#The3Llife: A Few Tips for the Next Crop of Bar Takers…

GUEST BLOG by Shaun Sanders,
3L at Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law

I recently registered for the bar and have learned a few things worth passing on to the next crop of 3L’s.

First, the bar assigns seats sequentially based on when you sign up. This means that if your goal is to sit by your friends during the test, you have to make sure that you sign up at the same time. Usually this isn’t a problem, or so I’ve heard — but this year, California had a bit of a hiccup with getting its page up at midnight, which left a lot of us waiting until the wee hours of the morning in hopes it may come online. In the end, registration ended up opening up at the start of the day, which left a lot of folks in my class scattered in their registration. It is unlikely that we will have too many friends near us — but, then again, maybe that’s a good thing.

Second, don’t get too obsessed with getting your nearest testing location. Chances are, you live further than a quick drive to your testing facility, which means you’re going to have to rent a hotel room near the testing facility. Once you consider that, then it opens you up to a lot more possibilities and even better testing facilities with better amenities and/or nearby hotels.

Third, when you do find a hotel room, make sure to get one with a fridge. Often overlooked, and when your hotel is swarmed with other test takers, its possible for them to run out of fridges for all requests. Then where are you going to put those toaster strudels, or PB&J?

Fourth, if you have ever been to a convention, you know how the “morning rush” is in tall buildings. The higher up you are, the more stops your elevator will need to make on its way down. Sure, maybe not a huge deal — but also not ideal in worst case scenarios. The closer you are to the check-in area, the more relaxed you can be when you start the morning.

Finally, the test date is no secret — so you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get your reservations. My friend reserved her room in January for about $80 per night. In contrast, I reserved my room last week and paid about twice that. It feels a bit silly to pay so much when I could have easily done this much earlier and saved so much. For those of you not aware, you’re looking at 3 days worth of cost: the day before the bar, and then the first two days of testing (this lets you save some money by checking out the next morning before the test and stashing your stuff in your car… or you can just opt for another day).

#The1Llife: Ready, Set, Compete!

GUEST BLOG By Lauren Rose,
1L at the University of Detroit Mercy

People at law school are super competitive.

Maybe it is in the water or whatever, but it seems that everyone is out for himself. I think that part of this has to do the with nature of law school. The fact that law schools rank their students from best to worst GPA adds fuel to the fire. I’ve also noticed that many people look for the worst in everything – from other students, to grades, to studying. It appears to me that this has something to do with the competitive design of American law schools.

Interestingly enough, my mom sent me an article from Time, which discussed lawyers and their pessimistic traits. The article says that lawyers are “3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression and more likely to end up divorced.”   Psychology professor, Martin Seligman, said that lawyers are trained to spot issues, which means that pessimism is a skill that lawyers learn and perfect throughout law school and their careers.

This may be my undergraduate psychology major talking, but I think that professor Seligman is right. We are taught to find flaws and to make a big deal out of small things. I believe that I have noticed a slight difference in my general outlook on life since I have started law school. Before, I used to notice a crack in the sidewalk and think that it was just a crack. Now, I see a crack in the sidewalk and my mind goes crazy. I start to think of liability issues, potential injuries, and the like.

In my junior year at the University of Michigan, I took a positive psychology class taught by the late Chris Peterson. Professor Peterson’s mantra was “other people matter.” Seligman (who worked with Peterson in the field of positive psychology) offers a few tips to try and change a pessimistic outlook on life. His advice includes, “count your blessings, only compare yourself to those worse off than you, and tell yourself a positive story about the challenges in your life.”

Law school isn’t easy.

Working in a competitive environment against friends and classmates is not easy. Taking a few minutes out of your day to reflect on positive things in your life is easy. I forgot about professor Peterson’s mantra until a few weeks ago. Those three simple words shed so much light on the positive nature of the human spirit. Even though law school sucks, if we remember that our classmates, professors, family, friends, and neighbors are important, I think that our outlook on life can change for the better.

#barpreplife: Reeling from the Bar Exam

GUEST BLOG by Jennifer Varteressian,
Graduated from The University of Tulsa College of Law

So it has almost been a week since I sat for the bar and I feel like I’m still reeling.

