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Failed IL bar

I am sad to say I failed the IL bar. I was sort of expecting boredgirl110/01/18
P.S. for people who may be curious, I used Themis. Their lec boredgirl110/01/18
If you intend to stay in IL, you should take the bar again i hairypalms10/01/18
If you are in the top of your class, you can pass if you put nycatt10/01/18
If it was me, I'd take it ASAP - before you have time to for jeffm10/01/18
Do you want to be a lawyer or did you go to law school for n fettywap10/01/18
Just so you know, Illinois will not accept an out-of-state U dingbat10/01/18
Take it in Feb and get Adaptibar. I did every single adapitb irishlaw10/01/18
Got my score today. Scored 243. Its 266 to pass in IL. I rea boredgirl110/02/18
my best advice for the bar is to avoid the generic advice of dingbat10/02/18
I think watching the essays is fine. It is a great way to re nycatt10/02/18
Yeah, I started with the brute force everything but the kitc dingbat10/02/18
I'm barred in IL. Disclaimer: I took the exams before the ci ugly10/02/18
Critical Pass Flash Cards https://www.amazon.com/Critical mnjd10/04/18
OP - Having taught the bar exam for a while, it's definitely loser1210/05/18
Count your blessings (in disguise), cut your losses, and go catwoman33310/08/18
boredgirl1 (Oct 1, 2018 - 8:00 pm)

I am sad to say I failed the IL bar. I was sort of expecting it, but still upset. Found out today. I am currently working part time in a legal job as well as non legal job. Although I graduated in the top of my class, ran into some problems this summer. First, I had to take 18 credits my last semester of law school and was exhausted after everything was over. Then I ended up in the hospital over the summer. Found it hard to focus again. I had emailed my processor about my medical issues and they made it seem like no matter what I would lose $500. Whether I sit and fail or whether I took it again.. So I took my chances and tested in July. I figured worse case scenario, at least I would know what to expect the second time around.

Now, I am at a crossroads. Should I retake in February? I am thinking of taking Adapitbar to supplement or should I wait until July when IL goes UBE? The studying time I did get in this summer was somewhat useless. I wasted way too much time on bar prep lectures online rather than MBE practice.


Anyway, I hate to spend more money on IL bar when IL is going UBE in July. Keep in mind, Illinois isn't exactly the best state and I think UBE would open my job prospects. At the same time, its like I need my license to start working for ok money. Otherwise, I'm stuck working for almost nothing. Should I consider taking UBE in February in another state and then transfer the score to Illinois? It will cost over 1,000 to transfer but it may be worth it. P.S. I have lived in IL my whole life. Born and raised here. Some family in Alabama and California. I know Alabama is UBE, but I do not know about their legal market. I am also a dual citizen of this country and my family's country but practicing law out there is pretty much impossible.

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boredgirl1 (Oct 1, 2018 - 8:03 pm)

P.S. for people who may be curious, I used Themis. Their lectures are really time wasters. While not as long as perhaps Barbri, they still do waste a lot of valuable time that could be used doing actual practice as well as simply memorizing the material using flashcards. I feel like such an idiot.

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hairypalms (Oct 1, 2018 - 8:11 pm)

If you intend to stay in IL, you should take the bar again in February. The faster you pass, the better your job prospects. I think waiting until next July is a big mistake. I can relate to your circumstances - I failed multiple bar exams. I now have 3 jurisdictions under my belt. Not getting the bar passed at the outset definitely stunted my career for a few years. Who cares about UBE ... you're going to have to learn the material, you might as well get started. I recommend BarBri. Prepare your outlines and study them. Also do all the multistate questions. By doing well on the multistate, you give yourself some leeway on the essays. Studying for the bar after 3 years of law school is a complete drag. I've been there and understand that you may need a break. Take the test in February. Give yourself at least 3 months. Working and attempting to pass the bar is another hurdle. Try to quit one of your jobs and make sure you take a few weeks off prior to the exam date. Those last 2 weeks are key to your success IMO. You need to become one with the exam and you don't want to be thinking about work. Good luck.

