Monday, May 16, 2011

The Gory Details

Alrighty then ...

I've always complained that I've never seen anyone who had scores that went up after getting into re-read. I can no longer make that claim. My overall score before re-read was 1397.4254; my overall score after the second read was 1425.0881; my final overall score was the aforementioned 1407 (1406.6463 rounded up to 1407.)

Written     1st Read     2nd Read     Operant Grade
Essay 1:         50              50                   50
Essay 2:         55              50                   52.5
Essay 3:         65              65                   65
Essay 4:         65              70                   67.5
Essay 5          50              50                   50
Essay 6:         55              70                   60
PT A:             60              60                   60
PT B:             55              55                   55

Final Raw Written:        575.0
Final Scaled Written:    1320.3020

Raw MBE:                      143
Scaled MBE:                  1567.0000

Final Total Scaled:        1406.6463

One odd thing about the "Operant" grade is that whenever the difference between the 1st and 2nd read score is greater than 10 points, as it was for my essay 6, the essay is read a 3rd time in order to resolve the discrepancy. The information sheet doesn't mention how the 3rd read factors into the Operant grade so we are left to guess about how it's determined (it's either the actual score given on the 3rd read, or it's an average of the cumulative score of all three reads.)

I must say that this whole experience has given me an insight as to what makes me tick. I've always known that I had certain ... tendencies, that held me back from achieving some of the goals I've set for myself during my lifetime. I've been in something of a state of denial about them because non one wants to admit they have weaknesses, but this process has forced me to face them and to find ways to overcome them.

When I get my license, and I will get my license, I will be a stronger person for having gone through this. I thank you all (well, most of you anyway) for the support and encouragement you have given me. And to the extent that some of you have benefited from my struggle, I am glad I was able to help.


Anonymous said...

GP, I've been following your blog for a while. This was my 5th FAILED attempt and on Friday I told everyone that was my last time and that I quit. But... after hearing how close you got this time, you've inspired me to keep fighting for my goal. Thank you for putting yourself out there like you do. You are awesome!

Anonymous said...

Your MBEs are awesome. You know what you need to do and that is practice your writing.
I cannot wait to see you pass.
Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Dude, you're almost there! Sorry to hear about this long journey, but you're almost there, and you will/are stronger, better for it. I really admire your persistence; most people, including myself wouldn't be able to go forward like you have. Stay strong, keep your head up, I have a feeling that July is your time!

Have you check I didn't use them (money issues), but my friend did and she passed and couldn't say enough. For bar examiners grade your practice essays and give detailed feedback. Maybe you should check into it. Almost there, you got this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your brutal honesty GP. That takes lots of guts. It is bizarrely fascinating to read others hitting a man when he is at his lowest. I have a feeling that the negative perception of lawyers isn’t changing anytime soon…

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I used a BarBri tutor to help me pass. He most importantly taught me how to present my answers to optimize the 60 seconds that would be spent by graders on each answer. It cost $350 for one hour (I looked, this is technically NOT rape), but the tutor was glad to talk to me on the phone and assigned 20 extra essays to be graded, which was extremely helpful and I think made the difference. I suspect that you are an expert with the law, but conveying that to the graders may be another story.

Good luck!


P.S. What an impressive MBE score - you would automatically pass in Michigan.

Anonymous said...

What is a passing score?

Seems like you need to work on your writing.

Steve said...

Wow.. GP, you killed it on the MBEs. So it's obvious what you need to do now. It just looks like your missing issues like I was. Start writing essays now. But maybe spend some more time outlining to give you a more thought out answer. You know the law, so don't waste your time memorizing crap that won't be tested on an essay. You already got it on the MBEs anyway. Man, SO CLOSE.

probatur denuo said...

I agree, your MBE is stellar. Your MBE scores shows you know the law. Your writing seems to need more work, and not just your PTs, all of it. Keep writing, keep writing.

Anonymous said...

Dear GP, I would like to wish you the best for upcoming exam. I am sure you will pass this time!!! Can you please tell me what materials you used for MBE preparation?

Anonymous said...

Why do ou say you need to work the PTs? You have the same avg score on them (57.5) as you do for the essays (57.5).

Multistate is the easy part GP. You need to get your writing strong, bro.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP!!! You are right there and can absolutely do this and I have to say how much I admire your sharing this with all of us. I will keep checking your blog until you pass so don't give up.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You should contact They have bar exam experts you can with and it is free! I worked with them and passed on my third try. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

my two cents on why i passed.

first, focus on your mbe score. the simplest way to pass the bar is to raise your mbe scores so that you don't have to rely on the essays. Figure out what the question is actually asking for in the fact pattern. then cancel out the typical wrong answer choices. the typical wrong answer choices that keeps coming up include the following: correct statement of law but fails to address the question, misstatement of the law, completely wrong answer, and answer choice addresses minor issue when there's a more significant issue. The first one is usually the hardest to compare to the real answer choice because both answers are legally correct but only one addresses the question head on.

