About Me

name: Beanie
age: 35
email: bbbeans@yahoo.com


Book: New York by Edward Rutherfurd

Music: 1999 by Prince

Mood: The current mood of bbbeans@yahoo.com at www.imood.com


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Lessig Blog
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Law Ingenue
No. 634
think like a woman. act like a man.


the underwear drawer
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Screaming Bean
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

After selling off a nice chunk of bar review books last night, I got to thinking about what I should tell you about studying for the bar exam. Now, I realize you may not want to get advice from someone who took the exam three times, but I'm sure some of you don't want to go down the same path, so here goes.

Now, if I knew exactly what I did this time that made such a big difference, I'd tell you straight up. However, I haven't the foggiest clue. So let me tell you what I did up to that point.

First trip: Took Pieper. Hindsight being what it is, I shouldn't have taken Pieper. Great course and all, but so not my thing. The key to Pieper is mnemonics. Some people live and die by mnemonics, but I've never been one to premise an entire study pattern around random word combinations. By the end of the course you get close to 200 mnemonics. I can't even remember one, let alone what the word stood for. I also had 300 pages of notes by the end of the course. No amount of trying could cook that many pages down to something tolerable. I also took PMBR this time too. Both the 6 day and the 3 day. The 6 day conflicted with our review course, and the 3 day just sent me into an absolute panic. I think those three days signaled to me that I had a snowball's chance in hell of passing. I was right. Scarily enough though, my score on the NY Multiple Choice was surprisingly high, which gave me hope that I knew something about something.

Second trip: You really need to come to terms with what happened the first time in order to be successful the second time. I was unemployed, in a funk, and honestly didn't try nearly hard enough. I bought a set of Micromash materials, and worked on the MBE section, with reviewing what I needed for the essays. Also bought a set of flashcards from Ebay which came with a set of Bar-Bri notes. (Anyone want a set of flashcards? They're lovely multi-colored ones.) Spent sometime in Starbucks, tried my hand sitting in the local library, but honestly could not find a decent place to study that let me work as hard as I needed. Strike two. And this time, the Multiple Choice sucked too, though my essays had come up from the first trip. The MBE was nearly identical from the first time.

Third trip: Devastated isn't the word for it. Doubted why I went to law school, feared for any career let alone a legal one, and found it hard to get out of bed. Knew I needed to work somewhere doing something in order to get my life in order. And sure enough, up popped a marketing temp job. It got me out of bed in the morning, let me feel somewhat decent about myself, and most importantly, gave me structure to my day. Early on, I really doubted whether I could work full time and study too, but fate being the fickle being it is, my work situation smoothed out to the point that as long as I could get my tasks done, I could spend time reading at my desk. I was covering material like never before, thanks to my great friend who gave me his entire BarBri collection since he had passed in February. I was working on MBE questions on the computer and following the paced program (albeit haphazardly). Still though, I felt like I needed something more, so I fell back to a pattern that worked for the LSAT. Take a three day course. This time, one specifically for the essays. I would have liked to taken the longer one that included the MBE, but it would have involved nearly nine hotel nights, copious train travel, and much more money. So I went, a week before the exam, and worked on the essays intensively for three days. I spent my evenings in a hotel trying not to panic and working on MBE questions. I felt really good about the first day of the exam, but the MBE was brutal, and unlike either of the two previous tries. This time though, I squeezed an extra 20 points out of that sucker. Still haven't a clue why.

And yet, the last time I had my spouse look up the results for me. I decided instead to drive to work at the very moment they were posted. I knew I couldn't handle being alone when I punched in the digits. And while parking my car, a call came through (nearly 20 minutes after the top of the hour), with the words "Congratulations." My spouse may have lost some hearing in an ear because of the screaming that ensued. That moment was priceless to me.

So at the end of the day, nothing replaces constant preparation and the right mindset. It's not a matter of wanting it to happen...because goodness knows I wanted it to happen the first time. Everything happens for a reason, and when it's your time it will happen. Cry the tears now, suck it up and move on. It's awful and you feel like your life is on hold. Only now do I feel like I can breathe again, and even now I feel like I've lost a year out of my career because of that damn test. But I did pass, and I will be a lawyer...if I can only figure out where I worked in 1996.