Reading bar passage rate news coverage tends to be depressing for prospective bar examinees. At least recently, these stories predictably report that bar exam scores and passage rates are down once again, bringing them to historically bad levels. For a few examples of the headlines – California Bar Exam Pass Rate Continues to Slump (CA), February Bar Exam Passage Rate Lowest Since 1971 (MD), These Bar Exam Results Are Horrendous (AZ), February Bar Exam Results May Indicate ‘New Normal’ (IN). If you are preparing or thinking about preparing for a bar exam, these articles can easily fill you with a foreboding sense that the system is broken and that you are doomed. This can quickly trigger a parade of horribles in your mind, co-opting your healthy, positive bar prep mindset. The best idea would probably be to avoid these articles altogether. But if you cannot resist or your “friends” cannot help but send them to you, here are some approaches to staying positive amidst negative bar exam news. [Read more…] about How to Read Bar Passage Rate News (and Stay Positive)
Bar Exam Toolbox Blog
If you’ve failed the bar exam after your first or even your third try, it’s understood that you may be a bit hopeless on the job hunting front. Maybe you’re already employed at a law firm but you now risk termination due to your exam failure. Maybe you’ve been unsuccessful in receiving an offer because many firms are skeptical about hiring a JD who is not yet barred. Maybe after failing, you’ve decided that you don’t want to practice as a traditional attorney, but you’re uncertain about how to maneuver a legal-related job search without actually being an esquire. Whatever reasoning belies your skepticism of obtaining a legal position, I’m here to calm your nerves, because it’s absolutely possible to still get a legal related job even if you’re not an attorney. Job hunting as an attorney can in and of itself be an extremely difficult process, so I understand that there are bigger hurdles to overcome if you’re not actually barred. However, with the right tools in hand it’s definitely possible to knock down these hurdles. [Read more…] about I Failed the Bar. Can I Still Get a Legal-Related Job?
For those of you not already familiar with the Uniform Bar Examination, as explained on the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ (NCBE) website, the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is a uniformly administered, graded, and scored exam composed of the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) tasks, and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). The test is administered over two days, with the MEE and MPT given on the first day (which is always a Tuesday) and the MBE given on the second day (which is always a Wednesday). While the NCBE scores the MBE component of the UBE, jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE grade the MEE and MPT components themselves. The scores are weighed as follows: the MBE is 50%, the MEE is 30%, and the MPT is 20% of your total UBE score.
If you’re wondering how you are graded on each section and what UBE graders want to see when grading your exam, here are some things to remember with respect to each of the test’s sections: [Read more…] about What Are UBE Exam Graders Really Looking For?
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Sean Silverman’s UBE and MBE Essentials
Sean Silverman of Silverman Bar Tutoring is a friend of ours here at the Bar Exam Toolbox. He has written some really helpful posts on the MBE that you can check out in your free time (ha ha):
I learned recently that Sean had published some books to help students learn the law covered by the UBE and the MBE, and I asked him to send me a copy so I could share my thoughts with readers. He was nice enough to do so, so here you go! [Read more…] about The Essentials for the UBE and MBE
Perhaps one of the biggest and most valid fears of bar exam takers is the possibility of forgetting the law on a part or maybe even all of an essay question. Regardless of how many essays you’ve completed and despite the positive feedback you may have received on them, on the day of the bar exam we all remain vulnerable to the frailties of the human nervous system. Simply speaking, being nervous on the morning of the exam means that there’s a high likelihood that your mind can completely blank out the minute you read an exam question. Even worse and spoken from firsthand experience, there’s a high likelihood that you can read an exam question and have no idea what it’s asking you.
So what do you do when confronted with this highly likely scenario? Make the law up! I assure you I’m not writing this in an intoxicated state of mind nor am I trying to trick you in any way. But making the law up for those blank moments can actually save your score on the exam. Of course, I don’t recommend making the law up out of thin air. However, making the law up within the right context and applying careful analysis can still gain you quite a few points.
So if you forget the law, here’s what you do:
Please welcome guest writer, Sean Silverman to discuss his approach to answering MBE questions. Sean runs Silverman Bar Exam Tutoring where he works with students individually and in small groups to provide them with personalized assistance for the Uniform Bar Exam and the Florida Bar Exam. Sean has written two books to assist students with their preparation for the exam: UBE Essentials and MBE Essentials. In addition, he writes a blog @ mbetutorial.blogspot.com covering topics tested both on the essay portion of the UBE and on the MBE. Contact Sean @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about his tutoring services.
What exactly is it that makes the MBE so difficult? Well, like the questions on the test itself, there is no simple answer. The test is difficult for people for different reasons. But the existence of differences does not preclude commonalities.
Having taught the test for some time now (almost a decade!), I’ve noticed some patterns. One difficulty is the amount of memorization required of the test-taker to score adequately on this exam. If you don’t know the law well enough there are few if any strategies that will allow you to answer questions correctly with the consistency required to achieve a minimum passing score. But in that sense, the MBE is no different than most other exams. [Read more…] about An Approach to Answering MBE Questions