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Exam Taking Strategies Online Workshop:
Be The Best You Can Be During Your 1L Year

Law Preview, a BARBRI company.

Law school can be unfair.

It’s unfair that your entire grade for most law school classes rests on how well you perform during a single 3- or 4-hour test. It’s unfair that your professors rarely tell you how to excel on their exams. It’s unfair that your school probably will implement a strict grading curve where the difference between an A and a B can rest on 1/100th of a point.  And it’s certainly unfair that your first-year grades will likely determine your eligibility for scholastic honors like Law Review and, most importantly, the job opportunities available to you after law school graduation.

Clearly, much is riding on your 1L exams and, given the high-stakes nature of these tests, it’s no wonder why most students approach them with loathing and trepidation. However, students who attend the BARBRI Law Preview’s Exam Taking Strategies Online Workshop embrace their exams for what they really are: the only chance they have to show the professor what they have learned.

The difference in attitude comes from proper preparation. Law Preview students walk into their exams fully prepared to conquer them. Our Exam Taking Strategies Online Workshop teaches analytical skills like:

  • What “issues” are, and how to spot them;
  • How to properly frame issues that merit discussion;
  • The three types of arguments that top students must make in support of (or against) the application of legal rules; and
  • The sophisticated legal analysis they must utilize in order to compete for top grades.

Law Preview students not only learn fundamental analytical skills necessary for earning top grades, they also learn the correct way to draft an A+ answer employing:

  • An essay format that clearly and effectively communicates their knowledge;
  • Tips for distinguishing their answers from those of their classmates; and
  • Strategies for effective time management to ensure they complete their exam.

Many of your law school classmates are walking into their fall exams prepared with the above knowledge through the BARBRI Law Preview’s Exam Taking Strategies Online Workshop. What are you doing to prepare for your law school exams?

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#The1Llife: Let’s Get it Started

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
1L at UCLA School of Law

LET’S GET IT STARTED (Shout Out to the Black Eyed Peas)

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Hello readers, my name is Dani and I am this year’s 1L Life blogger (#The1Llife)! I hope you will enjoy following my 1L journey and that my stories will help you in your process of choosing to go to law school; let you know you’re not alone, if you’re also a 1L; and maybe roll your eyes if you’re a 2L and beyond. First things first: Five things to do before law school begins.

1. 0L prep is not necessary, but gosh, does it help. UCLA is pretty progressive in that we have a weeklong orientation that includes eight sessions of Law 101, a class designed to prepare us for law school classes and help us get out all the jitters before we start. (It’s also a one-unit course!) We learned about the tort of battery, briefed cases and responded to hypos, and even took a practice exam at the end. I can say with confidence that taking BARBRI’s Law Preview course prepared me well for that week, and that my briefs were actually brief compared to some of my colleagues. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone failed the class.

STU_LP_Campus_DSC84322. Get your house in order, literally and figuratively. If you can get to school at least a several days before school starts, it will benefit you. Take that time to walk around the campus, figure out public transportation or your bike/car route, and get your books. Take care of any financial and housing needs you may have. Trust me: Once law school actually begins, you’re not going to want to be driving around picking up furniture from people off of Craigslist (spoken from experience). If you’re in a new city, find your local grocery store, coffee shop, drugstore/pharmacy, and department store. Finally, move in and unpack your belongings to the best of your ability before you start school. Again, you’re going to want to spend your time studying, sleeping, or socializing, not arranging your glassware in your cupboard.

3. Know your goals.Why are you in law school? What do you want to get out of it? Everyone probably wants to “become a lawyer,” but what kind of lawyer do you want to be? Do you want to make Law Review, be a student mentor, and go in to Big Law? Do you want to work in clinics and go in to public interest? (Note: These are not mutually exclusive.) The point is, the honest answers to these questions is going to set the tone for your experience. 1L grades are arguably the most important grades of your law school career—if you want to get an internship with a firm in 1L summer, you should be planning your 1L year accordingly. If you’re going into public interest, the interview and application calendar is different, and you should make note of that.

4. Be real with your loved ones.1L year is challenging. It is also one of the most important years of your schooling. This means you’re going to be taking a lot of time for yourself and for your studies. Let your parents, significant others, other relatives, and friends know that you probably won’t be speaking with them or seeing them as often as you used to. It’s not them, it’s totally you. Let them know that they can show you support by sending care packages and giving you your space when you need it. If it’s easier for you, set up a specific day to talk to your loved one; that way you can plan for and around it.

