Hi, I’m Lee Burgess, co-founder of the Bar Exam Toolbox and a highly experienced California bar exam tutor. If you’d like help passing the California bar exam, you’ve come to the right place! We’re currently accepting students for the February 2018 California bar exam, and beyond.
The Bar Exam Toolbox Philosophy
The Bar Exam Toolbox takes a one-on-one approach to test preparation. Our team believes that working with a tutor on an individual basis can help students study smarter by creating targeted test preparation approaches that will lead to better exam results.
Whether you are taking the bar for the first time and are looking to supplement a classroom program or tackling the test again after getting disappointing results, our team can help you navigate the study process and get ready for the next exam.
- As you probably know, the California exam changed in July 2017 to a 2-day exam with 5 essays, 1 (90-minute) performance test, and one day of MBEs. We have the tools to help you study for this new format, just contact us to learn more.
Curious what our students think? Please see our Testimonials for student comments about working with our tutors.
Retaking the Bar Exam
If you are seeking help after a bar failure, it is crucial that you work with someone who can effectively evaluate what went wrong in your previous bar experience(s) and empower you to be successful in the future.
We believe students are empowered by learning the best way to study based on their individual needs, by getting detailed and constructive feedback, and by practicing and improving the skills necessary to be successful on exam day.
Because we know that bar takers have different budgets, we offer a range of 8- and 10-week tutoring and support options, along with extended options for those who are working and studying or who face other challenges. Contact us to learn more and set up a call to discuss your needs.
It is important to remember that if you are taking a commercial bar review course — it is one course designed to help thousands of people at a time. Not everything may work for you! And if you need different or additional support, you should ask for help!
Many students who have disappointing bar experiences know that things aren’t going well during their first bar preparation period. If that is you, we can help you work on your exam-taking skills and give you the much-needed feedback that many people feel is missing from a commercial bar review experience.
Please contact us to learn more and set up a call to discuss your needs.
Our job isn’t just to tell you how to do it — it is to give you the tools to succeed!
We cannot be in the exam room with you. You are the only one who can produce winning results on exam day. We see our role as empowering you by giving you the skills necessary to be the best exam-taker you can be.
- You will feel confident that you know what a good essay looks like.
- You will be confident you know what a good performance test looks like.
- You will have your plan of how to attack an essay or performance exam.
- You will have a plan for the MBE sections.
- You will even have a plan if you don’t remember the law!
You will have a new set of tools that you can draw upon to make this bar experience different from the last!
We make sure that your study techniques match your learning style
One of the great things about working with us is that we use different approaches to match your learning style. This process really is about getting you ready for the bar exam, not just some imaginary student.
- Do you learn best from flash cards? Outlining? Flow charts?
- Do you struggle with time management?
- Does your writing style need work?
- Is organization a problem?
The key is to use the study skills you already have and build on them based on the needs of the bar exam.
What do these programs actually look like?
All full-service tutoring programs include the following:
- Weekly one-on-one tutoring meetings with a Bar Exam Toolbox tutor, feedback on a set number of essays, and feedback on a set number of performance tests
- Feedback on your prior bar exam answers (if applicable)
- A customized study schedule with daily goals and a personalized Trello board to manage the process
- Free access to the AdaptiBar MBE program ($395 value)
- Free access to the Brainy Bar Bank (CA Essay and PT Practice Bank) ($95 value)
- Free access to the Writing of the Week (“WOW”) Videos ($229 value)
- Free access to a Premium BarEssays.com Membership including substantive outlines, checklists, and essay templates ($199 value)
- Weekly accountability check-in emails
- Access to our handouts, videos, and other helpful bar resources
The great thing about tutoring with the Bar Exam Toolbox is that we can make tutoring recommendations based on your individual needs! So contact us today to talk about putting together your custom tutoring program.
