California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

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JakeTappers

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California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby JakeTappers » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:54 pm

Posted elsewhere but looking for advice from those who have become Cal bar gurus. I took the attorneys exam this past summer with exactly three weeks of studying, during which I was moderately working as well. Ended up failing with a 1382 scaled - 60/65/60/55/55/60 essay scores. Haven't taken a multiple choice bar in 6 years now and trying to decide whether to take attorneys or full. Recently did 200 MBE test on barprephero (not sure how accurate or reliable those questions are...please weigh in if possible) and got a 152 right without re-studying. Unless someone can speak to the quality of those questions, I am guessing it would be greatly beneficial for me to take the full exam, no? Just wanted to throw out these two "scores" and gather advice (any advice on how to frugally study going forward (in terms of both time and money) are welcome).

FinallyPassedTheBar

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:17 am

The attorney exam had a very low pass rate for July 18, I think around 30%. IMHO, it's always better to take the full exam, because doing so allows you to have 50% of your test objectively graded (MBE).

As for Barprephero, I hear that their free MBE materials tend to be on the easier side. I always suggest reviewing from real MBE materials (Adaptibar.com, NCBE site, etc)

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rcharter1978

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:24 am

FinallyPassedTheBar wrote:The attorney exam had a very low pass rate for July 18, I think around 30%. IMHO, it's always better to take the full exam, because doing so allows you to have 50% of your test objectively graded (MBE).

As for Barprephero, I hear that their free MBE materials tend to be on the easier side. I always suggest reviewing from real MBE materials (Adaptibar.com, NCBE site, etc)


This sounds like really good advice. Studying for the MBE should (SHOULD) also help bolster your general knowledge base which should (SHOULD) help with the essays.

JakeTappers

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby JakeTappers » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:32 am

What would be an “auto-pass” MBE %? The one timerz calculator is super confusing since it’s out of 200 “raw” but appears to be really out of 175 or else is otherwise providing grossly higher passage rates than it should. Just trying to figure this out.

scard

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby scard » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:20 am

Use this calculator instead.

https://seperac.com/calculators/BAR-CA.htm

I think for an auto pass (pretty much 50's and 55'a on all your writing), you need a 170+ scaled. Lots of people in other states reported achieving that score so its very doable and that's what I studied to achieve this last time. I was successful thank god!

Definitely shoot for the full exam. California is the hardest exam because the graders are tough. the exam material itself is not much different from other states' but where one state would grade an essay passing or high passing, CA may grade it 55 or failing. It is too objective and getting a Good MBE score to average out to 1440 is the way to go. You are looking at about 75% on the MBE to hit that 170 scaled mark. Good Luck!

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby jptx » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:23 pm

After failing the attorney's exam (barely) in February 2018, I took the full two day exam and passed. If you are an attorney from another state it is likely you know general law, which is what is tested on the MBE. There are a lot of issues with the essay. Obviously grading is subjective, and quantitative word regurgitation is rewarded (but discouraged in real legal practice). But more important it is scaled to the mean MBE (even though you don't take the MBE), which in both last February (1355) and last July (2018) (1404) equates a failing score (below 1440). I think of this as starting the Essay portion with a failing score in July, and down nearly 100 points in February administration. (There is an argument about the strength of takers requires scaling, but I don't really buy into it.).

I incorrectly assumed time is money and the loss of one extra day was lost income. Obviously I was incorrect. As an attorney you took the MBE before (in my case it was 1986), and you probably won't score much differently than you did the first time. (I really did not study for the MBE portion) I don't know the exact score but it was above 150 [you can pay the MBE to find this out]. I am pretty sure I did worse on the essays this time (especially the dormant commerce clause issue), but averaging the MBE almost certainly helped.

Another gripe is I don't understand why the California bar does not offer scores to those who pass. I certainly could give future takers a little better information if I knew precise numbers.

FinallyPassedTheBar

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:04 pm

jptx wrote:After failing the attorney's exam (barely) in February 2018, I took the full two day exam and passed. If you are an attorney from another state it is likely you know general law, which is what is tested on the MBE. There are a lot of issues with the essay. Obviously grading is subjective, and quantitative word regurgitation is rewarded (but discouraged in real legal practice). But more important it is scaled to the mean MBE (even though you don't take the MBE), which in both last February (1355) and last July (2018) (1404) equates a failing score (below 1440). I think of this as starting the Essay portion with a failing score in July, and down nearly 100 points in February administration. (There is an argument about the strength of takers requires scaling, but I don't really buy into it.).

