Friday, July 17, 2009

My biggest challenge right now, is ...

... dealing with the emotional baggage that comes with failing this thing four times in a row. If you've seen "Joe Versus the Volcano" with Tom Hanks, you know what kind of baggage problem I'm dealing with ...


Luggage Salesman: Have you thought much about luggage, Mr. Poobah?
Grand Poobah: No.
Luggage Salesman: It's the central preoccupation of my life.
Grand Poobah: Mine too. Lately.


Luggage Salesman: This is our premier steamer trunk, it's all handmade, only the finest materials. It's even watertight, tight as a drum. If I had the need, and the wherewithal, Mr. Poobah, this would be my trunk of choice.
Grand Poobah: I'll take at least four California Bar Exam's worth of them.
Luggage Salesman: May you live to take a thousand Bar Exams, sir.


Grand Poobah: And then I'll be waiting 3 1/2 months for results and I don't know if I'll be living in a hut, or what.
Luggage Salesman: Very exciting... as an emotional baggage problem!


These days, if I didn't have my sense of humor I'd have nothing.

And lately, my sense of humor is scant, scant, support.


Anonymous said...

I failed CBX 4x (not in a row, 3 in a row, then 2x not taking it, then failed a 4th, passed on the 5th attempt - July 08). No matter what people tell you, trust me you are undoubtedly harder on yourself than anybody else ever will be about the exam. Once you pass - probably this time - you'll have this nagging sense that you should have passed on an earlier try.

Be kind to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Im taking it for the first time man, and I've been coming to your blog for much of the past year. I'm sure we'll both do fine!!!!

No way I'm going to get future interest and RAP down by next week, but I'll make it up in the other areas.

Liz said...

You can do it!

Law Daze said...

Answer the question: 1 short sentence. Yes, he can/No, he can't.

[insert law - CA prop code, etc.]
Be specific where you are sure - answer broadly where you are not. I made up a spectacularly bad oil & gas answer - had no clue AND no idea where in the law O&G law was contained. "No, Tommy cannot (do whatever the question asked). UNDER TX oil and gas law . . . "

Succinctly apply law to facts:
Here, Susie signed as a witness to the will that gave her $1M. (continue to apply facts to law but be succinct) Susie was one of Bob's 3 children and would only inherit 1/3 blah blah had Bob died without a will blah blah.

Cut & paste 1 sentence conclusion.
Therefore, Susie should not witness the will or Therefore, Susie can only collect $30K, her intestate share. Always, on every essay - Conclusion, UNDER, HERE, THEREFORE.

Now move on. Period. DON'T LOOK BACK. They charge extra for luggage, these days. Do the same kind of thing for those whatever-they're called-the memo to partner things: ANSWER THE QUESTION. Support briefly each conclusion. Move on.

Don't let me hear any more luggage talk! After one exam, sure. After two, okay. At this point, there's nothing good that comes from focusing on anything other than the task (or question) immediately in front of you. Come to think of it, that's probably true for all exam-takers.


Law Daze said...

Oh yeah, and for questions that have parts and sub-parts - same thing:

1(a) Conclusion, UNDER, HERE, THEREFORE, Conclusion.

(b) Conclusion, UNDER, HERE, THEREFORE, Conclusion.

(c) Conclusion, UNDER, HERE, THEREFORE, Conclusion.

And if the instructions (esp. in those writing things) say NOT to address some big glaring issue presented in the facts (such as ethics, or a particular code), for goodness sakes, trust the question-writer: DON'T waste precious time thinking you should probably just go ahead & touch on that anyway.

The Grand Poobah said...

Good points, those. It's been pointed out to me recently that I'm one of those people who try to show the grader how much I know by talking about peripheral issues that aren't called for by the fact pattern or by the call of the question.

As a result, I'm doing less frolicking and detouring in my answers.

kris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kris said...

The biggest thing that drives me wild when marking papers (English Public law) is people throwing in "peripheral issues".

The whole point of the law degree experience is for students to develop the skill of separating the relevant from the not so relevant and applying relevant law to the facts of the particular case.

I used to throw the kitchen sink at exam questions, and then scratch my head why I did so much better on essays than exams (we had to write an essay a week during my LL.B.).

My tutor pulled me aside and said I had to be brave. He said I was obviously scared of the exams and that I had to have the courage that what I was talking about was correct and to fight that point.

He told me that my throwing everything I knew about a topic in, hoping that at least something might stick, made me look like I didn't know WTF I was talking about.

The other advice is - It is easier to mark a good answer than a bad answer. A good answer takes me 5 minutes and is a joy to read. What makes my me happy? Answers that are structured, comprehensive and ON-POINT. What pisses me off? People making me fish for points to give them in the middle of a mess. If you piss me off, I don't want to give you points. If nothing else, I dont want to be responsible for flooding the market with people who don't [look like they] know what they're doing.

Be brave, GP. You may think you are risking going down in a blaze of glory if you get it spectactularly wrong - but you're going down anyways if you talk shite about facts/contingencies that aren't in the question.

Even though you will have never seen the questions before the day of the exam, chances are, you know the law. Your MBE scores prove that. So be brave and show it. Don't hide in irrevelance.

I have a acronym I like to share with my students:


Read the question, dig deep, keep your discipline and above all, be brave and you will SHINE this time!

All the best.

Anonymous said...

USE ANALYTIC LANGUAGE to show the graders where the analysis is.

Examples: "this tends to show" or "based on [fact] this likely means..."

Law Daze said...

Hate to interject, but DO NOT do what Anonymous 7:10 p.m. says. Sorry, Anon, but "tends to" "based on" and "likely means" = one of those rambling kitchen sink answers Kris was talking about.

He's absolutely right - pick a position (i.e., answer the question. There's an answer, usually beginning with Yes or No.
You don't even have to be RIGHT - just be succint and support your position. (yeah, right is better, but most people who pass don't get everything right - they know enough law to make a gut educated opinion about what the conclusion should be and write the answer that gets them to that conclusion.

Must leave you with this, PB:


Every essay.
Probably every PT too.

kris said...

We love you GP. This is your exam.

Ryan K. Allen said...

Listen, ain't you got nobody?

No. But there are certain times in your life when I guess you're not supposed to have anybody, you know? There are certain tests you have to take alone.

My significant sits down for hers tomorrow morning. It's like the weight of the thousands suns, and I'm not even the one taking the damn thing.

Good luck, sir. May you live to be a thousand years old, and a lawyer through all of them.

The Grand Poobah said...

Thanks, Ryan. That's exactly right. A thousand suns, and then some.

Hey, at least I've got this great looking tuxedo, eh?