To begin, I have three things I want to tell you. First, there is no shame in failing the bar exam. Second, there is no shame in failing the bar exam! Third, there is no shame in failing the bar exam! [Read more…] about Fail and Tell: Why It’s Helpful to Talk About Failing the Bar Exam
Many students ask me what a day in the life of a bar studier should look like. They come to me with stories about professors who warn that if they study any fewer than twelve hours, they would surely fail. Or, they pass along the rumor that all you need to do is study really hard two weeks before the bar exam to guarantee a passing score.
The truth is, there is no one way to structure your bar exam studies (though some commercial bar prep programs may try to convince you otherwise.) Studying for the bar exam is wholly subjective, supremely customizable, and ideally, will be tailored to your own personal learning style. But, there are some things we have figured out here at Bar Exam Toolbox that could be useful to build a schedule around so that you’re more focused on the quality of your study, than quantity for quantity’s sake.
The red scrawl across my elementary school math quiz is burned into my memory: “Correct answer, but SHOW YOUR WORK!” followed by a big, fat “0” indicating the utter lack of credit I would get for that correct answer.
Bar takers may feel the same frustration when they read the facts, make the correct logical leaps, but get told that their analysis is “conclusory.” What does that mean?
It means you wrote “12 – 6 = 6” without crossing out the “1” in “12”, carrying the “1” over to the “2” and then subtracting…well…six from twelve. It seems like a lot of work just to end up with the answer you gave from the start. But that’s the whole point of analysis: for your grader to see how you applied the law to the facts in order to reach your ultimate conclusion. [Read more…] about Analyze Like A Grade School Math Student: Show Your Work
A cursory glance at Bar Exam Toolbox’s Brainy Bar Bank reveals some pretty wide schisms between two of the most popular (as in “lots-of-people-do-it,” not “lots-of-people-like-it”) tests in our profession. For instance, although both California (CA) and Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) test-takers have to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, CA makes sure that takers can help Luke or Lisa or Len or Liz out of a slew of ethical quandaries on just about every test. Meanwhile, Professional Responsibility doesn’t appear once on the UBE.
Similarly, while UBE takers have encountered Family Law on a majority of the exams administered in the past decade, the closest CA takers get to the subject is splitting up motorcycles and vacation homes in Harry and Wanda’s divorce for a Community Property question. Community Property, by the way, is tested almost as frequently as Family Law, with 17 appearances since 2002. [Read more…] about Frequently Tested Topics on the California Bar Exam vs the UBE: Torts
By changing from two days to three and instituting a 90-minute Performance Test instead of the the old three-hour format, the California Bar Exam (CA) has moved a bit closer to resembling the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). However, the different testing regimes historically reflect disparities in frequently tested topics, and are likely to continue to do so. Much of bar exam success depends on knowing what topics to prioritize to the point of being able to write about them in your sleep, and which rarely tested topics everyone will cry-laugh about after they show up on the test. [Read more…] about Frequently Tested Topics on the California Bar Exam vs the UBE: Civil Procedure
The common bar exam refrain is that test success requires knowing a little bit about a lot rather than a lot about anything. While this ends up being true, adopting this vast and superficial approach to learning is easier said than done. First of all, although law students exist on a spectrum of personality types, a preponderance of our community seems to hover around the perfectionism pole. After being thrust into what, for some, feels like a three-year gladiatorial fight for distinction, redefining success to mean that you’ve gotten your grader’s eyes to glaze over can be an abrupt and confusing shift in goals. [Read more…] about Commonly Tested Bar Exam Topics – UBE VS CA