Monday, May 21, 2012

And The Envelope Please ....

... alrighty then. First, the good news. I plugged my scores into the spreadsheet I created for the July 2011 exam and I got a 1443 overall. Which means that if I had earned these scores last summer I would have passed. The obvious catch to that scenario is that each exam is scaled differently and the Feb 2012 exam was scaled lower (lower = higher score needed to pass) than the July 2011 exam. I got into re-read again (blah.)

Raw MBE: 149

Operant Scores
Essay 1: 60
Essay 2: 57.5
Essay 3: 62.5
Essay 4: 60
Essay 5: 50
Essay 6: 55

PT A: 57.5
PT B: 60

Total Scaled Score = 1402.1188


So, the moral of this story is that I have to continue to work on my writing.   I'm encouraged by the fact that I was starting to overcome all of the bad habits I've developed over the past few years (a huge task to be sure.)  My plan, therefore, is to go back to Jason Tolerico and finish the job that we started. 

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disappointed to see your PR scores. This one should be a given by now. You really need to write up 65s on that subject without much thought if you want to get a real shot at passing.

Other than that, the property score is also low considering it was all MBE knowledge, which you clearly don't have a lack of.

What's your study plan w/ Jason going forward? Structure? analysis? speed typing?

Anonymous said...

Again, my buddy never scored above a 60 on his writing(mostly 55's)and was scoring 150's raw mbe's (over 5 attempts). He finally passed with (what we believe was)a high 150's raw mbe. He was not as good a writer as you (based on your scores). Of course it is much easier to be a gifted writer with a 120 raw mbe score. These types pass on their second or third try with great PT's mediocre essays and crappy mbe's (and think they can teach!). Keep going!

Anonymous said...

GP - I was wondering if throughout your journey you've tried switching testing centers. If so, have your scores varied at all? Obviously, I'm assuming your performance remains roughly similar for each administration. I am curious though. I took it up in Sacramento and failed a few years ago but was thinking of making another run at it in LA or somewhere further inland like Ontario.

Anonymous said...

Here are the scores I received and still failed. Sometimes it is not about how good of a writer you are... I know I need to work on my MBE's to push me over the edge.

Essay 1: 55
Essay 2: 55
Essay 3: 65
Essay 4: 75
Essay 5: 55
Essay 6: 65

PT A: 65
PT B: 55

Raw MBE 116

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that this wasn't the time you got to pop the cork. You are getting good scores, so keep at it. I took the California bar in 97 and passed. Just took the Florida bar, which thankfully is only 2 days long. I don't even remember whether they published the individual scores back when I took it ic CA, but here in Florida managed to pull a 156 on the MBE and 146 on the state portion - no clue as to the individual breakdown. Both times I took Barbri, but frankly, neither time did I do the practice essays and the like. Just watched the lectures and made outlines. Good luck in July, an I'm positive you'll make it.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck with your studies... looks like Telorico is helping...

...see you in Ontario

Big Cat said...
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Anonymous said...

Man, you got beat up right across the board on essays and PTs. You got to put up some 70s or 75s so you can survive a 50. Great MBE score for sure, which is what pulled your grade up. What makes you give so much credit to these tutors? I'm sure they are nice people, but where is the real improvement? Maybe try Barbri again? Of course it costs about as much as a semester of law school these days. Too bad they don't have that "take it 'til you pass" guarantee anymore.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Yeah got to agree with anon 9:17, there just isn't enough room for error in the written portion at the moment to survive the likely low essay or two. Equally 55 really needs to be the basement. 50 suggests completely wrong, which has no place on the bar exam. I am sorry if that sounds harsh. However, I have a suggestion. Coming from the UK as a qualified lawyer I managed to have avoided the scare stories about the bar exam. I paid for BarBri so I could watch lectures, have some study materials for the areas of law I had never studied, and brush up on the areas I hadn't thought about for 17 years. I passed. All I did was make sure I understood the law and wrote in a clear fashion, taking points one would never take in the real world and being clear and logical in my explanations. I didn't bog myself down with ensuring I was using IRAC, mini IRAC or referring to a 10 second checklist constantly. To be frank I strongly believe this to be your problem, overthinking the mechanics of the exam and what the examiners are looking for and through that not showing them what you know! rather akin to spending all of your time devising a fabulous study schedule which you then have no time to follow? It is an examination about the law. It is an opportunity to show your understanding of such and ability to apply it to the facts. Please do not get lost chasing snake oil or looking for a magic formula when I believe that calm, clear application of the study you have undertaken will be your path to success.

