Jump to content
Jone11

Why are the NCA Exams such a joke?

Recommended Posts

If you have 50$ to purchase a good set of notes online and a 12th grade English literacy level, you can pass with very little to no effort.

Essentially, I see the NCA Exams as 

1) A tool for filtering out weak English literacy candidates

2) A money making racket. 

 

If you are English first language, and you fail an NCA exam, you should seriously be ashamed.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you lose out to an NCA candidate for a job and are now here to just shit on foreign-educated lawyers, trying to paint your monopolistic views of what the legal profession ought to be in a decent light?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Did you lose out to an NCA candidate for a job and are now here to just shit on foreign-educated lawyers, trying to paint your monopolistic views of what the legal profession ought to be in a decent light?

I think the OP is a foreign law graduate. And while I have some theories as to the source and basis of his frustrations, being bitter at losing out to some other foreign graduate isn't one of them.

Note - if you're going to snark at someone, and want to do so on an informed basis, their forum history is your best source.

Edited by Diplock
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Diplock said:

I think the OP is a foreign law graduate. And while I have some theories as to the source and basis of his frustrations, being bitter at losing out to some other foreign graduate isn't one of them.

Note - if you're going to snark at someone, and want to do so on an informed basis, their forum history is your best source.

All correct. My opinion is coming from someone who just went through the NCA process and finished October 2018. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) It doesn't test any traditional skills that would be indicative of a strong student

2) Very little application of the material is ever required, and in certain exams such as Criminal and Prof Resp, you can get by almost solely on canned answers and templates.

3) Only study requirement is having comprehensive organized notes. You are allowed to bring anything you want in, so the more notes the better. Its almost comical how many notes some students bring into the exams, because you know they are just playing the odds and accounting for any possible question that could occur. In reality, most students probably refer to less than 5% of the notes that they bring in. 

4) You only need to pass! I remember that in professional responsibility, I encountered a ridiculously easy question worth 25% of the entire paper. After doing this question first, I remember feeling as if I could throw up on the rest of the paper and still pass. A feeling that nobody should really obtain easy on any type of competitive scholastic exam. 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bottom line is this. A lot of the weight of the NCA qualification rests on accepting the premise that graduates of foreign law schools were, in fact, educated at these foreign law schools. If this weren't the case, the bar requirements could be turned into challenge exams that even a layperson was entitled to take - which has been the case in the past, and may still be true in some places. 

So yeah. If you were hoping to shop around your NCA qualifications and say "look! I'm as good as a domestic graduate!" then well...that's a vain hope. There is a reason NCA applicants face distrust of their qualifications. There's a reason I discourage anyone from going the foreign route at all. 

Maybe you'll be the exception that proves the rule. If so, I wish you well. But at least now you see what you're up against. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Diplock said:

The bottom line is this. A lot of the weight of the NCA qualification rests on accepting the premise that graduates of foreign law schools were, in fact, educated at these foreign law schools. If this weren't the case, the bar requirements could be turned into challenge exams that even a layperson was entitled to take - which has been the case in the past, and may still be true in some places. 

So yeah. If you were hoping to shop around your NCA qualifications and say "look! I'm as good as a domestic graduate!" then well...that's a vain hope. There is a reason NCA applicants face distrust of their qualifications. There's a reason I discourage anyone from going the foreign route at all. 

Maybe you'll be the exception that proves the rule. If so, I wish you well. But at least now you see what you're up against. 

Im just being honest, regardless of the fact that this honesty ultimately reflects badly on myself. The NCA exam does not equate to a Canadian Law School degree. Not even close. 

Edited by Jone11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Jone11 said:

Im just being honest, regardless of the fact that this honesty ultimately reflects badly on myself. The NCA exam does not equate to a Canadian Law School degree. Not even close. 

I agree with you. And self-awareness of where you're starting from will serve you well. I'm going to follow with a much longer reply once I'm out of court. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, here's the longer answer I've owed you.

I'm not sure what path led you back to the NCA route after your stated plans to do something else, but clearly you've decided to practice law in Canada after all and, if I read between the not-subtle lines, you are anxious about how you are going to compete in this marketplace and how your qualifications will be received. And frankly, you should be anxious. You were an undistinguished student in undergrad, pursued some side-path into legal practice, and everyone you try to convince otherwise (at least everyone in a position to employ you) will know what's really going on. You will face an uphill battle to establish yourself in any kind of legal career. However.

