Second time is the charm!

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Welp, loyal readers, I found out Thursday afternoon that I PASSED THE NEW JERSEY BAR EXAMINATION! As you will remember, I failed in July by 5 points and decided pretty quickly to re-take the exam in February.

Bar prep was torture. Pretty sure it’s against the Geneva Convention- that’s how torturous it was.

Anyways, want to know how I passed the bar exam, while working full-time, and planning a wedding? Look no further!

Weekdays:
– I would wake up Monday through Friday at 5:30 and study for two hours until 7:30, until I left for work.
– I would study for an additional hour at lunch.
– If I went to the gym after work, I’d study while using the machines, approximately 45-60 minutes.
– If I came home after work, I’d study until M got home, approximately 1 hour.
– After a quick dinner, I’d study until around 10:00 PM and go to bed.

Weekends:
– I’d study while eating breakfast and continue studying into the afternoon.
– After lunch, we would wedding plan. M shouldered most of the wedding planning from December to February, if I’m being honest. He was so supportive of me during this time and I cannot thank him enough.

According to my score from NJ, my MBE score was the reason I failed. I knew I had to focus on the MBE, especially since it is worth 50% of the exam, but I also knew that NJ was adopting the UBE beginning February 2017. Instead of having one MPT, there would now be two, and instead of six 45 minute essays, there would be seven 30 minute essays. I focused heavily on Barbri’s early start program and just drilled myself on MBE questions. I found that I was able to remember a lot of stuff which was helpful and I knew what subjects I could glaze over. That being said, property and contracts were always my worst subjects while in school, so I spent days drilling myself on those MBE questions and essays.

I steered clear of the lectures and only watched them if I absolutely had to. I found most of the lecturers to be incredibly boring or too annoying (cough cough Paula Franzese cough cough). I found that going over the information, and creating my own outlines based off of it, helped me the most.

One last tip: I also found this website which predicted which subjects would be on the exam. I knew that I was really weak in a couple of those subjects and decided to focus on them the most. It paid off, as you can see, they predicted 4/7 subjects correctly.

As soon as my character and fitness application comes back clean, I’ll be all ready to be sworn in as a member of the State of New Jersey’s Bar.

Are you somebody working full-time and studying for the bar? What about planning a wedding and studying for the bar? Please feel free to e-mail me at talesfrom1lhell@gmail.com for advice.

 

Cups of coffee, stress dreams, and being an asshole. What I learned from taking the bar . . . again.

I learned that when I’m overwhelmed, I am SUCH an asshole.

I also learned that working full time, studying for the bar, and planning a wedding is no way to live my life.

Additionally, I learned that my stress dreams are incredibly vivid. For instance, I had multiple dreams where I was hunted down by a shooter, had to hide under cars, and was shot in the face with a rifle. Mix bar related stress dreams (being shot, coming back for the afternoon session 15 minutes later than I’m supposed to, not bringing an extra pencil, not bringing my license, finding out I was actually arrested and didn’t disclose etc.) with wedding related stress dreams (being shot, not having the license, losing the rings, nobody shows up, etc.) and you have approximately four months of terrible sleep.

Unlike those who are at private firms, my employer wasn’t paying me to take the bar again. When I told my Judge that I failed I cried hysterically; thankfully I was wearing waterproof makeup, he told me to take a week and decide whether I was going to take it again or not. I immediately said no, I’d rather wait 5 years and practice in the state I was admitted to than sit and take the bar again. Well, four days later guess who had finished her bar application and put in for seven days of vacation.

I’ll give you a hint: this is a blog about me.
Answer: It was me.

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Here is a list of all the things I learned when I took the bar for the second time:
1. I’m not dumb, stupid, lazy, or inept – I just answer two or three questions wrong. Plenty of people failed the bar the first time they took it. For instance: Hillary Clinton (failed DC), Michelle Obama (failed IL), FDR (failed NY), JFK (failed NY), Justice Cardozo (failed FIVE TIMES).

2. I had a cool sense of deja vu. I knew what the morning would be like, what the afternoons would be like, and how to structure my answers. I spent less time focusing on the mechanics of setting up IRAC and more time on the substantive materials.

3. Some employers care a little bit. I didn’t know this until I failed, but I learned that some employers only hire people who have passed the bar on the first attempt. It sucks to hear, especially if you wanted to apply to the firm, but whatever. They don’t want you, so don’t spend anymore time on wishing you did better, or beating yourself up about trying harder. There is a place that wants to hire you, whether it’s the state/local government, the federal government, or a private practice.

4. The proctors still sucked. STOP LOOKING AT MY ID SO OFTEN. JEEZE LOUISE, DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT HOLOGRAMS TO LOOK FOR OR ARE YOU JUST AMAZED TO SEE AN OUT-OF-STATE LICENSE FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE. PUT IT DOWN AND GTFO.

5.  Room temperature lunch blows. Oh, yum, just want I always wanted, two semi-warm peanut butter sandwiches. Thanks nutrition gods! *I know I packed my own lunch, but there aren’t any refrigerators to use and the lunches had to remain in a separate area.

6. Driving home never felt so good.

7. Don’t go to work the next day, if you can. Stay the fuck home, take a shower, drink some coffee, and take approximately six naps because you’ll still be tired as hell.

