BusinessWe are Bar Exam Experts. If you are studying for the July 2017 bar exam, ask me any questions. AMA!
Jul 6th 2017 by ProfessorMarino • 25 Questions • 7854 Points
My short bio: Marino Bar Review was founded by Professor Joesph Marino, named “the go-to-guy for those in need of bar review” by The New York Law Journal after helping JFK, Jr., the most famous retaker, to pass the bar, after failing twice with two other bar courses. Professor Marino was a former full time professor at New York Law School, credited for raising their bar passage rate from 57% to 94% and a former lecturer for Barbri. At Marino, we have earned a reputation for helping unsuccessful bar candidates to pass, most notably with our Retaker Course, the only program designed specifically for those students retaking the bar exam. Generations of attorneys nationwide have attributed their bar exam success to Marino and send their children and grandchildren – as well as their legal interns and law clerks – to Marino for bar exam preparation.
My Proof: https://marinobarreview.com/
The Marino Bar Review team consisting of Max Shoengold, Director of our Bar Review Program, Sue Silverman, our Senior Editor, as well Emily and Michael Marino, who own and operate MBR, will be answering questions from students studying for the bar exam between 12pm and 6pm EST today. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to submit questions to [email protected]
EDIT: Thank you for all of your great questions! We hope our answers have been helpful. We apologize if we did not get to your question - we will try to answer some more questions tomorrow. Good luck to everyone taking the upcoming July Bar Exam! And just a reminder - if you have any questions you can always email us at [email protected]
Should I spend more time memorizing details of the law or practicing writing essays? I find that I make the rules up as I go rather than purely pulling it out of my memory like its second nature.
Hi proleteriate, At this point, assuming you are taking the July exam, you need to do both but practice is more important. Sometimes making up the rules is not the worst thing. Remember you get the majority of points in your essays from your analysis and your application of the rules to the given fact pattern. So even if you get the law wrong, you can still get a passing score on an essay. I would say practice essays (under timed conditions) and then spend the time to go over the model answer or sample answer given in detail - this way you will essentially be doing both writing and studying at the same time
Do you notice that some people's scores drop later in their bar program? Two weeks ago I was starting to hit 70% on my practice questions, then I bombed a practice exam and since then I've been scoring in the mid-50s (worse than I did on the first week of the program). I'm taking Themis, so I'm not sure if the last few practice question sessions are harder or if something else is wrong. I felt like I was doing just fine, but now my confidence is shot and I'm feeling really anxious about the exam.
Hi nopicsplox, It sounds like you are correct - your bombed practice exam hit you hard and you are now feeling the effects whenever you do practice questions. We do not have any specific information that Themis last few exams are harder but we urge you to take a step back and realize that practice is just that - practice. Nothing matters except for how you do on the actual exam. Look to see -are you doing anything differently now than you were before you did poorly on that practice exam? If you are interested, we have very experienced tutors that could work with you for a couple of hours and help you to get your confidence back. That is an intangible part of the process. In any case, remember that you just need to push past this and focus on memorization and application - the rest is just in your head right now.
2 part question re: taking the bar even when practice MBE scores are low. Some of my peers have been encouraged to withdraw from the July Bar by the school's Bar Prep Staff. Are there any benefits to withdrawing? Is this a reasonable thing for staff to recommend?
No I do not believe it is reasonable Belisariusissimus. This was being suggested as certain law schools with very very low pass rates and the idea was to save the school's pass rates by having those students in the lower portions of the class not take the exam at all. We believe if the law school took your money and accepted you, they have a responsibility to try to help you pass the exam and become an attorney. Anything else is likely unethical. There is plenty that law schools can do for those students who they fear are in danger of failing the bar exam - we have worked with several law schools specifically to help their students who are at risk at failing. We also are hired currently by The Legal Aid Society in NYC to prepare all their employees who failed the first time to pass on their next try. This is what an organization does when they care about the future and careers of their students/employees - not give up on them.
I just did the Barbri simulated written exam and according to their scoring check list, I got two 1s and a 3 on the essays. I was fairly confident as my essays truly were organized well and came to clear conclusions. My problem is that I missed some of the potential rules and possible claims. I guess my question is, for the real essays, is it more important to be a solid writer with clear conclusions and good analysis or is it better to know every single rule and just get them out?