Here's a concession I don't often make to students who are eager to claim that the legal profession is somehow elitist for not giving every B-average student an opportunity to practice law. There are a host of qualities that go into making a successful lawyer and a successful legal entrepreneur (note - not the same thing) and only some of those rest on strong academic chops. IF you genuinely care about delivering the best legal services you can deliver, and IF you are willing to hustle your ass off, and IF you devote yourself to learning everything you need to learn even though it may frankly come faster and easier to some of your peers ... you can be a good lawyer. And you can have a great career. And if you make the most of every opportunity that comes your way you'll eventually move past the point where the origin of your degree matters at all.

Students who want believe in quick fixes and easy routes around the hard work and the competition with their peers would gladly and brutally misinterpret what I just wrote. They want to live in some kind of child's fantasy where simply wanting something is some kind of qualification, and where they imagine being "fierce" is some kind of professional skill. As if yelling louder than everyone else in the courtroom, on its own, produces good outcomes. When I talk about genuinely caring more than the next guy, I mean that you wake up in the middle of the night needing to write down an idea about your area of practice that's been bothering you. I mean you think about your clients' issues in the shower. I mean you read articles about the law only out of interest. You CAN beat your way into this profession - even to near the top of it - through effort and determination. But it has to come from a genuine place. It isn't like you're Harry Potter pouring all his magic out at Voldemort, and overcoming him through sheer force of will.

I say all that because despite the bitter way you've chosen to express it, you are at least displaying the first quality I need to see in a NCA candidate. You know what you need to overcome. So my words of encouragement are that it's possible to overcome it. See above, for what it takes. And good luck.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not anxious about how I'm going to compete. I've been working at a Canadian firm for 3 summers, working full time during the NCAs, and now I will be articling at the same firm. 

I just seriously cant believe how much of a joke the NCAs are. The difficulty commonly associated with Canadian Law School compared to the ease associated with the NCAs just doesn't add up.

The knowledge and skills required to pass the NCA exams should be very similar to that which is required for Canadian Law School Exams...but its not even in the same stratosphere.

 

I guess they need to make money somehow. And who better to tax than the foreign "Canadian Lawyer" dreamers who will have very little chance to pass the bar and even less of a chance to succeed in private practice. Pretty scummy imho. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Jone11 said:

The knowledge and skills required to pass the NCA exams should be very similar to that which is required for Canadian Law School Exams...but its not even in the same stratosphere.

 

I guess they need to make money somehow. And who better to tax than the foreign "Canadian Lawyer" dreamers who will have very little chance to pass the bar and even less of a chance to succeed in private practice. Pretty scummy imho. 

What on God's green earth are you talking about?

1) Canadian law school exams are ridiculously easy. They're only difficult to do exceptionally well in. But to not fail? That's exceptionally easy. Far easier than any undergraduate final.

2) the bar is a level of competence (supposedly). The NCA exams are an equivalency of knowledge of Canadian law. They're different things. See point 1 for why a knowledge of Canadian law to the extent that a Canadian law exam tests you isn't a particularly difficult thing.

3) it's not a scam. It's competence. If NCA students aren't competent, they won't pass the bar exam. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

What on God's green earth are you talking about?

1) Canadian law school exams are ridiculously easy. They're only difficult to do exceptionally well in. But to not fail? That's exceptionally easy. Far easier than any undergraduate final.

2) the bar is a level of competence (supposedly). The NCA exams are an equivalency of knowledge of Canadian law. They're different things. See point 1 for why a knowledge of Canadian law to the extent that a Canadian law exam tests you isn't a particularly difficult thing.

3) it's not a scam. It's competence. If NCA students aren't competent, they won't pass the bar exam. 

How can you honestly say that the NCA's are an equivalency of knowledge in Canadian law and a test of competency?

All you need to do to pass is compile comprehensive notes (which most students are purchasing online) and copy the canned answers/canned analysis almost verbatim.  Where is the equivalency and competency in that? 

Edited by Jone11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Jone11 said:

How can you honestly say that the NCA's are an equivalency of knowledge in Canadian law and a test of competency. 

All you need to do to pass is compile comprehensive notes (which most students are purchasing online) and copy the canned answers/canned analysis almost verbatim.  Where is the equivalency and competency in that? 

