Meeting with my bar exam counselor

by thedesertion

My law school offers a lot of wonderful perks to its students. One such perk is that the school assigns each student a bar exam counselor. The bar exam counselor’s job is to help students pass the bar. I had a counselor the first time I took the bar, but I didn’t really rely on her assistance. I met with her once, emailed her once, and that was it. Really, what she was there for was to give me feedback on my essays, go over tips on how to improve the efficiency of my studying, and so forth. I figured I would just do what Barbri told me to do and I would be fine. As you can see, I was not fine. So I crawled back to her, asking her for help. Here are some of the highlights of our meeting.

  1. Outlines help with the big picture organization of concepts.
  2. You need to create your own outlines where you condense the information into smaller, digestible portions. The process of creating your own outlines using Barbri’s materials will help you to learn the information in your own way. This helps with true understanding and retention of the concepts.
  3. Start noticing the tricks the bar examiners play with the questions. There are only so many ways you can ask a question on a particular topic. By doing enough questions and taking note of the “tricks,” you will see it coming even before you finish reading the interrogatory.
  4. Diagnose reasons for getting things wrong.
  5. Keep an error log on multiple choice questions. Note the area of law and the particular sub topic. You will eventually see where your weakest areas are so that you can focus on them.
  6. Do Kaplan’s multiple choice questions. They are more reflective of what the MBE is like.
  7. To quell anxiety, don’t leave gaps in your knowledge. Be as prepared as you can be, so you don’t worry yourself over, “oh, what if they put a con law or evidence essay, I’ll be  screwed.” You want to get to the point where you walk in there, sit down, and be ready for any kind of essay coming your way. If you iron out all the iffy topics before you sit for the exam, there will be nothing to have anxiety about. 
  8. Barbri’s MEE essay model answers have excellent rule statements. Put them down on flash cards and commit them to memory.
  9. Make “attack outlines.” These are quick and dirty outlines on certain topics that have multiple moving parts where you need to make sure you hit the checklist of issues to discuss. Example: “When I get a question about search and seizure this is what I will ask myself: 1) did ∆ have a reasonable expectation of privacy? 2) was there gov’t action? 3) was there a valid search warrant properly executed? 4) do any of the 6 warrant exceptions apply?” It’s like having a go-to flow chart in your mind. I need this.
  10. When you’re just starting to write essays and you don’t feel like you’ve memorized all the stuff you need for the essay, don’t feel bad in using your lecture notes our outline as a crutch early on in the process.
  11. Get to the point and be complete.
  12. Picture your exam reviewer checking off the IRAC/CREAC/IREAC/CRAC boxes.