Ultimately, you need to keep studying the mbe subjects and figure out which subjects your weak on.

the second easiest way to increase your score is to improve your pt score. I have a strange feeling that you weren't sufficiently exposed to enough objective and persuasive writing in law school. you need to understand different legal writing principles (structure, format, tone, etc). personally, when i took the bar, i skipped the whole irac format for everything, and used the crac format. By doing this, it kept the bar reader focused on what you wanted to convey.

Ultimately, besides doing pts and studying different types of pts, i would recommend you buy "legal writing in plain english" by bryan a. garner

Lastly, with the subject essays, i know only one technique to bail me out of an essay when i didn't know the answers. basically, when you don't know the direct answer to the question, ask yourself "whats the other avenues of law i can use to get a legitimate valid answer." For example, during the feb bar, i didn't know what the answer was to the proxy statements and voting agreements. So i took a guess and said both were wrong. but also knew that if i left it at that im probably getting a 55. So i asked myself what other avenues of corporation law i can use to apply to this question. obviously,in corp, duty of care and duty of loyalty are big ticket items. so, i said "even if the agreements are right or wrong" there still wrong because its a violation of a duty of care in a closely held corporation.

Ultimately, the best way to pass the essay sections is to know the law. Avoid the 50s at all cost

I hope this advice helps and best of luck

Anonymous said...

I have the same spread of my failed scores but on a lower level, I only made it 1385 so didn't even get a second review. I changed this time and deposited my hopes with Themis, because they give you to retake classes for free if you fail, and I can't pay for classes anymore everytime I fail, bar's fee alone is good enough. And of course the bottomline is to write more - hope it work for me and for you - I need to pause before starting writing, outline, make sure (a) I plugged-in each fact and issue and (b) I found 10-12 rules to say and 3 points of contention to discuss - then write. Hope it will work in July!

Anonymous said...

GP, your blog is awesome. Unfortunately, I'm in the same re-take boat. My scores are stuck in a 50 point limbo between 1350 and 1400. I took the full Kaplan Review for the Feb Bar and worked my a** off! I made it to reread, and yes, I was lowered 20+ points. My MBE was 141.
Unlike you, I have long blonde hair, a bald upper lip, and I'm basically unemployable as being an "over qualified paralegal." My JD is a huge source of pain right now as most employers won't even look at my resume (so I was told at the numerous staffing agencies I've visited). Even dating gets all messed up in these study/exam cycles. So, You're not alone...I'm stuck in limbo with you!
Maybe I'll see you in July :)
Robin in OC

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You go, Pooh Bear, you can do it!

All you have to do is chuck a little salt over your shoulder for good luck before taking the exam...and all of your dreams will come true!

Make it happen, Pooh Bear!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

If you haven't already, please give Bar Graders a try. I do not work for them but they are the main reason I passed on the second try! You will become a much better writer!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 7:38 PM. Surprised your mommy lets you use your computer so late on a school night.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I went to an ABA law school and passed on my first attempt, but that doesn't give me or anyone else the right to put someone down for not passing the bar.

Having said that, taking the bar 9 times is practically 4-5 years worth of time. I imagine it must have been a very difficult journey for you.

This is my advice to you. Please really deconstruct what you're doing wrong in your past exams. Get a bar tutor or friends who have passed the bar to help critique you and give you some pointers. Accept the criticisms and take it to heart.

Next, focus, and I really mean focus on memorizing and understanding the law and the various elements. Commit those to memory AFTER you've understood the concepts in your mind. Please be committed to releasing what you've learned in the past and starting allll over again as if this is the first time you're taking the exam. I tend to think people who take the exam multiple times are stubbornly holding onto what they believe is "correct" while in actuality, you may have been wrong all along...

Next, focus on practicing your MBEs and increasing your score (although your score is pretty decent).

Lastly, when you're studying for your essay, don't spend too much time writing out your answers. Spend a bulk of your time going through ALL past exams and issue spot.

When test time comes around, about 2-3 weeks before the exam, you can start writing full essays to build your stamina. Make sure you know how to overwrite (overinclude) in your responses.

I don't know if you're using a computer or writing it out, but I wrote my exam and I felt very focused. Typing your exam out might be helpful in terms of time but it can also be distracting since you have to read the fact pattern and then type up your answers with both hands.