Your Personalized Tutoring Tools
Studying for the bar exam is tedious enough without searching your email looking for feedback or to figure out what you’re supposed to be working on. You’ll have a personal study schedule, developed in consultation with your tutor to focus on your needs. To make things easy, we’ll set up a personal Trello board for you to use for uploads, feedback, study schedule and much more.
Here’s what it looks like:
You’ll also receive access to helpful videos and other materials we’ve created.
If you have any questions on how things work, just ask!
Got some questions? Here are some answers!
We’re always happy to answer your questions! You’ll find frequently asked questions below, but please don’t hesitate to reach out if your question isn’t answered.
- Do you provide materials?
When working with us you will get access to BarEssays.com’s Premium Membership. We think the substantive materials provided by BarEssays.com combined with the study materials you likely already have (from your current or past bar review course) are plenty of substantive materials. And, it is possible you will also end up making some of your own materials during the study process – it can be a form of active learning! We also provide some study tips and attack plans for various subjects to assist with essay preparation.
- I have failed once, do I really need a tutor?
If you have failed the bar once, the best thing you can do is change your study habits so you don’t have the same experience the second time. It is heartbreaking to hear students who are sitting for the bar a third or fourth time say they just wish they had worked with a tutor earlier and given themselves a better chance at passing. If you have failed, you need to change the way you approach the bar exam and create a new plan for yourself. This is exactly what we can help you do.
- How is this different from classroom bar review courses?
When you work with the Bar Exam Toolbox, your bar preparation focus is about you — what will work best for you as far as study techniques, writing practice, and scheduling. You are not the same as every other person sitting for the bar and we can help you decide the best way to prepare for this test. Classroom bar preparation courses do a great job of covering substantive law. We help you turn that substantive law into passing answers.
- Do you meet in person?
We have been working remotely with bar takers since 2010. Our students don’t feel that anything is lost by working remotely, even if they are located within driving distance of their tutor. Working remotely is the most efficient way to meet with your tutor because you don’t lose any study time to transportation. We meet with students over the phone, Google Hangout and Skype.
- Do you work with students who receive testing accommodations such as extended time?
Many of our students receive testing accommodations for learning disabilities, health concerns, or even breastfeeding. It is important to talk through strategies of how best to utilize your testing accommodations to help you perform at your best.
- Do you work with LLMs or foreign-trained attorneys?
Yes! We have helped many LLMs and foreign-trained attorneys study for the bar exam. When you don’t have the experience of attending a traditional law school program in the U.S., the bar exam format can be especially challenging. We can demystify it for you and help you understand what you need to know to pass.
- How do you accept payment?
Bar tutoring can be purchased in packages. We accept most major credit cards and checks and are happy to discuss payment plans. Want to know how much a package will cost? Just shoot us an email.
What do our students have to say about us?
Wondering what it’s like to work with the Bar Exam Toolbox tutors? Read on for some student accounts. You can also check out these helpful podcast episodes where our tutors chat with Lee about the Bar Exam.
With the help of Bar Exam Toolbox, I finally passed the California bar exam on my fifth attempt! I realize that my own hard work and performance on the actual exam were contributing factors in passing, but I genuinely feel like Bar Exam Toolbox was the primary reason I passed. I have used Barbri, worked with two other tutors and have done self-study. While using these other programs, I put in similar hours, sometimes even more hours of study, and failed four times. There were several key differences between this program and other programs I have tried that I really believe made the difference.
First off, my tutor, Ariel, was fantastic. Based on experience, I have found there is a delicate balance between burning yourself out and making sure you are putting in the hours you need. Ariel was very intuitive about when I needed a break and when I needed to be pushed a little harder. I also picked up some bad study habits over the past few years. Ariel was very skilled at spotting where I was wasting time in my study process and where I needed to put in more effort.
Bar Exam Toolbox also personalizes your study schedule to meet your individual needs. Most programs squeeze memorization into the last few weeks of bar prep. I have found that approach to be overwhelming. Bar Exam Toolbox built memorization and studying the law into my full schedule. The last few weeks I did not feel overwhelmed with memorization and was able to maintain a good balance of study and practice up until the exam.
