Albany Law School will be closed today until 4pm due to the weather.
The best way to know how a student will perform on the bar exam is for the student to take the test. Given this line of thinking, Albany Law's 2L students took a Diagnostic Assessment exam—essentially a mini bar exam—before classes started this semester. This is the second year the school has required the test for all its second-year students.
"We know that we are asking a lot of our students to return early to school to take this test before the semester even starts," said Alicia Ouellette, president and dean. "But this is a unique opportunity for each student to get detailed analysis of their strengths and weaknesses."
After the test, each student receives a detailed report about their performance on MBE subjects, and on their test-taking skills. They then receive individualized coaching from their faculty advisors, who examine the student's results. Along with revealing strengths in, say, multiple choice questions or essay questions, the results indicate the subject areas that need strengthening.
"Once we have the report, the student and the advisor together can plan a course of study to ensure success on the bar exam," said Connie Mayer, Dean of Academic Affairs. "They have two years to build a nice roadmap and address the weak spots."
"Once we have the report, the student and the advisor together can plan a course of study to ensure success on the bar exam."
The Diagnostic Assessment also gives the administration and faculty critical information to address curriculum gaps going forward.
Finally, the results allow students to know whether to take the spring elective Legal Analysis I course, designed to improve essay-writing and test-taking skills for the bar exam.
"We tell the students that they do not need to prepare for the exam, but they need to take it seriously to understand where they stand," said Mayer. The test includes 80 multiple choice questions, two essays, and an MPT (closed universe performance test). The subject areas include civil procedure, criminal law, real property, torts, and contracts.
"If the results are used correctly, the student will be able to maximize their remaining time here," Mayer said.