Archive for May, 2011

Class 905.31.11

I can’t tell if it’s a good sign or a bad sign that I wish class doesn’t have to end yet and that I have still more time to learn. I feel like a kid that is pathetically grabbing at the mom’s pants legs, not quite ready to let go, and generally making a sad scene. Unfortunately for me, what is acceptable behavior for a kid, doesn’t translate well to an adult. As luck will have it, Saturday classes are one day behind the other classes, so we piggy-back our last class off a Tuesday or Wednesday night class.

I scored my best ever practice test at 158 on Saturday so I should have felt good. And I did. Yet, I could use at least another couple weeks to study. Maybe with another two weeks I can eek out that 160, but to be honest, since I’m not going after the top ten law schools, I would be quite happy with 158 on the actual test.

Getting a 158 was a decent jump from 155 from the previous two weeks. So what changed? Could be the test, because all the reading comps were very interesting reads to me and most of the logical reasoning seemed fun too. Another big change from the previous week, which I was sneezing while trying poorly to keep snot from running onto the test and generally failing to not gross out the people around me, I remembered to take my allergy meds. I also bought behind-the-counter type allergy meds with pseudoephedrine which was like crack for me, it got me high and helped with my focus. Now I’m not telling you to dope yourself up to take the test, but if you have allergies, maybe give the behind-the-counter stuff a try before the big test. Remember to bring your license if you want to buy the meds because pseudoephedrine is used to make meth, so it’s now a monitored substance.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Saturday class is the best section to take. It’s a day that is very hard for people to attend (I think some people had a hard time being cooped up in a classroom on sunny Saturdays), so even though we started with a full class, people have been moving to the other sections. Every class since week 3 is small. Most weeks we have 5-6 people, so it’s like a small group tutoring section. The nicest thing about such a small class is you get to know your classmates. We cheer each other on with every improvement.

One more class this Wednesday then this Thursday is all day testing. We get to practice doing all six sections. Then this Saturday and Sunday before the real test, I have mountaineer training. Good times.

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New Savings Account05.25.11

My home loan officially closed on May 20.  I am now a proud new condo owner.  It’s a very beautiful place and it’s only a block away from the law school I wish to attend. Unfortunately for us, because we’re buying all new furnishing and we ordered everything a week before the loan closed, we only have ONE piece of furniture in the whole place:

Now that the loan finally closed though, I feel like I can look into organizing my personal finances again. I want a high interest savings account to house my emergency funds, which is 6 months of living expense. I want a savings account that is best for a law student to be.

After looking at a few different options, I decide to go with Sallie Mae, only because I figure I will probably end up with a loan from them and it will hopefully be easier to transfer my CDs from them to pay them off after school is out. I do like that they have a Upromise bonus, it doesn’t look like much, but it’ll at least force me to open an account to see what kind of bonus I may earn.

My undergrad loan was through Sallie Mae, so they were my friend that I kept a good eye on in case they decide to send someone over to break a leg. I’ve read of students with bad experience with Sallie Mae, I actually had a good relationship with them, paid everything on time, the loan closed nicely and I got stacks of loan paper back soon after.

Going to SallieMae.

First page simply asks for selecting the account type.

Next page, they ask for a name, email and phone number.

Step 2: They ask for standard info, mailing address, social security number and such.

Step 3: How to fund this?  I’m going to link my BECU account to this and draw my money from there. They mention making small deposits to my BECU account before withdrawing the money.

Step 4: Check off a couple disclosures. Is it bad to admit to wanting to be a lawyer but being too lazy to ever read these online disclosures?

Next up we have a series of super secret questions personal info…probably stuff they pulled from credit reports to ask for verification.

And then I end up in an endless loop here for some odd reason.  Well, that was fun.  It’s late, I will try this again in the morning.

Edit: Woke up and went through the entire account opening process and it worked like a charm for some reason.  I went ahead and opened a Upromise account to link them together and interestingly, the Upromise setting up was more a hassle than Sallie Mae. Another thing to note, Upromise is all about bombarding you with ads, so beware.

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Class 805.23.11

There is only one more class at this point.  While I’m somewhat happy that my test score is solidly improving, I’m not sure I will hit the 160 mark.  Good chance at 155-157, another 5-3 points might be a stretch.

I got a solid 155 on my last practice test and it wasn’t by dumb luck. I also scored my first perfect Logic Games, even though this was used as a practice section, it was from an actual test, so it felt pretty good even if it counted for nothing. At the time of the test, I knew I did perfect or near perfect on that section. Having taken this many tests already, I was getting good at gauging how well I did.

This last Saturday’s class was probably the most interesting one. We’ve been going over Logic Reasoning after Logic Reasonings, and again, because this was my weak point, I’ve always found class interesting.  However, this last week, we did a couple hours of going over our last test then Sandy took over.

Sandy spent some time going over the written section of the test. Then we went over the much dreaded application process. With 13 years of experience in helping people apply to law school, Sandy was the person I wished for when I first looked into applying to law school back in January.

I’ve picked a few books since January about law school application.  The one books that I love and still use as reference is “How to Get Into the Top Law Schools, 4th Ed“. This book helped me decide I should aim to take the LSAT in June instead of waiting until October. It also helped calm a lot of nerves when the application process felt overwhelming.