I have heard that Barbri grades essays much harder than the real test, so I am not really sure how to gauge my sample essay.
Hi lukesdiner1, first, don't worry too much about missing some points or possible claims on the essays - no one and we do mean no one - will spot every single claim on many of these essays. The answer to your question is that stating the controversy clearly and concisely, then stating the rule that you believe applies, then analyzing the fact pattern and applying your rule or rules - then concluding in a clear and definitive way - this will get you a good score. Now if your law is 100% correct all the better, but even if you law is only partially right, writing the essays this way should get you a passing score
How does the change from 190 scored questions to 175 impact the scaled points on the MBE? Can we expect to get more points, less points, or about the same as previous years?
Great question Burgess1014 The answer is not much. We actually published an article about this very subject recently - have a quick read - http://resources.abovethelaw.com/retaking-the-bar-exam-changes-to-mbe
Hi Loveringave, thats not too bad. You need to do a little better, but not that much better, to be on track to get a passing MBE score. With the score you got, there is no reason to freak out.
Hi folks, I took and passed the July 2014 bar exam and passed no problem despite the crashed pass rates across the country. Loads of my fellow students did not. What do you think is the #1 thing that causes folks to fail bar exams?
Hi CaptainLawyerDude, The reality is that the bar exam is just a test - those people who are naturally good at taking tests have a much easier time passing. This is why students who got high LSAT scores usually have high MBE scores. The students at the top of ther law school classes pass at a 90% or better rate and those at the bottom pass at a 30% rate typically on the first try. So not knowing how to take a mutiple choice exam under timed pressure is the number one problem. It is not usually about how much law a student knows.
No questions, just wanted to say after the car crash that was Jared Leto's AMA this was a great pallette cleanser. Lots of clear and in depth answers by OP.
You know what? Fuck it. Gold.
Thank you StrifeDarko!! Very kind of you. We're happy to answer all of these great questions!
Hi! Thank you for doing this! I just took a practice MBE and got a 96. Based on your experience, do I have any chance of passing? What would you recommend I do - should I spend most of time from now on practicing MBE questions, or should I practice the MPT & MEE since I'm better at those and maybe I can make up for my MBE score with that.
Hi LauraJD2017, Don't worry - 96 is not a great score obviosuly but the good news is that you still have time left. You will need to do well on your essays and MPT but unfortunately with the MBE being 50% of the exam it is not wise to think about making up a low MBE score - if for example, you bomb even one essay this plan would be done. We have actually created a special program that is specifically designed to raise your MBE score in about one day - it teaches you our MBE Method - then has you practice ot on MBE questions we give you and then we have you meet with one of our expert bar exam tutors to go over your trouble areas - you can take a look at it here - https://marinobarreview.com/product/marino-bar-reviews-dont-panic-mbe-package/
Yes we do. And we like it. Have not seen the new season yet though. Some of it is accurate, not every storyline
Hi, hope this wasn't asked already but how should a student handle fatigue when it comes to MPT questions? I find that partway through I just am completely over it and know that on the actual exam I will have to do 2 back-to-back.
Also, if we have done the recommended amount of our bar prep courses, how much additional work should we be doing at this point in the study process? Our bar program at our school recommends 14 hours a day in July and I just don't know that I can focus for that long.
Hi danileigh, Try to push through! It’s difficult, but you have no other choice. Practice a few under actual timed conditions, and keep in mind that on the day of the exam your adrenaline will kick in and will help you get through the MPT, even if it feels impossible when you practice on your own.
14 hours a day is a lot. We usually recommend closer to 8-10. What’s important is quality, and after a certain point you will receive diminishing returns if you wear yourself out. Your health is important as this is a test of endurance. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat well, and allow yourself some time to relax, whether it’s watching your favorite show or movie after a long day of studying, taking a break to get in some exercise, or even seeing a friend every now and then. Treat studying like a job - create a schedule such as 9 to 5 or 9 to 6 or 10 to 7 with a few short breaks and stick to it.
Thanks for doing this. For many graduates, picking a prep course is expensive, stressful, and nobody knows what to consider. For me, it was about published pass rates. I can't seem to find a published pass rate for Marino, so:
A) What percentage of first timers taking your course pass a UBE jx?