I understand that you didn't go to a Canadian law school, but you're describing exactly what a law school exam in Canada is...

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Jone11 said:

How can you honestly say that the NCA's are an equivalency of knowledge in Canadian law and a test of competency?

All you need to do to pass is compile comprehensive notes (which most students are purchasing online) and copy the canned answers/canned analysis almost verbatim.  Where is the equivalency and competency in that? 

I know people who have been hired to write NCA exams.  I've also seen the applications for NCA exam writers.  I've never written NCA exams, but I've seen several.  They are broadly similar to 1L exams in terms of difficulty. 

You can also pass 1L exams very easily with a set of comprehensive notes and largely canned answers.  You won't do well, but it is very, very easy to pass.  

In short, while I'm not going to disagree about competency, I definitely disagree about equivalency.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't realize that you can carry any notes in with you for Canadian Exams. I apologize. 

Not a single law exam was open book for me in England, which is probably why I assumed it was the same in Canada

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Jone11 said:

I didn't realize that you can carry any notes in with you for Canadian Exams. I apologize. 

Not a single law exam was open book for me in England, which is probably why I assumed it was the same in Canada

Yeah they're all open book and just about everyone comes in with CANs.  You can literally skip every class, never do a reading but if you enter the exam with a good CAN (which are easy to obtain), you'll more than likely pass.  Doing well can be difficult, but failing is next to impossible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Stark said:

Yeah they're all open book and just about everyone comes in with CANs.  You can literally skip every class, never do a reading but if you enter the exam with a good CAN (which are easy to obtain), you'll more than likely pass.  Doing well can be difficult, but failing is next to impossible.

Not gonna lie, that changed my stance on this quite a bit.

I guess its hard to get into Canadian law school but easy to graduate once in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jone11 said:

Not gonna lie, that changed my stance on this quite a bit.

I guess its hard to get into Canadian law school but easy to graduate once in?

That was my experience and everyone I know has echoed the same sentiment.  With that said, I don't know anyone whose goal was just to merely pass and graduate and so it was a fight to get top marks, but yeah graduating was easy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Jone11 said:

How can you honestly say that the NCA's are an equivalency of knowledge in Canadian law and a test of competency?

All you need to do to pass is compile comprehensive notes (which most students are purchasing online) and copy the canned answers/canned analysis almost verbatim.  Where is the equivalency and competency in that? 

I never called the NCAs a test of competency. I don't think Canadian law school exams are either. I was very particular about how I phrased my writing there. You misread me entirely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

I know people who have been hired to write NCA exams.  I've also seen the applications for NCA exam writers.  I've never written NCA exams, but I've seen several.  They are broadly similar to 1L exams in terms of difficulty. 

You can also pass 1L exams very easily with a set of comprehensive notes and largely canned answers.  You won't do well, but it is very, very easy to pass.  

In short, while I'm not going to disagree about competency, I definitely disagree about equivalency.

I never called them a test of competency. Not once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • Recent Posts

    • Why would any knowledge of civil law be useful in a common law jurisdiction? To answer you initial question, the fact that U de M has an agreement with Oz doesn't mean that other common law students can't apply for the fast track 1 year civil as well. There's more paper work to go through, and it's not a guarantee that they'll accept you but it is doable. 
    • I am not feeling as ready for my November LSAT as I would like but am going to take it and see how I do. In the meantime I would like to have the Jan LSAT as a fall back.  As I would need to register for the Jan LSAT before I will get my Nov score - do you think it would look bad if I called schools to tell them I was taking the Jan LSAT now? Also if Nov goes better then expected would it look bad to then again call them and tell them I am no longer taking Jan (in order to get my application looked at sooner)? Thanks for any tips or advice
    • @BNAAct1867Is the fast tracked civil law program at U de M open to any common law students? I know Osgoode has the combined JD/BCL program with U de M. I am interested in living in MTL for one year and I have been actively learning french, also I noticed some people mentioned the civil law knowledge can be useful even if one works in common law provinces. 
    • i'm confused do they use olsas converted cgpa or b3?
    • I was in your same situation. I emailed a lot of prof's I did highly well in and I chose two from the list of emails. we'll see how it turns out this year but try choosing profs you know would write a great letter without knowing you (some people are good hearted) . 
×
×
  • Create New...