I incorrectly assumed time is money and the loss of one extra day was lost income. Obviously I was incorrect. As an attorney you took the MBE before (in my case it was 1986), and you probably won't score much differently than you did the first time. (I really did not study for the MBE portion) I don't know the exact score but it was above 150 [you can pay the MBE to find this out]. I am pretty sure I did worse on the essays this time (especially the dormant commerce clause issue), but averaging the MBE almost certainly helped.

Another gripe is I don't understand why the California bar does not offer scores to those who pass. I certainly could give future takers a little better information if I knew precise numbers.


I think that might be the reason! Perhaps the bar doesn't want you to give out better info.

Congrats on passing BTW!

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rcharter1978

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby rcharter1978 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:09 pm

FinallyPassedTheBar wrote:
jptx wrote:After failing the attorney's exam (barely) in February 2018, I took the full two day exam and passed. If you are an attorney from another state it is likely you know general law, which is what is tested on the MBE. There are a lot of issues with the essay. Obviously grading is subjective, and quantitative word regurgitation is rewarded (but discouraged in real legal practice). But more important it is scaled to the mean MBE (even though you don't take the MBE), which in both last February (1355) and last July (2018) (1404) equates a failing score (below 1440). I think of this as starting the Essay portion with a failing score in July, and down nearly 100 points in February administration. (There is an argument about the strength of takers requires scaling, but I don't really buy into it.).

I incorrectly assumed time is money and the loss of one extra day was lost income. Obviously I was incorrect. As an attorney you took the MBE before (in my case it was 1986), and you probably won't score much differently than you did the first time. (I really did not study for the MBE portion) I don't know the exact score but it was above 150 [you can pay the MBE to find this out]. I am pretty sure I did worse on the essays this time (especially the dormant commerce clause issue), but averaging the MBE almost certainly helped.

Another gripe is I don't understand why the California bar does not offer scores to those who pass. I certainly could give future takers a little better information if I knew precise numbers.


I think that might be the reason! Perhaps the bar doesn't want you to give out better info.

Congrats on passing BTW!


If people got together and compared essay notes it would really highlight how much of a subjective crapshoot the whole thing is.

JakeTappers

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby JakeTappers » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:31 am

I know I’m ignorant (and that we are kept in the dark about this) but is the mean/average mbe score 139.5/175? That seems super high (and I know that’s scaled, whatever that means).

After reviewing my actual essays I think they are surprisingly strong and, other than word count having a clear effect on my scores, am feeling a bit shitty about the prospect of doing enough (in the MBE or in just attorneys exam) to pass.

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby jptx » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:56 pm

rcharter1978 wrote:
FinallyPassedTheBar wrote:
jptx wrote:After failing the attorney's exam (barely) in February 2018, I took the full two day exam and passed. If you are an attorney from another state it is likely you know general law, which is what is tested on the MBE. There are a lot of issues with the essay. Obviously grading is subjective, and quantitative word regurgitation is rewarded (but discouraged in real legal practice). But more important it is scaled to the mean MBE (even though you don't take the MBE), which in both last February (1355) and last July (2018) (1404) equates a failing score (below 1440). I think of this as starting the Essay portion with a failing score in July, and down nearly 100 points in February administration. (There is an argument about the strength of takers requires scaling, but I don't really buy into it.).

I incorrectly assumed time is money and the loss of one extra day was lost income. Obviously I was incorrect. As an attorney you took the MBE before (in my case it was 1986), and you probably won't score much differently than you did the first time. (I really did not study for the MBE portion) I don't know the exact score but it was above 150 [you can pay the MBE to find this out]. I am pretty sure I did worse on the essays this time (especially the dormant commerce clause issue), but averaging the MBE almost certainly helped.

Another gripe is I don't understand why the California bar does not offer scores to those who pass. I certainly could give future takers a little better information if I knew precise numbers.


I think that might be the reason! Perhaps the bar doesn't want you to give out better info.

Congrats on passing BTW!


If people got together and compared essay notes it would really highlight how much of a subjective crapshoot the whole thing is.


