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2014-07-30 - 6:38 a.m.

MPT and MEE essays completed yesterday.

I found it actually rather fun to be able to sit down to an exam that gives you all the tools needed in order to work on the problem presented and doesn't rely on memory- so the MPT part felt OK.

WV gives two MPT tasks to do. They tell you to allocate your time by using 90 min for each.

I did completely ignore that advice, not really intentionally but as there was just no way the first task was going to be completed when I noticed it was close to the 90 min.

YES the prep course tells one how to avoid flipping back and forth all the time to go to each source; YES I did study all those methods of briefing the cases : jotting down all you need to know so you don't have to go back to the source material when writing your legal analysis
I did not do that.
Because I would NEVER do that in real life.
At least not with pen and paper.
The ability to do that requires being able to actually write LEGIBLY on your notated case briefs; and requires being able to cohesively organize the material into compartmentalized, clear summaries.

The trouble I had when starting to try to do that is that my memory for short term retention is SO POOR that I would then look at my scrawled note and have NO IDEA what the hell it was referring to!

I mean I DID use that method when I was using SOLEY the computer and could open a new doc to write case briefs, comment of facts of case and where they distinguish or are analogous.

But I tell you, to have to do that on paper LONG HAND was not something I was actually prepared to do

Because when doing so quickly, I couldn't even then decipher my notes!

I HAD To go back to the source material as if I were to quote it there was no other was to have accuracy.

That is why I say I would NEVER follow the methodology suggested for the exam in REAL life.
For me with my crappy memory it would be down right irresponsible to NOT flip back and forth and LOOK AT EACH original source as I quoted or cited it to ensure accuracy.

So I just did not have that skill that is needed to be able to organize material QUICKLY, and cohesively and then draft WITHOUT flipping back and forth between all the sources. I tried....

But then just resorted to the method that DID work for me.

YES I was the one flipping back and forth to actually confirm every reference was in fact accurate.

So when I looked up and realized I was not near done at the 90 min mark, I didn't panic, I didn't really feel any stress, but I was just actually IN FLOW really oddly ENJOYING THE TASK AT HAND

I mean if felt so GOOD to KNOW I was doing a job very well! It felt like WORK

YES the MPT is an accurate reflection of the ACTUAL WORK that lawyers have to do every day!
IT is very well designed.

And yes it DOES measure your skills of time management , prioritizing under pressure and ability to work QUICKLY which are skills that are valuable in ADDITION To the ability to read carefully, legally analyze and write a clear, persuasive argument to effectively achieve whatever it is you are setting out to do.

I think , knowing my skill set that I did a great job of time management.

Understanding that on this part of the exam they give 10 points for each task completed, and that I had a choice of doing BOTH REALLY CRAPPY or just ignoring the time and distractor of the fact there is ANOTHER task on my to do list and actually getting into flow and doing the best I can with one task before moving onto the next-- WHICH PERHAPS then I can rush through and get some points on,

I decided to just (OK that is not really the RIGHT WORD as I don't actually feel like I COULD choose otherwise- there is a element of being obsessed and compulsive here in having to finish one thing once started- the same compulsion which would keep me on task on an 500 page proposal for days on end non stop ) but rather I just worked on the first and was hyperfocused on it, in the zone, and fully engaged paying no attention to ANYTHING ELSE until completed.

That is how hyperfocus of an ADD PERSON WORKS.

It really doesn't MATTER whether you are in the middle of a FIRE or an EXAM or some chaos around you I mean I think had I STARTED that writing and work and got in flow BEFORE the fire alarm went out more than half the room may have evacuated (or maybe ALL) before I noticed. ( I think of the time the DISCOVERY Flew over my office and I missed it!)

YES the fire alarm DID go off at the onset of our test! It was rather amusing actually in a way. Gave me a chance to chat with the one procter that I thought looked like an IT guy with the trademark long ponytail and kacki pants and comment when discovering he WAS the IT guy from the exam software company "Darn, I looked up at all the proctors, thinking they were all board of bar examiners- and was encouraged as I thought 'WHEW that one looks like an IT guy' and then presumed that there was at least ONE bar examiner with a more liberal bent and felt hopeful!"

