The Value of Redoing Problems (You’ll See Them Again on the Bar Exam)

Am I the only one who keeps a list of cringeworthy things they’ve done in the past? Anyone?

*crickets and random cough*

We learn our lessons by doing something and getting embarrassed and trying again.

In fact, embarrassment is the best way I found to learn a lesson: actually doing things, realizing you did something wrong, feeling the pain, and using the pain to change course in the future.

I’m not saying we should “make bad decisions” on purpose (#yolo). Life is already a constant stream of embarrassment anyway.

We simply need a willingness to endure embarrassment as fodder for our growth. Opening ourselves up to the possibility that we’re wrong.

Reprinted without permission

We don’t know what we don’t know. That’s why we can’t really be too quick to judge our own proficiency. That’s why we get on the bike and try to apply the theory as we go so that we find out.

If we don’t—if we simply try things once and stop—we end up thinking we “get it” with a generalized and incomplete understanding. There’s a difference between awareness and experience.

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How Stan Finally Passed the Bar Exam Using Proven Bar Preparation Strategies (Anyone Can Do This!)

I recently had a back-and-forth with Stan, yet another reader who passed the (online/remote) 2020 October California Bar Exam on this 5th try.

When I asked to showcase his incredible personal journey, Stan offered to rewrite his emails into a more comprehensive story with approaches he discovered, his realizations, and specific study tips to help others join him beyond the bar.

Some of my favorite impressions among many:

Respecting the exam is important but so is enjoying the process

Practice as if it were the real thing. Do the real thing as if it were practice—with confidence

Bar prep doesn’t have to be expensive

Enough about my impressions. It’s time for yours. Here’s Stan’s story on what he did to finally pass the bar exam. No substantive edits made except adding relevant links and [comments in brackets] and writing out some abbreviations.

One for Five: How I Finally Passed the Bar Exam

After I told Brian about my journey to passing the Oct 2020 California bar exam, he was gracious enough to offer me a chance to share my story on his blog.  I discovered Brian’s website by searching stories on how people passed the exam.  I’d bet that’s pretty common.

Before we get into my story, please know my only intent is to show you if I can pass, you absolutely can too.  I’m not special, nor am I looking for credit or praise of any kind.  I’m just an ordinary guy from LA who took the bar exam five times, dealing with life along the way.

Everyone’s journey to passing the bar is unique.  What worked for me might not necessarily work for you.  But I would bet a quality everyone needs is discipline.  My story is a cautionary tale of why discipline should always be where bar prep starts and ends.

The October 2020 California bar exam was my fifth attempt, but I was finally ready to pass.  Let me tell you why you should never think you’re not smart enough or good enough to pass, or that it must not be meant for you.

Continue reading “How Stan Finally Passed the Bar Exam Using Proven Bar Preparation Strategies (Anyone Can Do This!)”

My 5 Rules for Passing the MBE

You ever have interactions with dog owners that go like this?

Oh he’s so well trained!

Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit.
SIT. SIIIT.
SIT!

Ooooh look at how well he’s trained!

The MBE is probably the lever that will move your bar exam result the most.

Yet we see that training when it comes to the MBE is sometimes shoddy and not really there.  We LOOK like we’re trained, and you very may well be, but the actual exam experience is different from the simulations.

When you’re actually on the hotseat, you’re automatically less good at the things you’re normally good at on a day-to-day basis.

"I did 4000 questions on AdaptiBar and was 72% overall, so I'm confused on what I need to do better for my MBE."

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.”

I don’t want you to find out that you actually weren’t training well as you fall to its level on the real thing. Instead, I want you to pass the MBE (and the bar exam) with flying colors.

To that end, here are my five rules for passing the MBE:

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Review of UWorld MBE QBank: Pass the MBE with Visual Answer Explanations (AdaptiBar Alternative)

There are a lot of resources and supplements for the MBE portion of the bar exam these days.

AdaptiBar vs UWorld

AdaptiBar vs BarMax, Emanuel, PMBR, Real MBE, Barbri, Themis, JD Advising, Critical Pass, Kaplan

You’re bombarded with referral links and ads from all angles on the Internet these days thanks to everyone trying to get a piece of you (and your sneaky iPhone listening to everything you think).

You’re taking the most important exam of your life. The multiple-choice part counts for 50% of your bar exam score based on a series of 200 letters (or 100 if there’s a pandemic).

All you want is just some solid and cost-effective help that makes you actually learn and progress.

What are you supposed to choose?

There is a refreshing alternative. A new contender to the long list of MBE supplements, with tons of students singing praises already.

Its name: UWorld MBE QBank.

Click here to skip to a comparison of UWorld and AdaptiBar.

In this comprehensive review of UWorld, I’ll explain what their MBE QBank does and why I immediately reached out when I first heard about them from my readers.

Here are some key takeaways and a table of contents for more details:

  • Key distinction 1 – visual, intuitive explanations: Robust, in-depth answer explanations with illustrations, charts, and other visual aids that help you retain and recall the rules. A picture is worth a thousand words or at least a lot of words, and we have enough words to read as it is.
  • Key distinction 2 – updated question formats: Focus on relevant, newer questions so that your practice is not compromised by outdated question formats. The product team at UWorld also regularly develops new questions that align with current style of testing.
  • Key distinction 3 – experience with exam prep: They’ve been around the block. They’re known for helping students pass difficult exams in other professional fields like medicine, finance, etc.
  • Key distinction 4 – cost: The price is right. (Plus how you can get 25% off…exclusive to MTYLT readers only)
  • In the works: More features that are based on methodologies to help you remember the material. I’ll update this review when these new features come out…can’t be spilling them beans yet.

Table of contents (click to jump):

  1. UWorld helps you to learn concepts tested on the MBE using clear, visual answer explanations
  2. UWorld has updated the format of their questions to make them look as close as possible to the actual MBE questions
  3. UWorld has been around the block of high-stakes exams (now the MBE)
  4. Recap & future work for UWorld
    • Key features
    • Some ancillary features
    • Some things UWorld could improve on
  5. Verdict for this new contender in the MBE supplements space
Continue reading “Review of UWorld MBE QBank: Pass the MBE with Visual Answer Explanations (AdaptiBar Alternative)”

Remote/Online Bar Exam Logistics and Strategies

You’re probably wondering how this whole remote bar exam thing is going to work.

  • Do I get scratch paper?
  • Can I use a desktop?
  • How many monitors can I use for ExamSoft/SofTest/Examplify (or whatever exam software)?
  • Do I need to be online?
  • Can I print?
  • Are they going to proctor me through a camera?
  • Can I take bathroom breaks?
  • What about cheating?
  • What about the MBE? How many questions? Is it all on a screen?
  • What if I’m handwriting?

Uh, yeah, I’m sure you have a lot of questions.

Right now, all the states are having a brawl and doing whatever they feel is necessary to conduct their bar exams.

Many states are shifting from in-person paper testing to an almost entirely digital exam, at least for the 2020 Fall bar exam. This is a significant change, and something worth discussing in terms of preparation and test-taking strategies.

This post will address two things:

  1. Testing mechanics for taking a remote bar exam. See below for information on all states, but the initial focus here is on California
  2. Strategies for preparing for and taking a test entirely on screen, assuming your state is administering the exam online and doesn’t allow paper for at least some portion

Btw I’m not going to call this an “online bar exam” because it’s done almost entirely OFFline. Only the check-ins sessions require an Internet connection.

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