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IMPROVE YOUR LAW SCHOOL'S PASS RATE WITH OUR BAR SKILLS FOUNDATION RESOURCES
To: Law School Academic Support Faculty
Have you thought of starting your own bar exam skills foundation effort at your law school? Such an effort could increase your school's pass rate and send the positive message to the students, faculty, and alumni that bar exam performance is important at our law school. This movement is becoming more prevalent as students and accreditors focus on success metrics to justify the high cost of a legal education. The November 2011 National Jurist at page 24 identified a law schools' bar pass rates along with costs as the most important factors students look at in deciding which school to apply to and attend.
Law students assume their law school will prepare them for a legal career. That includes teaching them the stuff that is necessary to pass the bar exam and get admitted to the profession. Student class action lawsuits complaining of this deficiency and no jobs for students have recently been filed against more than a few law schools. See http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/law_firms_announce_plans_to_sue_15_more_law_schools_over_job_stats. Lack of bar exam passage is a better student claim against their law school than the scarcity of legal jobs after they graduate over which the law school has no control. Forward thinking schools realize proactivity is necessary. Yale Law School professors are suggesting "Any student who has less than a 50% chance of passing the bar in three years' time, based on the statistics, should have to sign waivers acknowledging the risks of their education investment." Click here to see the full article. Some affirmative program is desirable to demonstrate your law schools committment in helping your students pass.
Part of the reason why students struggle with passing the bar exam is that the bar is unlike a traditional law school exam. It is multiple exams and covers numerous subjects in rapid fire that law schools teach in depth in many separate courses. Further, knowing the law is not sufficient without practicing working thousands of bar-exam style and degree of difficulty questions. And the questions should relate to legal issues popular with bar examiners, which may differ from law school exams and law school hornbooks. The Rigos UBE texts all have question maps that make this cross-relationship quite easy.
Upon graduation students are thrown in the deep end of this complex new exam without a good grounding in the necessary bar exam skills and without enough time to practice working thousands of questions. Traditional bar review courses need to cram the depth and breadth of all the substantive coverage and exam strategy into a few weeks' time. This may overwhelm the students. In comparison, New York Law School recently introduced a law school "bar prep" foundation program aimed at the bottom third of the class and raised the school's pass rate from 58% to the mid-80s. See November 2011, National Jurist 19.
One fundamental misperception that perpetuates use of the "cramming" technique is students have already studied these topics in law school, so Bar preparation is really just a "refresher course." This philosophy is dead wrong. What students learn in law school courses bears only a passing resemblance to what they must know to survive the Bar. The tricks, red herrings, and fine-line distinctions that are the hallmark of bar exam multiple-choice questions are not usually included in the traditional Socratic law school teaching and learning method. The bar exam emphasis and depth of essay questions/answers and performance task questions is also much different than what most students learn in law school.
Many law schools now see they need to develop their own "bar foundation" program independent of Barbri. In truth to raise your metrics in your state you need to do more and better than Barbri since they are the state average. More Barbri does not really add much value or move your students up the grading curve. Independence also helps credibility. But they are not mutually exclusive and there are thousands of students using Rigos as a second source to Barbri. Law students often use more than one horn book to prepare for exams. The whole may be greater than the sum of the parts.
There are various law school bar foundation approaches and possible ingredients we identify below. Start modestly, but any effort is better than none. Usually it is best to approach this effort on a student year-to-year basis as follows:
First Year Students
Second Year Students
Second to Third Year Students
Third Year and Post Graduation
LOPR "Seamless Process"
Rigos Law School UBE Series Foundation products use a systematic four-ingredient approach that helps students achieve the four necessary LOPR elements to improve their chances of successfully passing the bar exam.
LEARN THE LAW: Our texts provide succinct yet thorough exposition of all subjects tested. This includes integrated practice "learning questions" to reinforce the legal rules. By pointing out common MPRE and MBE pitfalls, nuances, and fine-line distinctions, students learn how to select the best answer on difficult and uncertain multiple-choice questions.
OUTLINE THE LAW: The Magic Memory Outline prepared by the students on our software accomplishes both the understanding of the law and necessary issue memorization (see MPRE Magic Memory Outline Example). Acronyms and Mnemonics help candidates quickly and accurately recall information, and Magic Memory Outlines® aid candidates in memorizing the material.
PRACTICE: Built into the text is 75 multiple-choice "learning" questions in each MBE subject's chapter. This reinforces the law and helps show students how the examiners test the subject. The MBE volumes also have over 1,700 questions and full answer rationales. Practice questions are presented at all levels of challenges, including some that are more difficult than the actual MBE. All have detailed analyses/rationales of each alternative. Students can thus receive feedback on error rate and by topic.
REVIEW: Students must continually review their Outlines and missed questions as they progress through the subjects tested. Our "Learn Your Mistakes" technique helps avoid past mistakes and reinforces the ability to score high on the most difficult questions. The last 10 days should be a "review of the review."
Other Bar Exam Synergism Tips
SUPPLEMENT TO BARBRI OR KAPLAN: Your licensed foundation review books have over 1,700 different MBE questions, which make them a great source of additional practice questions for your students enrolled in a traditional bar review course, especially if they became exposed to same in your Foundation program. "Make Your Own Exam" CD-ROM software allows candidates to make their own personally-tailored practice exams. Two 3-hour, 100-question practice MBE exams are also included. Go to www.rigos.net/uniform-bar-exam.
START EARLY: From our review course experience, the effort that students must make to improve their bar exam results is easier if it is not restricted to an 8 week period. Your law school foundation effort could make the difference because the students gain some of the bar exam necessary knowledge and skill. We can share with you positive experiences at other law schools that are currently using our resources in their foundation classes and/or recommending our books to their 2L students during the summer of their second year. If they follow this program, the students will review and relearn the black letter law that they studied as 1L's, not in the Socratic method, but rather in the way it is to be tested on the MBE.
SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY
If your law school uses our learning tools in your foundation course you will give your students a head start on bar preparation and an increased awareness of the high level of competition they will face on these all-important exams. Students will gain an early appreciation of the bar exam's fine-line distinctions and question tricks and traps. This creates a student enlightened foundation for the commercial live or home-study bar review course students will take after graduation. If a law school purchases our inexpensive license you will have multiple resouces available.
SEE FOR YOURSELF
Don't take our word for it. Evaluate one of the Rigos UBE Review Series Volumes for yourself. To receive your FREE PDF copy of the 2012 edition of our MPRE for your law school's best professional responsibility professor's review please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, and email. Ask him/her to conduct a detailed review on the quality and suitability of using this text in a law school conducted MPRE class. Send us an email at email@example.com or call 1-800-636-0716 today to get more information on how we can help you raise your law school's bar passage rate.