Bar Exam Toolbox’s essay grading process was also more helpful than other programs I have tried. Not only did Ariel review my essays, she also reviewed the notes I took on the fact patterns and my scratch paper. I have always had timing issues on my essays and having someone review and give detailed feedback on my planning process – not just my final product – really helped me tackle this issue.
Lastly, Bar Exam Toolbox is a better ‘bang for your buck’ than most programs. My personalized program cost about the same, and even a little less, than what I paid for Barbri and my other tutors. The program also offered more complimentary services than other programs. For instance, Bar Exam Toolbox reviews and provides detailed feedback on essays and PTs from prior failed bar exams. I found this process helpful in understanding how I have gone wrong under exam conditions, but most tutors I have spoken with charge extra for this service and some skip the process all together.
I highly recommend this program to anyone! Especially if you are a repeater who needs some help figuring out where you have gone wrong and fixing your issues.
I am barred in both New York and New Jersey (where I went to law school). After practicing for 5 years I moved to California and had to sit for the attorney bar. Employing a similar study plan as I had used after graduating law school I sat for the February 2016 exam and was not successful. Not sure how to regroup I did some research about the California bar and ultimately decided I needed to make a change in my approach so I looked into tutors. I found an article written by Lee which lead me to look at her tutoring program. I did an initial consultation with her in May. I was stressed because I was working full time and had family obligations that could not be rescheduled. Lee was wonderful on the phone, re-instilling confidence in me that I had lost since finding out I had not passed the February bar. She talked about making a program that would work for my schedule and helped me feel ok about having to take the bar again. Lee then connected me to Ariel who would be my tutor for the grueling weeks leading up to the bar.
Ariel is fantastic!!! She worked with me through highs and lows – helping me schedule assignments, talking me through priorities for studying, and really enabling me to focus and put in the work I needed to put in to get to passing. Their emphasis on practice essays and PTs is priceless. I could not have written so many practice essays and PTs if I didn’t have a coach showing me the way, cheering me on, and providing necessary feedback. I had to learn to write in a whole new way for this bar exam and Ariel gave me the tools necessary to do that. I could not have passed this bar exam without their help and I would recommend them to anyone taking the bar – first time, third time, does not matter – their methods are fantastic and they work with their students building a study program around the individual rather than forcing each student into a mold. I am so happy to have passed the July 2016 California bar and know that I could not have done it without Lee and Ariel!
I am an out of state attorney (barred in two other states) and, after practicing for several years, I moved to CA and decided to sit for the February 2016 attorney bar exam. Even though I had years of experience as a practicing attorney, all that experience did not prepare me for the CA bar exam and I did not pass. I realized I needed a different approach for the July 2016 bar exam and so, I contacted Lee at Bar Exam Toolbox. She was very understanding of my individual circumstances (which included caring for a small baby while studying) and was very willing to work with me to come up with a schedule that fit my particular situation. Ariel was assigned as my tutor and, from our very first conversation I was impressed. Not only is Ariel extremely knowledgeable on the law and incredibly responsive and reliable (responding to my emails at all hours of the day and night), she is also wonderfully supportive and understanding of the frustrations of having to study for the bar exam again.
Most importantly, her feedback on my essay writing was worth its weight in gold. Ariel helped me understand and learn exactly how to write a CA bar exam essay the way the CA bar examiners expect to see one – a very different way of writing than what I had become accustomed to as a practicing attorney. Needless to say, I took and passed the July 2016 CA bar exam and I know that I could not have done it without Ariel’s help. Ariel’s hours of tutoring and feedback (including feedback on my February 2016 bar exam essays) were the reason I was able to pass the bar exam in July 2016. I could not recommend Ariel highly enough to anyone looking to hire a bar tutor. I also highly recommend the Bar Exam Toolbox program.