8. When the results come out again, don’t check them at work.

So, good news and bad news

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Wow, I haven’t written in a really long time. I’m sorry about that.

Let me start by saying that my life has slowly settled into a routine. I really like it. I think I’m made out to be a suburban mom who wears yoga pants, meets her friends at the local wine bar, drives an SUV, and takes her kids to Little Gym. Unfortunately, that time is not now because I’m too busy working my ass off to ensure that I can actually afford to upgrade to an SUV and retire my sedan.

Here’s the good news: I really like my job. I’m writing better, learning more, and getting a lot of one-on-one time with my Judge. He’s awesome. My position is only for one year, but I wish it was for two. After this year, sadly, I’m forced to move on.

More good news: I passed one bar exam. I will be sworn in on December 12, 2016 and at that time will be a licensed attorney. Keep watch for the disclaimers that state that nothing on this site constitutes an attorney/client relationship, it’s for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

Even more good news: M and I set our wedding date, picked our venue, picked our wedding party, and have decided on our food/alcohol menus. We also decided our first dance song, who will give speeches, completed our registries, picked our wedding colors, and decided (but haven’t asked) our officiant. We’re getting married on October 7, 2017 and I am so excited to be his wife.

Bad news: I failed one bar exam. I failed one of the bar exams I took by 5 points. I allowed myself to have a meltdown and now I’m picking myself up by the bootstraps to try again. I’m taking the same bar exam again in February. Fortunately, as I wrote above, my Judge is amazing and has given me so much support and encouragement while I begin studying.

I don’t have much else to update you guys on. So, even though I thought this blog would turn into more of a life blog, it’ll continue to be a bar prep blog for a while longer. Don’t worry, some wedding stuff will be sprinkled in occasionally, as well, so don’t think it’ll be all doom and gloom.

UPDATE: Three weeks later

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Hi guys,

It’s been nearly three weeks since I took the bar exams and so much as happened! Here are a few updates.

Bar exams:
They were incredibly tough. Each day that goes by I’m convinced more than ever that I failed both of them. My Barbri books still haven’t been returned because I can’t bring myself to even look at them. I’m half tempted to keep them just in case but there is a $250 book refund and that money is looking awfully good right now.

I can’t offer any tips about the bar since I’m not sure if I passed, so look for a later update if you want advice. What I can say is that I’m so glad that they are done.

Moving:
I moved less than one week after the bar exams and in with M. It felt, and still feels, like the natural next step in our relationship. I’ve had a lot of fun decorating and unpacking and turning this apartment into a home. I still have about 2% of items that need to be put away, but on the whole the apartment is pretty much done. Pretty soon after moving in, we both had to leave because we took our first vacation!

Vacation:
M and I took a vacation three days after I moved in to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. This was an amazing vacation! The beaches were beautiful, the people SO friendly, the seafood was delicious, and the sunsets were amazing! We stayed in a little guest cottage that we found on a website similar to AirBnB. We saw dolphins while taking a sunset cruise, heard a horse while walking on a nature trail, both received pretty gnarly sunburns, learned about the Wright Brothers and saw where the first flight took place, cooked a clam pot, ate delicious fudge, and relaxed on the beach. It was a perfect vacation with a perfect person and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’ve provided myself the perfect segway into my next section . . .

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A cute little dock that we saw while meandering around Duck

Engagement:
M proposed while we were in the Outer Banks! It was a beautiful and private proposal and I immediately said yes. We haven’t planned any details yet, we both just want to enjoy being engaged for a little bit, but we’ll start that soon enough.

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So there are my latest updates! I start my new job in about ten days, so I’m sure there will be another entry about that, too.

I want to thank all of the readers on here and my twitter followers for giving me such support during the bar exam. I read each and every tweet and comment, even if I didn’t respond, and was incredibly touched. Thank you all!

And I’m done!

I’ll post a longer update after I move and come back from vacation, but I wanted to let all of you know that I survived the bar exams!

I’ve never been so tired in my entire life. I’m going to spend today in my bed, watching Netflix, and possibly eating chipotle. Although I do have a vacation to go on, so probably not.

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I think I’ll take a nap right here!

No rest for the wicked. No rest for the bar preppers

On Monday I started my bar prep program by eating 6 oreos for dinner.

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Edit: I drafted this two weeks ago and never got around to posting it. I’m not dead, although emotionally I feel it, I’m just studying away. Thanks for your patience!

I’m hoping to get back to regular updates, but man bar prep is SUCH a jealous mistress.

Send help. Send taco bell. Really just send me home.

Graduation is TOMORROW!

My graduation dress is hanging up (because I don’t care how old I am ironing clothes is beyond annoying), my cap and gown are hanging up, my room has been cleaned, dinner plans have been made, and family is close to arriving.

When am I supposed to panic?

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The feeling I have right now is the same one before exams. “Oh shit, did I do everything I needed to do?” Then I think to myself, it’s too late to do anything else besides drink and eat everything in sight.

It’s bizarre to think that I began this blog in August 2013 before I even set foot in the law school and now my time there has already finished. Don’t worry, I’m continuing this blog through bar prep and probably the first year of work. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon!

On that note, I’m off to celebrate being done with law school!