CanadianJD27

Ontario Bar Exam Prep - June 2017

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Posted (edited)

I'm sure this question has already been posed elsewhere but I couldn't find any relevant info through the search option. Can any current articling students/recent calls recommend bar exam studying tips/tricks/what to avoid? I keep hearing mixed things through the grapevine - index yourself/index in a group/just use the provided info & focus on reviewing content etc but that seems to be hearsay. Any and all advise would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

 

 

 

CJD27

Edited by CanadianJD27
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I updated a old index with 19 other people. We split the work, then emailed it to one person who compiled it and sent out the updated version to everyone. It worked out really well for me, and I would recommend it. Making your own index is incredibly time consuming, and not at all worth it (in my opinion).  

 

I personally found doing practice tests to be the most helpful. It gave me a chance to practice using my index and finding the relevant section in the material. While I read and highlighted every section of the materials (minus the Rules and Bylaws), I don't think that mastering the material and memorizing the content is the most useful. What's actually important is being able to find the answers in the material quickly. However, reading and highlighting the material will make you more familiar with the broad ideas, which will also make it easier to know what to look for.

 

In my opinion, there are two very important tools needed for this exam:

 

1) A detailed index organized in a way that makes sense to you. After writing and passing both exams, I can confidently say that a detailed, easily navigable index is the most important tool you'll use. If the key terms in the index aren't listed in a way that is intuitive to you, you're going to have a very difficult time finding the answers during the exam. For example, when I read a question such as: "Bob's client refuses to pay him, and Bob doesn't want to represent them anymore. What should Bob do?" my thought process is to look for, "withdrawal from representation - non-payment," in my index. If the index I'm using doesn't have the page reference listed under this keyword prompt, then I'm going to have a problem. I hope that made sense. The problem with using 'inherited' indices is sometimes the person who made/updated it has a different thought process than you, so things are listed under keyword prompts that aren't intuitive to you. Use an index that works for you. 

2) A time tracking sheet. I'm pretty sure the same excel doc has been passed around over and over. (I saw at least 20 other people with it at the exams). It's basically a chart that lists what question you should be on if you have x amount of time remaining. If you don't know someone who already has it, just make your own, it's not hard. Allot 90 secs per question, and work on the assumption that there's 120 questions. Every few questions or so, check the sheet. If you're behind by more than 5 questions, pick up the pace. If you're ahead, then you know you can afford to spend a little extra time on that hard question that's stumping you.

 

Above all, try not to stress too much. You got this! You didn't make it this far out of pure dumb luck. Seek out advice from others about what worked for them, but in the end, do what best matches your learning/studying style.

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Thank you! I really appreciate your feedback. I'm also inclined to divide up indexing, I think it makes sense from a time management perspective. Is it similar to creating a table of contents for exam notes/how did you figure out what works for you? Is there a template or something that people look to, other than an old index?

 

Thx

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A lot of people have suggested reading parts of the Solicitor materials first before going to Barrister, mainly because of the short timeline between the two exams. Anyone have any suggestions for this?

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Thank you! I really appreciate your feedback. I'm also inclined to divide up indexing, I think it makes sense from a time management perspective. Is it similar to creating a table of contents for exam notes/how did you figure out what works for you? Is there a template or something that people look to, other than an old index?

 

Thx

 

I guess it would be similar to creating a table of contents manually. My section took me about a week or so. I worked on it from approximately 9-6ish each day with a couple breaks thrown in. I am not aware of any templates. For me, I found that updating the index allowed me to get familiar with how it worked and how things were organized. If I came across anything that didn't make sense to me at all, I changed the keyword in the index, or added to it. Updating the index basically consisted of going through each key term listed in my section, finding the page it is referenced on in the materials, and changing the page reference if necessary. I also highlighted each pinpoint reference once I found the page. Doing this helped me read that section faster later on.

 

Doing practice tests also helped me practice finding things in the index/materials.

 

Ultimately, it can be a matter of personal preference though. Someone from my indexing group told me that the Ontario Law Exams index were better, and that they had relied on them for the Barristers. I decided to try using them instead of our group index for the Solicitors, but when I attempted practice tests, I realized that this index did not work at all for me. The layout and the key terms weren't intuitive for me, and I had constant struggles finding what I was looking for. I ended up going back to the group index. I am pretty sure I would have failed the Solicitors if I used the other index.

 

I would recommend asking some people in the year ahead of you to send you their indices/charts/etc. I wasn't the one in my group who selected the index we worked off of; however, there are 2 ways I can think of to going about selecting an old index to work from:

 

1) Some people told me that they did reverse-look-ups to get familiar with the index. (I.e. opened the materials to a random page, read a random paragraph and then tried to think of what key word this page reference would be listed under in their index. Then, looking through the index to see if they are right). You can try this out with a few of the indices and see which one automatically fits your thought processes.

 

2) Find one that is organized similar to how you would do it if you were starting from scratch, then learn to work with the key terms. For me, this was something that is very detailed and organized well. The key terms in the index I worked from weren't immediately intuitive, but the layout was VERY well organized. It was separated into each subject within each exam (i.e. Professional Responsibility, Civ Pro, Crim, Family, Public). Then, each section had the key terms listed alphabetically. Some terms were further divided into subtopics under larger topics. Next to each term was not only a page number, but also a reference to which quadrant of that page the specific info was on. Since I can be extremely type A, having something that was this meticulously organized was exactly what I needed.