I think with 4-5 years of practice under your belt, you know enough law to conquer this exam. You just have to not let this exam mental you into thinking you cannot pass this exam.

Make sure to write/type as fast as you can, as if your life depends on it!!! Best of luck and hope to see you pass this July!!!

Anonymous said...

To 5/19 @ 3:50pm:

Go suck a big fat dick, which you probably already do.

Any real lawyer ( which you obviously are NOT), would not even have the time to waste on here.

You are a damn coward hiding behind your computer.

You are also pathetic and it is you who brings shame to the profession if you truly are a lawyer , which I highly doubt.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 3:50 pm

Man, you are one pompous douchebag. I passed the Bar on my first try too. Guess what? You're shit still stinks. You're the type that enjoys seeing another get knocked down. Yeah, you know the type. After someone get's knocked down, you show up and kick em a couple more times. Where I come from, we call your type a "bitch." And we wonder why this profession is not as noble as it once was. You better take a good look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

"The legal profession is the most grossly distorted career choice in the history of careers. Thanks to the overzealous and over-hyped glory and glitz of Hollywood media productions, most of the public's view of the legal profession is framed and distorted by entertainment inspired sources such as TV shows of past and present"

This is an excerpt from an enlightening article written by an attorney:

Floyd said...

I have read your blog a few times regarding your bar exam experience. Unlike you I am not that confident in the grding system, and it appears to be contradictive as it relates to applicant that are close to passing on the first read. For example my scores were as follows:

1st Read 2nd Read 3rd Read
Essay 1: 55 55
Essay 2: 60 60
Essay 3: 70 65
Essay 4: 75 60 75
Essay 5: 55 50
Essay 6: 65 60
PT A: 55 60
PT B: 65 60

MBE: 126

My score went from a 1439 on the first read to a 1425. As you see, I lost points, including an attempt to reduce my score by 15 points on Essay 4. I thought the point of a re-read was to see if any points were missed on the first read when you are close to passing. This is bullshit....... It's not the failure to prepare in Law School or in prep courses, it the Fucking bar graders that rape you.

Anonymous said...

To the poster above:

You make a point there. Here is how I see it. With testing situations in general, be it a scientific study, psychological testing, etc, the testing environment is controlled. Example: The bar exam testing room is controlled outrageously. They worry about the candidates having a digital watch vs an analog one.

Yet, on the other side, the CA Board of Examiners fail in any meaningful way control the other part of the equation: control the graders. There is no way of really knowing who actually even graded these exams.

I have never heard of a licensing exam - allowing graders to take official documents outside a controlled area to grade them at home? on the bus? outside? wherever?

This is a flawed way to administer an exam of this much importance and expense.

Other states use professional graders. Not "snot-nosed" kids with little to no legal experience who happened to pass the exam. Because they passed would not necessarily correlate over to these individuals being even remotely qualified to grade someone else's exam and the ultimate granting of a license.

Anonymous said...

Additional question: What do you think the odds are that one of these graders have lost exams. ruined them, etc. etc.

Does anyone know if there are rules they must follow when such an event takes place? Or are candidates left to assume/hope for the best?

Anonymous said...

It's actually pretty funny how badly you losers want to be lawyers. I wonder if you'll feel the same way when you're making $40-45,000 a year, barely able to cover your mortgage/rent, utilities and your student loans. Reality will belie your preconceived notions of the "rich lawyer lifestyle."

Anonymous said...

3:32 -

The graders can pretty much do whatever the hell they want; unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, ok. Either every law school rejected your low LSAT scoring ass, or you were cut after the first year. And don't even say you never wanted to go to law school. You wouldn't be here getting your rocks off otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I can't get over that the CA Board of Examiners actually lets a bunch of "snot-nosed" kids actually take the exams, which are official documents, away from a controlled, supervised environment. Yet they blow a fuse if a bar examinee has a digital watch vs an analog version.

Many other states use professional graders.

Anonymous said...

Bar graders don't grade hard enough. I hope they add 10 more subjects that are indecipherable to the repeat-takers, a.k.a., retards.

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is an insult or somehow derogatory to have special challenges, such as metnal retardation, autism, etc? I hope that the legal community is not tarnished with a person such as yourself. If you are an attorney, do you actually make fun of people that have a handicap? Truly, you should see a doctor. You have issues.

jigga58 said...

Go suck a big fat dick, which you probably already do.

Any real lawyer ( which you obviously are NOT), would not even have the time to waste on here.

You are a damn coward hiding behind your computer.