5. Know yourself. Take some time to be introspective. Reflect on what you do that gives you joy. What helps you expend your energy, and what helps you relax? (Yes, those are two different things). Bringing them to the top of your mind before you start school will help you to hold on to them when times start getting tough. “Mental health breaks,” as I like to call them, are definitely productive. Whether you’re meditating or running, keeping your hobbies will be a crucial part of 1L life.

Who knew I would have so much to say after only a couple of weeks?! I hope you enjoyed this first post—please leave a comment if you have any questions or feedback!

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#lawyered

GUEST BLOG by Lauren Thedford,
SMU Law School graduate and bar passer

Hello again to all my summer #barprep friends!

I hope you read this as my new lawyer friends, but if not, perhaps that is because the National mean scaled MBE scores for the July 2014 exam were down a whopping 3 points (the lowest scores in 10 years).

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Here’s a nice graph.

According to the NCBE, however, that’s just because this year’s students were “less able than the group that sat in July 2013.

      Wat8
Thanks, Erica.

The letter from Dean Allard (Brooklyn Law School) was a refreshing response to the disparaging comments from

the NCBE:

“Your unexpected defense of your test goes on to conclude that the serious drop in scores was due to, in your view, the 2014 test takers being "less able" than the 2013 test takers. We don't know what evidence you have to support this surprising (and surprisingly disparaging) claim, but we do have evidence about our own 2014 graduates, and it tells us precisely the opposite: their credentials were every bit as good as our 2013 graduates, if not even better. But this is not about Brooklyn. Indeed, as usual, most of our graduates passed. Far too many who should have, in my view, did not. The legitimacy of the 2014 test and your views about recent graduates are matters of national concern.”

 

Either way, results day was scary and I didn’t like it- until I LOVED IT. First, in Texas they never release the results on the day they say they will. Our release date was November 6th, but the grades are historically released a day before. Last year the release date was November 1st, so grades were released a day before (Halloween!). I didn’t realize this so I had been freaking out and checking the website since October 31st, a full 5 days before the actual release. Also, the release date is usually a Friday and this year’s release date was a Thursday. Did they do this to release on Thursdays now (so it wouldn’t be the standard day early?!)? SO MANY QUESTIONS. WHY CAN’T THEY JUST SAY A DAY AND STICK WITH IT???

It’s bad enough to have to wait 3 months for results, but the added anxiety over the actual release date is just plain cruel. I had 4 separate nightmares about grade release the night before the release date (Wednesday, November 5th). These nightmares varied from checking the website and not being able to find my name to not being able to find my name at all, either because I was on my phone when grades were released or because I tried the “ctrl+F” function and messed up or spelled my name wrong. Terrible dreams.

Then it got real. I didn’t see the first of @JusticWillett’s tweets until a few hours later (thank goodness), but if there’s anyone who is going to know about grade release, it’s a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court.

Oh! “Happy Bar Exam Results Day,” you say?

 Imminent.

A few minutes passed and results were up. A group text went off with the agreed word: “up.” I was at my computer at work and already had the page up. Contrary to my nightmares, I successfully refreshed the page, hit Ctrl+F, and correctly typed in my last name. IT WAS THERE. OH SWEET BABY JESUS IT WAS THERE. #LawyerThed

I was pretty much worthless during the rest of the work day. Luckily, happy hours and celebrations ensued. I paid my Texas Bar Dues, Attorney Occupational Tax Payment, Legal Service Fee, and Processing Fee the next day (a congratulatory $265!). I am now a licensed attorney in good standing in the state of Texas!

The studying paid off, the lack of a life (and tan) paid off, and I somehow managed to study in between trolling twitter for #barpreplife inspiration. I really enjoyed meeting all you cool (semi-psychotic) folks through @barpreplife and this blog and I couldn’t have done it without all the support from my family and friends (including twitter friends). I hope everyone had passing results, but even if you didn’t, I hope you don’t give up!

Motion to never have to hear the word #barprep ever again. Granted. By me. Because.

See you on twitter,
Thed

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MAKE LAW SCHOOL EASIER AND A LITTLE LESS EXPENSIVE.
WITHOUT THE TRIAL AND ERROR.

