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Seeking (Kind) Bar Exam Advice


Ribbons

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Ribbons
  • Articling Student

Hey folks, I just finished my first complete simulated barrister exam, and I am not feeling great. As some very important context, I am usually a really good student but went through a traumatic event near the end of 3L that really shook my confidence and focus. My self-doubt is through the roof, and it is incredibly debilitating. So, please be kind in your responses. 

As for results, I got 80%, but I am concerned because the breakdown was as follows; 

Civil procedure 93% (this is usually my weakest so I was surprised)

Criminal law 70% 

Family law 81%

Public law 64% (this is usually my strongest, but I burned out by the end of the exam) 

I am worried that we need a certain percentage across all areas instead of just an average across the board. My hope was to achieve at least 75% in every area, and I did not hit that for Criminal law and did not even get close in Public law. I can't find any reliable information online, so I just can't get the self-doubt-demons to stfu. 

Does anyone have actual information relating to whether you need a certain grade across all areas or if you can fail if one of your areas is below a certain percentage? 

Thank you!!

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AllRise
  • Articling Student

Hi Ribbons, you do not need a certain percentage across all areas. This can be confirmed on the LSO website (under Pass Mark): 

https://lso.ca/becoming-licensed/paralegal-licensing-process/paralegal-licensing-examinations/guide-to-licensing-examinations#:~:text=The passing mark represents a,law on a Licensing Examination.

If this is an Emond practice exam I think an 80 is fairly solid. 

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loonie
  • Articling Student

That's a solid score. As mentioned, you do not need to hit a certain threshold for individual sections -- the Pass Grade is based upon the cumulative average of the test in its entirety. From what I've heard, the grade needed to pass is usually in the low 70's, but no-one knows for sure. If you're consistently scoring in the 80's on your timed practice tests, I think you'll be more than fine. 

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Professor Lupin
  • Articling Student

Great score especially considering the exam is still a week away.  Keep plugging away.

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capitalttruth
  • Articling Student
Posted (edited)

I got 80 on my first Emond practice exam, but 66 on the next one. I had been scoring 90s on my other timed practice exams (offered through Ontario Bar Prep and Access) until I received the 66 on the second Emond test last night. I was pretty baffled about how much I struggled on that one, and am not sure what to do at this point. 

Did anyone else notice how difficult Emond Barrister Practice Exam B was compared to A? If the exam is anything like Practice Exam B, I'm fucked.

Edited by capitalttruth
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halamadrid
  • Articling Student
1 hour ago, capitalttruth said:

I got 80 on my first Emond practice exam, but 66 on the next one. I had been scoring 90s on my other timed practice exams (offered through Ontario Bar Prep and Access) until I received the 66 on the second Emond test last night. I was pretty baffled about how much I struggled on that one, and am not sure what to do at this point. 

Did anyone else notice how difficult Emond Barrister Practice Exam B was compared to A? If the exam is anything like Practice Exam B, I'm fucked.

It was way harder than any exam I've done, I completely bombed it. There were some answers that weren't in the materials. 

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capitalttruth
  • Articling Student
1 minute ago, halamadrid said:

It was way harder than any exam I've done, I completely bombed it. There were some answers that weren't in the materials. 

Ya, I noticed that! Some of the answers required you to know Civ Pro rules that weren't in the materials, same with Family Law Rules. I wonder if the actual exam is going to test in a way requires outside knowledge or whether it will restrict the examination to what's purely in the materials. 

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halamadrid
  • Articling Student

It would be pretty unfair if they did considering not everyone has the chance to take courses in every topic covered on the Bar. 

39 minutes ago, capitalttruth said:

Ya, I noticed that! Some of the answers required you to know Civ Pro rules that weren't in the materials, same with Family Law Rules. I wonder if the actual exam is going to test in a way requires outside knowledge or whether it will restrict the examination to what's purely in the materials. 

 

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SNAILS
  • Articling Student

I keep reminding myself that failing the bar exam the first time is more of a nuisance and an embarrassment than a career ender. Most of us will just have to live with a small risk of failing.

