McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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July 2015 CA Bar Exam Application Now Available!

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on March 2, 2015

The Application to take the July 2015 CA Bar Exam is now available, and the timely filing deadline is April 1, 2015.  After that date, fees will increase.  The application and further information is available here:  https://www.calbarxap.com/applications/calbar/California_Bar_Exam/.  Please read the instructions carefully before selecting the “Begin Application to Take the California Bar Examination” button at the bottom of the page.

Apply soon so you can avoid late fees and start on your path to being One and Done!

More information about dates and deadlines:  http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/gbx/BXInfo.0715_R.pdf

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“The Bar Is Finally Over” Reception

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on February 25, 2015

All February 2015 McGeorge bar takers are welcome at the The Bar Is Finally Over” Reception this Thursday, February 26, at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento in Downtown Sacramento.  The event will begin immediately following the completion of the bar exam (approx. 5:30PM) at the Glides Market Bar area.

Come celebrate your accomplishment with drinks and snacks, and bask in the pride of your McGeorge family (professors, administrators, and fellow graduates)!

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Bar Simulation Day: March 14

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on February 24, 2015

Congratulations and best wishes to all McGeorge graduates sitting for the CA Bar Exam today!!  Current seniors, your exam date will be here before you know it, so here is one chance to get going on your way to One and Done this summer:

On Saturday, March 14, you will have the opportunity to participate in the Pacific McGeorge Bar Simulation Day.  This simulation will mimic the real bar exam, with three essay questions in the morning, a break, and a performance test in the afternoon.  Everyone who writes the simulation will receive individualized feedback on each answer, and the chance to attend a review session.

The simulation is required for all students enrolled in Practical & Persuasive Legal Writing, but it is open to any 3D or 4E student.  Like the bar exam, the simulation will be closed-book, so please study the rules sheets linked below before attending the simulation.  The law tested on the essays will be Criminal Law and Procedure, Professional Responsibility, and Evidence.  Also like the bar exam, be prepared not to bring anything with you into the testing room, except your laptop and/or pens (this includes bags, purses, phones, etc.).  Students who type the simulation will submit their answers in Word format.

Time management and endurance are vital to bar preparation, and simulated writing practice is the single biggest key to success this summer. This is your chance to assess your skills before you even graduate, so don’t miss this opportunity to start down the path to being ONE AND DONE!

If you are not enrolled in PPLW but would like to participate in the simulation, please RSVP to sacstudentaffairs@pacific.edu so we can be sure to have an exam for you.

Location:  Lecture Hall

Time:  8:30 a.m. – ~5:00 p.m. (break 12:00-1:30 p.m.)

Rules to Study:  Crimes Rules     PR Rules     Evidence Rules

 

More logistical info from the Dean of Students:

“We will attempt to run this exam as closely as possible to the way the State Bar runs the Bar exam.  To that end, here are the instructions that the State Bar has available on their web site regarding the administration of the exam:  http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/Examinations/EXAMADMINPOLICIES_R.pdf

My advice to you is this:  Pretend this is Day One of the Bar exam.  Thus, only bring to the classroom what you are allowed to bring to the Bar exam.  Lock all your other valuables in your apartment or your car.  We will not allow backpacks, cell phones, etc. or any food or water in the examination room.  You will have a 90-minute break for lunch.  Dining Services in the Student Center will not be open, so plan accordingly.

For those of you who are typists, you will not be using ExamSoft, but instead, will be required to answer each question in Word (a separate Word document for each essay and the PT), and then email each answer separately to mcgeorgepplw@gmail.com.  The subject line of email should be:  LastName-Subject (e.g., “Smith-Crim” or “Jones-Evidence”), and documents should be saved in Word, with the same title (LastName-Subject).

We will have blue books available for those of you who are writers and for anyone whose computer malfunctions during the exam.  We anticipate that the exam should end at approximately 5pm.”

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Tant que je respire, j’attaque!

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on February 23, 2015

It’s FINALLY here! Hopefully you have set a time today to stop studying so that you can relax and attack the exam with a fresh mind tomorrow morning. (Trust me, you’ve been studying for months; at this point a few hours will not make much, if any, difference.) As you start to wrap things up, here are a few last-minute –and hopefully repetitive — reminders:

Mind the clock!

If you forget every other suggestion you’ve heard this winter, please remember this one: DO NOT EXCEED 60 MINUTES ON ANY ESSAY QUESTION!! No good can come from spending more time on one answer at the expense of the others. A friend of mine admitted that when we took our exam, he spent about 80 minutes on the first (racehorse) question on Day 3. He got an 85% on that answer…but guess how we know that score.

Follow IRAC!

You have no greater friend on the bar exam, aside from your watch, than IRAC. Even if you encounter a “throat-clearer” issue, you can still use IRAC and make your grader happy. For example:

Common Law vs. UCC

The UCC governs the sale of goods, which are tangible, moveable objects. Since the dispute centers around the sale of a car, which is a tangible, moveable object, the UCC governs this transaction.”