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nycatt (Oct 1, 2018 - 8:36 pm)

If you are in the top of your class, you can pass if you put in the work. You don't need adaptibar. Themis is fine; you just had too many distractions. I would do barbri this time. You need to take time off to do it though, sorry. My first bar (NY), I did barbri and did 100% of the work and I thought it was pretty darn easy after that. My second bar (CA), I did barbri and did 100% of the work, and it was easy. My third bar (FL), I did about 70% with Themis. IT felt pretty hard, but I still passed in a pretty high percentile. But I have been practicing for ten years, and have practiced legal writing and federal litigation every day since I graduated, so I can afford not to do all the work now. Not you. Take it again. Do 100% of the work. And pass.

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jeffm (Oct 1, 2018 - 8:12 pm)

If it was me, I'd take it ASAP - before you have time to forget the material.

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fettywap (Oct 1, 2018 - 8:22 pm)

Do you want to be a lawyer or did you go to law school for nothing? I would take it again as soon as possible.

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dingbat (Oct 1, 2018 - 8:26 pm)

Just so you know, Illinois will not accept an out-of-state UBE score until November 7, 2019

Rule 704A(e)

That being said, take it again in February. No point delaying, the sooner you pass, the sooner you can start practicing

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irishlaw (Oct 1, 2018 - 9:26 pm)

Take it in Feb and get Adaptibar. I did every single adapitbar question (along with barbri) and read every single explanation. Since adaptibar is real MBE questions you get a real since of how questions are written, where the MBE is trying to trick you, and what you are being tested on. Barbri's outlines and questions taught me the law but adpaitbar taught me the bar.

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boredgirl1 (Oct 2, 2018 - 12:01 pm)

Got my score today. Scored 243. Its 266 to pass in IL. I really messed up Evidence and Corporations essays. Did terribly on the MPT (only 2.25/ 6.0) when I thought that was going to be my section. Still need to order my answers.

To everybody who may see this, practice practice practice! If you get sick of have to miss days studying, don't waste time trying to catch up with lectures in a bar prep program! I should have strongly reviewed areas for classes I took and then only watched lectures for new material that I had not covered in law school. Never waste valuable time on contracts, torts, and property lectures. Just review and practice. I will try to get my MBE score up too.

ALSO, EVIDENCE IS SOOOOOOO HIGHLY TESTED! BECOME SO FAMILIAR WITH THIS SUBJECT.

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dingbat (Oct 2, 2018 - 1:00 pm)

my best advice for the bar is to avoid the generic advice of only concentrating on the MBE.

Over the past few years, passage rates were trending down while MBE scores were trending up. that's because for years the mantra was "get a high enough score on the MBE and the essays won't matter".

That mantra is mostly true as it's easier to get a very high score on the MBE than on the essays. By way of example, NJ used to score essays from 1 to 7 points, and I'm going to continue talking along that scale because it's easy to work with, but the same is true no matter the grading system. (note that 4/7 is equivalent to a 228 final score, and a 5/7 is equivalent to 286, so about a four and a half is a passing score in most states)

Neither a 1 nor a 7 were particularly common. As long as you wrote something you'd get at least a 2, and if you only studied one subject and spent all your time on that essay, you probably wouldn't do better than 6. The average writer would be in the 3-5 range, so the difference between taking it easy on essays and spending a lot of time on it, is really not that big (3 vs 5 - on any one particular essay), whereas the difference between slacking and busting your balls on the MBE that's worth half your final score is HUGE.

But, you're not gonna be getting 90%+ right on the MBE, no matter how much you prep. And if you don't spend enough time and effort on your essays, you're gonna screw yourself into the 2-4 range. So now you've capped yourself at not quite passing for your best subjects, and the rest is gonna pull you down so far that even a great score on the MBE won't be enough.

Basically, it makes sense to spend more time on the MBE, but not at the expense of the essays. Make sure you focus on how to answer questions, as proper formatting, together with basic common sense and a general understanding of the law should get you at least to a 4, even if you don't have a good grasp of the subject at hand.

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nycatt (Oct 2, 2018 - 1:20 pm)

