Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wow, has it really been a month since my last post?

Considering the gusto with which I posted in the past, it's as though I've fallen off the face of the earth. I haven't done that, obviously, but I have found a new focus on passing the bar exam.

And I have been busy. Lisa Duncanson has assigned plenty of work; my household responsibilities haven't gone away; my wife lost her job with the Feds and we spent too much time appealing that before we handed it off to an attorney; then I spent too much time trying to find a solution to the resulting financial crisis; a little bit of work has come my way and I can't afford to turn that down right now; and ... everything else.


Despite all that, I've been able to maintain a positive attitude about the bar exam. With my new focus on outlining I think we've discovered what the hitch is in my bar-exam-get-along; Dava and Martina's CDs help me stay cool, calm and collected; and I'm hitting right at 80% on the MBEs, which is encouraging because I'm using the FINZ book that I haven't cracked since I bought it three years ago. Yep, I'm firing on all cylinders and we still have 26 days until the exam.

Life is good.


Just think how much better it will be in May when we get the good news!

Yep, just think...



Anonymous said...

Fantastic post and I'm so glad you are in the groove. Sorry you've been having additional pressure while you study for the exam, but it sounds like you are doing everything you can to make sure your name is on the list come May. Keep up the great (and inspiring) work!

Anonymous said...


Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers my friend. You are going to do great on the next exam. Thanks for all your help by the way.


WC law mom said...

Ugh! 26 days... that makes it sound so close, although really that is a LOT of time left. I'd better get back to it!

Anonymous said...

80% on Finz is great, I fluctuate with PMBR between the low 60's and low 70%'s.

Looking for many PT's do you do to prepare? Doing them completely is such a time suck. Is an outline of a PT problem sufficient after you have done 2 or 3?

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any POSITIVE RESULTS, after using the following PROGRAMS, to prepare for the BAR, as a REPEAT TAKER?


I would appreciate your input.

Anonymous said...

MHO, Flemings is a joke. I used Micromash for MBEs and BarBri iPod for an overall prep (since I didn't take a true prep course the first time) and it worked for me. BarBri actually recommended MicroMash for MBEs, saying it was stronger than their program....but then I found out later that BarBri has a stake in MicroMash so who knows.

Anonymous said...

Adachi for essays. get the new volume and work through the book.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 80% is impressive; you are doing great really, keep up the good work and all the best!

Anonymous said...

Sacuzzo and Johnson also have high praise for Micromash for MBEs.

But Barbri's MBEs are still good. The most difficult ones really are helpful because it forces you to focus and the explanations following the questions are good.

MBEs--as long as whatever MBE program gives you the CORRECT answer, it should be okay. Look for the programs that give a decent answer and explain why the wrong answer is wrong.

Emanuel's is also good. If they provide accurate law, you should be okay.

Although I did not pass in February 2008, I basically used Barbri and worked through the difficult ones. I really worked through them and wrote down a rule or a tip that would come up on a particular topic. If you work the questions over while studying, taking time (right now) to read carefully, you can get a GREAT mbe score--like high 140 raw or even 150.

Switch off on occasion and do 10-15 from another MBE book and see if you can remember what you learned from the other mbe books you are using.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried the 100Q MBE sample online from the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Gives good feedback. Access is for a year--26.00$. Got a 153 last Saturday in a three hour timed effort.

Anonymous said...

My heart skips a beat everytime I see the clock on the side of your blog. Where did the time go???

Keep on studying dude, you will do it!

Weezy said...


Sounds like it is all coming together!

Sending you good vibes,


kris said...

The "firing on all cylinders" is a very good sign. It sounds like you've got the momentum to do it and kick this bastard in the ass.

I look forward to lighting up a mini montecristo to celebrate your success and recall all contributers' to this blog's shared sacrifice.

kris said...


even when you are an attorney, it will always be better to hand off your own case to another.

You could be Scalia himself but people won't straighten up and fly right until you have someone on retainer.

Don't ask me why. And it's not fair. It's just the way it is.

It's money well spent - and it's kind of nice having a specialist professional working on your behalf.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kris,
I am sorry, but what do you mean "have someone on retainer?"
Do you mean have a client?

The Grand Poobah said...

Weezy: I hope. I pray. I beg. I ... endeavor to persevere.

Kris: Concur, I do! And you're right, it's nice not to have to worry about all that stuff anymore.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for quite a while now and I have to say, you are truly an inspiration. I will be right there with you this time, again... :( I am going to look for that Finz book right now amongst my boxes. I have been using Strategies and Tactics and the advanced Barbri questions. Your timer just made me really nervous, hopefully in a good way. Chin up Poohbah! You are not alone! Lets go and pass this damn thing already!

Anonymous said...


I can feel the energy and good vibes emanating from your post. "Firing on all cylinders" is one of my phrases and I'm glad to see you using it. Keep it up and kick this exam right in its groin.

Abe said...

Heading toward the home stretch and your attitude seems great! I'm sure your overwhelmed with advice but my $0.02 is to memorize the law like crazy. You're killing the MBEs, you've written tons of essays so you know what they need in them ... just memorize the rule statements like crazy. That's what did it for me the second go around. Best luck and good vibes!

Anonymous said...

The odds of another earthquake striking during this exam seem pretty low...

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the predictions for this one? Just curious....

Anonymous said...