That is a very short analysis, but it still follows a strict IRAC format. IRAC is what your graders will want and expect to see, so don’t deviate!

Zip your lips!

No matter how tempted you are to rush out of the test center at lunch and double-check every detail of your answers with your friends before you forget, DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT!! You know that the graders look at your answer holistically, so why bother comparing your thoughts with someone else? There is a Contracts question on file where the two released answers each decide differently on the UCC/CL issue. Can you imagine if those two applicants had discussed their answers with each other after the exam? Each would have spent the next four months fretting about failure, when in reality they wrote the published answers.

Don’t panic!

This one is difficult, but important: If you encounter a question on which you draw the dreaded blank, DO NOT PANIC. All panicking does is waste time. Instead, there are a couple of proactive measures you can take:

What would my mom say?

When I took the exam, Question 2 dealt with a topic our bar review professors promised would hardly be anywhere on the MBEs, let alone in the essays. Yet there it was. Instead of freaking out and thinking about how certain I was that I would fail (okay, maybe I did that for a minute), I thought about the question from a lay perspective: what would my mom, who never went to college, say if I asked her this question? Remember, these questions are not written to trick you. If you think about them logically, you will probably kick-start your brain and be able to pick out the issues, and even remember some (or all) of the rules.

Reverse Engineering

Those of you who took PPLW may remember this technique. If you draw a blank regarding a rule, read through the facts again with a critical eye. WHY was Fact A included? WHY was Fact B included? The Bar Examiners tailor their questions so that almost every fact can (and should) be used in an applicant’s answer. By reading through the facts and hunting for clues, you can probably “reverse engineer” the rule by picking out the facts that illustrate the elements.

Finally, and most importantly: NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!!

I was reasonably sure that I failed that second question. I’m still not convinced that I got a passing score on it, but it doesn’t really matter because I passed the exam as a whole. I was also “lucky” enough to encounter a couple of other questions (not just one) that I did not expect to see at my sitting. On top of that, I felt confident about five MBE questions. Literally, FIVE out of two hundred! But again, it doesn’t matter, because I passed as a whole.

So you encounter a curve ball, and you swing and miss. So what? That’s only one strike. If you throw down your bat and walk away, you might miss out on hitting the game-winning home run! Cheesy analogies aside, you simply have to stay positive and keep attacking each question with confidence, even if you have to fake it.

The title of this entry is a quote from Bernard Hinault, who won the Tour de France five times in the 1980s. Translated to English, it means, “As long as I breathe, I attack.” Take that attitude with you into the bar exam for the next three days, and no matter what they throw at you, don’t let it phase you. As long as you breathe, you attack.

We will be thinking of and rooting for every one of you this week!!

 

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Last Extra Feedback Essay (PR) Due Monday!

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on February 11, 2015

The final EFP exam, Professional Responsibility, is due Monday, February 16.  PR is the one subject you are guaranteed to see on the bar exam, so don’t miss this opportunity for simulation and feedback in this commonly-tested subject!

Feb 2015 EFP Schedule

PR Question

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Note to Barbri takers:  We have been notified that this particular essay is also assigned for grading there.  We try our best to avoid such situations whenever possible and apologize for the overlap.  Regardless of where you choose to submit your answer, the most important thing is that you simulate written exams under realistic, timed conditions and compare your answers to the sample answers (on your own in addition to receiving any feedback). If you do this for as many exams as practicable, you will be well on your way to success this month!  

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Extra Feedback Contracts Exam Due Monday!

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 31, 2015

The next Extra Feedback Program exam, Contracts, is due this Monday, Feb. 2.  Don’t miss this opportunity to get more writing practice and individualized feedback on your efforts!

Contracts Feb 1993 Question

Feb 2015 EFP Schedule

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July 2014 Model Answers

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 28, 2015

Model answers for the July 2014 CA Bar Exam are FINALLY available on the State Bar website.  Whether you sat for that exam or you just need an effective way to review your practice exams, try using a chart like those discussed earlier (see “The Importance of Self-Critique” post from Jan. 14).

If you sat for the July exam and would like to discuss one or more of your answers in person, you may email me, noting the answer(s) you would like to review.  I will then ask that you fully complete a comparison chart for the answer(s) and bring it/them with you, prepared to tell me specifically what you think might have resulted in its/their score(s).  (If this seems like extra work, it is.  We require it because over the years we have seen many metaphorical lights go on for bar applicants who complete this exercise.  That’s why I recommend it for everyone — current students and first-time and repeat bar takers — even if you plan to work individually and not meet in person.)

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Maintaining Perspective

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 27, 2015

As we reach the end of January, it’s common to “hit the wall,” so to speak.  Bar prep is hard.  It is tedious, and boring, and constant, and you wish both that it were over already, and that you had more time.