Anonymous said...

Hi GP, I went to an ABA & CA accredited school, took BarBri, wrote practice essays, did a bunch of MBEs, but didn't pass in July 2011. My Raw MBE score was an abysmal 118, but my writing scores weren't much better than yours all 55-65.

I passed February 2012 with much less studying (full time job, part time in Jan, Feb off), but more essay practice and NO MBE practice at all. The second time around, I went to a private tutor who went through my essays and showed me that I knew the law, but my organization was a mess. She said that if I had just organized it better and been less conclusory, I would have passed. I know you've supplemented your studying by reviewing "passing" essays and so you know what a 65, 70, 75, or even 80 essay looks like. My question to you is, are you self-grading? Have you become so used to self-evaluation that you're misgrading your own writing? It seems like your writing scores have been consistently between 50 and 65. Have any of your tutors been able to pinpoint, like mine, where the problem lies? Is it a lack of knowledge in a specific area of law? Or is it a systematic organization problem like I had? You don't need to score 70+ on all your essays. I KNOW I failed the Corporations and PR essays. But maybe those fails were 60s because my organization was good (i.e. lots of descriptive and underlined headings and subheadings with short paragraphs).

I think at this point, you really need to shake things up if you're not seeing a huge improvement in the essays. Your fortunate that you're so darn good at the MBEs, but don't focus so closely on the forest that you miss the trees. The essays, for most people, are the easiest things to fix. Make sure you're being honest with yourself in terms of your progress on them.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear previous commenter... can you recommend the name of the tutor you took to work on essays? I'm interested. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Therein lies the rub 10:44. Descriptive and underlined headings and subheadings with short paragraphs. Without mention of IRAC or any suchlike. Or alternatively how anyone would calmly present information which they want to be easily understood, dare I say at a glance?
GP I honestly think a simplification and forced use of headings will solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

10:52: Judith Saucedo in the Northern California area. You can find her contact info through Google. I think she is really, really great and her pricing is very fair. I know because I priced her along with a bunch of other tutors in the area before settling on working with her. Plus, Judith is a former Bar grader. Also, she literally knows the law off the top of her head and will rattle it off to you when you're grasping for straws. And finally, she was also really good at addressing my mental doubts and blocks after not passing the first time.

Correction to my comment above: *you're

Also, GP: You need to stop looking at it as "failing the bar" and more like just "not passing the bar." Remember, you've come very close to the scaled 1440 points several times now. It's just an arbitrary number. You can do it!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if 10:04 might be on to something. I've been following your blog since last fall when I started to panic about the bar exam. I graduated law school in December (part-time student, had to take a semester off at one point), and took the February bar. Was really worried that I would not have enough time to study (full time job with travel, family, etc.), which was always a problem for me during school - competing with students who were not working. Amazingly, I passed!

Here are a couple of tips from my class mates who took the July bar that really helped me:

1. When you are reading and writing your essays, highlight each part of the call as you work it into your answer. There is no word in the essay prompt that is not there for a reason. If something is not highlighted you might have missed something (and points).

2. Have you used the Bar Code Cheat Sheets? I took BarBri, but with limited time I focused on listening to all of the lectures (how I learn best), and working through their new Amp program to cram in MBE knowledge. What the Cheat Sheets gave me in an efficient manner was how to organize my answer. I studied the book and put their outlines on flash cards. The outline really helped me organize my thoughts. I'm in So Cal too, and if you would like my copy of the Cheat Sheets I'd be happy to pass them along to you. I guess post a response and I'll e-mail you?

Thanks for continuing to blog about your adventure here, I'm sure you can do it, keep it up!

Anonymous said...

4:49, can you please email me a copy of the bar code cheat sheets too? I failed twice and this looks like it could help me...email is jkeynes11@hotmail.com, thanks.