With the heat the bar is being given concerning the "high failure rates" you would think they would be interested in providing as much information as possible to help 1) determine the cause of the high failure rate, and 2) strategies to pass. The scaling issue alone assures attorneys a lower pass rate especially in the February administration. After reviewing the questions and remembering my answers, I am certain that my essay portion was a fail and were not as well written as my February exam that did fail, but I will never know for sure. I know some people don't multiple guess well. If you are one of those people maybe the one day exam is for you. Otherwise, I strongly recommend the two day. My only suggestions concerning essays are to memorize the basic rules, and write them even if it seems obvious. The mistakes I make as an attorney is dig into the complexities of the question, rather than recite rules. If you look at sample answers, they want you to recite the rule even basic rules, i.e a contract is an offer and acceptance blah blah blah. You would never insult a judge by writing these rules in a brief, but you need to put them in the exam.

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby barjamie8 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:43 pm

There is no secret or conspiracy. I think they don't want people competing for scores, which is why the ones that pass do not receive scores. It should be about whether you pass and not boasting on your attorney profile that you are top 10 percent versus top 40 percent. This is exactly what would happen and what should not happen.

The grading is not as subjective as you think and you can see all of this online. Take a look at the real graded essays that score 55 vs 65 vs 75 on BarEssays. You will see real differences and remarkable consistency between scores. Sure there are outliers but most of the grading is remarkably consistent and they give points based on recognizing the most important issues, getting your rule statements correct, and presenting it in the right format for the graders.

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:10 pm

barjamie8 wrote:There is no secret or conspiracy. I think they don't want people competing for scores, which is why the ones that pass do not receive scores. It should be about whether you pass and not boasting on your attorney profile that you are top 10 percent versus top 40 percent. This is exactly what would happen and what should not happen.

The grading is not as subjective as you think and you can see all of this online. Take a look at the real graded essays that score 55 vs 65 vs 75 on BarEssays. You will see real differences and remarkable consistency between scores. Sure there are outliers but most of the grading is remarkably consistent and they give points based on recognizing the most important issues, getting your rule statements correct, and presenting it in the right format for the graders.



But that does not generally occur in other jx where passers receive their scores. And it is possible for the bar to release passing scores without releasing rank.

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby jptx » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:21 pm

barjamie8 wrote:There is no secret or conspiracy. I think they don't want people competing for scores, which is why the ones that pass do not receive scores. It should be about whether you pass and not boasting on your attorney profile that you are top 10 percent versus top 40 percent. This is exactly what would happen and what should not happen.

The grading is not as subjective as you think and you can see all of this online. Take a look at the real graded essays that score 55 vs 65 vs 75 on BarEssays. You will see real differences and remarkable consistency between scores. Sure there are outliers but most of the grading is remarkably consistent and they give points based on recognizing the most important issues, getting your rule statements correct, and presenting it in the right format for the graders.


While there is a secret (bar exam logic "not disclosed" is "secret"), but I agree it is likely not a conspiracy. In Texas scores are released. I have never seen an attorney advertise boasting his score. I have seen attorneys referring to themselves as power tools, flame throwers, and there is even one attorney that advertises showing himself chasing an ambulance. I don't know why attorneys chose to demean the profession (well I do its $$$$$), but the First Amendment applies to attorney advertising (another bar exam point). Scores are a fact. I would much rather an attorney state facts in advertising than what I see on television which is flat out embarrassing.

I am sure that graders try to be objective, but there is always some subjectivity in scoring. If you are taking the attorney's exam, statistically you are more likely to fail than pass and scaling to the MBE assures this result. My guess is there are a lot of scores clustered between 1400 and 1480, (it would be interesting if the bar published this statistic) and I doubt the essays written by persons scoring in this range are really that much different.

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby JakeTappers » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:48 pm

So, is there any way at all to determine (about) what the median percentage of questions right on the MBE? July or February past year. I’m trying to take my adaptibar percentage as a rough estimate to decide whether it’s better for me to take the MBE or just focus on essays if I will be about median anyways.

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby jptx » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:18 pm

JakeTappers wrote:So, is there any way at all to determine (about) what the median percentage of questions right on the MBE? July or February past year. I’m trying to take my adaptibar percentage as a rough estimate to decide whether it’s better for me to take the MBE or just focus on essays if I will be about median anyways.