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halamadrid
  • Articling Student

Not only a nuisance but mentally draining. I can't speak for everyone, but having finished exams in April then immediately jump into studying for these godforsaken exams has definitely taken a toll. Having 3ish months off wouldve been nice before jumping into articling. 

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fernweh
  • Law Student
17 hours ago, capitalttruth said:

I got 80 on my first Emond practice exam, but 66 on the next one. I had been scoring 90s on my other timed practice exams (offered through Ontario Bar Prep and Access) until I received the 66 on the second Emond test last night. I was pretty baffled about how much I struggled on that one, and am not sure what to do at this point. 

Did anyone else notice how difficult Emond Barrister Practice Exam B was compared to A? If the exam is anything like Practice Exam B, I'm fucked.

I haven't done test B yet, but I've found it helpful to scale my way up to the Emond tests! Started with Ontario Bar Prep > Access Bar Prep > Emond 

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Ribbons
  • Articling Student
20 hours ago, AllRise said:

Hi Ribbons, you do not need a certain percentage across all areas. This can be confirmed on the LSO website (under Pass Mark): 

https://lso.ca/becoming-licensed/paralegal-licensing-process/paralegal-licensing-examinations/guide-to-licensing-examinations#:~:text=The passing mark represents a,law on a Licensing Examination.

If this is an Emond practice exam I think an 80 is fairly solid. 

This is SUCH a relief thank you!!! It was an Access Bar exam and, after going through a detailed review, I realized several questions that I got wrong were because that material was from previous years so I actually did better in both criminal and public law than I had expected (still lower in public law than my goal but not by as much). This information relieves seriously SO much stress for me though thank you!!!

20 hours ago, loonie said:

That's a solid score. As mentioned, you do not need to hit a certain threshold for individual sections -- the Pass Grade is based upon the cumulative average of the test in its entirety. From what I've heard, the grade needed to pass is usually in the low 70's, but no-one knows for sure. If you're consistently scoring in the 80's on your timed practice tests, I think you'll be more than fine. 

 

19 hours ago, Professor Lupin said:

Great score especially considering the exam is still a week away.  Keep plugging away.

Thank you!! Encouragement is much needed and I appreciate you internet strangers ❤️ 

18 hours ago, capitalttruth said:

I got 80 on my first Emond practice exam, but 66 on the next one. I had been scoring 90s on my other timed practice exams (offered through Ontario Bar Prep and Access) until I received the 66 on the second Emond test last night. I was pretty baffled about how much I struggled on that one, and am not sure what to do at this point. 

Did anyone else notice how difficult Emond Barrister Practice Exam B was compared to A? If the exam is anything like Practice Exam B, I'm fucked.

 

16 hours ago, halamadrid said:

It was way harder than any exam I've done, I completely bombed it. There were some answers that weren't in the materials. 

After reviewing carefully today, I found several questions were not in the materials so I had actually done better in Criminal law than it seemed to show. I have heard other folks complaining about Emond this year being outdated. 

7 hours ago, SNAILS said:

I keep reminding myself that failing the bar exam the first time is more of a nuisance and an embarrassment than a career ender. Most of us will just have to live with a small risk of failing.

A very expensive nuisance but, yes, a nuisance indeed. 

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halamadrid
  • Articling Student
36 minutes ago, Ribbons said:

This is SUCH a relief thank you!!! It was an Access Bar exam and, after going through a detailed review, I realized several questions that I got wrong were because that material was from previous years so I actually did better in both criminal and public law than I had expected (still lower in public law than my goal but not by as much). This information relieves seriously SO much stress for me though thank you!!!

 

Thank you!! Encouragement is much needed and I appreciate you internet strangers ❤️ 

 

After reviewing carefully today, I found several questions were not in the materials so I had actually done better in Criminal law than it seemed to show. I have heard other folks complaining about Emond this year being outdated. 

A very expensive nuisance but, yes, a nuisance indeed. 

