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How I spent my summer vacation

August 10th, 2013

Although I graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in May of 2011, due to some health issues related to my Granulomatosis with Polyangitiis (GPA—Wegener’s Granulomatosis) the Summer 2013 exam was my first opportunity to write the bar exam.

This was also the first time that Washington State used the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), which consists of the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). I had already written and passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE).

The MEE and the MPT were given on the first day. The MEE involves writing six essays on the issues, rules, and application of the law with some hypothetical facts drawn from a number of different legal areas. You have to complete the six essays in three hours on the first morning of the exam. The MPT requires writing two essays in three hours in the afternoon to show you can read and follow directions and apply the law in a closed universe test of common legal tasks.

The MBE, which is written on the second day, consists of two-hundred multiple choice questions about the law, 100 questions in three hours in the morning, and another 100 questions in three hours in the afternoon.

Surprisingly the three hours for every section of the exam went very quickly. You’re so focused on reading, thinking, and writing. What really tired me out was the anxiety of waiting for each section of the exam to begin. For example, the first night before the exam, I had set three alarms to make sure I wouldn’ be late. Yet I still kept waking up to check the time.

The second most tiring part of the exam was waiting for the processing required to get every applicant identified and make sure we only had the things we were approved to bring into the exam. This felt like it took forever, even thought the proctors were working as hard as they could to get everyone ready to start while making sure there were no opportunities to cheat.

The questions, which we cannot discuss, were very interesting and challenging. I was able to compose reasonable essays, and eliminate most of the really wrong possible answers on the multiple choice components of the exam. In the end, I don’t know if I passed, but even if I failed I don’t think I embarassed myself too badly.

In 2004 when I first began to apply to law school, I bought a box of 2H pencils to use for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I used the same pencils for every exam in law school, and for all my practice for the bar exam. Even if an exam was given on the computer, I used the pencils for my scratch work. So I figure they have absorbed the law via osmosis.

 

Lucky Pencils

My Law School Trained Pencils

So in the end, if I failed I am blaming it on the fact that the Bar supplied the pencils for the multiple choice questions. Had I been able to use my now learned pencils, I would have aced it for sure.