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.


At 6:45 PM, Blogger The Grand Poobah said...

Wow. What a slacker you are. Everybody I know is doing 4-6 essays per day, at least one PT per day, 150-200 MBEs per day (and going over the answers too).

Ya' gotta' step it up!

Oh. Did I mention that everybody I know is doing all of that stuff every day?

That is, 7 or 8 people are doing one essay per day, some are only doing half, so that's why the actual number completed is lower. And three or four of them are partially outlining a PT, I figure that about equals one. And 15 or 20 of them are doing some MBEs. I suspect we end up cumulatively doing about 200, but I'm not really sure.

Congrats! You're way ahead of the game. Well, you're ahead of us.


At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i Just finished all the Barbri q's and now will start on PMBR, what are u doing for the FL topics?

At 3:15 PM, Blogger some guy said...

I'm just doing the questions over and over again. I outlined the lectures. I'm going to try doing all practice essays from the topics usually tested on essays and a few from each topic not usually tested (evidence, fed con law, crim, etc.). I downloaded from the FL bar examiners site a few more sample questions and sample essays with answers but there are only 33 m/c questions. I don't know what else to do. I wish we had more FL questions.

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, its good to know that im not alone in my attempts to study for this beast!


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