Saturday, June 30, 2007

winning by losing

You can't really win while studying for the bar exam. When you're not studying, you think you should be studying. When you are studying, you wish you weren't but you do it anyway. When you do practice problems and do poorly, you think you should be doing better. When you somehow do better on a set of problems, you worry that you're peaking too soon or that it was dumb luck that you got a bunch that you knew because you sure as hell aren't in the 90 percent range.

The woman who did the Bar Bri practice exam review scared me a little. The exam review was brutal. It was almost worse than the exam. We sat there for eight and a half hours each day going over the exam. It was actually helpful although I can see why some people thought it was a waste of time. I guess it just depends how you learn.

That woman and the fact that it's July made me decide to ramp up my studying. I've already been studying for almost 12 hours a day - with breaks, of course (and that would include the three or four hours of class) - so I need to study more. But I don't know if I will consciously be able to study more than 12 hours a day. I need to stop at least an hour before sleep because I have to get this stuff out of my head or else I won't sleep. I need to work out in the morning. I need to take a few breaks here and there. I think the main thing I will do is be more productive and also not stop studying at 8 p.m. every night, instead taking a break around then for dinner then studying a couple more hours. It would do me no good if I wasn't sleeping and staying up until the wee hours just makes me unproductive and distracted. And the law of diminishing returns doesn't allow me to concentrate on studying for hours and hours on end without breaks. Some people can do it. I can't.

After the practice exam review I counted how many problems I still have that I haven't done. I have a ton. At least 1500 PMBR questions still undone. I didn't have an actual study schedule (don't worry - I was still studying a lot even without a schedule; all I did was keep track of when I did what subject so I never went more than 4-5 days without doing a subject, or at least that was the plan, so it wasn't just random bumbling around). But now the Bar Bri classes are coming to a close. So I counted out the number of questions and scheduled nine days in July in which I'm going to sit down for three-hour blocks and do 100 questions at a time. I'll also take the practice Florida exam and the practice PMBR exam during the three-day class. So I'll do a minimum of 50 questions every day that I don't do 100 questions, also three or more essays most days (I usually just practice issue spotting because I write well and my problem isn't transferring my thoughts to paper (laptop, actually) but rather spotting all the issues and getting the material right). So far with the essays I'm all over the board - great on torts, adequate on con law and family, shitty on property and contracts, all over the place on wills and trusts, and a total crapshoot on the others. One of my biggest problems was focusing for so long so that's why I'm trying to get 100 done at a time so many times in July. I might actually not do so many three-hour blocks if it seems like it's doing more harm than good to sit there for so long. But the idea is to train myself to focus for so long and I think considering the exam is on July 24 and July 25 that doing this for 11 days should be enough. Right?

How the fuck do I know what's right? I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I'm literally doing all that I can. I guess I could stop writing in this blog but posts like this take about 8 minutes to write and as I said, I have to take breaks from studying.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

oh yeah we're real proud of you

Didn't you just love that e-mail we received from the new dean yesterday indicating that all grades have finally been turned in and this is MUCH EARLIER THAN THEY ARE USUALLY TURNED IN? Wow. Great job, gang. It only took you seven weeks from the last exam (and up to nine weeks from the first exam) to finally turn in all your grades. The laziness of the professors here is just astounding. So apparently they are less lazy this year than in years past. Yes, I said it: most of the professors here at the University of Miami are lazy. L-A-Z-Y. (I said "most" but not all).

Today was the last full day of Bar Bri classes. For some reason it feels a little like the last day of school. But not too much because all it means is that we have that much more time each day to study. Great. I was sure getting sick of those damn lectures. We still have the Florida practice exam next week and then one day going over that, but that's all. Then the 3-day PMBR, which I'm taking and I think most people are taking, but you're pretty much on your own. I don't know if that's good or not.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I will pass the bar exam

I. Will. Pass. The. Florida. Bar. Exam. (On. My. First. Attempt. Of. Course.).

That's. All.

Friday, June 22, 2007

practice? we talkin 'bout PRACTICE man

We had the practice exam today. It sucked. I didn't check my scores because we're spending the next two days going over it and anyway they'll give us a breakdown of our scores. And they said that everyone does poorly, not only because it's early in the process (actually it's not that early any more) but also because it's made to be more difficult than the actual test. During the lunch break I ran into a guy who said he got a 105 on the practice test. If you get that score on the bar exam, let's just say that's beyond terrible. But he passed the bar (although I didn't ask his score on the real thing).

The toughest thing for me was concentrating for so long. In the third hour of the morning session my mind was all over the place. Same thing during the final two hours of the afternoon. It's tough to focus in three-hour blocks. At least I finished with plenty of time, although on the actual exam I would go back and go over stuff.

Actually, saying that the concentration part was toughest isn't quite true; the exam was really fucking hard, too. I'm sure there were plenty of questions that had I been able to concentrate I still would've gotten wrong. Anyway, so it goes. One month and two days until it starts. That means one month and three days until it's all over. Good thing because I'm starting to lose it.

(Hey, don't you love the title of this post? Hint: AI)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

where did they come from?

I have to point out something unusual that I've noticed in the law library over the past few days. Lately there has been a massive influx of Asian people on the second floor. If you're reading this blog and you don't go to school here, you might not think this is anything noteworthy. But it is.