The book will not replace Sandy. Having someone knowledgeable answer your questions in person is hard to replace. Having someone with funny answers to your questions, doubly so. I’m reading all sorts of books on applying and still I have questions. Sandy will also help us with our essay, which as I’ve mentioned before is something I need very much in my life. I know of various LSAT preps that charge extra for their “Application Workshop”, so with the Steven Klein course, you are getting an awesome deal with this.

 

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Class 705.16.11

I couldn’t tell if I should start panicking now. My practice test score was exactly the same as the score from class 6. Starting from last test, we were timed for 5 sections instead of just 4. The idea was to get us used to doing 3 sections in a row. It’s good practice because by section 3, I was mentally exhausted each time, so it’s good for stamina building.

There’s only two more classes left.  I feel like at this point, I just need to work on my speed on logical reasoning.  On my own, when it’s not timed, I can get through the entire section with only 4 or so answers wrong. If I can repeat those results in a timed environment, I will be set. While that sounds pretty impossible, I know it’s possible, because I did the same thing with logic games.  I started out taking 20-25 minutes per question set, now I can do them in 8-9 minutes.  It’s all practice.

We spent most of the last class going over each logical reasoning questions from the last practice exam, which was everyone’s big weak point.  I think we all left happier for the class.

One thing we covered that I need to drill more at is the difference between sufficient vs necessary assumption, and could be true vs must be true. Must study more.

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The Laws of Bitching05.11.11

My condo loan was supposed to close this week. On Monday, the loan rep called me to tell me that they made a mistake on my loan and that I never qualified for the FHA loan they’ve been applying me toward for the last month so she will have to close my loan application as rejected.

I only have until May 23rd to close off the loan or the seller will bail on me and put my beloved condo back on the market. If this happens, sure, I can try to buy it again from the seller, but his last 15 condos have been flying off the shelf in the last two months after almost a year of weak sales, so he can up his demands now.  Also, I put in 3k earnest money that I’m partial to keeping. I’m already on time extension with this seller because my first loan officer is surprisingly worse than the current one.

New loan rep sat on my file for nearly a month then called me to tell me they failed to catch one regulation showing that I failed to meet with FHA loan standards, so I would have to go elsewhere for a loan. Phases of death took over. I didn’t believe that it was possible for a month to go by without them to catching a mistake that would have never allowed to loan process to start in the first place. I was angry, and asked her how could they fail me to this extent. I bargained with her on ways to apply for a different loan with their bank and asked if they could try to expedite things.  Starting from scratch with another bank would take too long at this point, I paid for appraisals and questionnaire fees and insurance. She said no to all my suggestions and said no matter what I would have to start from new sales contract anyhow.

In understanding that the new mortgage rules and regulations were more strict now because of the economy collapse, I feel apart because trying to get a loan at that point felt a bit hopeless. The boyfriend tried to cheer me up, but the sad mess that I was, was a bit inconsolable.  He got on the phone, got the bank to give him my loan rep’s boss’ number, who left for the day,so he left her a voice mail yelling about the loan rep and her sorry excuse for service.

We discussed options left to us at that point, and figured we would be calling around to beg for expedited service the next day. The next day, the boyfriend called the boss again, and left another mean bitchy voicemail when she didn’t pick up. A few minutes later, I got a call back from the rep. She was very apologetic and said her boss was on vacation, but she was directed to offer me different loan options. We discussed the different options, all of which wouldn’t work because it would result in me losing around 30k from gift taxes, so she had to go back to her boss. I got another call from her a couple hours later saying they would be willing to give me a “Special Case Loan”. It was pretty much everything a conventional loan was, without me actually qualifying for it.

This is where I have to stop to think about my understanding of what mortgage rules and regulations are, because apparently if you bitch long enough, people can create loans for you out of thin air.  It makes me think maybe instead of learning the law, I should learn how to bitch more effectively.

A friend of mine told me about discovering the local traffic law on his first trip back to Korea.  He said when there’s an accident the parties involved would get out of their car even if it’s in the middle of an intersection. They would yell loudly at each other, the loudest person wins. Maybe we haven’t evolved past that kinds of law too much. The friend also mentioned they probably called my loan a “Special Case Loan” because it sounded a lot better than “We Fucked Up So We’re Sorry Loan”. It would have been a lot more honest though.

Here’s some honesty logo for the day: http://designerscouch.org/view-design/Honest-logos-23220.

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Class 605.07.11

My test score actually improved today.

I feel better about my study efforts this past month now.  It’s only a couple points of improvement, but it feels like a real improvement, like one that I could repeat if I tried as opposed to lucking out on guessing at the end.  I know with more practice I can eek out at least another 5 points.  My target score at this point is 160, which is quite doable if I get those 5 points.

At this point, I’m getting better at identifying things that I can splurge a bit of time on, and things to just glaze over.  When I first learn how to identify the different questions stems, I spend too much time working out the tricks to solving each of them.  Now I only rely on solution tricks after narrowing down choices.  My timing is improving, I usually have only 2-4 questions at the end of each section.

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