I did the first Emond exam but as the 3-day practice too and found it fair but that was almost 2 weeks ago now. I did both Ontario Bar Prep exams but haven't done Access yet, is it worthwhile to purchase? 

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Ribbons
  • Articling Student
4 minutes ago, halamadrid said:

I did the first Emond exam but as the 3-day practice too and found it fair but that was almost 2 weeks ago now. I did both Ontario Bar Prep exams but haven't done Access yet, is it worthwhile to purchase? 

I thought it was! But sent you a DM with more details 🙂

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fernweh
  • Law Student
33 minutes ago, halamadrid said:

I did the first Emond exam but as the 3-day practice too and found it fair but that was almost 2 weeks ago now. I did both Ontario Bar Prep exams but haven't done Access yet, is it worthwhile to purchase? 

Access has 80 questions you can do for free! The feedback is helpful as well. 

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capitalttruth
  • Articling Student

So what's the consensus on Practice Exam B from Emond? Given that some of the answers were not in the materials, should I put much stock into it? I'm still not sure how to gauge my readiness for the exam given the huge drop off I received compared to my other exams (including the 80 I received from the other Emond exam).

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loonie
  • Articling Student
Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, capitalttruth said:

So what's the consensus on Practice Exam B from Emond? Given that some of the answers were not in the materials, should I put much stock into it? I'm still not sure how to gauge my readiness for the exam given the huge drop off I received compared to my other exams (including the 80 I received from the other Emond exam).

Just finished writing it. It was noticeably more difficult than any other practice test I've done (including the other Emond exam). I got a 74 -- largely due to decent scores on the Crim and Family sections -- but still notably worse than my norm. Did significantly worse than usual on the Civil Lit section and got absolutely destroyed in the Public section. I also usually finish the exams with ~5-10 mins remaining, but had to pretty much guess the last few questions I flagged throughout for this one. Many of the questions felt silly and, after reviewing it, there is definitely answers that do not seem to be included in this year's materials. I am pretty confident that we could just chalk this up as an outlier as the consensus seems to be that it was somewhat unfair. 

 

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Ribbons
  • Articling Student
1 hour ago, loonie said:

Just finished writing it. It was noticeably more difficult than any other practice test I've done (including the other Emond exam). I got a 74 -- largely due to decent scores on the Crim and Family sections -- but still notably worse than my norm. Did significantly worse than usual on the Civil Lit section and got absolutely destroyed in the Public section. I also usually finish the exams with ~5-10 mins remaining, but had to pretty much guess the last few questions I flagged throughout for this one. Many of the questions felt silly and, after reviewing it, there is definitely answers that do not seem to be included in this year's materials. I am pretty confident that we could just chalk this up as an outlier as the consensus seems to be that it was somewhat unfair. 

 

This is helpful to know! I just purchased exam A and will be doing it tomorrow I think

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bubblegum
  • Articling Student
19 hours ago, capitalttruth said:

So what's the consensus on Practice Exam B from Emond? Given that some of the answers were not in the materials, should I put much stock into it? I'm still not sure how to gauge my readiness for the exam given the huge drop off I received compared to my other exams (including the 80 I received from the other Emond exam).

I also just bombed Exam B and came here to cry but I saw this thread and it gave me some relief. Just adding to the consensus that it was awful and some questions were IMPOSSIBLE to find in the materials.

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mewtwo101
  • Law Student

Does anyone have thoughts on Access vs Emond A? Deciding which one to do tomorrow (might end up doing both, one tomorrow, one this weekend). Thanks! 🙂 

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secunda
  • Articling Student
Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, mewtwo101 said:

Does anyone have thoughts on Access vs Emond A? Deciding which one to do tomorrow (might end up doing both, one tomorrow, one this weekend). Thanks! 🙂 

I did both practice exams and found them both to be good for practice generally (getting familiar with the DTOC under timed conditions). 🙂 I've heard some say that Emond is the most similar to the real questions on the bar exam, but that we can expect the level of difficulty for the bar exam to be higher.

If it helps, Access has free online questions (80) you can do timed if you wanted to check them out compared to Emond without having to buy the full Access exam first!

