Practice Makes Passing

Not practice makes perfect.  Wise words from the bar review director here in Denver.  The bar exam isn’t about acing it, it’s about passing.  You don’t look any better because you made a perfect score.  It’s sort of like a pass/fail class.  No one knows if you scraped by with a C- or got an A+ and no one cares.  They just care that in the eyes of the bar examiners, you are competent to practice law.  And yet, the area that I want to practice (tax) isn’t even tested on the bar exam!  No one would know if I’m competent in that area or not.

That being said, on the MBE, the multiple choice section of the bar, all you need is about 138 out of 200 to pass that portion.  Of course, that’s only half of your grade, with the essays and MPT being the other half.  They say if you get a 162 or higher, you’re pretty much set regardless of what your essays say.

I did my first full practice MBE today and let me just tell you, if it would have been the real bar exam, I would have been choosing another career.  I didn’t do HORRIBLE (okay, yes, I did)… I did about as badly as I expected.  But, the exam was online and when it is automatically graded, it’s also automatically split up into the areas that are on the bar and how many questions you missed/got right in each area.  Pretty cool.  It was a really great assessment of what I need to work on.

Constitutional Law and Criminal Law and Procedure are pretty much set, just need a little review closer to test day.  Real Property was AWFUL… saw that coming.  Property was one of those classes in law school where the professor might as well have been speaking Latin.  Not to mention, he was an old professor who had probably been teaching the same way for 40 years and was totally OCD.  He would use the projector and a word processing program that no one had used in 20+ years to diagram things or type out certain things that needed to be explained further.  Everything had to be perfect though.  It seemed like half the class was spent with him trying to fix something on the computer.  Brilliant man, but it was about time for him to retire (lucky for future classes, he did just that).

Evidence, Torts and Contracts are so-so… definitely need some work but I feel like I’m on the right track.  Tomorrow (I suppose today) will be spent working on essays to assess how I’m doing there.  The essays are only 30 minutes so I feel like it’s probably graded significantly on how you present your answer and not fully on whether your answer is right or wrong.  Just like in court, you may lose, but if you argue your case properly, you haven’t done wrong and wouldn’t be sanctioned, the other side just had a better case.

The stress of the exam is starting to kick in now.  I was slightly worried about my relaxed attitude about the exam thus far.  I spent Tuesday and Wednesday barely looking at a bar review book because my husband was off those two days and it never stressed me out that I wasn’t studying for 10 hours.  Today, that all changed.  Our poor dogs seem to get the worst of it; probably because they are home alone all day with me and when I’m trying to take a 6-hour, 200 question test, the barking and whining gets quite annoying.  Poor babies are going to get to go to doggie day care next week as the stress gets worse.  I’ve already told myself I’m going somewhere to work on essays tomorrow so that I don’t take it out on them again.  They are troopers though.  They definitely can sense my emotions and know I still love them even though I’m frustrated.

On a side note, in case you were wondering why I’m posting at 4am… my husband and I went to see Harry Potter at 12:45 and let me tell you, it was AMAZING!  We are huge Harry Potter fans anyway and this one was definitely fantastic.

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