McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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Study Tip: Exam Exchange

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on May 31, 2011

Hopefully you are all planning to participate in the Additional Feedback Program this summer (see 2 posts below).  In the meantime, a wonderful way to hone your skills is by exam exchange. 

It works like this:  find at least one other person who would like to take a particular practice exam with you.  Find a quiet space where you can simulate the exam under realistic, timed conditions (a classroom, the library, the Academic Success Resource Center, your kitchen table, etc.).  When you’re finished, swap exams and spend some time writing comments on your friend’s exam.  Is it written in IRAC format?  Were the issues the same as those in the sample answer?  Were the rules clear, accurate, and concise?  Could you understand the logical flow of the analysis?  Were enough facts incorporated?  Were the conclusions solid and logicially supported by the analyses? 

You can use this model even if you don’t want to sit down and write the exam together; just exchange answers via email. (The “Review/New Comment” feature in Word is an excellent tool for this purpose.)   

While reviewing your own answers is absolutely necessary, you know what you were thinking when you wrote them, and it’s difficult to stay objective.  How many times have you compared your answer to a sample answer and thought, “Well, that’s what I meant.  I think the grader would get that from what I wrote.”  How can you be sure?  The exam exchange is a great way to see if you’re really being as clear as you think. 

While you will have the benefit of another set of eyes reading your answers, the most important benefit comes from putting yourself in the position of the grader.  Your job on the bar exam is to make your grader’s job as easy as possible, and putting yourself in his/her shoes will help immeasurably.  Take it from someone who has graded thousands of exams over the years:  you will be shocked by how much you learn just by critiquing someone else’s work. 

Good luck, and we look forward to receiving your Contracts submissions next week!


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