McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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Free Feedback & Tacos

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on June 14, 2017

**Reminder:  Submit your answer to the Extra Feedback Program Property essay by no later than tonight (June 14) at 6:00 p.m.**

And if you need some fuel before writing it, come to the Quad between 12:15 and 1:30 for a taco lunch sponsored by the CDO.  From the CDO:

Are you studying for the bar exam on campus? Stop by the Quad WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14 from 12:15 p.m.–1:30 p.m. for a taco lunch provided by Bon Appetit. Food is available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you passed the February bar or aren’t studying for the bar exam in Sacramento, please let us know!

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Bar Practice Opportunities

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on June 12, 2017

All McGeorge graduates planning to sit for the July 2017 California Bar Exam are welcome to attend the following writing simulations.  RSVP* to clee1@pacific.edu (be sure to include the “1”) by the deadlines noted below to secure your spot and ensure that we have question and answer packets printed for you.

Preference for space will be given to graduates in BEAT and those who RSVP.  All sessions will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. in Classroom H, so arrive early to set up, and be ready to begin writing at 9:00. Typists will be using Word, not ExamSoft.

 

1. Half-Day Essay Simulation (3 Essays)

Friday, June 23 -OR- Saturday, June 24

RSVP with your date preference by no later than Thursday, June 22, at noon.*

 

2. Full-Day Writing Simulation (5 Essays & a PT)

Saturday, July 8

RSVP by no later than Thursday, July 6, at noon.*

Like the bar exam, there will be a 90-minute break during this session from noon to 1:30 p.m.  Lunch will not be provided, so please plan accordingly.

 

*Note:  Graduates in BEAT do not need to RSVP. 

 

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Focus on Tasks, Not Time

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on June 8, 2017

Several graduates recently have asked how much time they should be spending on bar prep each day.  That is a common question, but the answer truly depends on every individual.

For example, imagine that someone told Person X and Person Y that they need to spend eight to ten hours each day on bar prep.  So X and Y dutifully wake up and head to their preferred study spaces to begin, and each stays there from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. (with a few breaks).  If X is focused and engaged in the material but Y tends to daydream or is easily distracted, Y will get far less out of that time than X.  Yet if X and Y only were tracking how much time they were spending each day, both could say that they were “on track.”  If this remains true for the entire summer, and X passes the bar exam but Y does not, Y will not understand what happened, since Y “spent 10 hours a day studying, just like X.”  This is one reason why focusing only on how much time you spend is dangerous.

Of course bar preparation is a very time-intensive endeavor, and you should be spending the majority of your days working at it; but instead of tracking how many hours per day you spend at your desk, focus instead on the tasks you want to complete each day.  Instead of beginning the day by thinking, “I need to spend ten hours studying today,” try, “Okay, today I need to write two practice essays and review the answers, review the Contracts lecture outline, complete 34 MBEs, and work on my attack sheet for Property.”  That may take you ten hours, and it may not.  Instead of adapting the tasks you complete to fit how much time you want to spend, adapt how much time you spend to fit the tasks you want to complete.

A sizeable chunk of every day should be spent preparing, but every day will be different; it may take ten hours to complete your tasks on one day, and on another day it may take seven.  On yet another day, you may not finish before needing to go to sleep (or perhaps you need to budget for some time off for a planned event), so you will have to move a few tasks to different days.  Regardless, you will be using your time far more effectively than if you were just going through the motions to say that you spend X number of hours per day “studying.”  To give you an idea of what tasks you should be working on in addition to reading outlines and viewing lectures, by the end of the summer you should have completed at least 45-50 timed essays, 5-6 timed PTs, and 1600-1800 MBEs.

So focus more on the tasks you complete and less on the time you spend (unless you’re writing a timed practice essay or PT, of course!), and your bar prep should become much more efficient and effective.

