Category Archives: Failing the bar

Surprise

So Colorado posted its results today instead of tomorrow, what a surprise. Heck, I’m amazed they posted their results in April instead of May. Congratulations to those of you who passed!!!! For those of you who may not have received good news today, don’t give up hope yet. Your scores have yet to arrive in the mail, and there’s still the chance that your score could have been close enough for you to appeal it (it seems like the majority of people who appeal their scores eventually pass, at least from what I’ve heard), or your MBE score could be high enough to be able to transfer it to another jurisdiction such as DC (if you attain a MBE score above a specific number, you can transfer your MBE score to DC and only have to take the essay exam).

I’ll post some of my bar materials on here sometime soon. It seems they were helpful to at least a couple of people, so hopefully they will prove just as helpful to those of you gearing up for July.

Progress

I decided to take the 2 weeks before the bar exam off from work to study full-time as I did for Colorado. I was feeling anxious about taking only one week off because I did that last February and failed, but I took 2 weeks last July and passed. Better safe than sorry, right? I am so lucky that my boss is so supportive and understanding, and encouraged me to do whatever I needed to do. So my last day of work before the bar exam is next Friday, February 8. That will be a huge stress relief to be able to focus solely on the bar.

The bar is such a crapshoot!

I checked my favorite bar blogs, and I was so sorry to hear that several of you didn’t make it. I really hoped that the good news would spread to all of you. However, I was very happy to hear that some of you were already saying that you’d be back in February 2008. I have full confidence that all of you WILL eventually pass if you refuse to give up. And I will be studying and blogging along with you guys for the February 2008 bar exam since I’m taking the bar in a new state.

I’m finally back online!

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but I haven’t had internet access since I left home to drive to my sister’s last week. Sister doesn’t have internet at home, and Mom has the slowest dialup I’ve ever encountered so I haven’t attempted to use the internet because at this point it’s best not to assume the risk of becoming even more aggravated than I already am.

I just checked in at the hotel next to the Merchandise Mart, and I’m freaking out. I studied a lot at home and at my sister’s place, as well as on Saturday but yesterday I really slacked off. I did a handful of essays and some MBE practice questions but mostly I slept a lot during the day and also discovered the reality show “Dog the Bounty Hunter”. That show is addictive! I feel guilty for slacking off yesterday and today although I did some studying, but I figure sleep and rest is more important at this point, right?

For the rest of today I’m going to do some more MBE practice questions using my Study Group software (which is GREAT!). I’m also going to do a set of essays that I think will be on the bar tomorrow. I’m going to practice MBE questions tomorrow night after the first day of the bar as well. I’ll also probably do a set of 10 MBE questions on Wednesday morning as a warm-up, a suggestion I’ve encountered on several bar exam advice websites and blogs.

I’m trying to keep things in perspective. I missed passing the bar by only 6 points both times. My downfall was the MBE, more specifically Torts. I bombed it very badly both times. This time around, I’ve been doing a LOT of practice MBE Torts questions as well as studying Torts and I’ve seen quite a bit of improvement. So I’m trying to remind myself that even if I get the same scores in everything else but improve my Torts score, I’ll pass.

I’m so glad to have had the support and advice of fellow bar repeaters. It has meant a lot to me to know that I wasn’t alone in failing the bar exam. When I first started this blog, I was devastated from having failed the bar for a second time and felt like I was the only one in my position. I never expected that so many people would find my blog and post such supportive and helpful comments. I never knew there were so many people out there that could totally relate to how I was feeling. The advice of so many people has proven to be very invaluable in my bar prep. I’m glad I didn’t have to go it alone this time around, so thank you to everyone who reads my blog, whether you’ve commented or not. After this bar is over, not only will I be anxiously awaiting my results, but I’ll be watching out for yours as well. Here’s hoping that all of us pass!