See, Miami has a miniscule Asian population. I think there were three Asians in our graduating class (of over 400 people). I can name three. There may have been a few more but I don't know.
You rarely see Asian people around campus. It's a fact. For whatever reason, there is virtually no Asian community here.

Now all of a sudden, you can't walk five feet on the second floor without bumping into an Asian person. It's strange. Where did they come from? What are they doing here? (I couldn't tell what they were studying but none of them are studying law books). Do they know that when there are 12 Asian people on the second floor of the library that makes the second floor of the law library the largest concentration of Asian people in Miami-Dade County? I don't know.

Notice that this is just an observation. I'm not trying to imply anything one way or the other about the Asian folks.

(p.s. If this post bores you, well, it's too bad. I've got nothing and I'm sick of blogging about the bar exam (and I'm also sick of the bar exam, but that's another story.).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

BarBri questions vs. PMBR questions

So I do my best to avoid most discussions about what other people are doing (except on this blog) because the last thing I need is to hear someone else is doing something that sounds better than what I'm doing and then start worrying about whether I need to be doing that. But I have now heard the same thing from a few different people so I'm wondering if there is any truth to it. I have been mostly following BarBri's paced program but I'm not doing as many questions as BarBri tells me to do. And if it ever has me doing all the questions in a topic (like all of CivPro in two days) I don't do it because I want to save questions for later. But the thing that a few people have said is that BarBri's advanced questions are just way too hard and much harder than anything you're likely to see on the MBE. I understand the logic of swinging the weighted bat in the on deck circle so it seems easier when the real thing hits but those advanced questions are killer. A few people have said that the PMBR practice questions make a lot more sense because they're more realistic. I guess now that we have done all six MBE subjects I can go download the actual past bar exams and see for myself. I know the February 2007 one is on Bar Bri's web site and I think they said you can find older ones on their site or the NCBEX site although that might just be for essays. I don't know. Ugh. I'm fucking exhausted. At least classes are winding down but I don't know if that's good or bad. Fuck.

Friday, June 15, 2007

grad(e) me!

Still no sign of Prof. Admin Law's grades. I know he's an adjunct so he's busy but it's been almost six weeks now since the exam. It was a relatively small class - maybe 40 people- so he doesn't have that many essays to grade. I took it pass fail so all I want to know is that I passed, obviously.

We should be allowed to re-evaluate professors after grades are turned in. Or maybe someone should keep a tally and publish the date professors turn in their grades. Actually that's a great idea. Too bad I won't give a shit any more after I get my last two grades so it won't be me who does this. Someone could compile them by polling students and publish it on line or in the student newspaper. Maybe (though I doubt it) that would shame these lazy slackers (yes, I said lazy) into getting their grading done.

I know, I know, grading is no fun but this is ridiculous. It's YOUR JOB or at least your PART-TIME JOB THAT YOU AGREED TO TAKE ON, knowing full well that grades would have to be turned in eventually.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


So a friend of mine who took and passed the bar last year said it's important, as it gets closer, to practice sitting in one place and doing problems for three-hour blocks of time. I'm not so sure about this. Don't get me wrong - I'm doing practice problems every day, I'll take the 6-hour Bar-Bri multi-state and Florida practice exam and the PMBR one during the three-day course (I think PMBR's first day is just a practice exam, right?) so I'm spending plenty of time sitting on my ass doing nothing but focusing on the exam (or at least trying to concentrate).

But do I really need to train myself to sit still for three consecutive hours? I don't know. Is that even something you can train yourself to do?

Before I took my first ever law school final exam the idea of sitting still and taking a test for three or four (or sometimes as many as five) hours seemed so daunting as to be impossible. But once I started taking exams, the hours just flew by and I had plenty of other things to worry so the actual part where I had to sit there and shut up for 3-5 hours wasn't a problem. The three hours of a law school exam goes by so quickly. I guess it's a little different on the bar exam because you can't drink water (and apparently getting up to take a leak is a big deal because you have to sign out and they follow you into the bathroom and the bathroom is really far away), but does that mean I should practice going three straight hours without a sip of water or using the bathroom? I don't know. It seems like I have enough to worry about, right?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

it never ends

I'm liking these three hour Bar-Bri lectures (instead of four and a half hour lectures). This week wasn't so bad, at least after evidence ended on Tuesday. Evidence for some reason is very confusing to me. Next week looks awful with torts for two days, then almost four full days of property (until 2:30 on Saturday!). I actually like torts but property is going to be as bad as contracts.

Do you know what's driving me crazy? The guy on the PMBR criminal and property CD lectures who pronounces the word "modern" as if it has an I before the N. He keeps talking about the difference between common law and MODERIN law. Not modern, but moderIn. He adds an extra syllable in there. Jesus. It's annoying.

So much for that stupid policy of posting grades only on Fridays. A guy I know said he got a grade posted yesterday and another today. I still have only one grade, and it's for the two-credit class that didn't have an exam. Nice.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Not much to report. Chemerinsky's all-day lecture was great. That doesn't mean I'll ace Con Law though but the man is absolutely brilliant. He did his entire lecture without notes (I know he does the same lecture often but he didn't so much as have a piece of paper in front of him; that's not normal).

My real life is getting in the way of bar studying.