Anonymous said...

GP - Sorry to see you did not pass. I'm sorry I have to disagree with people saying that you need just a few more points on your MBE. You need to improve your PTs, no two ways about it. If you do nothing between now and July, except for PT practice, I bet you would pass. I never scored above a 105 on the MBE and I passed, I'm assuming because of the PTs (I felt good about those)...anyway, sorry to throw another unsolicited opinion in the mix - but just my two cents.

Good luck in July!

Anonymous said...

Agree with BC--if 60 is your top writing score, gotta ditch the tutor. Not sure how you're studying these days, but I suggest essay after essay under exam conditions. After 10 tries max score of 60 is troubling. Based on mbes you know the law, just gotta get your writing style to match what they want. Agree with others that barbri sheep method is way to go.

Still scratching my head here. Mbes are not easy and require analysis. Why can you analyze for those buT not essays/PTs?

Anonymous said...

4:49, could I get a copy of the Cheat Sheets as well? Thanks in advance. My email is: ajwinston08@gmail.com

The Grand Poobah said...

Just to be clear regarding the content of some of these comments, Whitney Roberts' Cheat Sheets in Action is a copyrighted product and can be purchased for around $100. I own her two latest editions and I would suggest anyone interested I can them should purchase them rather than violate her copyright.

I'm just saying. Everyone has a moral character evaluation to pass and it would be sad to see all this work go for naught just for trying to save $100.

Anonymous said...

(May 22, 2012 4:49 AM)

I HAVE TAKEN THE EXAM FOUR TIMES AND FAILED...I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR SENSING THOSE TO ME ALSO...MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS gan32@cox.net...MUCH APPRECIATED.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to see how Jason's program helped you at all. Your scores don't look that different from your July 2011 performance.

You really have to stop focusing on the MBE. Any incremental improvement in that area is going to be meaningless compared to an improvement in your writing, and if you are getting a 50 on a straightforward professional ethics question, the area you need to focus on should be obvious.

The problem with the MBE is that it is an easy way to study. You don't have to focus on one thing for long periods of time, it's not really a time crunch, etc. People lull themselves into thinking that, because this stuff is also tested on the essays, they are killing two birds with one stone. But you really aren't, because everyone knows the substance of the law and the bar isn't really testing you on the substance - they are testing you on your attention to detail, your analytical skill, your ability to write logically, clearly, etc. From that perspective, studying the MBE is pretty worthless.

How many full 1-hour questions did you write out prior to the exam? How many full PTs did you write out?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with 11:18AM. GP, your scores, essays, PTs, AND MBEs haven't changed significantly in the last 3 years of test taking. You really need to make changes to how you write. I'm not sure where you see the improvements in your writing having worked with Jason Telerico, but it's not working.

The Grand Poobah said...

I agree re: the MBEs.

Re: the essays and PTs, for the first time in years I was writing reasonable, logical, understandable, well organized essays in one hour (and three exams in three hours) in the last week or so before the exam. My problem, it appears, is carrying that level of competence to the actual exam.

I've always had a problem with stress when dealing with strict deadlines that carry dire consequences for non-performance, but I've been able to cope with that in other situations by giving myself plenty of time to prepare. Here, however, I'm not coping so well.

The improvement I'm making with Jason's program didn't translate completely to the Feb exam, but I know I made, and will continue to make, progress, and I expect I will continue to do so.

I know that seems like a dubious claim considering my recent results, but I can definitely see improvement.

I also know how this (my struggle to pass) appears to an objective observer, and I understand the skepticism. In response, I can only say that I will get this done because I want to get it done. It's really as simple as that.

Big Cat's Chief of Staff said...
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Anonymous said...

