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ConfusedSoul

Ontario Bar - Should I defer ?

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Posted (edited)

So, I have my Ontario Barrister exam on 6th of March. Due to some mental health issues and other reasons, I wasn't really able to prepare well for it.

While I am well versed in the Civil Litigation and PR part, rest all I have only been able to do a reading (barely remember anything but the main headings).
In fact, I still have half of Criminal and Family left.

I have been hearing people studying for months and doing repeated exams.
I have also heard about people barely studying and still passing.
I was thinking of simply taking a try because I have heard the rumour that March sitting has a higher passing rate but it can be just that, a rumor.

Should I just let the exam be ? (LSO said I can get a late deferral and still get some money back). 
Or I just give it a try ?

Thanks.

 

 

Edited by ConfusedSoul

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Defer.

2 hours ago, ConfusedSoul said:

I have been hearing people studying for months and doing repeated exams.
I have also heard about people barely studying and still passing.

Nobody on this forum knows you or whether you're the type of person who can pull off the bar exam without studying. Never assume you're that type of person, always go into an exam having studied as much as possible.

There's no shame in deferring. Save yourself some money (and anxiety) and write the exam when you've had the time to adequately prepare.

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Do you expect circumstances to be different when you defer? Is money sufficiently tight that the cost of writing again is prohibitive? I don't encourage being unprepared for it, but it's not a "one shot only" test so unless you feel comfortable that the next option is 1000x better for you, I'm not sure there's much harm in writing it. 

It's much more of a "look up the answer" test, vs an actual knowledge test, so if you've learned some of the material and spend the next few days getting comfortable with the Table of Contents then you might not be in bad shape. Worst case, you know what you are walking into next time (the questions change but the format is the same, and the format is unique from many law school tests).

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@TKNumber3 and @canuckfanatic both make good points. Nobody can give you the "right" answer here. Only you can prevent forest fires weight the relevant and largely personal factors that influence this decision. 

  • Failing is not the end of the world
  • Deferring is not the end of the world
  • Your financial situation might have some influence
  • Your employment situation might have some influence
  • Would sitting the exam have a large negative effect on your mental health?
  • Would failing the exam have a large negative effect on your mental health? 
  • If you defer do you have a clear game plan to be prepared by the deferral date?
  • If you sit and fail do you have a game plan for how to pick the pieces back up and try again?
  • Are you the type who is good at exams, generally speaking? Some of the BAR exams are a blend of knowledge and basic logic. Was the LSAT a breeze or a huge challenge for you? 
  • Definitely ignore the thing about the March tests having a higher pass rate. It's either BS or due to some outside reason that has no influence on whether you would pass.  
  • If you do choose to write, spend the next couple days getting as comfortable as you can with your Index or the DTOC. Do not try to just read the remaining materials. 
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Do you have an index? Honestly I don't think I absorbed much information on my read through but the exam is basically a test of how quickly you can look up information and correctly read the question. If you have an index and have at least tabbed your materials with some reference that correlates with your index I think its worth a shot. 

I would suggest trying a few practice exams as they help get you in the exam mindset and comfortable with looking up the materials. Its impossible to remember everything you read but if you can get familiar with the sections of your index and flipping through the materials I think the exam is doable. 

From my experience, I did not feel prepared at all. I skim read the materials at best as I was finding it really hard to concentrate on reading; but with a few practice exams I passed both exams in the same sitting.

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You miss 100% of the chances you don't take. Cheesy but true. Nothing can really prepare you other than having a solid index and doing some practice (in my own humble opinion).

If you can, I would review the index and organize your materials so you can flip through them easily, and then just give it a go. You could fail... but you could also pass - it's not an exam that tests preparation, but rather how quickly you can find info in the materials! A lot of it is luck. Looking back, I wish I had studied less (I absolutely tortured myself in the summer). 

But as others have stated, there are many (including financial) considerations. You need to do what is best for you. Can you speak with your CDO for advice? 

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13 hours ago, ConfusedSoul said:

So, I have my Ontario Barrister exam on 6th of March. Due to some mental health issues and other reasons, I wasn't really able to prepare well for it.

While I am well versed in the Civil Litigation and PR part, rest all I have only been able to do a reading (barely remember anything but the main headings).
In fact, I still have half of Criminal and Family left.

I have been hearing people studying for months and doing repeated exams.
I have also heard about people barely studying and still passing.
I was thinking of simply taking a try because I have heard the rumour that March sitting has a higher passing rate but it can be just that, a rumor.

Should I just let the exam be ? (LSO said I can get a late deferral and still get some money back). 
Or I just give it a try ?

Thanks.

 

 

I don't know anyone who studied for months. Typically, students get the materials at the end of third year and spend the next 5-6 weeks reading the materials and prepping, then writing both exams in June. 

If you've read the materials and have an index, you'll likely be fine. If you haven't even read the materials, I would not write. Is there a reason you waited until March to write? Has something changed in the usual timeline? Pre-Covid, the licensing process in ON allowed for writing the exams in June, November and March. If both were not passed and completed then,  you would have to again pay the fees and have another June, November and March timeline, with a new set of materials. Has that changed? 

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Echoing @erinl2, it used to be June, Nov, March exams with new materials created for the new June setting. March is generally a smaller group as there are less writers as it is more of a "last attempt" before the new versions. I imagine that March has a higher percentage passing given that there are less people writing, more people are "re-writing" so have had the opportunity to experience the exam (that helped me when I re-wrote in March), or had the opportunity to study more (not writing both at once or just more spread out). 

 I imagine that the family law section is going to change come June given all the amendments that came live on March 1. 

You'll know whether you are ready or not. 1 day is speed read through crim and family could be tough, especially if you recognize that there are mh issues that are affecting your reading/memory. 

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Yeah, this year was an anomaly in terms of time to prepare. 

If it were me, I’d write it. Worst case you’re writing again and are no further behind. Best case... it’s all over. 

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1 hour ago, easttowest said:

Yeah, this year was an anomaly in terms of time to prepare. 

If it were me, I’d write it. Worst case you’re writing again and are no further behind. Best case... it’s all over. 

What was the change to the timeline?

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, erinl2 said:

What was the change to the timeline?

Like you said, most students have 5-6 weeks. This year, you could have taken all summer. I wrote the first days possible, which were July 14 and August 4.

It was possible to write in the summer window on August 29 and September 12. 

Edited by easttowest
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