How I’m going to use BAR/BRI

Now, I’ve never done this bar exam thing before, so I have no idea if this particular method of studying is going to be successful.  [ETA: Pish tosh.  I am going to kick ass.]  But here’s the thing: barbri is a tool.  YOU are supposed to use IT, not the other way around.  And despite how tedious it all is, I have to memorize a shitload of information, and at least this way it comes to me in a vaguely organized manner.

That being said, there’s no way I’m following their “proposed study schedule.”  There’s not enough time to do all that even WITHOUT a job.  (I’m working nights, waitressing at a local Mexican restaurant.  See, I get to memorize the difference between a novation and an assignment, AND I get to practice my Spanish!  Tres de harina y un queso grande por favor…)

So here’s my plan:

  • I’m pretty much completely ignoring the Big Outlines.
  • I’m also ignoring that whole “read about the topic before the lecture” crap.
  • I’m not driving 30 minutes each way to sit in a cold, ugly convention center to see someone talk at me live.  Not when everything is posted online.  This saves me an hour a day (not to mention gas money), and guys, there is some seriously stressed-out, miserable, negative energy in that room.  You know what DOESN’T have negative energy?  Sitting outside in a lawnchair, listening to a lecture online while your dog sits underneath your chair (and barks at everything that goes by, including bits of fluff on the wind).  THAT is the way to listen to Sokolow make groan-worthy bad jokes about Eva Longoria in the shower.
  • I’m not taking the Essay Writing Workshop.  $175 is still a lot of money to me right now, and the way you’re supposed to structure your essays is just deliciously simple.
  • I AM taking the Procedure & Evidence workshop.  Part of that is because the awesome dude who is WP recommended it, and part of it is because I’m still not particularly clear on what I’m supposed to know for that part of the test.
  • From now until the practice MBE (June 27, just under 3 weeks from now), I’m going to focus exclusively on MBE subjects.  (In fairness, almost all the barbri lectures are on those subjects anyways… we’re on the same page here.)
  • One lecture every day (two when I don’t have work, I’m a few lectures behind at the moment), plus at least one (hopefully two) of those 30-minute, 18-question MBE practice sets.

Scheduling (ooh, look, a pretty picture!):

This is just the pre-practice-MBE schedule.  Monday and Tuesday evenings are for whatever catching up I need to do.  And later on, I’ll take a leave of absence from work.

It seems reasonable to me… we’ll see how it goes!

I finally understand the structure of the TBE!

Never having taken the bar exam before, and never having taken another bar exam prep course, I can’t say how useful barbri is, nor how it compares to another program.  The general consensus seems to be that barbri sucks.  But I think quite a bit of that may come from the fact that we all resent having to fork over so much money to sit in a cold auditorium on cold metal chairs and pay attention to a lecture that we really don’t care about.  I mean, this isn’t exactly fun.

That said, the Introduction was super helpful.  At least now I finally understand the way the bar exam is set up, which topics go where, and how it’s graded.  For the curious, here’s the rundown…

Day One (half day)

10% – 90-minute Multistate Performance Test (MPT) – perform a lawyer-like task  (brief, memo, etc.)

10% – 90-minute Procedure and Evidence Exam (P&E) – Texas and Federal, Civil and Criminal, Procedure and Evidence.  Divided into two halves (civil and criminal) with 20 chronological fill-in-the-blank questions.

Day Two (full day)

40% – 6-hour Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) – 200 multiple choice questions covering

  1. Real Property
  2. Contracts
  3. Criminal Law and Procedure
  4. Torts
  5. Con Law
  6. Evidence

Day Three (full day)

40% – 6-hour Texas essay exam – 12 essays covering

  1. Business Associations (2 essays)
  2. Family Law (2 essays)
  3. Wills and Estate Administration (2 essays)
  4. UCC (2 essays)
  5. Texas Real Property (2 essays)
  6. Trusts and Guardianships (1 essay)
  7. Consumer Rights (1 essay)

Seriously, could they make this any more complicated?  I’m not even going to get in to the absurdity of the grading/scaling/scoring processes.  But I’m happy to know which topics I’m studying for multiple choice questions and which I’m studying for essays.

…stupid bar exam.

Why I am Not Worried About Passing the Bar Exam

I am not in the least worried about passing the bar exam.  Not in the slightest, not even a tiny eensie-weensie bit.

That’s because I’m terrified of taking it.

Specifically, I’m terrified that I won’t actually manage to take it.  I’m terrified that I’ll get overwhelmed, have a “meltdown,” lose my shit, go into hysterics.  Call it whatever you want.  The bottom line is, I’m worried that I’ll freak out and decide that I’m too freaked out to take the bar.

I honestly don’t think that passing the bar is that hard.  It’s more of a rite of passage.  Can you study hard for ten weeks?  Can you “keep your head when all around you / Are losing theirs”?  Can you make it through this psychological, emotional, physical marathon?

If I can take the bar, then I can pass the bar.