Yes, the essay grades seem so arbitrary: see the Cal Bar Exam's advertisement for graders---all that is required is ONE year of admission to the Calif Bar--these graders are NOT Law Profs nor experienced attorneys...that's why the Essays (and PTs) are such a crap-shoot....The point is that you MUST do well on the MBE in order to avoid the impossible task of getting fair and accurate "grading" of your essays....Calif should just be honest and admit that it effectively does what other states explicitly do: Unless the MBE score is above a specified #, the essays are NOT even read...These "graders" get paid about $3/exam----and they have about 100 to do at a time--how carefully can they examine/analyze the essay? They can't..and to base denial of a law license on this is a farce...Just ask Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan who failed in 2005 and the many experienced, out-of-state attorneys who are law profs, Supreme Court litigants, outstanding lawyers with decades of experience...a true farce, but likely won't change because the Calif Bar Ass'n will protect their exclusive right to practice---as long as they aren't required to pass the exam every 10 years--like Doctors with national certifications must do....THEN, you can bet the test would be fair......

Anonymous said...

One week of writing essays/PTs is not nearly enough...not nearly.

The Grand Poobah said...

Indeed, but you misunderstand. It was just in the last week of a 8-12 week preparation period that I started to show real progress.

I would agree that one week is not enough, but that was not the case here.

Anonymous said...

It was only in the last week you started to show progress because it was only in the last week you started to write them out, I suspect. Writing is like any other rote exercise - you get better only with practice and you need to practice the way you intend to play.

You obviously know yourself best, but (with due respect), you probably shouldn't necessarily be trusting your instincts. Doesn't sound like they've served you too well with respect to this particular challenge in life.

The Grand Poobah said...

Can't argue with that, which is why I'm sticking with the only tutor who makes sense (to me.)

The Grand Poobah said...

And I had been writing them out timed for a couple of months. Admittedly, however, not in sufficient volume.

But, again, I had a lot of bad habits to overcome so the fact that I was doing well consistently, even at that late date, was/is encouraging.

Anonymous said...

Re bar graders: I got the applic and considered being one. They don't just take 1st year attys and give them exams to grade. There are training sessions where they normalize grading etc. It's not a perfect system but really if you fail you shouldn't blame the graders. I know gp wasn't but the commenter was.

Gp-- good to know you will be practicing more timed essays.

Anonymous said...

GP

Good luck for your July exam. I will appreciate if you can share which MBE course you recommend as you seem to scoring confidently over 75% each time.

Anonymous said...

4:49 here...The Bar Code Cheat Sheets are a hard copy book. I purchased my for the February 2012 bar exam, and I believe they helped me. Certainly I don't advocate violating any copyright laws, but was willing to hand over my hard copy of the book to GP if he did not already have it to thank him for the support his blog gave to me. Since he has it, then offer closed. Best of luck to everyone.

Anonymous said...

My first read was:
55
55
65
65
55
70
65
65
MBE: 124

2nd read
55
55
75
65
50
60
60
65
MBE 124
After the re-read I ended up with a score of 1401.999. The scores are all over the place on the second read. There is no way I got a 50 on the PR question. The sad thing is the grader knew they were doing a re-read, and still gave me a 50. I thought the re-read was to help people that were close. According to my calculations, I was within single digits of passing on the first read. The bar exam re-read is a joke,and the Bar Committee is all about making money!!!!

Anonymous said...

Re: Moral Character, I am completely sure that no one will ever fail it because of an arguable civil copyright violation (arguable because under these circumstances, it may fall under fair use). Only a few people fail MC&F and they have criminal backgrounds and so forth.

GP, if you did good work on essays the last week, just keep doing that over and over again till July. Don't do *anything* else but write timed essays and performance tests.

I passed the Feb 2012 CA Bar thanks to my tutor, Nicole Buckoski, nbuckoski@gmail.com. I was very close to passing last July, and Nicole really helped me by going over all of my essays from then. I'd recommend her to anyone who wants essays reviewed.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a bad essay score is not about your writing. The issue can be that you do not know the law well enough to spot an issue or a sub-issue. So check that out also.

Anonymous said...

It seems u have not read the comments....

Will appreciate if u can share which course u use for MBEs

Anonymous said...

I passed the Feb 2012 bar exam. I personally would recommend Paul Pfau as a tutor. knowing the law will NOT get you your bar card... the key to passing the bar exam is the application of the law. Paul's program focuses on HOW to construct a winning essay -- specifically issue spotting, issue grouping, writting techniques, and approaches. You can write UNLIMITED number of essays -- I turned in over 60 essays and 20 performance... he returns your eassys fast .. gives detailed comments and even calls you to discuss essays.