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Therapy Dogs on Campus

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on June 6, 2017

If you could benefit from spending a little time with a friendly pup (who couldn’t?), stop by the Quad tomorrow, June 7, from around noon to 1:00 to visit with some sweet therapy dogs.  For more information, contact the CDO.

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Do you have 10 minutes to enhance your bar prep?

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on June 3, 2017

As many of you know, I was in a severe accident a few years ago that left me with Traumatic Brain Injury.  As I still continue to recover, I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about how the brain works and heals.  One of the things that surprised me most was the role that mindfulness plays in brain health, for the injured and non-injured alike.  I’d heard positive things about it before, but once my neurologist strongly recommended that I begin a regular meditation practice to help rebuild my damaged neural pathways, I started to do more research.  I won’t get into the details here, but suffice to say that it is a tremendous contributing factor in everything from reducing stress to enhancing memory, with advocates from Anderson Cooper to Russell Simmons.  Even Justice Breyer has a practice.  The best part?  It only take a few minutes a day to see benefits!

It follows that taking those few minutes a day for mindfulness might play a big part in successful, sane bar preparation.  To help, I recorded a few guided sessions focused on the bar exam that are available for free at any time.  Please note that these were not recorded in a professional studio with high-tech equipment, and I am not a certified meditation instructor (yes, they do exist!).  Most sessions are in manageable time blocks of around 10 minutes.  (Please also note that the visualization of Day 1 or 3 no longer applies in CA.)

Meditation is personal, so although I tried to craft sessions that apply to most bar applicants, you might not relate to all of them.  You may even not care for the sound or cadence of my voice.  If for any reason these do not work for you, you are welcome to adapt the ideas for your own, individual practice.  Of course you also can just meditate in silence and focus on your breath; you do not have to think about the bar exam to reap benefits that might boost your performance there.  You do not even have to meditate at all; there even are mindfulness exercises centered around eating or walking.

Still not convinced?  Check out the resources below, or just do a simple search online; there are thousands of others.  (These links are just provided for your general information and are NOT endorsements by McGeorge.)

NY Times: How Meditation Might Boost Your Test ScoresYour Excuses for Not Meditating: DebunkedMindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (this is the program recommended by my doctor—100% free); The Anxious Lawyer

 

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First EFP Exam Due Tomorrow (5/31)

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on May 30, 2017

This is a friendly reminder that the first Extra Feedback Program exam, the performance test, is due tomorrow, May 31, by no later than 6:00 p.m.  Find submission instructions, the question packet, and the sample answer here.

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To Flashcard or Not to Flashcard

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on May 29, 2017

1395046_p_060915During bar prep, THAT often is the question.

If flashcards worked for you in law school, they can be very effective for the bar exam; but you should not use them just because they’re popular with other people.  If that method of studying does work for you, however, the ideal way to use it is by creating your own.  Going through that process is far more effective than just reading someone else’s words, and many studies show that there is a big memory benefit to physically writing things down, as opposed to just reading them.  Furthermore, a common complaint about commercial flashcards is that they are more like outlines just printed on smaller pieces of paper.  We are well aware that your time is extremely limited this summer, and that you may not have time to create your own flashcards for every subject; so we recommend focusing on your most difficult subjects, and even then just on the most troublesome topic areas within those subjects.

We do not advertise bar vendors on this blog, because bar study plans and aids are one-size-fits-most, and making those choices depends on each individual’s needs.  That said, and although creating your own flashcards is the best choice if at all possible, of all the commercial bar flashcard options out there, Critical Pass is the most well-respected.  They are color-coded, and they have spaces on them for you to write your own notes, so you can have a little of that memory benefit (even though making your own cards is better).  Again, this is NOT an official endorsement; but we wanted to share that if you do your research, consider your needs carefully, and decide that you would like to purchase these flashcards, we just received a discount code for $20 off and free shipping:  20PACIFIC2017.  It is good only for McGeorge students, and only from May 30 through June 9.  (Please note that these flashcards just cover MBE subjects, not CA subjects or law, although you could write the CA distinctions on the cards yourself.)