My February scores

The mailman must’ve sensed he was in imminent danger of a bitchslapping if he didn’t deliver my Colorado scores today, because they finally arrived! Here goes:

MBE
My raw score was a very painful 97. That means I got over a HUNDRED questions wrong! I did the worst in Torts and Contracts on last July’s MBE, so I tried to bone up on those for February’s MBE. Well, I did worse on Torts this time around. So bad that only 0.2% of all MBE takers did worse than me on Torts! Ouch. Obviously my MBE strategy for February was a complete disaster so I’m glad I’m overhauled my strategy this time around.

Here’s the MBE breakdown:

Constitutional Law
Raw score – 20 out of 33
Percent below me – 36.3%

Contracts
Raw score – 16 out of 34
Percent below me – 6.7%

Criminal Law
Raw score – 18 out of 33
Percent below me – 39.0%

Evidence
Raw score – 17 out of 33
Percent below me – 27.7%

Real Property
Raw score – 16 out of 33
Percent below me – 11.9%

Torts
Raw score – 10 out of 34
Percent below me – 0.2% (ouch)

Essays and MPT
I thought I had done well on all but 1 of the 9 essay questions. Apparently I was wrong. Even though I got a total score of 151 out of 200 for the essays and MPT, I’m still not happy with my shortcomings. For instance, Agency and Partnership is one of my favorite essay topics, and Essay 1 was based on that. However, in my stupidity I confused Partnership with Agency, and wrote an Agency-based response when I should have written a Partnership-based response instead. Argh! I really want to kick myself after seeing all the mistakes I made on the February bar. Colorado apparently regraded my essays and MPT because I was so close to passing, but I’m not surprised by that since they did it for my July essays and MPT too. At least I did well on the MPTs and rocked several essays, just not as many of them as I’d thought.

Essay 1 (Partnership) – 2 (overall mean 4.5)
See above about how I stupidly confused Partnership and Agency.

Essay 2 (Sale of Goods) – 2 (overall mean 3.39)
Yeah, didn’t do so hot here either.

Essay 3 (Contracts) – 8 (overall mean 5.47)

Essay 4 (Criminal Law) – 12 (overall mean 8.53)
I would’ve gotten a perfect score for this one but I gave the wrong definition of Manslaughter (correct defintiion: “killing provoked by heat of passion, which is provocation arousing sudden and intense passion without sufficient time for cooling off”).

Essay 5 (Admin Law) – 7 (overall mean 5.6)
This was a pretty random topic since Colorado hadn’t tested it since July 2005. Luckily I had prepared for this one.

Essay 6 (Torts) – 10 (overall mean 8.46)
I got a great essay score on Torts last July too. Interesting how I completely bombed Torts on the MBE, but got great Tort essay scores both times.

Essay 7 (Evidence) – 2 (overall mean 3.03)
Screwed up character evidence.

Essay 8 (Property) – 4 (overall mean 4.08)
This is the one essay I thought I had completely bombed, but apparently I did well on this one.

Essay 9 (Con Law) – 8 (overall mean 8.08)

MPT 1 – 13 (overall mean 12.35)

MPT 2 – 17 (overall mean 12.37)
Yay, I kicked ass here!

Blah

I just had a meeting with one of my big bosses, and he said he was sorry to hear about the bar. I guess my direct supervisor told him, although I never told anyone at work that I failed the bar again. I just said “thanks” and didn’t say anything else. I think he was probably waiting for me to say more, but I didn’t. I don’t want to talk about it at work. It’s bad enough that they know I failed twice.

Now that I’m taking it for the third time, I’m not breathing a word to anyone here becauseI don’t want them to know I’m taking it again. I’m nervous about what their reaction will be when I tell them I’m ending my one-year position 2 weeks earlier than planned. My replacement is starting in mid-August which I find surprising because they were pretty adamant about me starting work the week after the July 2006 bar exam. It seems like they’re expecting me to stay well into early August if the replacement is starting so late. Oh well, not my problem.