Now it is true prejudices get you no where and it is an unfair prejudice to assume the hippy looking dude may be more liberal... but when he was standing there and started chatting and I discovered he WAS the IT guy I found it funny THAT had not actually occurred to me!

Telling of how my brain works sometimes. And annoying, as sometimes I MISS an obvious deduction.

So I was SOLID on the first task. NO DOUBT bang up job of earning all 10 points when I finished it at the 111 minute mark (I think) . YEAH It took me 111 minutes to complete the first task they tell you to allocate 90 min for.

I couldn't care less at that point that gave me less time for the second task. Really
So USED to the way I work, and I was working that I just jumped in

And then got it done.

So the next task was done reasonably well I think.

HOWEVER , then in the afternoon came the MEE. That is the SIX ESSAYS which are intended to each be done within ONE HALF HOUR.

NOW I KNEW going in that may not be realistic for me. Heck , when I had an accommodation there was an essay I barely read and just jotted down some quick responsive answer identifying just one issue and didn't provide law or fact analysis and didn't even ANSWER any of the other sub parts. I was 12 points shy of passing the VA BAR essentially while skipping a whole essay question.

YES that was the last time round. I felt like I at least READ that last question and got something down which was massive improvement over the prior exams.

SO if I was 12 points shy in passing with having skipped a whole essay, I HOPE MY MBE SCORE is super strong today such that I have a CHANCE at passing this exam.

I believe I do, as after a really intensive working with what I have read and agree is THE BEST MBE PREP BOOK

Strategies and Tactics for the MBE published by Emanuel by Kim Walton and Steve Emanuel,
my practice scores of getting 63-67% (admittedly on a LARGER sample of 50 to 100 problems) seemed to jump to about 75 % correct(admittedly on a smaller sample of problems as the last round of mixed MBE questions I worked on while on the train was 27 questions completed).

However even though I have only practice 27 questions most recently that showed significant improvement, after reading and studying their insights on HOW the exam is drafted and the MISTAKES commonly made, I could identify MY mistakes and noted when reading the questions then picked up on what were the incorrect responses with greater accuracy.
There is no doubt that studying FOR THE TEST itself is very helpful.

I also know the law to a MUCH greater degree than before after much substantive study- which is essential in able to navigate that exam.

But back to the essays and my MEE performance.

I just HAD to submit to doing the best I can with MY ability. I just HAD to not stress over the very FACT I KNEW I would not be very likely to be able to complete the essays in 30 min each. I mean my practice rate was improving , and I did draft some practice ones in that time frame-- and they were the crappy ones. When I sent the critique the one that were done in 30 min it was graded overall D.
The ones I took TIME On were C+ or B- overall.

So I figured I have a choice of handing in ALL Crappy essays OR doing a few really well and actually get more points and then just fly through and do the best I can when time is totally runny out with the rest.

Not sure that was the best strategy, but in a way I also just had NO CHOICE. YES the obsessive not letting go to move on came in to play as well. I had a whole essay written and then decided to go with the ALTERNATIVE conclusion and re-wrote it- making the first assessment a counter analysis. I mean it was a bit ridiculous to be obsessive on the FIRST essay , and yes I was obsessing over that one. The more time spent I think the more time to get off track and off topic of the main question asked as well. I KNOW THAT, but heck when getting in flow it is HARD to stop that.... Ce la vie.

I mean like I said, if there were even a FIRE and I was in work flow, if in hyperfocus the burning could be going on a while before I notice "Gee I am hot" and look up. I mean I even IGNORE physical symptoms. I have been known to CUT myself when working on something and just IGNORE it until the job is done. (YEAH I did that in the garden just last week) Whatever the distraction, when one is SO ADD that they have learned this skill of tuning it ALL OUT in order to function -- well it is REALLY HARD to learn how to possibly BALANCE both having awareness and ability to focus to get something done.

When I did look up to find the time it was startling how long it took me to FIND The clock in the room that I could see.

Now the BAR Exam has a NO WATCH NO CELL PHONE NO TIMER rule.
YOu cant bring ANYTHING With you.

This is where an accommodation comes in for the ADHD person, as it is actually considered an accommodation to allow a WATCH.

