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Law prof creates ‘experimental’ calculator for bar exam-takers to predict whether they’ll pass

Aug 16, 2013, 08:30 am CDT


What does one do with a predicted low chance of passing a bar exam in a preferred state once having learned it.  It’s too late to retake the LSAT, virtually impossible to move up in class rank, and a law school’s ranking is out of a student’s control.  That leaves dropping out, or taking the bar exam in an easier state.  Is that what Anderson is recommending?  Wouldn’t it be easier just to study harder for the bar exam in a preferred state.  The bar exam culls out imbeciles, not geniuses.  Anyone can pass it, unless he freezes up or blows it off.  Maybe the ocean view at Pepperdine makes studying a non-option.  Or maybe Anderson is just another of those sad souls who read too much Alisa Rosenbaum when they were young.

By Pushkin on 2013 08 16, 9:48 am CDT

Really, Pushkin?  Because people from HLS and YLS and SLS and Chicago and Columbia fail bar exams every year, including people who probably didn’t blow it off or “freeze.”  I know that promoting self-affirming measures of intelligence is fun (i.e. I passed the bar, so anyone who can’t is dumb, or I got X on the SAT’s, so everyone who got X - n on the SAT’s is dumb, etc), but such a simplistic notion of aptitude actually makes you look rather imbecilic.

By Unemployed Northeastern on 2013 08 16, 1:43 pm CDT

@2 - Sorry, but Pushkin is spot on on this one. Perhaps some folks from the top schools who put in real study time and do not freeze on the exam fail, but they likely are imbeciles as Pushkin suggests, and in any case are in the error term and irrelevant to his general proposition. Passing the bar is not alchemy.

In any case, the predictors the professor uses are at most second best compared to study time. And if he admits that he has no sort of data to actually make a prediction based on the variables he inputs, what is he doing calling his gadget a calculator?

By NoleLaw on 2013 08 16, 2:16 pm CDT

I have to agree with Pushkin and NoleLaw.  The amount of sleep you get before the exam would be a better predictor than the criteria this prof is using.

By W.R.T. on 2013 08 16, 3:23 pm CDT

Perhaps if Professor Anderson is making a statement with his rough prediction algorithm, it gives students a good idea of how hard they have to study compared to other students. If the pass-predictor is giving you a low percentage of passing based on factors that you can no longer affect, it might mean that you need to devote more time and studying effort than the person with higher scores in the predictor categories to increase your chances of passing based on things the calculator doesn’t/can’t measure.

By Youngster on 2013 08 17, 10:23 pm CDT

It may be the ocean view or all the old money floating around. And I agree that studying harder until you make it is a better approach, but that is not to say that taking the bar in another state is not a viable approach.

I find the whole notion of trying to predict something like this knowing there is always that X factor to consider just a little bit boring.

By concernedcitizen on 2013 08 18, 2:38 am CDT

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