Bar exam strategy

I’ve decided to take the Colorado Bar Exam for the third time. I thought about just taking another state’s bar exam, but by the time the bar results came out for Colorado, the application deadline for most states had passed. Only a couple of states are still open, but my problem is the damn MBE, not the state portion. Even if I took another state’s bar exam I’d still have to take the MBE. I don’t need the added stress of studying the laws of a brand new state in addition to the MBE when I already know Colorado law and can do well on the essays and MPT, so I can just focus on the MBE.

Plus, there’s only 2 months left until the next bar exam, and I don’t have time to fill out all the application stuff, background check, et cetera when Colorado already has all my information. Colorado gave until May 31 for unsuccessful February 2007 examinees to apply for the July 2007 bar exam, so at least I have time.

Anyway, I need to come up with a new strategy for the MBE. Obviously my strategy last time completely and utterly backfired on me since my MBE dropped 10 points! My friends said I should take PMBR and that it really helped them a lot. They also suggested that I take it right before the bar exam since they give you a full-length MBE and then go over the answers. I haven’t taken PMBR before but I bought the PMBR books off someone. They’re the 2005 version however so they’re probably a little obsolete by now. It doesn’t help that there’s markings on half the book.

I also have the added complication of working full-time. I’m not even going to tell my employers about the bar exam. It’s bad enough they know I failed twice. Plus this is a one-year position and I’m going to have to end my position early to study for and take the bar, so I’m definitely not saying a word. I don’t think they’re going to be happy that I have to end work early as it is. I think I’m going to quit work 2 weeks before the bar exam so I can focus on studying the week before the bar. I can also do some studying at work before then. I have a position lined up after this one ends as well.

I refuse to give up my social life once again and I won’t allow myself to gain weight again like I did last time from not exercising and being so stressed out. I also felt really burned out the last few weeks before the bar. Screw being miserable. Maybe this isn’t the best attitude, but I’m tired of being miserable and being in my own personal hell for two months at a time.

My main focus this time will be taking a different tack in studying for the MBE. I think I will take the 3-day PMBR class that takes place in my city a week before the bar, as people have suggested that it’d be better to take the class as close as possible to the bar.

Any tips or ideas on how I can study for the MBE? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

Ok, so I got my scores…

I got my scores in the mail on Saturday. In Colorado you have to have a total score of 276 to pass. Last time my score was 270 – only 6 points short. The MBE counts for 50% of the total score, while the essays and MPT make up the other 50%. I had a 141 on the essay/MPT portion, and a 129 on the MBE.

I studied for months for the MBE, while I barely focused on the essays. I only started studying for the essay portion about a week and half before the bar exam.

Well, this time, after all my months of efforts studying for the MBE, my MBE was a…. drum roll…. 119! I was so pissed when I saw that. I couldn’t believe my MBE had actually dropped 10 points when I had focused so much on it for the second round of bar studying. In the meanwhile, my essay score had improved 10 points, from 141 to 151, for a grand total of… 270.

That’s right, my total bar exam score remained exactly the same!  At least I’m consistent. I just had to laugh though. Go figure that my essay would improve 10 points with so little studying, but my MBE would drop 10 with so much studying. If I would have gotten a 129 like last time, I would definitely have passed. Ugh.

At this point I should just show up for the MBE drunk. It’s not like I’m doing any good sober anyway, right? So much for my hopes of getting at least a 133 and transferring it to DC or Connecticut (another state that lets you transfer your MBE score from a prior exam). I just can’t transfer a 119. I suppose I could transfer the 129 to Connecticut since they don’t have a minimum, but I need to ensure that I actually pass the bar! I just don’t feel that a 129 is good enough to transfer.

This is seriously frustrating. Well, at least I know I have the Colorado essays down pat, so I just need to focus on the MBE. But how? I did zillions of practice MBE questions last round and look where it got me.