You are also pathetic and it is you who brings shame to the profession if you truly are a lawyer , which I highly doubt.

Then why are you on here?

Anonymous said...


I love how you bar exam losers are stupid enough to handle inevitable rejection 9 times but when someone calls you out for your ridiculous life decisions (going to internet law schools and continuing to believe that you have what it takes to practice law) you suddenly get defensive and delete posts and respond with homophopic and sexist comments.

Keep on wasting your time. In the mean time, I'll be chilling in my condo in the city and Tahoe ski house.

Losers. Maybe one day you'll get lucky and be able to do what any pimple-faced 24-year old frat boy can do. Until then, keep wasting your time. Sick lives.

Anonymous said...


I assure you we are NOT on here for you! Now go away!

Anonymous said...

@ May 21, 2011 6:47 PM:

You are one funny imbecile. " condo in the city and Tahoe ski house." Haha... That's why I come here. Tell me? Were you typing with your left and stroking with your right. Or was it the other way around? Too funny!

Anonymous said...

HEY PB: I really felt for you when I read your blog. It took me three times to pass the NY and now I failed Cali. I'm pretty upset and was looking for some inspiration. Many famous people failed Bar is one I just found out...."If three times seems like a lot, you'll love Democrat Kevin A.
Callahan (aka Kevin D. Callahan), who nearly won the the 1998 election
for Massachusetts Cape and Island District Attorney (46K to 55K
votes). He failed the bar 10 times before passing on his 11th try.
Apparantly, Mr. Callahan prides himself on not being a 'quitter'. He's
even running for the same DA's office this year. Keep your dream alive and give it your all...for sure you will do it! Best of luck....and to these other people who have been leaving rude remarks....get over is about the journey......Neitzche said, Whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger....this experience will make you stronger....and a better tougher attoreny.

Anonymous said...

I love how you bar failers bring up political hacks as examples of successful people who failed the bar. Please bring up examples of successful practicing attorneys who failed the bar multiple times? Partner at a top 100 law firm please. Suspect you can't, which is my this moron should stop taking an exam he won't pass.

Anonymous said...

May 23 @ 10 am

You're an idiot! There are many VERY successful attorneys who failed the Bar more than once. You probably don't know this because you're not an attorney (like I am), but the Bar exam is test NOT the practice of law. Big difference! Oh yeah, I failed 3 times, I'm a partner at a law firm, and I made close to $400,000 last year. How about you jackass?

Anonymous said...

More proof, as you are obviously not one of those successful attorneys. Sick law firm if you are making $400k ppp. Well north of that my friend. Meanwhile, my two associates who have failed twice will be given 6 months to leave. That is how real law firms do it.

Anonymous said...

I am a bar exam grader and resent the implication that we are not doing our job.

We spend lots of time reviewing exams, for peanuts for pay, and all while working at other jobs.

It is a hard exam and there are many reasons why people may not pass it. But, please, it is not fair to point the finger entirely on me and my fellow graders. This is particularly true with multiple repeaters. While it may be reasonable to point the finger at the graders if someone passes on the second try after not doing anything different (different subject on the essays may also be responsible), it strikes me that >2x repeaters continuing to fail tells us that me and my colleagues are doing our job consistently and right. Not vice versa.

Anonymous said...

Then I'm glad I don't work for a "real" law firm. Hey, GP... keep trekkin' on that test. We need more humility in this profession and fewer cockroaches like this clown who works for a "real law firm."

Anonymous said...

Dear Bar Exam Grader 1:20 pm -

While I can't speak on YOUR efforts, I DO definitely have some concern over the essay grading of the exam.

Take GP for example and many of my other colleagues.
How do you explain a discrepancy of a differing grade on the SAME essay of a 55 for a first read and then a 70 for a second read?

You have to admit, it looks very odd and doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

The only logical thing to make of that , is that one of the two didn't even bother to read it.

And when examinees see something like that , it is VERY frustrating!

This is a VERY important test to us, and when it's obvious that it didn't even get read, (55 seems to be the default grade when the grader decides it's not even worth reading) , it's EXTREMELY disheartening and frustrating!

So while I'm not saying that YOU don't take your job seriously (I'm sure you do),
it sure doesn't feel like some of the graders do.

You made an excellent point... you guys are paid peanuts for doing this...
so it's only obvious that after grading say 8,000 or more essays, they get fed up and just simply stop reading.
After all... they aren't getting paid much anyway - and nobody is there actually watching if the grader is being thorough and reading these things and there is no appeals process ...
so what the heck, let's just not really grade them.

You have to admit, a LOT of faith and integrity is placed in your hands and while you might have that integrity, I doubt all the graders do.