Edited by secunda
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loonie
  • Articling Student
Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, mewtwo101 said:

Does anyone have thoughts on Access vs Emond A? Deciding which one to do tomorrow (might end up doing both, one tomorrow, one this weekend). Thanks! 🙂 

Honestly, I wasn't that impressed with Emond. Even with regards to the structure, I don't like how PR is not incorporated into the other sections like the actual exam will be and is, instead, its own section. I know it seems to be consensus that the questions themselves are worded/structured most similarly to the actual exam, but I didn't feel like there was any significant difference between them and those found in OLE and Ontario Bar Prep.

I feel like Access was a bit easier just because the way the questions are structured makes it very easy to look up -- but, still a viable option. Emond's Exam A is pretty good if you do decide to do it (fair and reasonable), and I would probably recommend it to you over Access just because you've probably already done the sample questions there, so it will provide you with more variety and expose you to potentially different questions. 

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ZukoJD
  • Articling Student
Posted (edited)

So I just took Emond exam A and only scored 69% and I’m a bit worried. 

I think if PR wasn’t all located at the very end I would have done a bit better (I ran out of time and guessed on a bunch of them), but still not great. 

It was my first PT, and I got a bit flustered at the beginning. I fumbled between the index and the DTOC and ultimately found I was very ineffective with the index so I just focused on the DTOC for the remainder of the exam. 

I would appreciate some input from others here. Should I double down on the DTOC? Or just make myself use the index on the next practice test? 

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Professor Lupin
  • Articling Student
9 minutes ago, ZukoJD said:

So I just took Emond exam A and only scored 69% and I’m a bit worried. 

I think if PR wasn’t all located at the very end I would have done a bit better (I ran out of time and guessed on a bunch of them), but still not great. 

It was my first PT, and I got a bit flustered at the beginning. I fumbled between the index and the DTOC and ultimately found I was very ineffective with the index so I just focused on the DTOC for the remainder of the exam. 

I would appreciate some input from others here. Should I double down on the DTOC? Or just make myself use the index on the next practice test? 

Sounds like the practice test served its purpose, you've learned you need to adjust your approach to questions.  Re DTOC vs index, do what feels comfortable for you.  For most questions I prefer the DTOC and if I'm stuck I'll refer to the the Index unless its something about jurisdiction or timelines, in which case I'll refer to the UofT charts.  

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secunda
  • Articling Student
Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, ZukoJD said:

So I just took Emond exam A and only scored 69% and I’m a bit worried. 

I think if PR wasn’t all located at the very end I would have done a bit better (I ran out of time and guessed on a bunch of them), but still not great. 

It was my first PT, and I got a bit flustered at the beginning. I fumbled between the index and the DTOC and ultimately found I was very ineffective with the index so I just focused on the DTOC for the remainder of the exam. 

I would appreciate some input from others here. Should I double down on the DTOC? Or just make myself use the index on the next practice test? 

I found the same with the index, so I mainly use the DTOC! I highlighted the main headings and important sub-headings so they'd stand out, and I'd highlight any Rules or Acts in a different colour so it'd be easier to spot them if a question has that keyword (I use yellow for headings/subheadings and pink for the Rules and/or Acts). If this is helpful, I also annotated important words on my DTOC to help me know where to look for a certain concept/term that I notice come up a lot in practice tests that isn't already in the DTOC. If I make a mistake on a question, I also go back to the DTOC to see where it ended up being, and making sure I know how to find it for next time.

I guess overall, I've been focusing on getting really familiar with the DTOC to the point where when I see a question, I'm able to know before I open my DTOC where I can find it, which helps a lot with managing test anxiety I know I'll experience during the exam. I've only used the index if I could not locate the information in my DTOC as a last-ditch effort, and if that happens, during my review, I'll try to go back to my DTOC to see where I can find that concept for next time (for ex: making sure I know which chapter/part of the DTOC I should have looked at). I found I was only able to get really familiar with the DTOC with practice, so keep practising to get more familiar with it if you find the DTOC to be more helpful!

Edited by secunda
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