Outlines again

After my momentary meltdown on Saturday over my Property outline, I was talked into at least tackling my Criminal Law/Procedure outline since I need to memorize the elements of each crime anyway. I’m almost done with it, and then I’m not sure if I’ll take up Property again. I might do a really short Constitutional Law outline. But Property really, really sucks. I have half of the Property outline done, so I just need to finish the other half. Eventually.

I also did several MBE practice questions this weekend and I’m pleased to see that I am getting a lot of correct answers, so perhaps I shouldn’t knock outlining MBE subjects. My friend MC who passed the bar on her second try, said that making her own MBE outlines really helped her a lot on her second time around. It seems a lot of people are advocating doing the outlines, so I’ll try to get through at least Con Law, but I’m not going to neglect MBE practice questions either, even if that means it takes longer to get the outlines done.

I really like the strategy of typing out the answer explanations to every MBE practice question. I find it’s really helping me to understand MBE questions better.

In a couple of weeks I’m going to start updating and refining my Colorado essay boilerplates. I’m not sure if I’m going to study for the MPT. I actually never studied for the MPT both times I’ve taken the CO bar, and I always received higher than average scores on the MPT both times. I will probably comb the web for MPT advice such as formatting.


5 thoughts on “Outlines again

  1. I think outlines are very helpful. For my July 2006 exam, I tried consolidating my outlines that I got from my previous bar review course to a few pages. It helped me a lot during the last couple days before the exam, b/c I knew I could just repeat reading over my condensed outline and organize it in my head. Don’t try to go into too much detail in these outlines, just important points (think of it like a cheat sheet – if you could take it to the exam, what would you put on it?). Good luck!

  2. I agree completely with the above comment. I suggested making outlines in an earlier comment, but I did not mention that making them short is key. I had a real problem with this. In fact, I was still writing my outlines up until the day before the bar exam the first time I took it. The second time, a friend gave me her outlines which were much shorter than mine, but still had all of the substantive law. Her outlines are pretty much the main thing I used to study the second time. So if you feel that all of your time is being consumed by making outlines then stop, you will learn more by practicing essays and MBE’s.

    It is easy to feel that you are getting behind, but you are still in good shape. You are still practicing MBE’s and as long as your outlines are finished at the two week out mark you will be okay. Once you hit that mark then just start reading them over and over and it will eventually gel. The advice of thinking of the outlines as a cheat sheet is very good. I am not sure how it is in Colorado, but in the Arizona BarBri Essay Book there were little 2 to 3 page outlines before each essay section. Those would be a good starting point, then just fill in the law that they mention but don’t explain. Your longest outlines (probably either Contracts or Real Property) should not be 10 pages long, something like 6-8 pages should still have everything you need. Don’t feel like you have to write down every nuance or sub rule or exception to a sub rule (this was the hardest part for me the second time, something I had to work to convince myself to let go of).

    BarBri loves to give as much detail as possible, and while a nuanced question may (and probably will) show up in an essay (as it did in over half of the Feb 07 Arizona essays) knowing the general rule and using the facts is what will get the passing score, even if it doesn’t fit exactly. It is not about hitting the bullseye every time (or even most of the time) it is hitting the dartboard in general that will get you a great score.

  3. That is exactly what my problem is – I tend to put way too much detail in my outlines. I keep putting in the sub-rules and so forth. I can’t seem to make myself let go. Are the outlines you received from your friend, geared towards the MBE? If so, would it be possible to share them with me? I think it would really help me to see someone else’s condensed MBE outlines.

  4. The outlines are geared towards state law, but have some MBE notes thrown in. My friend’s outlines were partially typed and partially handwritten so I retyped them (as an attempt to memorize) so I would be happy to share them with you, my email is in my profile (not sure if others can see that or not, just in case it is jtshoaf@gmail.com) send me an email and I will forward them. Also, I don’t know what subjects they test in Colorado but in AZ we have 14 subjects and 12 essays (Commercial Paper and Secured Transactions have not been asked in 19 years, so really only 12 subjects). So let me know and I can send you the outlines for any other overlapping essay subjects.

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