Also he has a proven method to approach performance exams -- one that makes writting them so easy. ( for those of you taking the bar for the first time -- performance exams are worth DOUBLE ... most bar failures are a result of a poor performance score )

Anonymous said...

As for MBE -- I used adaptibar -- by far the BEST for MBEs ... they are online, give meaningful statistics concerning my performance and have real test questions.

Anonymous said...

When we are doing these timed essays during practice, at the beginning of study, how on earth do you get through a timed closed book essay without already fully knowing the rules? I could probably do one for negligence and the intentional torts at the beginning, but that is about it. I wait until I know the law to do them timed--I know this is not good, but how do you folks make the timed essay practice worthwhile without knowing the law already?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:36 - take open book practice tests to start, and give yourself some more time. That will help. Then as it gets closer, close your notes and make it realistic. And if you don't know the law - make it up! Because this will happen at least once during the real thing guaranteed..they are testing your ability to stay calm and carry on...I passed July 2011 exam and made up the entire marital property essay because the facts were odd and I didn't know the law. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:36 - try it. You'll be surprised how much law you know, or rather, how little law you need to know to take a timed essay.

It may help to briefly review a short outline of the subject (10-20 pages max) before you take the timed essay. I found this to be an effective way of learning because I put the knowledge to immediate use.

In any case, it's not a big deal if you miss a lot of the issues when you first start practicing - you'll learn as you review and see what you missed.

Anonymous said...

Dude, the performance exam is the EASIEST part of the bar. It's the only part where you dont need to know ANY LAW WHATSOEVER to pass. They give you everything you need. Right there. And, it's the closest thing to what you're going to do if you pass and begin practicing law. If you're writing poor PE, imagine how that skill set would translate to the memo you turn in to the managing partner.... Good luck with that.
Seriously, GP, you should spend all your time on the PE. Forget practicing MBE's. You've probably seen every question 3x over anyway. Get dialed it. This exam is defining who you are....

Anonymous said...

Have some questions, hope that you can answer:

Do the graders know what your file number is? I am sure that it would be a dead giveaway because a California unaccredited or distance learning student would always have a file number much lower than that of most other ABA students.

Is there any way that the grader can tell that you are a repeater, because later applicants such as a repeater will always have a higher applicant number since they always must wait for the previous exam results?

Have you always taken the next exam or have you skipped one at any point during any of your attempts?

Thanks, R

Anonymous said...

YOU GOT A 50 ON THE PR ESSAY.
NO WONDER YOU CANT PASS, YOUR
UNETHICAL! JUST JOKING, BUT SERIOUSLY
PR IS A GIVEN ON THE BAR EXAM.
YOU BETTER HAVE IT DOWN THIS TIME
AROUND, OR CHOP OFF ANOTHER $850 BUCKS TO THE CAL BAR INC.

Anonymous said...

@ May 22, 2012 7:29 PM

I'm currently taking Jason's program, and taking the CA bar for the first time in July. Did you find that your scores on the bar varied significantly than the scores Jason was giving you? In other words, did your grades essays and PT tests from Jason lead you to believe you would pass the bar, yet you did not pass? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

A tutor's 65 is always a 55 on the bar exam. Hard to believe the disconnect between tutors and graders (even ex bar graders give their students higher grades). When the student doesn't pass, the tutor is shocked. Tutors simply don't have a modern, real world understanding of current CA Bar grading. I guarantee that GP's 55's would have been 65's if graded by his (or any other) tutor.

Anonymous said...

Hate to discount your experience with tutors but I found Paul pfau to actually grade harder than the bar.... Which pushed me to work harder. I passed because of him.


Ps I saw the owner of this blog at the bar exam... He was two tables in front of me...

don w said...

I finished 2 yrs law schl lng x ago & now have finished a semester w an attorny-stl hav 2 turn in report of 6 tests fr attny. so 3 sms or = 2 fnsh. need 2 fnd new atty. anyone else doing similar?

Natalie Nabi said...

Hi there, I am undergoing depression right now because I just failed my bar again! I would wholeheartedly appreciate a copy of your sheets! My email is: natnab1@icloud.com

God bless you with eternal happiness and success!