When you sign up for Concentrated Review with Pieper, you're taking the first step toward achieving your goal: to prepare for and conquer the July 2018 Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). The following is a breakdown of the course as it is typically detailed by Troy Pieper in a letter to all Concentrated Review students.
First, a quick dose of reality...
The pass rate for candidates repeating the Bar Examination in July is traditionally 25%. Those daunting odds can be attributed to a number of factors, the most important of which is that repeat candidates do not, and often cannot, allocate the same time and effort to the bar exam that they did last time; exam preparation now competes with new jobs, families, loans, and the very real specter of failure.
Many underestimate the task ahead, expecting to improve 25-30 points with self-study or by cobbling together some supplemental courses to cure self-diagnosed weaknesses. Neither of those routes, nor this concentrated course for that matter, is a wise choice when facing such odds. The only proven way to make up deficits of that magnitude is to start over in a full bar review course.
So, what is "Concentrated Review?"
For those who previously scored 250 or higher on the UBE who cannot attend another full bar review course, we have developed the Pieper Concentrated Review.
Unfortunately, viewing seven online lectures for about 50 hours is not a shortcut designed to replace 150 hours of a full bar review class; much of the heavy lifting and substantive law review will shift from class to outside class so that they rest on your shoulders during the week.
In order to beat the odds and make up for time saved from traveling to and attending all those classes, you must be extremely efficient in your home preparation and with our lecture time.
Concentrated Review: Getting Started
Within one week of registering for Concentrated Review, after which point you should be ready to view the first lecture (Contracts and UCC-2 Sales), you need to review, master and retain the substance, and then practice MEEs, MBEs, and MPTs.
On the substance front, depending on how much time you have each day and how long you find you need to really master the material—perhaps you set out to master 15-20 pages of substantive material per day, whatever the dose is, and it may take some time to find the optimal amount—that is what you should be striving to master each day.
Notice that we are trying to master, and not simply flip through or become familiar with, the material. Approach this initial round of studying as if we are not coming back to these subjects after our weekly lecture; of course you will be back, but several cursory run-throughs do not make up for the comprehensive mastery we are advocating at this juncture, particularly with subjects that have proven problematic.
If something isn’t clear or simply isn’t clicking from your bar review notes, go to the Pieper UBE Outlines (provided upon registration) and root out any lingering weaknesses or holes in your knowledge.
Initially, focus more on the substance than on the questions and essays, but be sure to begin sharpening your MBE and essay writing skills just before you close out one substantive area and move onto the next. In that regard, rather than dabbling in questions and/or essays every day, fully master the law, and only then spend a few solid, straight hours testing your comprehension, and recall with practice questions and essays in those areas—perhaps utilizing the weekends so that you accomplish this practice on Saturday before reviewing the corresponding substantive lecture on Sunday.
Q: How do you know when and if you have mastered a particular subject area?
A: When you know it well enough that you can recite, with rules, elements and definitions, the law in that area.
For example, if you just reviewed your bar review notes on UCC-2 Sales, you should be able to quickly recall and recite, without referring to your notes and in an organized fashion, the following:
- UCC-2 governs the sale of goods.
- The UCC-2 statute of frauds requires a writing for contracts worth $500 or more.
- Special rules pertain to merchants.
- There are several exceptions to the UCC-2 statute of frauds.
- List them, e.g. specially manufactured goods, merchant memorandum, part performance.
- Be able to provide details and nuances of each exception.
If you can quickly pull together these rules and lay out these concepts clearly and efficiently, then you have mastered the UCC Statute of Frauds. You should be striving for this level of comprehension and detail in each and every area you review; it will take time to achieve this level of mastery, but it will stick in your head and serve you well when addressing both MBE questions and essays. Once you've achieved it in a targeted subject matter, then you can move ahead to the next subject.
What about MPTs?
While you'll get to the MPT together with the Piepers in Lecture 3, look at your MPT score from the last exam. If it is hurting you, you should be practicing MPTs throughout the duration of the Concentrated Review course.