Of course there are other options if flashcarding did not work for you in law school:  You can keep a blank notebook handy as you study and write down the rules that you find most confusing, or you can use whiteboards or tape blank pages of paper to a wall and chart out the relationships between the rules, etc.  Whatever worked for you in law school is your best choice in bar prep.  Now is not the time to change proverbial horses mid-stream, even if it feels like “everyone else” is using one particular method.  To thine own self be true!  Success comes when you honestly think about what works best for you, continue to assess yourself and your study habits throughout the summer, and adjust accordingly.

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Starting Strong

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on May 17, 2017

The biggest, most common problem faced by all bar takers is time.  Even if you accept that no human being ever could know every single rule in every single subject–nor does one have to know them all in order to pass–you still will feel like there isn’t enough time to do everything you wish you could to prepare.

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There are a few things you can do now, however, that can help ensure that you get off on the right foot this summer.  Even if it’s only by a few days, if you start reviewing early, “Mid-July You” will be so grateful!  These suggestions also apply if your commercial review schedule begins next week and the assignments in the study plan are lighter than expected.

PT Practice and Review:

Whether you attended the proctored session this week or not, you can write another PT or two on your own before getting too bogged down in substantive review.  PTs are closed-universe, so you do not have to have any law memorized to complete them.  You can find practice questions in your commercial materials; just check to make sure that you do not practice with a question that you are scheduled to simulate later.  You also can find free “MPT” (90-minute performance test) questions and Point Sheets (lists of what the drafters were looking for) here–scroll to the bottom of the page for the free packets.  And if you are not participating in the BEAT program, you also can write the PT assigned in the Extra Feedback Program and submit your answer for grading by May 31.

MBE Practice and Review: 

The MBE is a great place to start refreshing your memory of the substantive law.  For now, focus on one particular subject at a time, or even a topic area within a subject, and do not worry about timing.  Consider beginning with a subject that gives you more trouble than others, so you can start dusting off those cobwebs first and give yourself a little extra time with it.  It’s very important to read EVERY answer explanation, even if you got the answer right, because you may have gotten it right for the wrong reason.  If you encounter rules that you forget or that you find particularly confusing, consider making notes or flashcards (if they work for you) for those rules.

Outline Review:

If you’d rather not dive straight into MBE practice yet, you can start reviewing your substantive outlines.  You do not necessarily have to start memorizing them right now; just read through them to reacquaint yourself with the material.  As with MBE practice, consider starting with a subject that you find to be more difficult, and take notes or make flashcards for your weakest areas.  You also can begin to create short attack sheets for each subject that you eventually will commit to memory to aid with issue-spotting on the essays (and MBE).

These simple ideas can help you make the most of the time you have, and can make a big impact on your forthcoming preparations.

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Summer 2017 Extra Feedback Program

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on May 15, 2017

Note: Applicants in BEAT should ignore this post.

The Summer 2017 Extra Feedback Program schedule is here!  McGeorge graduates, don’t miss this opportunity to submit your work for individualized written comments from experienced bar program graders.

Please read the instructions carefully, as late or incorrect answers will not be graded.  Questions and answers are posted below, and if you need hard copies of the questions, please contact the FSO (fso@pacific.edu).

2017 EFP Schedule

Schedule PDF Version

Since the Extra Feedback Program’s inception seven years ago, bar applicants who participate have passed the bar at higher rates than those who do not.  Last year, Extra Feedback participants passed the bar at a rate almost 15% higher than the overall school average.  Be sure to complete and submit these questions so you too can conquer the bar this summer!

 

PT Question and PT Sample Answer

Property Question and Property Sample Answer

Torts Question and Torts Sample Answer

PR Question and PR Sample Answer

 

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Good vibes for tomorrow!

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on May 11, 2017

We are sending all the best to February 2017 bar applicants!  Remember that no matter what, everything will be okay.

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