This is when maintaining perspective, always a good idea, is most important.  Why are you putting yourself through this?  There is something positive waiting at the end of this journey, isn’t there?  Maybe it’s a job (or at least being more marketable for a future job), your shiny new bar card, and/or even just that feeling of accomplishment after you overcome a significant challenge, but there are major benefits at the end.  Stay focused on those benefits to help you climb over the wall…and as you do, remember a few things:

  • There are a lot of people in the world who would give anything to be where you are.  Some people would love to go to law school but couldn’t even finish high school or undergrad.  Some are so oppressed that they are not permitted to have their own opinions, let alone go to school to learn how to voice them.  (Think of Malala Yousafzai, the famous girl who survived being shot because she wanted to go to school.)  The next time you sit down to simulate an exam, be grateful.
  • The bar exam is not everything.  It is a test; that’s it.  It is a major test and it should be your main focus right now, but when you consider the things most important to you (family, friends, health, etc.), it’s highly doubtful that your performance on the bar exam will determine the presence of those things in your life.  Focus, and put in the work (that means practice exams!), but remember that this test is not your entire world.  Thinking this way can help remind you that it is a hurdle you absolutely can clear.
  • On that note, if you graduated from McGeorge, and you follow our advice and put in the work this winter, YOU CAN PASS THE BAR EXAM!!  Prepare with the attitude that it is your opportunity to demonstrate to the graders just how capable you are:  “They are so lucky to get to read my answers!” (And if you’ve practiced enough, you’ll be right!)  Do not allow yourself to be dejected and full of dread (see the first bullet point above)…no — you will own that exam.  Study with that mindset now, and carry it with you into the test center next month.

Recently I received a message from a student who is well on her way to being “One and Done” this February.  Here is what she had to say about studying so far:

I have to say, I actually have enjoyed bar prep so far. The [lectures] are incredibly tedious, but I love re-learning the law and I take my flash cards to the gym with me and just stay on the treadmill until I’ve run through the set a few times. During the especially tough days, I have to remind myself that this test is only about minimum competence (which first-time pass rates for McGeorge takers seem to indicate is doable).

This graduate is on the right track:  She’s viewing the process in as positive a light as possible; she’s taking care of herself (going to the gym); and she knows that she is capable of success if she puts in the work (aside from flash cards, she’s also simulating lots of practice exams).  Adjust your perspective if necessary, and this can just as easily apply to you!  You’ve got this!

 

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Awesome Opportunities for February Bar Takers!

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 15, 2015

Pacific McGeorge is excited to share some great opportunities designed specifically for graduates planning to sit for the February bar:

  1. Wednesday, January 21: Bar Writing Seminar by Belia Ramos
  • 6:00-8:00pm, Classroom H

This seminar will guide you through all aspects of writing passing essays, beginning with the basics: outlining, issue spotting and organization.  You will learn how to construct concise and accurate rule statements, and apply the facts to the law through factual analysis without being conclusory.  You will learn the necessary skills for managing the issues while respecting the clock.

  1. Saturday, January 24: SIMULATED BAR EXAM DAY
  • 8:15am to 4:15pm, Classroom G

This simulated exam will mimic one full day of the CA Bar Exam.  The testing periods will be from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-4:00 p.m.  You will have three essays in the morning, then a lunch break, and a performance test in the afternoon.  Bar exam testing conditions will be in place — i.e., no food or drink, no cell phones, etc.  The subjects tested will be announced to you three days prior to the simulation at the Bar Writing Seminar described above.  These exams will be returned to you on January 31.

  1. Wednesday, February 4: Graded Exam Recap by Belia Ramos
  •  6:00pm to 8:00pm, Classroom S-5

Local bar tutor Belia Ramos will provide analysis and specific feedback about the three essay questions/answers and the performance exam.

Please mark these dates and join us for these helpful, FREE workshops!  Pacific McGeorge graduates only.  Please RSVP to Dean McGuire at mmcguire@pacific.edu.

(And if you’re planning to sit for the July CA Bar Exam, don’t worry:  We have another simulation planned just for you on Saturday, March 14, from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.!  Stay tuned for more details.)

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The Importance of Self-Critique

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 14, 2015

It should be no surprise that realistic practice is the key to success on the bar exam…but what about review?  Answer review is almost as vital as the act of writing out exams under timed conditions, but applicants cannot get professional feedback on every essay and PT they simulate, especially if they simulate as many as we recommend (roughly 5-7 essays and 2-3 PTs per week, more if possible).

Many applicants think that they are incapable of reviewing their own exam answers, and this sometimes dissuades them from simulating exams on their own if there is no one available to provide feedback.  Not so — you ARE capable of reviewing your own answers!  Getting feedback from outside sources is great, but self-critique is just as great, if not better.  The better you get at recognizing flaws in your own writing, the easier it will be to eliminate those flaws.  You need to be your own best critic when you’re sitting in the exam room next month.

Below are two charts that might help you methodically compare your answers to the sample answers.  If you complete them for multiple exams, you should start to see patterns for improvement — e.g., not using enough specific, relevant facts; regularly missing certain issues; following a different argument order than that recommended by PT task memos; etc.

So yes, feedback is great, and you should take advantage of it when possible (through the Extra Feedback Program and your bar review company, for example)…but don’t be discouraged by the prospect of self-review.  And most of all, keep practicing!!

Essay Comparison Chart

PT Comparison Chart

 

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