Fortunately, more than 30 free MPTs can be downloaded from www.ncbex.org. If you were to complete just one MPT per week between now and the bar, you probably could write approximately 10 times as many as you tried outside of class last summer.
While that might sound like a lot of work, at 1.5 hours per MPT, 10 MPTs would be 15 hours of work toward 20 percent of your score—not much, when you consider the enormous amount of time you will spend working on Con Law, which will comprise somewhere between 7 and 12 percent of your score. MPTs offer a lot of bang for your study buck.
Preparing for Battle
So, where do we find the time to study and practice? You're working, your life is more complicated, and you've used up much of the grace your friends, family, and employer granted you the first time around. Unfortunately, nobody can create or stop time for you.
What Pieper can do is work alongside you to give you every opportunity to pass with the cards we are now dealt. Toward that end, Pieper now implores you to start and to dedicate every "free" moment between now and July 24, to prepare for this exam. That means getting up an hour earlier, foregoing lunches with colleagues, limiting yourself to one drink at holiday parties (ok, maybe two), getting a dog walker, dropping off your laundry, and cancelling all weekend plans except for those you consider the most critical family and/or religious obligations.
Starting now, your schedule is no longer yours—it belongs to the Bar Examiners.
Lecture 1 introduces the UBE and covers Contracts and UCC-Sales. You should watch the first 30 minutes or so immediately, as it will provide additional information related to our plan of attack. After that 30 minutes, you may be tempted to jump right into the Contracts lecture, but we suggest that you hold off until you have had a week to study and prepare for that substantive review.
This means that you should start the Lecture only after you are fully versed in Contracts and UCC-2 Sales, as if the Examiners were allowing you to take that day the portion of the July exam dedicated to these subjects. Once you are ready, we suggest that you set aside a full day, starting at 9 o'clock that morning, ready to view the lecture and do battle until 5 p.m.
During the lecture, you will be taking on Contracts and UCC-2 Sales, and tackling MBE questions (have your Strategies and Tactics book handy) and MEE essays (posted alongside the lecture and contained in your Pieper Multistate Essay Exam book). Together with Pieper, you will complete both MBE questions and essays, and you'll cover the application of the most important substantive law in those chosen subjects. The extent of your advance preparation will be tested, and, when the long day is over, you'll know where you stand.
After Lecture 1
After Lecture 1, except for perhaps one additional day where you recap and firm up Contracts and UCC-2 Sales and prepare an essay to submit to me for feedback and grading, we (but not you) will be done with Contracts and UCC-2 Sales. The fact of that finality should inspire you to be as prepared as possible coming into Lecture 1. Our lectures are concentrated and abridged and the pace fast, so there will be no time for "going back" until you are again on your own in the final weeks in July leading up to the bar. We need to move forward, preparing for Lecture 2 (Con Law and Wills).
After a week of preparing those subjects you should be ready for Lecture 2 (Con Law and Wills). You don't have the luxury of calling a time-out or turning back the clock, so you must press forward with the next subjects and prepare in advance of each lecture. If you are not fully prepared when viewing each lecture, you will not be optimizing the experience, and you are short-changing yourself—and your chances for success.
Let's get to work
Once classes are in full swing and the final month of preparation arrives, a wave of concern (or is it nausea?) hits—"How can I pull all of this together in four weeks?" You've hit that wall before, so it should not come as a surprise in July. So, plan ahead. As the immediately preceding paragraph hopefully drives home, the time you spend now mastering these subjects is critical and will pay off handsomely in July. Indeed, your industry and what you accomplish outside of class will determine whether you succeed this time.
During the days leading up to each lecture, you need to systematically and efficiently master the 150 hours worth of your prior class notes, not to mention charts, outlines, and hundreds of flashcards you may have created, so that you can dedicate the limited lecture time with Pieper to application, practice, and scoring points. If you can immerse yourself in this material between now and July 24, you can make up for the fact that you do not have the luxury of putting your life on hold to attend 35 or 40 bar review lectures.