Alrighty now ...
There's, what, only a couple of weeks until the results are released? My, how time flies when you're having fun!
I've got mixed feelings about November 16th, 2012. I know it's only a matter of time before I pass, and I feel like I've improved over the last year or so, but over the years I've learned to keep my emotions, and expectations, in check on the days the results are released.
Believe it or not, there have been times when I actually expected to discover that I had passed. Other times, I felt like the only way I would pass was if each of my papers were graded by an insane person.
This time, I feel like my odds of passing are better than 50/50. It's just a feeling though, because I've never been able to predict what kind of a score I would receive on each essay (or PT.) I've written essays that I thought were masterpieces of legal analysis, only to find that they were ... not masterpieces. Other times, I only had 45 minutes to crank out what amounted to (in my mind) a checklist with a few pertinent details, and those essays received scores of 65 or 70.
Frankly, at this time of the year, I feel much like I imagine Charlie Brown must feel after years of having Lucy pull the football away at the last minute.
But, like Chuck, I have faith in human nature (mine, not the graders (are the graders human?)), and the value of persistence. I'm like a Cubs fan, "I'll get it next year!", knowing that this year could be the "next year" that I hoped for last year.
Anyway, I'm keeping my fingers crossed (and my rosary at hand) and I know that come November 16th my life will change (for better, or for ... not better.)
And now for some lighter reading. I'm pasting below the text of an email I wrote last week in reply to someone who asked if I had an opinion on whether there was a difference between the essays we see in February versus July.
Happy Reading, and best of luck to all in two weeks!
I've heard rumors about there being a difference between the types and
difficulty levels of essays between February and July and I have mixed
feelings about them. I've been told (by people who should know) that
there is no difference. On the other hand, I've also been
told (by someone who might be in a position to know) that the State Bar
"massages" the essays to make sure the ones in July are more
straightforward, if not easier, because the ABA schools don't want a lot
of their students failing because they struggled with an oddball
question. And to make the ABA schools happy, or at least not to piss
them off, the State Bar saves the "odd" essays for February. The
reasons I call these essay odd is because they cross-over issues in
less common ways, or they test less common aspects of the particular
subject (e.g., freedom of association/religion, executive powers, etc.)
Based on my personal experience I've found that the issues tested in
February and how they're presented do tend to be more convoluted, if
you will, than the essays in July. The July exams seem to be more
straightforward, and I think the reason they do this is that they are
looking for a higher quality of writing on the straight up issues. For
example, I've seen more single issue exams in July, such as
real-property/landlord-tenant, than I've seen on February exams. Most
of the February exams seem to be crossovers, and some tricky ones at
that. And if they test the more common issues in July, when the larger
percentage of ABA students are taking it, the people who tend to
graduate towards the top of their class have a better chance at writing a
higher quality answer than those who graduate lower down, or than those
who come from lower tier law schools.
These theories tend to be borne out by the passing percentages on
the exams. The pass rate on the February exams are demonstrably lower
than the pass rate for July. Part of this can be attributed to the fact
that most people taking it in February have already failed at least one
exam, but I think it's also due to the "fact" (in my humble opinion)
that the February exams are "odd".
The bottom line is that there is no hard evidence that there is any
difference between the types and difficulties of the essays given in
February and July, and the State Bar is certainly not going to confirm
any of the rumors that they are. I used to fret over this apparent injustice but
I've had my chances to pass both exams and haven't passed either. But
then again, my scores on the February 2012 exam would have been passing
scores had I gotten them on the July 2011 exam. That fact alone augurs
toward some sort of built in bias, if you will. But, again, who am I to
argue - I've failed the darn thing 11 times.
I hope this answers your arguably unanswerable question. I wouldn't
get too bogged down in it though because this particular conspiracy
theory has been going around for many years and no one has yet been able
to prove or debunk it.