I think watching the essays is fine. It is a great way to refresh, and I have always thought that there is an advantage in studying different ways (reading outlines, writing and refining outlines, multiple choice, flashcards and/or essays that force recall, and lectures). I think these ways compliment and enforce each other. Having done three states' bar exams (CA, NY, and FL), I think there are two ways to pass. there is brute force. Do 100% of bar bri work, and you will pass. period. I also think there is a smarter way to do it, that works if you can't brute force it or can supplement brute force. That is to take a look at what gets tested over and over again and spend 90% of time on that, because it will be on the test again. 80% of the MBE is going to be on the basics of each subject. Know them cold and give them extra time. With essays, in most states, 80 to 90% of the essays are on areas that have been tested over and over again. there is always something new every year to see how well you can BS, but they always return to the classics for the majority of the exam. I figured this out when I took the attorneys exam in CA (essay only) and I reviewed 40 past tests and took notes on which sub-areas that were tested 3 or more times, and I concentrated on those, and on test day, those were the areas tested along with one other topic that had never been tested (just like the other 40 tests i looked at). It seems like the way Themis and Barbri work, if something is tested only once, it goes in the bar exam prep because they don't want to be accused of leaving anything out of their materials. That leads to a lot of bloat and fat in their materials that most likely won't be on the exam. This is something that you won't start to notice until you review past exams, which anyone rarely has time to do (unless they are taking the experienced attorney exam in CA like I did that is essay only). Anyway, that is my two cents after three bars. For first time test takers, I recommend doing what I did for my first bar - brute force it. I worked every day as long as it took to finish the work, even if it was eleven or midnight towards the last 5 or 6 weeks.

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dingbat (Oct 2, 2018 - 3:59 pm)

Yeah, I started with the brute force everything but the kitchen sink Themis/BarBri approach, but screw that.

Switched to practice exams over and over, and I ended up fine

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ugly (Oct 2, 2018 - 3:46 pm)

I'm barred in IL. Disclaimer: I took the exams before the civ pro crap kicked in.

You should immediately retry the February bar. I've gone through your process as well. It's better to get your license ASAP, it just gets more frustrating as time passes.


IL is much more dependent on state essays compared to other states. It's worth your time to refresh your memory on the state laws couple of weeks before the exam and pack in a few extra IL specific keywords in the essays.

Also, I found the February testing location a much more conducive place. They herd you into the huge auditorium at UIUC. It's much less claustrophobic feeling as you're taking the test, compared to the small classrooms that you sit in for the July exams.

You'll be OK. It's only an exam. You will also pass in Feb, don't fret too much, just sign up again for your c&f app and pay their extortion fees. As a person who graduated from top of your class, I'm sure you'll do just fine.

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mnjd (Oct 4, 2018 - 2:27 pm)

Critical Pass Flash Cards

https://www.amazon.com/Critical-Pass-MBE-Flashcards/dp/B0052VHU6Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538677250&sr=8-1&keywords=critical+pass+flashcards

MBE Books

https://www.amazon.com/Strategies-Tactics-MBE-Emanuel-Review/dp/1454873124/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1538677303&sr=8-2&keywords=mbe

https://www.amazon.com/Strategies-Tactics-MBE-II-Book-ebook/dp/B00B4WIRBM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1538677303&sr=8-4&keywords=mbe

Sign up for Adaptabar

https://www.adaptibar.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw9NbdBRCwARIsAPLsnFbYLqJtWhkGWU6eaCvokR-y76sy-r5a41WId6hQ6HupycG3c-UUcNIaAvP1EALw_wcB

Get Barbri essay books. Spend most of the time on MBE, but take 1-2 hours to read essays and memorize outlines for different issues. IRAC is your best friend. Think you get a point just for stating the issue. For MBE, regardless if you got it right or wrong, read the reason why. There are only so many topics they ask about. Only spend 5-6 hours a day if possible to study. Take the last two weeks off and study 5-6 hours a day. You’ll be fine.

You only need two months at the most to study.

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loser12 (Oct 5, 2018 - 10:06 am)

OP - Having taught the bar exam for a while, it's definitely more promising that you didn't study that much. The reality is that most of the people who fail were always going to fail no matter how hard they studied or what the study methods they used. Very few people fail for not studying enough unless they worked under 100 hours total.

The easiest way to improve your bar score is through the written section. One of the dark secrets of the bar is you don't need to know that much law to pass. It's a game and your job is to rack up points. Writing essays well will help you rack up points. One of the tricks is to take nothing for granted, and map out each step of the case, no matter how trivial. I also had personal issues when I took the bar, and passed with something like a 20th percentile MBE in a year in which like a majority of my state failed.

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catwoman333 (Oct 8, 2018 - 11:23 pm)

Count your blessings (in disguise), cut your losses, and go do SOMETHING ELSE else in life.

In case you haven't noticed, this blog--and countless others--are FILLED with miserable people, esp. burned-out, long-time attys griping about how much they hate their jobs...:).

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