I've seen slightly different numbers on this depending on the source. One timers website says passing MBE score in California is 67.5%or approximately 119 raw (119/175) is passing.

Last note, statistically on the last exam (July 2018) only 32.4% passed the attorney's exam. But 50.8% of US attorneys who took the two day July 2018 exam passed. This statistic really troubles me because it really should be reversed. An exam for attorneys licensed for more than 5 years in another jurisdiction should have a higher pass rate than the general exam, but statistically it does not play out that way.

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby JakeTappers » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:51 pm

jptx wrote:
JakeTappers wrote:So, is there any way at all to determine (about) what the median percentage of questions right on the MBE? July or February past year. I’m trying to take my adaptibar percentage as a rough estimate to decide whether it’s better for me to take the MBE or just focus on essays if I will be about median anyways.

I've seen slightly different numbers on this depending on the source. One timers website says passing MBE score in California is 67.5%or approximately 119 raw (119/175) is passing.

Last note, statistically on the last exam (July 2018) only 32.4% passed the attorney's exam. But 50.8% of US attorneys who took the two day July 2018 exam passed. This statistic really troubles me because it really should be reversed. An exam for attorneys licensed for more than 5 years in another jurisdiction should have a higher pass rate than the general exam, but statistically it does not play out that way.


Got it. I'm about 500 questions in in Adaptibar and hovering around 61% (not great, I know). I would hope it would got up but not sure by that much. Just wondering if I'd be better off taking the median score assigned to my MBE if I took the attorney's exam, or if I'd be better off getting my own MBE score.

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Re: California Bar - Attorneys/Full Exam Advice

Postby jptx » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:09 pm

JakeTappers wrote:
jptx wrote:
JakeTappers wrote:So, is there any way at all to determine (about) what the median percentage of questions right on the MBE? July or February past year. I’m trying to take my adaptibar percentage as a rough estimate to decide whether it’s better for me to take the MBE or just focus on essays if I will be about median anyways.

I've seen slightly different numbers on this depending on the source. One timers website says passing MBE score in California is 67.5%or approximately 119 raw (119/175) is passing.

Last note, statistically on the last exam (July 2018) only 32.4% passed the attorney's exam. But 50.8% of US attorneys who took the two day July 2018 exam passed. This statistic really troubles me because it really should be reversed. An exam for attorneys licensed for more than 5 years in another jurisdiction should have a higher pass rate than the general exam, but statistically it does not play out that way.


Got it. I'm about 500 questions in in Adaptibar and hovering around 61% (not great, I know). I would hope it would got up but not sure by that much. Just wondering if I'd be better off taking the median score assigned to my MBE if I took the attorney's exam, or if I'd be better off getting my own MBE score.


Sorry I am not much help there. I took the multistate in 1986 and did well in Texas using the 1986 version of Bar Bri for preparation. I barely failed California attorney's exam in February 2018 with scores similar to what you scored in July (I am a 31 year very active litigator but I type slow and quantity seemed to be my problem as what I wrote matched sample answers, I apparently needed to quote more "rules"). I passed taking the two day in July 2018, and while I did not get scores, I scored above 150 on the multistate, and after reading the sample answers I am sure I did poorly on two of the essays especially the dormant commerce clause question. The PT seemed easy but I did not write nearly as much as the sample answers. A speed typist could have written a novel on the Professional Responsibility Question there were so many things to talk about: I wrote about 1/2 of what was in the sample answer. For California, I used only the online outlines from California Bar Tutors as I could not bring myself to spending $2500 plus for barbri (it was $750ish I think in 1986 for three weeks live presentations and printed materials at the law school). I did nothing for the MBE (except in 1986 with BarBri). I notice you did extremely well last time on the Essays(in my opinion the top 60% is doing well on the essays even though the bar labels it a fail). You were unlucky, as it is really beyond argument that a licensed attorney in an other state who scores in the top 60 percent should not be deemed qualified. Only in California. I am pretty comfortable with my knowledge of the law (my work is the subject of at least 50 published court appellate opinions and I have first chair tried about 150 cases) so I took out subjectivity and took the two day exam. I wish I did that the first time, but if I did I would not be trying to help other lawyers in this forum. Wish you the best of luck.



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