Exams Preparation Story
I can share my exams preparation study story here. I can be wordy…so don’t fall asleep. And, I hope it’s helpful. The first time of studying for the July 2015 bar exam, I used Fleming’s Fundamentals of Law at home bar prep. I was used to his lecture style and outlines, and his materials are great.
My biggest mistake in studying was this: I underestimated the bar and overestimated my bar exam writing skills. (Plus, my four kids were home all day due to summer vacation. They were 7, 9, 10, and 12. Which means my house was a circus.) I was so nervous about remembering it all, that I just couldn’t bring myself to write essays.
I went to an unaccredited correspondence school, which I likened unto being home-schooled in the law. It was a four year program and not looking at Torts or Contracts for three years was a big mistake. It was like learning all over again. I was comfortable listening to and watching lectures. Writing was not something I did. I took the bar. I cried once on the last day at the end of the morning essays (I wasted my time! And money! My kids were ignored!) and tried to forget about it.
Grades and Marks:
In November I saw my scores. The only hope from my dismal failing was my essay score on the Real Property essay: I got a 75. Other than that, my scores were as follows: Scaled written: 1316, Scaled MBE: 1302, Total scaled score: 1311
I found your website the same weekend while looking for something similar to emotional support. And I needed hope. I liked your sense of humor and optimism, and your Appro-sheets and Magic-sheets were highly portable compared to all the huge books I had. The second time around, I studied for about a total of 15-20 hours a week while my kids were at school. I carried the sheets with me where ever I went, just to steal a glance here and there if I had a few minutes.
The part that I believed helped me improve the most was your encouragement to “cook” essays. I didn’t have the time or patience to sit down and spend an hour on an essay to find out that I missed major issues. But by cooking an essay, I would set my timer for 15 minutes, read the essay, and then outline it. I began to see patterns, and cooking them became easier and easier.
Schedule and Routine:
I set a schedule for myself that went something like this for each subject:
Review outlines (sheets and Fleming’s materials-about an hour). Practice writing down list of major topics for that subject (something I could scrawl across my essay question to make sure I didn’t forget anything major). “Cook” 3 essays. Use said outlines for hints and dues while “cooking.” Become comfortable with being a failure.
Then, Review outlines (about 10 minutes to refresh), write out major topic list until memorized and easy to recall. Cook 3 more essays, and write them out. Copy verbiage from model answers to cement definitions and flow. Wean myself from using cheat sheets.
Write out major topic list for subject. Cook 2 essays and then write out 2 essays under timed conditions. Pick essay topics I sucked at. Take a small dose of humble pride that I improved, and hope that it is enough for the exam.
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