Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First Day Done!

Well, I survived my first day, though my test score may not have survived it very well. For those of you who don't know, the first day of the Bar Exam is essay test day. We get 15 essay questions to be answered in 1 3-hour session and 1 2-hour session. These are scored on a scale of 1-10 and then later scaled using the standard deviation method to be a scaled score out of a possible 200 points. The essays can cover any topic in Michigan state substantive law, as well as the rules of evidence and procedure of both federal and state.

The first session I thought went kinda ok. There was only one question where I more or less stopped and said, "WTF?" (almost out loud). It was a worker's compensation question based almost purely on policy and guesswork. That one did not go so well at all. The contracts question on the first session was kinda iffy, but I've probably had worse answers. The rest of them I felt pretty comfortable with, although I feel a lot of other people got cheated because BarBri never went into corpus delicti, and one question was based purely on it. The only reason I knew about it is because I used to work for a county prosecutor's office.

The second session was a disaster. There were two questions where I had almost no clue what to write, a third which was iffy (I hope promissory estoppel was correct on that because if it isn't, I'm doomed). Some of the questions weren't that bad, and the last one I think I really hammered home, but those three that I don't know about really have me worried.

As to the test taking environment, it's not as cold as people said it would be. I wore my short sleeve shirt and jeans the whole time. I saw some people in shorts and they appeared comfortable. You get a fair amount of desk space to work at, but they are these long tables like you'd have at your church picnic or something, and you're seated with 2 other people at your table. There's a lot of nervous joking going on before the exam and afterwards, and just normal chatting. The proctors are NOT Nazis like I thought they would be. I thought they were going to be doing strip searches on us or something. Instead the only thing they did is checked our IDs and gave a cursory look at what was in our food storage bag where we had to put everything.

The whole thing was very informal and the atmosphere was more relaxed than I thought it would be. I think a lot of what's said about actually taking the exam itself is hyped. It's very stressful because of the actual exam itself, but the proctors and the Board really does everything they can to alleviate any extra stress caused by environmental issues. The led the people typing the essays away and they were never seen again. If I had known that electronic typewriters were allowed, I probably would have used one. I didn't realize they had outlets. For those of you unaware, Michigan is one of the few states that still requires its examinees to write the essays in bluebooks or type them on a typewriter. Computers are NOT permitted, much to my chagrin.

Anyway, I'm back at my hotel room relaxing for the next hour and then I'm going to do some evidence and contract problems, since those seem to be the ones eternally plaguing my existence. Now that I'm actually here and am through what I believe to be the worst part of it, I can safely say that I won't mind coming back here in February to retake this thing. Next time I'll be more prepared and will hopefully have better memorized some of the rules that I forgot this time around.


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