Twinning the Bar Exam with BARBRI

GUEST BLOG by Taylor Friedlander, Esq.
Director of Legal Education

Great minds think alike – especially when they belong to identical twins!

Sarin and Talin share more than just their DNA – they went to the same excellent law school – USC’s Gould School of Law – and also secured positions at the same top tier law firm, Proskauer Rose. Given their track record of going after the best, it’s no wonder they chose BARBRI to prepare them for the most important test of their lives.  “My personal research indicated that BARBRI is the most effective bar review course,” said Talin.

Their decision to go with BARBRI was easy given its extensive resources, which no competitor could offer. A game-changer for them was the BARBRI-exclusive Personal Study Plan. “The personal study plan was exceptionally helpful,” said Talin. “The material tested on the Bar Exam is so vast that having a tool designed to identify weaknesses and focus your attention on them is invaluable.”

BARBRI draws on data compiled by tens of thousands of students enrolled in the course in order to tell students – with unrivaled accuracy – exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. No other course has enough enrollees to provide precise percentile rankings the way BARBRI does.

Based on BARBRI’s percentile rankings, Sarin and Talin discovered that they had the same strong subjects (Criminal Law and Torts), as well as the same weaker subjects (Evidence and Property). Having this information empowered them to attack their studies and work smarter – not harder. “The personal homework geared my studying toward my personal weak areas, which helped boost my confidence,” says Sarin. “I was studying in a smart and efficient way by following my personal study plan.”

Once BARBRI identifies a student’s weak areas, they are assigned BARBRI AMP memorization modules. Using Nobel-prize winning software, BARBRI AMP turns memorizing the black letter law into an interactive game. It learns what you know, and tests you on what you don’t – until you’ve demonstrated a solid grasp of the essential points of law.

Sarin said, “I used all of the BARBRI AMPs that were assigned. It was an interactive way to learn the rules. I found that I better retained the information using AMP than if I had simply read the outline.” Talin agreed with her sister, “It was a more approachable way to study and it provided for variety, which was helpful when I was studying for so many hours each day.”

I used all of the BARBRI AMPs that were assigned. It was an interactive way to learn the rules. I found that I better retained the information using AMP than if I had simply read the outline.” – Sarin Haroutounian

“I used all of the BARBRI AMPs that were assigned. It was an interactive way to learn the rules. I found that I better retained the information using AMP than if I had simply read the outline.” – Sarin Haroutounian

Another resource that gave the twins a competitive edge was the Essay Architect software. “Essay Architect was such a useful tool,” said Sarin. It operates by taking you through a series of steps so you learn to how to read bar exam essays and craft the exact kinds of answer bar examiners are looking for. Using drag-and-drop features, students can build a practice essay, and then get immediate feedback reinforcing organization and structure. Talin said it was “extremely helpful in organizing a response to a typical essay answer.” The foundation provided by Essay Architect accelerated Sarin and Talin’s essay writing ability. By the time they submitted full-length practice essays for grading by a trained BARBRI attorney, they were miles ahead of the competition.

Essay Architect is available as part of BARBRI’s Early Start Program, an entirely self-directed program that trains students in the most highly tested topics of the bar exam. All before the BARBRI Bar Review course begins. Statistically, students who engage with Early Start 67 days or more before the BARBRI course begins are more likely to pass the bar exam the first time. Plus – much like the BARBRI Bar Review course – Early Start is designed for flexibility, making it easy to fit into your schedule, and make your studies less stressful.

Sarin and Talin agreed that the flexibility of the BARBRI course let them study in comfort. While they could take advantage of the live professor classroom at Loyola Law School, they could just as easily watch the lectures from the comfort of their home. When asked if they would recommend BARBRI to a friend, Salin and Talin responded with a resounding “yes.” “I can’t imagine how I would be able to study all of the material on my own,” said Talin, “and BARBRI helped me study efficiently.”

Special thanks to Sarin and Talin Haroutounian for sharing their experiences!

The2Llife: Reflecting on 1L Summer

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
2L at UCLA School of Law

It’s time to take stock of what happened during the summer. I worked for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (a component of the Department of Justice) in Immigration Court. The Court was attached to a detention facility, so all of the respondents in court were detained. I served as sort of the clerk to the clerk, since there was only one law clerk for the four Immigration Judges. Since there were only two of us, I got tremendous legal research and writing experience, and also learned substantive criminal immigration law along the way. I also made really meaningful personal connections. All in all, I had the best 1L summer job experience I could have hoped for.

Did you have a great summer too? Here are some tips to keep floating on Cloud Nine:

  • Thank your supervisor and those who made your experience possible. An email is nice for a coworker with whom you worked a couple of times, but I recommend a handwritten card for your supervisor. After all, taking on an intern is a lot of extra work for an organization and for the person supervising you. Furthermore, let them know that you really enjoyed yourself!
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If someone in the office offered their help to you in the form of a letter of recommendation, reference, or just making a connection, be sure to follow up. While you are back in school living in the good life, they’re still on the work grind and may already have another intern. Send an email to confirm their willingness to be a reference or remind them of the connection you were hoping to make.
  • Be introspective. Did you expect to like your work? If so, was it the content of the work or the type of work? Did you enjoy an aspect of the work you didn’t expect? How does this inform the types of work opportunities you will look for in the future?

On the flip side, was your summer experience not as great as you had hoped? Consider these points for a moment:

  • Thank your supervisor and those who made your experience possible. An email is nice for a coworker with whom you worked a couple of times, but I recommend a handwritten card for your supervisor. Even if it was not the best experience for you, taking on an intern is a lot of extra work for an organization and for the person supervising you. Furthermore, just because you left with a bad taste in your mouth does not mean you should leave the organization with one in theirs.
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If someone in the office offered their help to you in the form of a letter of recommendation, reference, or just making a connection, be sure to follow up. Although the organization you worked for may not be the best fit, if you are candid with someone there, they may be able to refer you for a job better suited to you. Send an email to remind them of the connection you were hoping to make.
  • Be introspective. Did you expect to like your work? If so, what made you dislike your experience? Was it the content of the work, the type of work, the environment, the people? Did you enjoy any aspects of the work? How does this inform the types of work opportunities you will look for in the future?

If you didn’t cheat and read both sections, you’ll notice I gave the same advice, although worded slightly differently. This is because I firmly believe that it is just as important to learn what you don’t like as to learn what you do like. You’re not married to your 1L summer job, or your 2L summer job, or the first job you get after graduating.eirs.ermore, just because you left with a bad taste in your mouth does not mean you should leave the organization with one in theirs. Thus, every experience gives you more information about what work makes you happy and what gets you down in the dumps, leading you ever closer to the job that is right for you. I hope you’re able to view your summer experience in this light!