I loved the customized individual schedule and easy access to past CA bar examination questions and sample answers (which went back even further than what the CA bar exam web site posts) as well as access to other study tools including Leansheets, BarEssays, SketchyLaw etc. Thanks to Bar Exam Toolbox, I had several useful tools at my disposal and I used them all, helping my studying go much more smoothly than it otherwise would have. I highly recommend both Bar Exam Toolbox and, specifically, Ariel, to anyone looking to hire a tutor or tutoring service as they study for and take the CA bar exam.
What impressed me most about both Lee and Ariel is how committed they were to finding a way for me to succeed. Instead of insisting that I learn using some “tried and true” method, they not only recognized that I was going to need a customized learning approach, they both worked hard with me to figure out what that approach would look like and adjusted course as needed during my prep. In a world of Bar prep cookie-cutter programs, Bar Exam Toolbox helps you mold and form a Bar prep plan that’s going to work for you.
Thank you both again for all of your guidance!
I registered to take the February 2016 bar exam. Although I had signed up for a well known commercial bar prep program, I knew I needed one-on-one assistance with my essay writing skills because I had struggled with various subjects during law school. To be specific, I had not done well in Property and had stumbled through Business Organizations and Community Property. Thus, I reached out to Lee at Bar Exam Tool Box and explained my fears to her. In addition, I told her I went to a small CBA law school and in general felt I was at an extreme disadvantage. She understood exactly what I needed and put me in contact with Ariel who turned out to be an amazing tutor! Ariel and I worked well together. She created a study plan for me to compliment the schedule of the bar prep program in which I originally enrolled. That was a definite plus because I did not feel I was following two separate schedules, instead, it all felt very cohesive.
Ariel’s main focus with me was to strengthen my writing skills for both essays and PTs. When I received my first graded essay back from Ariel it was full of constructive comments, advice, and tips on how to improve my writing. Ariel was very honest as to whether the essay I turned it would pass or not. It was not an easy process but Ariel was super encouraging and did not let me give up. She pointed out my strengths but also was very honest about my weaknesses. She showed me ways in which I could attack the problem areas in my writing. Ariel also forced me to do all my writing assignments under timed conditions and kept encouraging me to write essays without looking at outlines a month in advance of the bar exam.
By the time I got to the bar exam I was comfortable with writing essays completely closed book. Moreover, I especially looked forward to my weekly call with Ariel. These one-on-one conversations were helpful because if I had any questions she would answer them instantly over the phone. During one of our weekly calls we used the time to walk through a fact pattern together and Ariel was able to fully understand how I was thinking through the fact pattern and pointed out where I was going wrong or where I was headed in the right direction. She put me on the spot but that kind of pressure is the kind of on the spot thinking you need in order to be prepared for exam day. I can go on, and on, and on about what a great tutor Ariel is and how much I recommend her to anyone seeking personal attention during their crazy bar prep weeks. It was nice to know I had someone to touch base with who not only held me accountable for my work but also provided very detailed analysis of all the work I turned in. Truly it was a great decision to sign up for Bar Exam Tool Box. They provided great learning tools and Ariel was a wonderful tutor, teacher, coach, and friend. I’m happy to report that all the hard work paid off because I passed the bar exam!
I highly recommend Ariel for bar tutoring. Ariel was instrumental in helping craft a personalized bar study schedule during the Spring of my 3L year and frequently followed up to help keep me on task. She is highly organized and was able to accommodate the schedule of my bar prep program. Not only did Ariel pinpoint my writing weaknesses and provide timely constructive criticism, she offered support and encouragement throughout bar study and I was fortunate to pass the California bar on my first attempt.
Thank you all so much for all the work and effort you’ve put in to help me achieve my years long dream of practicing law. You guys are fantastic.
Ariel is a great tutor and a relentless optimist. It’s clear she cares about her students, knows the material like the back of her hand, and the time she puts into providing feedback on submitted sample essays is obvious. Thanks, Ariel, for keeping me calm when all I wanted to do is freak out (also for the pre-exam Starbucks card). Haha!
