Thursday, July 10, 2008

Houston, We Have A Problem

BarBri homework tonight was to write two MPTs. Seeing as how in two and half weeks I am going to have write almost constantly for six hours, I figured 180 minutes of MPTs would be good practice. So I self-scheduled them back to back. When the finish alarm went off for the first one, I would begin the second.

It did not work out that way. If you are unfamiliar with an MPT, it involves 45 minutes of reading, then 45 minutes of writing. I made it through 25 minutes of writing the first one when my right started to hurt. Bad. Three years of taking notes on a computer in law school has severely hampered had writing endurance. This could be a problem, because I am hand writing my exams.

I did make it through the first practice MPT by doing the ol' hand shake every three minutes to keep the blood flowing. It was rough. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and take it. Even when it is practice.

However, I am no masochist. I did not immediately start the second MPT, but rather took a 30 minute break (coincidently, same time as the Simpsons). Granted, this break was extended by the 35 minutes it took me to prepare to write the second MPT, but my hand still hurt while I wrote. So just looked into my inner Brett Favre, popped eight vicodin, and made it through. Not really, I sucked it up and took it like a man.

I am already planning on self-scheduling two writing days in the next couple of weeks where I write nine essays and an MPT over the same schedule as the actual bar exam for the sole purpose of right hand endurance.

But the thing that really concerns me is this. I hold a pen in a fucked up manner. Remember in second grade when they gave you those pencil grips to teach you how to hold a pencil correctly? I hated those damn things, so to this day, I still hold a pen the same way you would grip the handle on a pull start lawn mower. It is not that delicate.

Before this whole bar study fiasco started, I was well aware of this limitation. So I compensated. I went out and spent 12 hard loaned dollars on a Doctor Grip Pen and a Doctor Grip Pencil. This is by far the best pen for a person with a neanderthal-like pen grip. It is a pretty sweet pen (though no match for the $25 pen I used for five years until I lost it, or the ungodly great $300 pen (pictures of this make me salivate)), and was anticipating the massive benefits that this would reward me.

Turns out, I wasted my money. As those taking the IL bar know, there is a new rule states you cannot use your own fucking pen. Alright, I understand that no matter what anyone does, someone is going to cheat on the bar exam. It is a fact of life. I am sure that people at my law school cheated (no personal knowledge of course). I am sure that people at your law school cheated. Hell, even I cheated once in my life. But if I was sitting next to a person who took apart his pen, pulled out a little scroll of paper, I would report it. Assuming I saw it. But isn't this why there are proctors. They should not be paid to read Danielle Steele novels for six hours.

Now I am going to be stuck writing with a shitty skinny Bic pen for six hours. Have you ever used a Bic pen for extended time? The first thing that happens is that the roller ball gets out of whack. Suddendly there is ink leaking all over the place. My law school books are filled with ink stains from the rollerball in a shitty pen releasing more ink than it should have. Then, when the rollerball gets so damn clogged, you have to actually wipe the excess ink off somewhere. In my law school books, I just did that on the page, I mean fuck it, I will just sell it later. On the Bar, I am sure the examiner does not want to see a huge ink stain in the creases of the bluebook (or whatever they give us to write on, I have no clue. I do know that there is no scratch paper to take care of this problem). Plus, PLUS, these pens invariably suck. You know how you have disposable razors to shave your face and/or legs. And about 1 out of four of these razors are super razors. Razors that work so damn well you never want to get rid of them, but eventually you do because you have used it for two months and it does not seem right to use it anymore. Then you put on a new razor and it just fucking sucks. Not close, leaves tons of stubble, making you wonder if it would be wrong to pick the discarded super razor out of used dental floss and used up deodorant dispensers. Its that 1/4 of the razors that make you truely appreciate the 1/4th that are super. The same is true of cheap pens. A couple work fine. One works fantastic and you actually use it (assuming you do not lose it first) until the ink is actually gone. Then there is that one that is a turd, that makes it three minutes beofre your hand and shirt and paper are covered in ink. Fuck that pen.

They give you two pens at the start of the essay. I bet I get two stinkers.

Do not even get me started on the pencils. Thankfully, they have a sharpener at the front of the room. YAY! This is not good for me. I went through one whole piece of lead in my mechanical pencil on the practice exam. When I take a multiple choice test, I mark the crap out of it. In a fact pattern I simultaneously make notes in the margin while I continue to read. I see a fact, I mark everything that the fact could implicate, even if it is irrelevant (at least at this point, my recall is not absolute yet). Regardless, I underline, write incomprehensible notes, and make unascertainable abbreviations. But hey, it works for me. If two pencils get me through an hour I will be impressed.

I usually try not to rant about trivial shit, but this is just fucking stupid. If this was a constitutional issue, it would pass a rational basis test, but not rational basis with bite. Looks like I am doing my two practice writing days with a shitty Bic. When my hand cramps into a claw after July 30th, you will know who to blame.

Unrelated news:

Odd results from the practice MBE. I got 47% of the Torts questions correct. Seriously, that sucks. What the Fuck? Torts is easy. However, if the 12 hours of MBE review was good for anything, it was good for understanding why I missed the tort questions I did. With a bit more studying, I am going to get 30 out of 34 on the torts section. Of that I have no doubt.

Oddly, my best score came in property at 75% correct. You can all take a second to curse me. It makes sense. If there was any topic that I hated the most in law school and hardly tried at, it was Torts. If there was any subject that was hard to understand, and hence I spent a shit ton of time on, it was Property. I actually delayed my Property II exam a day after studying for it for four days because I was I was so unsure of the material, even though it left me with one day rest between my other four exams. It is nice to hear that law school is actually going to help me on the bar.

In non bar related news, after I finished taking the MPT, I decided to scroll through the hundreds of unread posts in my Google Reader, and happened upon MJD's annoucement that the new Pro Football Prospectus was out. One minute later I was starting my car, heading to the local borders. I had a bunch of shit I wanted to write about this, but the post is long enough. I may delve more into my fanboy love of football outsiders later. If you are so unlucky.

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