The ADD person also never knows when they will PHYSICALLY-- YES PHYSIOLOGICALLY harness that hyperfocus, OR when they will just have a hell of a time paying attention to the task at hand AT ALL and not taking in EVERY OTHER STIMULI in the environment.

That is weird and fascinating thing.
There are times that it would be the noise from DOWN THE HALL, the dude in an office or cubical WAY ACROSS the room, a fly buzzing, heating system.... outside traffic... you name it, the smallest and simplest things... the smell of burnt popcorn A FLOOR BELOW coming in a vent, perfume lingering from a sales rep that walked by an hour ago....etc... that are external distracting stimuli.

It is so very weird how the brain can SOMETIMES not shut it all out, and OTHER times do so with such intensity that one might not NOTICE the two alarms they just ignored ( OH YEAH I think they did go off...) that are MEANT to trigger the brain to think "STOP WRITING AS YOU HAVE TO GET DRESSED NOW to.....Fill in the blank here.__________ Go to work, pick up the kids , TAKE A BAR EXAM...."

YEAH the alarms went off and strangely I think I was only conscious of them as I happened to just write of this weird tendency and then realized WAIT I DID JUST HEAR SOMETHING AND IGNORED IT AGAIN!!

ITs 7:30 and I am in good shape for time as the exam begins at 9:00 and is a 20 min walk so I CAN AFFORD to stay in flow just a bit longer here.

So I actually am one of the few who ENJOYED TAKING THE EXAM.

Its so very WEIRD but I ENJOY nothing more than the stress of being put in a position to perform and then PERFORMING WELL.
Its like the stress response just SHUTS OFF SOMEHOW and the hyperfocus and flow turn on.

Some might just call that an addictive personality....

But in any case, I felt like it served me WELL for the task oriented MPT.

I KNOW how the average STUDENT without life experience would approach the task given; and I KNOW that with work experience that my response will be MUCH more effective.

There are some things one learns from experience that ARE valuable on performance tests.

Now there is this prohibition of discussion of the CONTENT of the National Bar Examiners test, so I won't do that.

However, I did fall into the traps I can identify but STILL have trouble overcoming when answering the MEE questions.

Overview of performance- just stats-
There are SIX MEE questions , with time allocation recommendation of 30 min spent on each.

I answered four out of six. I didn't even read the last two essay questions.

I just got into flow and stared the exam and began working.

I messed up by DELETING some of my response thinking "This is not the issue" ONLY LATER did I realize that the whole point of the question in the first essay was to SEE If the examinees recognized that was not the issue presented. WHY OH WHY do I have SUCH TROUBLE at LEAVING IN THINGS THAT ARE NOT RELEVANT I mean I KNOW that the bar examiners are TESTING that ability?

The question presented actually included a scenario that raised one constitutional issue and then ASKED about another!! I caught on that it was tricky in trying to see if students REALLY knew their stuff. YES I started by identifying that was an erroneous and not relevant provision. I started writing all about that provision of the constitution.

But then when I got into the analysis and answered the OTHER raised issues, somehow I thought that was not relevant and DELETED that discussion. I think I Just plain FORGOT and lost track of the fact the bar examiners SPECIFICALLY ASKED about that. So I think I got confused and thought "Why did I write about that? IT is not the issue here" and DELETED the discussion.


I mean it is that terrible short term memory limitation that just stinks.
I didn't remain Focused on the ACTUAL question so in hindsight realize I likely deleted what they were going to give about 25% or 30 % of the points allocated to be earned from that DELETED discussion. I really had a moment of thinking "WAIT I SCREWED UP AND GOT CONFUSED" and thought somehow I was mistaken in including this whole discussion about a constitutional issue that was NOT really raised in the fact pattern and FORGOT that train of thought I was on was responsive to a stupid question. ( I can't disclose content- but it was akin to this analogy: Imagine you are asked to write an essay about what are the PRINCIPALS of your high school that there are concerns with that have been raised after a bunch of kids are caught cheating on a test. Now if someone wrote THAT Question : What are the Principals at issue? MY BRAIN would just think (are they kidding me? Trying to be cute? It is so obviously principles that are at issue here! Not Mr. Smith the PRINCIPAL and Ms. JANE DOE the VICE Principal that have anything to do with the core problem. MY BRAIN Would just want to IMMEDIATELY READ THE QUESTION FOR INTENT And LOGICAL MEANING that MAKES SENSE and I would in my mind read "PRINCIPAL" as "PRINCIPLE" and then deliver a well thought out, detailed response in an essay about HONESTY, INTEGRITY, WORK ETHIC, PERSONAL PRIDE, RESPECT FOR OTHERS ! But then WHAT IF there ALSO happened to be an allegation (but not true) of the PRICIPALs of that particular school PROVIDING ANSWERS to a standardized test to some kids! AH HA!! WHAT IF that were ALSO actually an issue, not because it was TRUE, but by the mere fact it was RAISED it has become relevant?

