Barbri Essay Advantage For Florida

I had a student send me a message on Facebook about Florida Multiple Choice (MC) as to was their bar prep company going to have more multiple choice questions available for practice because it seemed like there weren't that many in the books.

The quick and dirty answer: No.

But I don't like quick and dirty (no comments from the peanut gallery please), so I did some research for you.

As to the great debate between Kaplan and Barbri: It appears that Barbri does have some online questions. It does quizzes at the end of each section for the topic and has a Simulated Florida Exam towards the end. It seems there might be some QBank type questions as well. Barbri predominately focuses on essays for Florida but really harps on memorization.

Kaplan has a QBank for Florida but I will tell you that it has approximately 400 questions (I would know, I did most of them). The questions are almost identical to the ones in the Barbri books (someone had given me copies and I practiced questions out of those). Kaplan does have online flashcards which are great if you like how they are laid out but not everyone finds them useful. Kaplan also has checkpoint quizzes at the end of each subject.

So don't think Kaplan or Barbri has some massive advantage. Neither really does.

Now why are the multiple choice questions such a big deal, you might wonder. Well, the best way to figure that out is to figure out the grading breakdown. Essays are 100 points per essay and the MC is 100 points allowing for a total possible point amount of 400.

Well, damn, you might think. Then the MC isn't as important.

WRONG! It's all important. Florida is notorious for scaling DOWN on the Florida side. So you want to gain as many points as possible. And a key way to do that is rock out those multiple choice questions.

Statistically to be able to pass Florida you need to score between 50-65% on the MC. Sounds easy enough. But many people neglect to worry about the MC and focus only on the essays. With there being so few MC practice questions available I can see why it seems like something is wrong. And being a person that hates multiple choice and has had a loath-hate relationship with them all through law school, as you can tell from my picture below, I understand the pain and frustration that goes along with not having a lot of guidance.

But Florida MC is all about the black letter law. I had questions on the bar that asked me very specifically to put in order of repayment of the decedent's debts. The only way to have gotten those questions right was to have memorized the debt chart. So, although there aren't a lot of multiple choice questions out there, there are some ways you can make sure you get the best amount of points you can on MC.

1. Essay practice. Essay practice is essential for the bar exam although it's boring, tedious, and just horrible. Do it anyway. But I give you permission to complain the whole time.

First, it is important because, as I said earlier, it is where the bulk of your points come from. More points, better odds of passing.

But second, it's important because that is where you can hone in on your Florida law memorization. Essay writing forces you to remember the law and reword it in a way that makes sense to you. By practicing essays you will be able to spot many laws that you may also spot in the MC. So try to practice as many essays as you can but feel free to bitch about it.

2. Memorization tools. Some people use flashcards, some use outlines. I used highlighting and continuously reprinted my Florida outlines. I highlighted each outline as I read using colors to differentiate definitions from equations and so forth. Anything that wasn't highlighted was then deleted from my outline, I reprinted, and the process began again. Find some way that you can memorize the black letter laws for Florida.

For this testing period memorization it going to be critical because I highly doubt that the examiners are going to let the new topics go untested yet again. There are no examples out there right now to give you a clue as how Florida will test the new subjects. Someone is going to call me out and tell me there are examples: Yes there are- but from other states with different laws and different ways of testing. There are example commercial paper and secured transactions essays but the sad part is that they are from Texas so they are designed to be done in 30 minutes, not Florida's 60. Odds are your essays are going to have a lot more issues, friends. So the best way to prepare is to know the law cold.

Focus on memorizing.

3. Use the Florida Bar Examiners Study Guide. In the back of each study guide are sample multiple choice questions. It gives you an idea of what the questions will look like and show you what I said: this is all about the black letter law.

But beware: the sample MC's are the same in each study guide. You aren't going to get a lot of study material out of those questions, just an idea of how they look.

4. Lexis Q&A Books. These books cover a variety of the Florida subjects. I used them to see how different subjects might have questions presented and to test the laws that were the same federally as well as in Florida. The books are available for Apple products as well as in paper from almost any reputable law school supplement seller.

But, again, beware: These books are designed for federal law, and are not Florida specific. Use with restraint.

5. Teachers. I didn't have the chance to do this, but seeing that you are more than likely still in school you have time. See what teachers have exams on file for the new subjects. If you can get your hands on those exams it will give you more questions to practice with.

But like I said, and I hate to be the bearer of bar news, the key to Florida is cold, boring memorization. You aren't going to have the help like you will for MBE to have perfect answers in the back of your book or online so you can figure out where you went right or wrong. The best you can do, friends, is to know those laws to the point that you are literally saying them in your sleep. Three weeks before the bar I found myself dreaming about damages equations. I woke up more depressed then ever but damn it if I didn't know the law.

If anyone else has ideas, please post them and I will be sure to include them.

For more tips and tricks, please visit my website at

5/15/2013 | Joanne W.

* Pass the bar guaranteed or your money back. Must be a first-time taker from an ABA approved law school and be enrolled in a Kaplan Bar Review Complete Course to qualify. Other restrictions apply. Click here for complete eligibility requirements.

^ Practice essay results do not necessarily predict performance on the actual bar exam. Chart shows the average practice essay performance improvement for all Summer 2014 Kaplan students. 20% improvement is measured from first to last practice essay submitted. Individual performance will vary-as with all averages, some students will do better and some worse. Distance from zero to 50 in the chart has been condensed.

+ Scale range 100 to 150 raw score. Scaled scores are typically higher. Practice results do not necessarily predict performance on the actual bar exam. Chart MBE performance grouped by number of questions answered for Summer 2014 Kaplan students. Individual performance will vary-as with all averages, some students will do better and some worse.

Kaplan reserves the right to change any information at any time without notice. All rights reserved. © Kaplan Bar Review 2015.

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