Bar Exams, Ohio State - Moritz College of Law

Bar Review Diaries: We’re All Mad Here

We only have two weeks left until the test. It’s about that time: our columnists’ brains are fried. They have been studying so long it seems they may have forgotten the most basic of non-lawyerly communication skills.

Let’s check in with Jeanette, Nathan, and Andrew as they compare their lives variously to Groundhog Day, feverishly come up with mnemonic devices, and transliterate show tunes into bar exam songs.

Paging Colonel Kurtz….

First, let’s check in with Jeanette. She’s got a fever, and the only prescription is more mnemonic devices:

I’m getting to that point in my studying where I’m just desperately trying to remember. I don’t have that great of a memory, so I’m trying the mnemonic device thing. Trying to come up with some memorable ones have been a more or less fun exercise in creative thinking. Themis gives you some mnemonics to use, but for the ones I’ve created myself, I’ve tried to make sentences that sort of relate to the topic: Ontario, Canada is Heavenly and Exquisite (until you get back to New York 10 years later and find out someone has taken your land).

When I can’t quite think of sentences, I think of names and imagine that this person lives a certain lifestyle that reminds me of the law. For example: Dr. Brian C. Duncan engages in medical malpractice and also forgets to mop up that puddle of water in the waiting room. Sadly, this is what my life has come to.

Don’t give up! You can do it!

A fellow law student just posted as his Facebook status: “Ugh.” It’s funny because I knew exactly what he was trying to say. That basically sums up how I feel right now — ugh. A quiet and reluctant acceptance of the work that’s in store for me for the next 15 days. It is also a simple statement, acknowledging that there are thousands of people out there who are feeling the same way at this very moment, and it’s not worth going into the details of my despair, optimism and constant struggle to stay away from Netflix. So needless to say, my nailbiting has returned, but it’s been somewhat abated by my efforts to maintain a semblance of a social calendar by taking some time out of each day to get out of the house and catch up with friends. So tip to future bar exam takers: don’t go too crazy.

That’s good, straightforward advice, Jeanette, especially when one of your co-columnists is hitting the books from dawn till dusk, weekends and holidays included. Nathan writes:

After about five or six pedestrian weeks as far as bar exam progress goes, I jumped from from 24% to 57% completion this week. That’s right. I’m proud to report that I went through a whopping 33% of the course material in one week. The secret? Doing nothing other than sit on Themis website from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. This, of course, included the Fourth of July, which I was unable to celebrate. I got a nice little present from Themis on the Fourth, though, because one of my 20 assignments that day was “Fourth of July: No Assignments.” This is apparently a glitch in their “Directed Study” system which long ago gave up on giving me a chance to celebrate the holiday, but forgot to take out the task where they gave me the day off.

Come on, Nathan, you’ve got to hooooold on

This week, my main goal is to get take the practice MBE Themis offers and hopefully learn something from it. Themis offered a simulated test-taking session last week at the John Marshall Law School which I skipped to stay at home and plow through more material. Instead, I’ll be taking the practice test by myself sometime this week down at my law school library. My goals for that are to get a feel for what taking 200 questions over the course of six hours feels like and hopefully get to a point where I’m pretty comfortable with the multiple choice questions. The big challenge will be next week when I start to actually memorize all the laws. I’m finding that it’s really not terribly difficult after three years of law school to make educated guesses as to the correct answer on a multiple choice question, especially when you just sat through a review lecture on that topic. What does seem foreboding right now is walking into an exam without an outline and having to state the law for an essay question. We’ll see what kind of strategy I adopt for that once we get into the home stretch. Riveting, huh?

Keep reading to see Andrew’s interpretations of Lord of the Rings and The Sound of Music in the key of bar exam….

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