B) What percentage of retakers taking your course pass a UBE jx?
Hi Mrevilman, Thanks a lot for your questions. For first time takers we had a 94% pass rate on the last UBE exam. For retakers, like every other bar company we do not publish exact pass rates because we would be comparing apples to oranges (a student who just failed his first try by 3 points and student has failed 9 times in a row and never come close to passing would be placed in the same metric) However we can tell you than in most UBE states, retaker pass rates are between 30% and 40%. We have never have a retaker pass rate below 60% on any exam. If you want more details on any of this just email us at [email protected]
Do you believe there is a balance to be achieved between rote memorization and true understanding of the subject matters? As someone with a poor memory, I tend to focus more on understanding the context and background of things to remember them better, but I have other friends who just commit all of the relevant law to memory without much critical thinking.
Everyone is different and learns differently. In our programs, we try to accomodate both styles. We want to make sure that you have a firm grasp of the context first then ask you to memorize the rule.
I did well on the simulated MBE, but I'm worried about my essays. Should I do anything besides practicing the essays in the Barbi book?
Congratulations on doing well on the MBE CaptainApathy419, as far as essays go, practicing them under timed conditions and then reviewing the model answers is key at this stage. If you want to see significant improvement you might want to consider working with one of our experts tutors for a couple of hours on your essays. They will assign you specific essays, grade them on their own time and then meet with you and go over them with you line by line to show you exactly what you need to do to improve on them
How many times has an individual failed before coming to your program and passing?
I will keep your program in mind if I fail this exam for the 5th consecutive time!
Hi WillBeatsSkill, It really varies, some students come to us after having just failed for the first time, others many times. For the last exam we had a student who turned to us after failing 11 times in a row with other programs (we got her to pass thankfully!) We sincerely hope it is not necessary but if you do not get good news on the 5th try, just email your score reports to [email protected] and we will calll and give you an individualized evaluation for free to try to make sure there is no 7th exam!
When I took the bar, the person next to me started off by throwing up something bright orange all over the table. So, do you think it's a good idea to prepare for the big day by eating nothing but Cheetos for breakfast?
That's crazy, TheInternetCat. That must have been impossible to concenrate on the exam. Are you sure it wasn't Sunkist?
What part of the bar exam gives students the most trouble? Is it cocktails or tiki drinks?
They have actually removed the cocktail section of the exam now - much harder to pass
Hey, bit of a lurker but I wanted to ask a question. How many MBE questions should I be doing each day? It feels like I do a ton already, but after a while I just start to get all the questions wrong. Am I retarded, or am I just over-working my brain?
Hi AnontherGuy, Sure if you do too many questions at a time, you will begin to go crazy and get them wrong and the practice will be of little or no value any more. At this stage, you can do 25 MBE questions a day - aim to get these done within 45 minutes. If you can get 15 of these right on a consistent basis you will be good to go. If you start off getting fewer right, dont worry - keep doing them and you will improve
So I have previously passed the bar exam and am in practice (thusly the lack of time to study). I am taking the NYS bar THIS MONTH. What would you focus on to maximize the value of my study time?
The bulk of the time from now until the exam should be spent alternating between studying the law and practicing questions. We would say one day study and try to memorize as much law as possible in the MBE subjects, the next day do a 25 MBE question practice set and write one essay under timed conditions. Then the next day, study and memorize again for as long as you have available. This is your most productive use the time left.
Depends on what state youre in
What's the likelihood of failing the MPT portion of the exam (UBE jurisdiction)? I think I must have done about 8-10 practice ones and although most of them are fine I have a couple of ones I didn't hit the main issues. I think I've done enough MPT practice questions and don't want to spend anymore time doing them, I'm just worried we could get a difficult one and it brining me down. Thank you for your time answering our questions!!
Sure robleroroblero, the MPT is worth 20% so it definetly can not be ignored. Typically we would want students to do about 12 of these - but keep in mind that these really do need to be done under strict timed conditions. The biggest problem students have is that they run out of time on the MPTs. This is why practicing in real time is so important so if you have not been doing it this way, do it from now on. Our advice is try to do at least one more MPT in timed conditions per week between now and the exam and you should be fine.