My close friends from law school have been great. I hadn’t heard from them after I found out bar results but apparently they had been waiting for me to contact them. I talked to two of them on Saturday night in a group conversation, and apparently they had bought me a present to cheer me up. That is so sweet of them. I thought it would be especially humiliating to have to face my law school friends after failing the bar exam twice but they were so sympathetic and supportive they actually made me feel better. They also pointed out that several of our classmates too had just failed the bar exam twice.

I was really glad that my friends didn’t lecture me either. I was waiting with claws extended for any lectures about my studying habits and so forth, but there was none of that, with one exception but I told her I didn’t really want to talk about it. If you ever have any friends that ever fail the bar exam, here’s a tip… do NOT lecture them! That is the last thing that they need.

Oh yeah, my friends also told me that while they were shopping for my present, they spotted one of our law school classmates working at Banana Republic! They tried to say hello but she avoided them and basically looked miserable. She also failed the bar exam on her first try, but just passed on her second try. They saw her the night the bar exam results came out. It’s kind of hard to believe that she would have looked so miserable when she should have been happy at passing the bar exam, but then again she IS a law school graduate working at Banana Republic. I’m definitely counting my blessings that I have legal employment, and not one that hinges on my bar exam passage either, thank goodness. Or I’d be screwed!

Reading the blogs of other people who also failed the bar exam has made me feel better as well. I also learned through reading them that there are several MBE strategy books out there, so my friends helped me pick out MBE strategy books on Amazon.com. We finally settled on the following two (2) books:

1) “Strategies and Tactics for the MBE”Amazon link
It’s a heavy book but according to the reviews it has 50 sample MBE questions per section plus a full-length MBE at the end. It also appears to be published by the Emanuel folks and judging by how helpful Emanuel outlines were in law school, hopefully this book will be just as helpful if not more so!

2) “Mastering the Multistate Bar Exam: Test-taking Strategies for Scoring High on the MBE”Amazon link
Newly published, this 148-page book talks about strategies for getting a high score on the MBE. There are no reviews but one of the blogs I came across recommended it.

Twice Failed

Yesterday I found out that I failed the Colorado Bar Exam not once, but TWICE. I left work and went home, got drunk, ripped up most of my bar prep materials, and proceeded on to a crying jag with occasional vows to never take the bar exam EVER again. I’m so angry that I didn’t pass the bar exam, AGAIN. I was only 6 points away the first time, and I thought I had done so much better on the February 2007 bar exam. I knew 8 of the 9 essay topics on the bar exam this time around, as compared to the 5 or 6 on last July’s bar exam. All I needed was SIX lousy points, right?? I still don’t get why I didn’t pass. I bombed the July 2006 MBE so I buckled down and did tons of practice MBE questions with MicroMash’s software and various bar prep books (BarBri, PMBR, et cetera). It’s so incredibly frustrating to not pass yet again.

I haven’t received my scores in the mail yet. I found out I didn’t pass when Colorado graciously posted the names of passing exam takers online. I’ve noticed that many states post exam numbers instead of names, but no not Colorado.

I feel really devastated and deflated. I really don’t want to take the bar exam ever again. I have 2 hopes for when my scores arrive in the mail:

1) That the overall score will be within the 3 or fewer points of passing range for me to be able to appeal the score, and;

2) That my MBE score is at least 133 so I can transfer my MBE score to the District of Columbia bar and I’d only have to take the essay portion of the DC bar exam in July. I had a 129 on the July 2006 MBE so HOPEFULLY I raised it by at least 4 points.

Oh yeah, one more thing… since Colorado released the bar results so late (May 3) when many other states released them back in April, I missed the deadline to apply for most states’ bar exams in July. So much for taking an easy state bar exam like Utah or Montana… thanks Colorado!!!! Not only did I not pass the bar exam twice, but I’m screwed for the July 2007 bar exam too and may not even be able to take it. I’m really not willing to subject myself to the sadism that is the Colorado Bar Exam ever again.