We haven't seen a stand-alone Civ Pro in an awfully long time...I have an outstanding $10 bet that it will show up as a full essay this time around.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has been betting on a Civ Pro question for years. At some point, those predictions are bound to be right. You KNOW there will be a CP/Wills/Trusts question because it's the easiest way to weed out the out-of-staters who didn't bother learning CA law. Check the past tests--not one goes by without a question involving some combo thereof.

Anonymous said...

I've taken the last 3 exams (fortunately passed the last one) so just reading the tea-leaves, and in a completely non-authoritative and non-binding manner, I will predict the following essay topics:

Civ Pro

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:46

What did you differently to pass the last time that you didn't do the first two times?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:13pm,

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about myself =). I have been dispensing a lot of advice to a friend of mine so he will be pleased that I have changed targets for a few minutes:

The first and second time I took the bar, I took Barbri, and then Barbri's Essay Advantage class for repeaters. There are entire websites devoted to trashing Barbri, so I will stay out of that particular debate. Needless to say, Barbri's classes didn't work for me (probably just stylistic - I'm really not a big fan of endless lectures), though Barbri's books proved to be invaluable.

To pass the Bar the third time around, I completely retooled my routine, in the following ways:

1) I got a full-time job after test #2 which I just couldn't give up for test #3. The financial burden of quitting would have simply been too great, so I made the decision to study at night after work.

This may sound horrific to many of you, but it really became a do-or-die situation...I only had 4-5 hours until bedtime every night, so I had no choice but to study. No procrastination was possible. Thus, for test #3, I didn't break my studying into manageable chunks; I just went balls-to-the-wall for 4-5 hours and then went to bed.

2) I hired a private tutor. After failing the test twice, I decided that self-discipline simply wasn't working.

3) As part of my tutor's routine, I did 50 MBE's per day, no exceptions. On slow days at work I could do a few at my desk to save time at night.

4) Also part of my tutor's routine: one practice essay per day, open-book, graded. Pedagogically, the theory is that open-book practice leads to "active learning" and better understanding of the material.

5) Also part of my tutor's routine: a weekly graded practice performance test. I usually saved these for Sundays.

6) MBE flashcards and review: Whenever I encountered a new rule for MBE's, I made a flashcard for it while it was fresh in my mind. Also, I spent some serious time reviewing my wrong answers. Overall, the MBE and essay/ performance portions of the exam are so different from each other (my opinion) that I treated the MBE as its own universe of rules.

7) Memorization period: I spent fourteen days before the test doing nothing but memorize some outlines.

8) Test days: I really worked hard at the actual test, and tried to avoid the "It's almost over" feeling that sets in on Day 3. Both of my PT's on Day 3 were low on tests #1 and #2, so I had a large coffee right at lunch on Day 3 and did a crossword (while everyone else was planning their vacations and talking about the vat of Scotch they were going to drink when they got home.)

If you would like the name of my tutor or any further advice, feel free to drop me an email:

Anonymous said...

I am getting a knot in my stomach right about now.

Anonymous said...

Hey GP, just wondering if you ever got a laptop certification letter from the state Bar? I have downloaded all the proper files and uploaded my Mock Exam, and got confirmation e-mails from SoftTest. In the past the state Bar has sent me a one-page letter saying my laptop was certified. When I called the state Bar, they said they they have stopped sending out those certification letters in order to "save paper". Is this true?

Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq. said...

Dear Friends:

It's time to find your happy, calm spot as you head into this final stretch.

The Bar will be over in 16 days,and the bar exam dreams will end a week or two after that.

Thinking good thoughts for all of you, and especially Poo.


Anonymous said...


I was a regular reader of you blog during the past several times I sat for the CA bar exam. Fourth time was a charm for me and I sure hope it will be the same for you! Best wishes to everybody!

Anonymous said...

I did the PMBR exam (3 day course) yesterday and it is absurdly difficult. I scored well according to thier system (about 59%), but its a good 20 points lower than what I have averaged in doing batches of 50 and with other resources (Finz and S&T, and the NCBE online practice test). I can see where it could leave a tester feeling desperate. In all, I liked the 6 day course but I think the 3 day course is too close to the bar and of marginal utility. My two cents.

Anonymous said...

Well....I wish you all the best in the next couple of weeks...hang in there the mean time if anyone out there knows of any firm hiring for an attorney I AM LOOKING FOR WORK...please advise :( STUPID ECONOMY!

Anonymous said...

The Doers vs. The Do Nots

If you have been doing diligently, rather than studying how to do, you will be fine, come February 24. mind you, the CA Bar is nothing more, than to examine the candidate, for hands on experience, not whether you have outstudied your outlines until you turned blue in the face.

You learn the law by doing MBE's and doing Essays. You learn how to write and organize by doing Essays and Performance Tests. For any of you, that have not diligently spend, the majority of your time doing, rather than studying the outlines, you are assured to fail again.

Good luck to all the Doers.

Anonymous said...

All those comma's in the Doer's post, makes me, want to, scream.

Anonymous said...

Need work? Take your briefcase, yellow pads, pens and cards to a local court and volunteer. Get some experience. Ask Judges to assign you to cases or give you help in getting work. If your in church, then ask your pastor for help and referrals. Do free wills. Volunteer to help poor or elderly people do their taxes. No kidding. Practice with a cell-phone and a brief case. You can meet clients at the courthouse or Starbucks, etc., Find a mentor through your local bar association. Did it years ago and it was the start of something quite lucrative...

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to go heavy on the analysis. Make sure every fact is considered and acknowledged in your essays!

Anonymous said...

7-6-5-4-3-2-1, good luck all.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there everybody!