Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's the little things that make the biggest difference.

And after looking at the answers released by the commercial Bar Prep programs, it's apparently the little things that derailed my answers. I saw the same issues, I just presented them differently.

Exactly the same! But Different!


Be ready for a lot of "Blah"s for the foreseeable future. I'm feeling very blah-like. I suppose that's apparent from the temporary new title.

There were a few positive things to take from my scores. I got a 65 on the second PT and I hit the CA average on the MBEs. My PT from Tuesday however sucked out loud. That's the one where I only allowed myself an hour and 20 minutes to write. I made sure not to do that on the second one and I had almost two hours to write. I suppose that means that I should have gotten a higher score than 65 on it. I can only fault myself for that though because I didn't practice them as diligently as I should have.

And I suppose the same can be said for my essays. For fun, I picked the scoring formula out of the handy-dandy information packet that they include with the failing scores, (There. I said it. I used the F-word.) and placed it in an Excel spreadsheet so I could play with the numbers a bit. There are a couple of ways I could have passed this thing ...

The easiest way would probably have been to raise the average score on my written answers by 2.5 points and answered 4 more MBEs correctly.

On the other hand, leaving my written scores as they are, if I had answered 19 more MBEs correctly I would have been over the magic 1440 barrier.

Or, leaving everything else unchanged, if I had simply gotten an 80 on that last PT instead of a 65, I would have exceeded the required minimum score.

Or, if I had scored a 90 on just one of the essays ..... well, you get the idea.

On a side note .... For those that passed, Congratulations. And to quote Han Solo, "Don't get cocky." One of my Profs related a story about a judge who pestered the State Bar to let him know what his son's passing score was. After about a year, someone at the Bar replied that they're doing everyone a favor by not releasing the passing scores. They said that most successful applicants (who turn into successful attorneys) would freak out (as would their clients) if they knew how close they actually were to not passing. Of course, that's very multiple hearsay and I'm repeating it here mostly to console myself and the rest of us repeaters. But there's a ring of truth to it as well. I don't say this to try to diminish your achievement. After all, I hope to pass by one point in February. It's just that the world could use many (many) more humble lawyers who don't force the Bar to constantly revise it's PR guidelines. And, to put it bluntly, there are way too many arrogant assholes in the field of Law. Like this guy for instance. Again, taking nothing away from your achievement, please try to use a little common sense and maintain the proper perspective.

Wow. I didn't realize that I was on my soapbox until I got up to get something to drink. Almost broke my ankle, I did, stepping off into thin air like that.

And this post is too long and I have too much studying to catch up on. For those who are interested, I'll try to post as regularly this time as I did for the July exam. But because I'm working now, please cut me some slack.

Hasta la later, all!


Anonymous said...

Its strange that you wrote these words becuase I was going to leave a comment on your site along these same lines. First off, I have enjoyed reading about your journey and because of that, I felt terrible when I checked your blog over the weekend and saw that you did not make it through this time. I was lucky enough to pass the February 07 bar exam and I honestly believe today that "luck" has a lot to do with it. For all I know I got a 1440 on the dot and I happened to get a grader in a good mood and fill in a couple lucky guess bubbles on the MBE and that is the only reason why I passed and someone else didn't. I think that is why when I hear of a person not passing it hits so close to home because every single one of us that has passed knows that we probably just as easily could have not passed (no F word here!) with a wrong question here or missing a tiny issue there. That being said, I also beleive that the February bar competition is not as stiff as the July bar and you have to keep that in mind as you go in there and kick some rear so that we can all check your site in May of 08 to see the great news. Don't give up and know that many are pulling for you!!

Anonymous said...

What is the CA average on the MBEs? I am trying to evaluate my scores and I think I need to improve a bit more than you do.

Anonymous said...

Hi GP, I did the manipulations with excel spreadsheet when I had my Feb result and figured July is passable but like anon#1 above said, luck has a role to play in whether an applicant gets to the 1440 mark by a hair e.g. grader's mood and degree of tiredness by the time he/she gets to your essay. The grading of essays is all over the place from one seating to another and considering that they spend, according to the grapevine, 1.6 mins per essay, it is indeed a crapshoot. The only way to beat the bar is to plow on and not allow them to dampen our spirit - we all have the ability to cross the 1440 mark.

Anonymous said...

How are you planning to study? Retake Barbri? Try another study course? Study on your own?

I'm just too depressed to even look at what I did wrong ( I know I will have to). Recracking open that Barbri books in my garage will be extra depressing. I stopped trying to quit smoking and I'm slowly converting back to myself old miserable self during the summer. I'm biting people's head off and cursing a lot. I call it the "angry" phase, I hope I reach "acceptance" phase soon.

Maybe you can share how you're going to study. People have been telling me all sorts of different things.

Anonymous said...

Where can I find the model answers that the commercial bar prep are posting?

biff said...

Nice video.

Anonymous said...

anyone look at tutors in the LA area...any suggestions, comments or advice...?

Richard said...

So close!! I just assume that i only JUST passed - can't believe people would pester to find stuff out - id be certain theyd be like 'oh we just realised we wus wrong!' lol.

Feb so close! You gonna restart a bar clock? :)

Bar Daze said...

You are so right. I am glad that I did the prep I did, but there was so much more that I could have and should have done better. Given that, I believe that while my efforts CONTRIBUTED to my 'pass' . . . my shortcomings put me equally in the F line - ie., F for February : ). I have no idea why I made the P rather than the F this time other than the grace of God, lucky good fortune and the help of a number of others which somehow all came together for me. The helper who found a computer guy at the last minute. The computer guy who came to my hotel TWO different nights to revive my unstable laptop - without him, I know I would be back in Feb. A supportive spouse who encouraged me to sit through the entire exam despite my contention after day one that I was pretty sure I could pass . . the second time around. How could there have not been a corporations question? That would likely have been my undoing, as much as the highly unusual "trust" question probably helped. We all entered and completed law school. We are all capable of completing the bar exam - it's only a matter of timing, preparation, plus a whole lot of factors that have nothing to do with us at all. The guy most likely to be the top scorer in July who takes Feb instead may end up repeating a year later if he simply failed to get a flu shot in October. Kind of a crap shoot, really, but you seem dead-on with your detailed analysis. Your ability to spot what and where to pull it up could turn into a lucrative sideline business to help repeaters this time next year. After reading your post, I would hire you in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...


I failed July 2006 and February 2007 only to pass this time. I truly know what you are going through. You will get through this period in your life and very, very soon you will be a bonafide attorney.

One piece of advice--work diligently on your WRITING!!! More than anything else the California Bar Exam is an exercise in concise, logical writing. Last February I didn't even make into re-read and I got a 150 scaled MBE!!! This past summer I wrote nearly 50 essays and several performance tests and went over them with a friend who passed a few years ago on her first try.

You know the law and you know how to spot the issues. You absolutely must learn to WRITE a reasoned logical analysis. Your essay/PT scores suggest you are not there yet and that is quite alright. The great thing is that you can LEARN the skills necessary to get you over that 1440 mark.

I'm pulling for you GP. You can do it (please practice, practice, practice your writing)...

Zeb said...

For those who failed, I've made a list of the courses and tutors and books that are most recommended (for California at least):

Grand Poobah, please mention this in a post so the good folks on your site can use my research and avoid some of the more expensive/crud programs and tutors! Thanks for posting your comments on my site too!