By Amber Chambers, Esq., BARBRI Manager of Legal Education

When entering law school, many students don’t know what to expect. They haven’t been able to attain relevant advice and aren’t sure of the ways, if any, law school varies from undergraduate. Most students plan to dive in (and hopefully succeed) using trial-and-error. Now that I have completed law school, passed the bar exam and started my career, I can see several ways I could have made my law school life much easier.

STARTING FAST AND GETTING AHEAD.

First year law school grades are by far the most crucial. A high GPA is a requisite for big firm jobs and many law reviews and journals. If you fail to do well your first year or even just your first semester, it is incredibly difficult to bring up your GPA.

Law Preview shows students what to expect and how to succeed. In just a week, it teaches proven academic strategies and how to take law school exams. It also gives an overview of many 1L classes and offers personal service and support throughout law school. Essentially, to use a metaphor, students who use Law Preview are the first out of the gate, while the other students are still learning to run.

SAVING MONEY ON SUPPLEMENTS.

Many students (including myself) waited until the last minute to enroll in or think about a bar review course. Looking back, I wish I had known about all the resources BARBRI offers for law students. I spent an extraordinary amount of money on supplements. If I had simply enrolled in BARBRI as a 1L student, I would have not only received all the supplements I needed for a fraction of the cost but also received more effective study tools: outlines for all first year classes, on-demand online video lectures for all 1L subjects, practice questions and the BARBRI mobile app.

MAKING SURE YOU GRASP THE MATERIAL.

In school, there are always a few professors with whom you might not mesh well. In those situations, you’ll often feel that you don’t fully comprehend the material after lecture and must teach yourself the information. BARBRI professors delivering online video lectures offer a third alternative. Chances are that if a professor at your school does not fit your learning style for a particular subject, a BARBRI professor will.

STAYING ON TRACK EVERY YEAR.

BARBRI doesn’t just offer material for your 1L year. We also have all the same resources for many of your 2L and 3L classes, such as Evidence, Constitutional Law, and Criminal Procedure. Additionally, BARBRI has a free MPRE review course to help students pass the professional responsibility exam required by almost every state. Getting a head start on law school by using Law Preview and then using BARBRI’s materials can help you lower your stress and financial expense, get you on the right track immediately and help you stay ahead of the curve throughout your law school career.

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1L/2L WEBCAST SERIES:
TESTING METHODS, GRADES AND CAREERS.

By Don Macaulay, President and Founder of Law Preview, a BARBRI company

As the 2012-13 law school admissions cycle winds down and recently admitted applicants begin to decide where to send their seat deposits, it’s a good time to give future 1L students a clearer idea about the law school experience.

UNOFFICIAL ORIENTATION TO LAW SCHOOL

BARBRI has teamed up with Above the Law and Lexis-Nexis to sponsor a three-part webcast series entitled An Unofficial Orientation to Law School. This webcast series, hosted on Google Hangouts (Google’s new video chat platform), will inform newly admitted law school students about what to expect during the all-important 1L year.

If you have a question/comment you’d like to contribute to this series or simply want to share your own law school success stories and advice, click here.

WEBCAST 1: How To Excel During 1L and Understand the Transfer Game

Successful first and second year students describe the way law school differs from the undergrad experience, how they prepared for law school and how they were able to excel in a competitive law school environment. Andrew Cornblatt, Dean of Admissions from Georgetown University Law Center, will also explain how top grades during the 1L year can lead to higher-ranked schools during the 2L year as more and more law students transfer between schools. Watch it now.

WEBCAST 2: Learn to Think Like a Law Professor

John Goldberg, Professor at Harvard Law School, and Mike Sims, President of BARBRI, will help you understand how the teaching and testing methods in law school differ from what they probably experienced in college. They will also explain the case method and offer tips for earning top grades on law school exams.

WEBCAST 3: How 1L Grades Impact Job Opportunities After Graduation

During the final webcast of this series, recruiting managers and hiring partners at top law firms will describe what they are looking for when recruiting for their coveted summer associate programs. Also lined up: two attorneys who took different career paths — clerking for Justice Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court and working for a governmental agency like the SEC – and how both can lead to successful careers in private practice.

To view upcoming webcasts 2 and 3, sign up now at the Above the Law website