People were not lying when they said that it’s a marathon, I’m EXHAUSTED. I am still having difficulty stringing sentences together, which has been rather embarrassing during social interactions. I feel as though I should wear a sign on my head that says “Sorry I make no sense, #barbrain”. To make matters worse I am attempting to apply for jobs and the thought of interviewing and forming an intelligible sentence is beyond me. Despite all the side effects, WE’RE DONE Y’ALL!

Here is my take on how the bar went down:

I am definitely grateful that we start with the P&E and the MPT. It eases you into the test because you are the most nervous that day, and you definitely want to be on your A game for the MBE the next day. I think the best decision I made regarding the bar was to not study past Sunday afternoon. It really does you no good to cram, and you need to conserve every bit of energy you have for the MBE. After sitting through all three days I would say the MBE is definitely the most taxing and draining. On MPT/P&E day you blink and its over. On Essay day you’re too tired to be nervous and it seems as though you are perpetually typing. The MBE was not so bad in the morning, but the afternoon was ROUGH. 200 multiple choice questions is no joke, and I definitely noticed a lull in the pace that I was completing questions in the afternoon. Given the exhaustion factor, you need to conserve as much energy as possible for day two. If you are someone who cannot let go of your notes, leave them in your car on day 3. In the morning you have six essays, so before the last stretch you know exactly what’s coming your way and you can utilize that time to cram in those last six subjects. This may be helpful to give yourself some peace of mind.

Now that were all finished we are in limbo for a while. I have to say that has been a lot more difficult for me to accept then I would like to admit. I mean after all, we’re all type A, used to working towards something, and knowing relatively quickly whether or not we’ve been successful. It is definitely challenging to embark on the job search to begin to utilize everything you’ve worked relentlessly hard for, when there is a still a lingering level of doubt that you will not be eligible to practice. I have decided that I am going to do my best to not let those negative thoughts creep in, pursue my options, and act as though I’m already licensed. I know without a doubt in my mind that I put in every ounce of effort that I had, and I have to trust that will be enough. All we can do is move forward and remain positive! I am sending good vibes in hopes that we all #OwnedTheBar

Until Next Time,
J

#The1Llife: Free Food and a Workshop

GUEST BLOG By Lauren Rose, 
1L at the University of Detroit Mercy

THE BAR EXAM

Three words that make law students (and sometimes lawyers) cringe. Even though I have just begun law school, professors have been stressing the importance of preparing for the bar exam. While it seems like the exam is really far away, it will be here before we know it.

Luckily, BARBRI hosted a Multistate Bar Examination Workshop at my school. This event focused on methods for answering multiple-choice questions. The workshop was open to all 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls. If learning about test taking strategies was not enticing enough, there was a ton of pizza. Like, there was at least 20 boxes of pizza. What law student does not love free food? While the attendees were mostly comprised of 3Ls that are preparing to take the July bar exam, there were a few other 1Ls in attendance. It was reassuring to see a few familiar faces at the event.

BARBRI Professor, Everett Chambers, led the workshop. In an enthusiastic way, he made learning about multiple-choice test taking strategies interesting. He engaged us throughout the presentation with questions and funny antics. It was no surprise that Professor Chambers stressed that you should start any question by reading the call of the question. I recently learned to answer questions by starting with the call of the question, so this was a good reminder. Another informative point that he made was to “question the question.” The point of this is for you to anticipate what the question is about and think of possible categories that the question may fall into. Professor Chambers also stressed the importance of reading the explanatory answers to bar prep questions. I usually skip this part while doing practice questions for exams, but he stressed that this where you actually learn the law. I plan on doing this while studying for my finals this semester.

Overall, the event was really informative. It was very helpful to have someone tell you how you should start answering multiple-choice questions now, so that you know how to answer them in the future. While the bar is still (almost two – yikes!) years away, I am glad that I have started taking advantage of resources available to me now. I would recommend that all other 1Ls take advantage of these resources because it is never too early to start preparing for the bar!