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Hi,

I am writing the June exam and I was wondering if anyone would like to form a study group. I am located in North York. I am articling at the moment but I am planning to take time off in May or possibly work only 3 days a week to prepare. 

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Does anyone know a group that would be willing to share their index or even to contribute to the Index. I would be willing to share some of my material and I think I will be able to positively contribute to the group.  Thanks

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Posted (edited)

Is there anyone here that would be kind enough to share their indices for the June Solicitor exam? My husband failed if for the 2nd time and I'm trying to do everything I can to help him pass. It's devastating as well to be the significant other watching him go through this and being unable to make it better

Edited by Danabayley
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I just passed both exams in March and the best advice I can give is to figure out what strategy will work best for the way you think. In any case this is what I did:

 

I spent about 3 weeks studying for the barrister a few hours per day and read all of the material once. I only spent about 1.5 weeks on the solicitors and got through roughly 75% of the material thoroughly and skimmed through the rest. Aside from the business section I finished all parts of the exam with 30+ minutes to spare. Having a timechart helped me immensely in this regard.

 

I had an index as a safety measure because some questions are easier to answer using it, however, I relied almost entirely on the detailed table of contents. It made more sense to me to find answers based on subject rather than keyword. You'll quickly realize what works for you if you do a practice exam under timed conditions.

 

My second piece of advice is to read the rules and commentary carefully. You will have a lot of questions on professional responsibility and I could answer many of them without referring to the material which helped save me a lot of time. The same can be said for the by-laws although you'll likely have fewer of these questions.

 

Create or update existing flowcharts/tables! This is especially useful for civil litigation prescription periods, which court to go to, crim law offences, and priorities on the solicitors.

 

Hope this helps. Good luck to everyone writing in June!

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Here are my top 4 tips:

1. Do not bother reading corporate taxation.

2. Do not bother reading corporate taxation.

3. Do not bother skimming corporate taxation.

4. No, seriously, unless you already know that stuff from a course or somewhere, it isn't worth the headache.

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Here are my top 4 tips:

 

1. Do not bother reading corporate taxation.

2. Do not bother reading corporate taxation.

3. Do not bother skimming corporate taxation.

4. No, seriously, unless you already know that stuff from a course or somewhere, it isn't worth the headache.

 

I would also skip all the other tax sections in the materials.

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Some of my tips - 

  • Take practice exams; get the ones that provide answers and explanations
  • Keep the big picture in mind and don't get bogged down in the minutiae (I didn't even bother reading the materials page by page but YMMV so do what works for you when trying to understand the larger themes and issues)
  • Get and make use of appeals, timeline etc. charts and tables for Barristers (I didn't use any for Solicitors but if you have handy charts, use them)
  • Learn to love the detailed TOC provided in the materials - I ended up relying on it 90% of the time I needed to look things up
  • I used indices prepared by others and I must say they were pretty worthless (used them around ~10% of the time at best) but YMMV if you prepare your own
  • last but definitely not the least, Professional Responsibility, Professional Responsibility, Professional Responsibility. Be responsible and know that material inside and out, including the rules and the LSUC by-laws

Caveat: If I had failed, then the above would have been things not to do to prepare so take them with a healthy dose of skepticism. Preferably washed down with grape soda. Or fermented grape juice if you so prefer.

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I would also skip all the other tax sections in the materials.

 

around how many tax related questions come up during the exam (not just corporate taxation, all tax related)?

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Posted (edited)

around how many tax related questions come up during the exam (not just corporate taxation, all tax related)?

 

I do not think that LSUC would appreciate me discussing such specifics, but let me say that generally speaking, tax law is a minor part of the exam...I don't think it will be the difference between you passing or failing. Sorry I cannot get into more specifics.

Edited by artlan

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Less than 5.

 

seriously? consistently less than 5? materials seem to have huge tax coverage

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seriously? consistently less than 5? materials seem to have huge tax coverage

 

While I admit I spent far more time than I should have trying to understand tax, on the exam itself, I picked 'C' for every tax question and moved on. I was told by the students before me that they are not worth the time they take to calculate, and I decided to take this advice. I still passed. Unless you're some kind of tax guru, I'd recommend taking the same approach. 

 

If you have extra time at the end, you can always go back and attempt them. 

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I have a different take on the tax questions. But I need $100 plus HST per word for any advice I may or may not have and I am not known for being less than glib when it comes to earning by the word and guess what, I can soon form a P.C. and deduct all the time and energy (hydro bill) I'm spending as I type all of this, not to mention CCA of the computer I'm using right now, and did you guys know that if I buy a computer for my law firm I can get a refund for the HST paid for the computer?   :twisted:

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I have a different take on the tax questions. But I need $100 plus HST per word for any advice I may or may not have and I am not known for being less than glib when it comes to earning by the word and guess what, I can soon form a P.C. and deduct all the time and energy (hydro bill) I'm spending as I type all of this, not to mention CCA of the computer I'm using right now, and did you guys know that if I buy a computer for my law firm I can get a refund for the HST paid for the computer?   :twisted:

 

Hey look - it sounds like that OPCA litigant is back again with a "throway" account and fresh angle!

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