I HATE THAT when I notice something, start to address it, then EDIT IT OUT as I was not paying careful attention to the fact it was an issue the DRAFTER of the question raised and wanted addressed!

That is WORSE than not having noted the dumb question was not relevant, and NOT having noticed the legal distinction of which provision is relevant.


So I DID NOT have a solid performance on the essays completed. Plain and simple-
2/3 of what I am sure they are looking for was in my final response to the first essay ( I THINK... if lucky I failed to DELETE a reference to the extraneous argument somewhere. I mean I literally went through and was DELETING it to clean up my answer I thought was too long, confusing and raised irrelevant points. WHY THE HELL DO I INSIST ON DOING THAT?? Ce la vie....)

Ok so I failed at the remembering to state the irrelevant.

I did well at stating the obvious however, which in the past is the thing I also was terrible at.

When an announcement was made that there was 15 minutes left, I wrapped up MY SECOND thoroughly written essay, and them moved quickly to jot something responsive down for the following two essays.

So in 15 min I scanned and wrote quick responses to two of the remaining four essays. I actaully just jotted down the what I hope was the right legal ruling, threw down a law that applied with only the phrase "pursuant to" before the citation, and really didn't regurgitate facts as there was no time. I may have mentioned a BIT Of relevant facts in what was really rather easy family law question. I also did not have time to either correct spelling, fix typos (and I really was using touch typing at this point to fly thorough and get SOMETHING down), or write in complete , grammatically correct sentences.

So some points on those two essays.

But yeah, the 30 min timeframe to complete these essays was just not at all a realistic goal for me.
I KNEW That and my approach is that I MAY still be able to pass this exam.

Hopefully the MPT part which I WAS SOLID ON, and my Multistate exam will carry me through.

And if not, well then the next time around I will ask for the accommodation.

I just at least wanted to TRY This exam FIRST without one.
More accurately, I had a choice of taking this exam without one OR NOT taking it at this time as there was NO WAY I could have completed both the application to take the bar exam AND the supplemental accommodation request and met the deadline. So therefore I did in life, what I am doing on the exam which fairly reflects my ability to get work done-

I did what I could within the deadline to the best of my ability, and am not stressing about it not being perfect, and am perfectly HAPPY WITH "GOOD ENOUGH".

As long as the task is accomplished effectively that IS really all that matters.

Just of course hope that it was in fact done "Good Enough". * AND IF IT WAS NO GOOD ENOUGH THIS TIME AROUND, then IT WILL BE GOOD ENOUGH NEXT TIME! Every time I navigate this exam I learn something new about how to improve my performance during it. I used to tell my employees when I was working as a manager that if you hear something that is just NOT TRUE about your co-workers having a perception of YOU and/or your job performance, don't just ignore that as not a valid, real issue. EVEN IF IT WAS NOT BASED ON TRUTH, the very fact someone has a PERCEPTION makes it suddenly a REAL ISSUE for YOU AND Only YOU to address and change. I never went with the philosophy "Don't care what people think about you" when one is part of a team. Then, one should ALWAYS care about other's perceptions and ADDRESS and concerns that other's have WHETHER YOU THINK OF THEM AS VALID OR NOT. I myself have a hell of a time doing that when I look at exam questions! So if I have not passed this time around, I am going to add that to my list of things to remember and be conscious of : State the obvious; Include the IRRELEVANT whenever it is raised (showing the work to de-bunk it); and PAY ATTENTION to the issues THE DRAFER OF THE QUESTION RAISED! NEVER IGNORE OTHER PEOPLE'S ISSUES THAT THEY WANT YOU TO ADDRESS.

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