A Bar Style Essay has text known as a fact pattern. At the end of the fact pattern, there will be a question known as the "call".
The deal is to answer the call of the question with the appropriate area of law. For 1L students via distance education, this is going to be either Contracts, Criminal Law, or Torts.
The way that you answer the question is going to seem odd until you do some of them - and let's face it - even then, this is odd.
The way that you answer the question is to use the Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion, or IRAC method.
You have to embrace this goofy way of answering questions to do well on law school final exams and the First Year Law Students' Examination from the California Bar.
Here is a secret that no one tells you, if you are taking the FYLSX, you have to be better than 80% (or more) of the other people taking the same exam that you are.
A full 80% of those taking this exam (on average) fail it every single time. Is it because we are idiots? No, not by a long shot. It is because the California Bar curves the grades so that (on average) only 20% or so will pass any administration of the exam - every single time they give it.
For that reason, you don't just have to be good at the process... you have to be better at it than 80% or so (on average) of everyone else taking that same exam.
Do try to get good at this in 1L, I did not and - while I passed, I just barely passed and ended up on Academic Probation with little solid knowledge of what I needed to have mastered for the FYLSX.
Learn to love issue spotting and writing up a LOT of practice essays soon, or you will pay the price on the FYLSX, and it isn't pretty.
I know because I have failed it five times now.
IRAC or I(R+A)C:
In order to save time on the June 2013 FYLSX, I decided to evolve my style from an IRAC to an I(R+A)C style in which I blend the rule and analysis portion of the process.
This was a horrible idea that I had come up with at the very last second. Do not experiment with what the graders are expecting to see, the IRAC method.
When I eventually do pass the FYLSX, I will know why and how, I did, and I will be able to share that with others... and I will!
As an update, I did indeed pass the FYLSX on my sixth attempt, and I have been sharing what I learned in this painful process.
The links below go right to the FYLSX's on the California Bar Website.
If you click on the link, the exam with sample answers will open up in a new window. I suggest, however, that you right click and download the FYLSX right to your hard drive for future research and practice.
Send me an email if you have any questions on this material. My email is on the JD welcome page. Use the "Contact Ray" link.
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