Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Essay Resource

One of the problems I have with the released answers from the Bar is that they provide only a tiny hint as to what a passing score looks like.

I took Fleming's program when I studied for the Baby Bar and I credit his materials for my passing score. He provided us with about 150 questions from past Baby Bar exams along with passing student answers. Of course, the only reason he had the answers is because the author failed to pass. But as we all know, even if we fail to get the required minimum score, It's usually because did poorly on one or two of the questions. And unless we totally bombed it, we probably got passing scores on the other answers.

Fleming collected answers with passing scores from his students and provided them to future classes as study material. I went through all 150 of those in the weeks before that exam and I know it was a big reason why I passed.

And now it looks like someone else has decided to do the same thing with the General Bar.

I got an e-mail the other day from the guy who runs He offered me a free sign-up (otherwise, $75) if I would take a look and help get the word out. I replied that I would check it out and get back to him.

It looks like his concept is pretty simple. He buys, or otherwise obtains, answers from bar takers who failed the exam. He sorts them based on year, month (Feb or July), subject, score range, and whether it was handwritten or typed.

One unique feature is that he provides not just answers with passing scores, but also answers with scores as low as 40, so you can see what the Bar considers an inadequate answer (I wonder if the Property exam by the depressed girl with the ring and the ex-boyfriend is up there?) And he redacts any information that would provide a clue as to who wrote the answer. An outline and checklist for each subject is also available to download.

The cost is $75 for access through the next exam. Whether or not that's a reasonable price depends on your individual situation. At this point, I can't say whether or not I would have paid for access. If I make that determination in the coming months I'll try to post an update. Links to sample material are posted on the home page so you can get an idea of what you get for your money before you decide to commit.

I would probably have mentioned the site even if I hadn't been given free access. But in the interest of full disclosure, I was asked to mention it in on the blog in exchange for access at no charge. But I only agreed to mention it if I thought it was something I would recommend to a friend.

So, here it is, friends. Another of the many weapons with which we can arm ourselves in the quest to slay the dragon that is the California Bar Exam.

If you lose this post, I've posted a link on the right --->


Jonathan Kramer said...

Interesting, Brian.

As you've heard me drill into your head (repeated), you can learn a lot from released answers. BarEssay's seems to be another route to getting a look at many more passing answers, and at a very low fee.

It seems to me to be a good investment, and if you were not already getting free access, I'd buy the subscription for you.


Anonymous said...

This question is a little off topic - do you know how to find a good recruiter? I don't know anything about any of them, and need some help!

Anonymous said...

Hi GP, how very savvy of to come up with the idea of paying for essays and uploading them for viewing to assist bar applicants in prepping for the essay portion - which is the most subjective and unpredictable part of the exam. It is hard to fathom how they grade especially when you look at the big gap between first and second reading. It could be 60 at first read and 80 on the second read or 70 on first read and 60 on the second read). Any new tool that helps bar applicants zero in on what they look for in essays is definitely a plus. I wish them success and hope it helps get a few more bar applicants over the hump in Feb 08.

last call at the bar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
last call at the bar said...

Thanks for the tip. I may try that out as my strategy now is rote memorization of model answers.

BTW (in light of your new header), in case you don't know, there's a fine collection a Bar exam apparel here:

yes, even though I am in my mid-30s and living in the SF Bay Area, I cannot do html w/o cheatsheets). I purchased and donned this one for July 07:

it helped me remember the subjects, too! :p

The Grand Poobah said...

Jonathan: I concur!

Anon: I don't know how to judge recruiters. I tried a few right after the the exam and they were a waste of time. I got most of my responses from ads posted on Craigslist. But I ultimately found my jobs through personal contacts. I would recommend that you touch base with everyone you know in the legal field, especially those people who you might know in the class that graduated before yours. Just let them know you're looking for a job and something might pop up. That's how I found one of my jobs. Best of luck to you on that.

Anon: I agree! The problem with the released answers is that we don't know what kind of grade they received, or if they were even the best ones on the subject. With BarEssays, we can compare passing answers to the released answers. That could reveal much.

Comment Deleted: Response Deleted

Last Call: I'm very afraid to go there. I'm a sucker for shirts like that. I may get one but it'll have to wait until May. Or, I could buy the one that says I passed July 2007 then mark it out and write in Feb '08! Yeah.... That's the ticket! (;-)>

Anonymous said...

Did they ever post sample answers for the July exam?

The Grand Poobah said...

Anon: No Released answers yet. You'll find them here ( when they're available.

Anonymous said...

I joined that baressays site. It's helpful.

Somebody should have thought of this years ago online.

There is a handwritten one in there that got a 77.5 on a Con Law question from February 2007. Any of our bar tutors would have told us that was a failing answer.

LOL. go figure. But seriously, that one appears to be the anomaly.

Comparing a 50 to a 70 answer, then looking at your own answers is helpful. (Also compare that to the bar tutor model answers.)

Anonymous said...

any update on whether this was helpful?

The Grand Poobah said...

Anon: None yet. I've decided to work solely on MBEs until after the first of the year. I should have an answer in a couple of weeks. It appears to be well received by others, however.

Anonymous said...

Our study group is looking for a used copy of the Flemings baby bar or bar review course. As "youze-guys" are light years beyond us, could you recommend where to purchase a used copy of the audio cd's? ebay doesn't seem to have a thing!