and Carry On”.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  You can also PM us if needed for anything.  Good Luck!

MBE: Increasing The Probability Of A Right Answer

Don’t Ignore Probability, Use It To Succeed On The MBE!

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Beyond knowing the law, there are tips and tricks to finding the right answer choice on the MBE.  There are too many to go over in this post, but lets focus on how mere probability can help you pass the Bar Exam.

The median national score for the July 2015 Bar Exam was 140.6 and the mean was 139.9.

There are 200 questions on the MBE and 10 of those questions are experimental and are not counted in your scaled score.  In essence, you get about 10 free points towards your scaled score, so the median person answered correctly approximately 130 questions, or 65%.  At, EBP, we believe that if you hit the median score (but we stress and hope you will exceed this score), you should pass the Bar Exam.

So how do we get 130 questions right?

MBE Question Breakdown
Percentage Correct Number Of Questions Number Correct
100% Chance 100 100
50% Chance 50 25
25% Chance 50 12.5
Total 200 137.5

 

This chart provides a breakdown of how by eliminating answer choices and using probability can get you an acceptable MBE score.  How much easier does is the MBE appear when you know that you only need to be certain on 100 questions rather then 130 questions?

Simply put, you need to know for certain 100 questions.  To be honest, you should be able to attain that by putting in the hard work through study and doing 2000 practice MBE questions.  We are expecting you to know for certain that you are right on just 50% of the total questions of the MBE.  Second, we expect that on 50 questions, you have narrowed it down to two answer choices.  We are not expecting you to know the right answer here, just that you have eliminated half the answer choices.  Third, and this is the easiest part of all, we don’t expect you to know the right answer.  That’s right, if the bar examiners would let you bring in a chimpanzee and would let him choose your answer choices, well that would be just fine.  So how do we get to the 50/50 questions?

  1. Look for the right law rather than the right facts in the answer choice.  Bar examiners want you to see something correct in the choice so you will easily assume that selection is correct, often it is not.
  2. Accurate COMPLETE statements of law are usually the correct ones over partial or incomplete statements of law.
  3. Find the wrong answer choice.  This is a simple statement, but if you cannot find the right answer choice, look for why an answer choice is wrong.  We are trying to eliminate choices to get the highest chance that a random choice will be correct.

Breaking down the MBE down to probabilities makes this section of the Bar Exam a little less frightful.  Of course you still need to study and do thousands of MBE practice questions.  But we are trying to get you to pass the bar efficiently, working smarter and not harder.  The fact is, if you can turn 50 MBE questions into a flip of a coin, you should pass the Bar Exam.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!

The Sound of Study: Bar Exam Prep Music

Can Listening to Music Actually Help You Study for the Bar Exam?  Surprisingly, Yes.

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In today’s world, streaming music has become a fact of life.  More often than not, the above picture is replicated in law school libraries across the country.  Studies have shown that listening to music while studying can help with focus, concentration, and memory retention.  This phenomenon was first documented in 1993 when an increase in students’ test scores were observed if they had studied while listening to Mozart.  This improvement became known as the “Mozart Effect”.

In a 2011 study, Finnish researchers discovered a new way to map brain processes during different elements of music such as timbre and rhythm, which established the intimate connection between music and the brain.

However, if music does help in studying for the bar exam, is there a particular kind of music we need to listen to?  Can you just listen to Mozart and instantly pass the Bar Exam?  While we wish that was the case, listening to Mozart will not guarantee Bar Exam success.  Only hard work can do that.

First, you need to listen to music you enjoy.  If you hate classical music, listening to it while studying will cause more harm than good.  The music you are listening to while studying can not be distracting.  You cannot hate what you are listening to, but you cannot enjoy it too much or you will loose focus on what you are studying.  Music with lyrics is not recommended listening while studying.  Listening to the top 40 just won’t work as it will just sidetrack you from focusing on the law.

Traditionally, the recommended genre of music to listen to while studying is classical works.  Music by classical composers such as Bach, Vivaldi, Brahms, and yes, Mozart.  We have complied some of the recommended works from across the internet in a Spotify playlist here:  Classical Music Study Playlist

Recently, video game soundtracks have become extremely popular to listen to while studying.  Video game soundtracks are designed with a purpose, to help you focus and concentrate on a task without distracting you from what you need to accomplish.  Whether you are playing a shoot’em up game such as Halo or trying to save Princess Zelda, you are trying to solve a puzzle.  Whether it is getting from point A to point B without dying or figuring out how to get around an obstacle, the game requires you to use your mind to complete the task.  Personally, some of us have used video game soundtracks from Dues Ex, Final Fantasy, and Halo to help study for the Bar Exam.  While we can’t say it was the key to our success, we can say it made studying more bearable.

We have complied a Spotify playlist with modern soundtracks and songs we enjoyed here:  Modern Music Study Playlist

This is not an exhaustive list and we would love to hear of anything you think we should add!!!  Please post it in the forums.  We hope this playlist will continue to grow from input not only from us, but also from you.  In fact, we were listening to this playlist while working on this post.

You may ask, why did we spend time writing an article about study music?  At Efficient Bar Prep, we are doing everything we can to help you pass the Bar Exam.  If this blog post gets you that one point you need to pass the exam, it was well worth it.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!

 

 

Free Resources to Help You Study

Bar Prep Courses, we know are extremely expensive.

After paying tens of thousands of dollars in paying for Law School, we understand the reluctance about paying more to study for the Bar Exam.

We are often asked, “What free resources are available to help you study for the bar exam?”.

The good news is that there are some available.  First place you should look is your state’s governing authority for the bar exam.  Often, states will post previous years essay and MPT questions with model answers or answers rated excellent from previous test takers.

 

 

For example, Minnesota State of Law Examiners has posted every essay and MPT question on its exam from July of 2009.  You can that link here:

MN Essay and MPT Answers

Illinois Board Admission to the Bar also lists prior year essays here:  IL Essay Answers

When you look at these resources, make sure they are applicable to the current format and subject matter of your Bar Exam.  For example, Minnesota changed its Bar Exam to UBE Format beginning with the February of 2014 Bar Exam.  So any answers, including to and after that date, are great for studying for any jurisdiction that uses the UBE.  However, I would not recommend reviewing these questions if you are in Louisiana or California, they are just different exams.

Also, we are posting free MEE outlines for your review.  Please look at the following EBP forum post for access to those outlines:

Free MEE Outlines Forum Post

In relation to MBE questions, the free resources available are extremely thin.  We would be careful going to some random website and pulling off their MBE questions.  You just do not know how those questions were created and even if it is correct law.  The NCBE does offer a few free questions, but nothing substantial.  Unfortunately, you must likely will need to purchase questions from a reputable Bar Prep company as you can feel with much greater confidence that those MBE questions are correct and accurate.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!

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