Wednesday, June 20, 2007

barbri and essays 

So the bar review course provides tons of essays and model answers. But the models aren't consistent. For two very similar questions, one will go into great detail on one particular thing while another will lightly touch on the collateral items and focus on the important one. On two separate freedom of speech questions that both involved some level of regulation, one model answer listed all the different ways that speech could be regulated and then focused on the one at issue, while the other just mentioned that the government may regulate in "certain conditions" but only mentioned the commercial speech exception, the one at issue. What are we supposed to do?

One thing the model answers and the related lectures have been consistent on is leading off with a statement of what law governs the issues in the question (US Constitution, MA Criminal Code, common law, 14th Amendment, etc.). They've pounded this in - do this every time!

We handed in our first essays for grading last week, prior to actually having detailed instruction on the essays, and we got them back last night. I think they deliberately time it this way so that we get crappy scores on the first one and then are amazed at how much barbri helped us improve the quality of our essays. When really it's because they give us crappy instructions and give the graders instructions to be crappy graders, and then we've got nowhere to go but up.

A classmate's grader circled her introductory statement about MA criminal code and case law governing the issues at hand, and wrote "FLUFF" in the margin! Mine hardly wrote anything useful at all, other than the points I didn't earn. From the grumblings I heard, this was other folks' experience as well.

But "FLUFF" on the one thing they had in every single model essay and which more than one instructor told us never to forget to do? WTF?

Second hand in essay tonight. We'll see what the grading brings next week.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:27 AM