Just playing devils advocate and giving you an examinees pov.

After all.. there is no right answer , right?

JustinGilbert said...

How does he get the 50's and 70's on the same test. It was like he spent too much time on some questions and not enough on others. He may have done the same thing with which subjects he focused on while studying.

Anonymous said...

Really screwed the pooch on the wills question, con law question and corp law question. Seemingly someone thinks you know what you to do if you play winning your "usual" winning lottery number and are given an incorrect ticket and someone else disagrees.

Anonymous said...

Dear May 26, 1:41 pm:

If your essays were anything like your comment, then you may need to take English 101 over again. Your second sentence was both run on and incoherent.

Anonymous said...

where does all this negativity come from? let's help this man and build him up rather than kick him and others when he is down.

Anonymous said...

How much is required to pass? I took the bar in July 2008 and passed on the first try. I can't even imagine what you are going through but I admire that you get back up and try again time after time. I have been in practice going on 3 years now and I will tell you, I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else. So if you are truly passionate about the practice of law, don't let anyone stop you. Best of luck :)

Jessie said...

I'm taking it for the 3rd time this July. I stumbled upon your blog, and it's giving me hope. We can do it. :)

Anonymous said...

Jessie - How can this blog possibly give you hope? Seeing someone fail this many times makes you hopefull? WTF.

Anonymous said...

I admire anyone with this persistence. Going on my third try, gonna pass it this time.

Anonymous said...

GP, I saw you last year in Passadena but did not have the mood to go chat with you while recovering from the exam stress. I am sure you will pass. Ignore those comments intending to put you down. I cannot imagine how much you have to go through in order to put up the fight to pursue your dream while working full time. If I were you, I would try to read some appellate court opinion or find any real time briefs in order to boost PT. For PT, the law is there, so are the facts. You just need to organize them in a way that matches the grading standards. I reviewed a friend's Feb PT and essay and found that the writing was full of non-legal terms (my friend's score is similar to yours). Reading the appellate briefs and memos would give you a clear guide in organizing your writing. CRAC works good too. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

I have only commented on your blog posts once before, back in May of 2008, when I passed the bar on my 3rd attempt. This is my second and last post (well, unless you pass, in which case I will congratulate you, hehe, in my third post). I check this blog twice a year, to see if you made it. I also check you results. I have a few things to tell you: I noticed that you have never passed the PT section of the bar (no 65s on both PTs), and your scores are usually pretty low on them. Unless you get 65 and 65 or at least 65 and 60 on both PTs, you will never pass the Cali bar, even with your amazing MBE score (and it IS amazing - you'd be an attorney already in a lot states even with a 0 on your writing portion). PTs weigh waaay too much and you can't get a 55 on it, you just can't - you can't make up the loss with MBEs or 1-hour essay scores (unless they are all/mostly 70s, which you also never get, I checked your scores). So please, if you can't get PTs up, leave this exam alone, it's not worth it!!! Second, even if you pass, your life will not be much better than when you were taking the exam, IF you can get a job. Lawyers leave miserable, lonely lives and alienate everyone around them because there is no time to spend with the ones you love - when you have a filing deadline, no one cares that you have a b-day to attend or a trip planned, you'll skip it, unless you want to be sued for malpractice. So many people I know gave up law after just a few years. And some of them took the bar a few times - I am telling you, its not worth it, especially if you have a family. Finally, when you started taking the exam, the economy was good. But today, even those who graduated from the top 20 law schools have trouble finding a job AT ANY firm. So the only way you will make money is if someone pays you royalties for maintaining this blog - have you considered advertising on this blog to make money? It comes up on google all the time in search results. So if Mr. Kramer has a job for you, working as a lawyer will be pretty miserable - talk to those in it for 5+ years. If Kramer or someone you know doesn't have a job for you, it will be impossible to get it with your law school, even if they don't know about the number of times you took it (up to 4 times lots of firms forgive, but more than 4 times, even the most liberal firms will question your fitness to be a lawyer, despite your MBE score). Taking a break is great - before I passed in Feb, I took a summer off and actually studied for 6 months prior to the February bar. I don't understand why, in 9 attempts, you didn't do it at least once just to see if could have helped, and taken more time to study without waiting for results? And lastly, unless you are able to fix your PTs to 65/60 at least, you just won't be able to pass it. I hope you take this as constructive feedback. I want you to make it, always have, that's why I check every season, but at some point this hell is not worth the reward, it just doesn't pay financially and emotionally wise. Best of luck and hopefully if you decide to continue, one day you'll get hundreds of congrats on this blog, including mine.