I am writing cause I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your help. I know for a fact that I would not have passed without all of your help preparing me for the essay portion and for your willingness to get on the phone with me late at night during the actual bar exam to help me put together an emergency regroup and game plan for the second Performance Test. The quick system you helped me put together to tackle the second PT allowed me to get through all the material thoroughly, structure my answer eloquently, and complete my answer on time and without another panic attack. In addition, your encouragement to keep going and finish the test helped provide me with the energy and strength to give it my all and finish strong despite the long odds.
Thank you again so much Ariel!
From the moment I communicated with Lee Burgess, I knew that I was in good hands. After taking the July California Bar Exam, I found relief waiting for results within the blogs created by Lee and her team. Since, I was a subscriber to her emails, when I failed, I received an email about working past the failure to overcome the beast that the bar exam is.
I immediately emailed Lee,and received a response about how to proceed. When I spoke with Lee on the phone, I knew the Bar Exam Toolbox team was the right fit. I was lost and had no idea what to do next, but that was only momentarily because Lee had a plan. After signing up for a tutoring session, I was put into contact with Ariel Salzer.
Not only did Ariel find and develop the writer within myself, but she became much more than a tutor, she became a confidant during a very difficult time. We worked diligently together for 8 weeks and even after the test, Lee and Ariel were a sounding board for the wave of emotions waiting for results. I cannot speak highly enough about Ariel’s ability to help me tackle any obstacle that arose during bar prep. She made it simple, clear and cut and dry. I was able to work with a focus towards a goal that I did not have when I used a commercial bar prep company the first time.
When I checked results, and passed, not only was I overjoyed but I knew it was only because I picked up the phone and called Lee. Her team took care of me and I will always remember as being a monumental part of my journey post law school through the bar and on. Not only did they help me pass the bar but I feel that they cared more than just about me passing, they cared about me as a person. They will always be at the top of the list of those that I will be indebted too.
I would have failed the exam for a third time if it hadn’t been for Bar Exam Toolbox. I am a qualified foreign (English) attorney, practicing for over 25 years. I used two well-known bar prep programs to learn the law, and thought I was well prepared for each of my two earlier sittings of the exam. The fact is that I did know the law; what I did not know, and what the larger bar prep programs do not teach you, is how to deal with the written portions of the exam. I thought that it was enough to know the law; it isn’t, and I simply can’t emphasize that enough. I spent a lot of time speaking with various providers but I knew immediately I spoke with Lee that Bar Exam Toolbox was what I was looking for. They didn’t let me down.
My tutor was Ariel Salzer. She analyzed my graded essays and told me that I needed to stop writing like a lawyer and re-learn how to write like a student! After having explained what she meant by that, it was as if someone had switched on a light inside my head. At Ariel’s urging, I put aside my previous course materials and started focusing purely on writing essays. It’s very tempting to just read and read and read, but Ariel convinced me that’s not the way to prepare. Her support and her analysis of my practice essays was invaluable. When I came to sit the exam, I was not at all daunted by the written portion; I was ready for it. I owe it to Ariel and to the team at Bar Exam Toolbox that I am now admitted to the California Bar, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
I am a practicing attorney at BigLaw firm with a demanding schedule – at the end of the day, I could only take two weeks off to prepare for the California bar. The team at Bar Exam Toolbox was incredibly supportive, thoughtful, and flexible – and is without a doubt the only reason I was prepared enough to take and pass the bar. While I doubt they would recommend my study schedule to any potential student, I cannot recommend them more highly for their precise and helpful feedback, which allowed me to make steady progress towards writing a successful examination.
I would have never passed the California without the services of Bar Exam Toolbox. I failed in July and knew I needed to change something my preparation for the second time around. I interviewed a few tutors and looked at other bar preparation services and decided that this was the one for me. I loved the personalized study schedule that focuses on your weak subject areas. My writing style definitely changed and I finally realized what writing for graders meant. Ariel was amazing and not only did she transform my study habits (and kept me accountable), she was also really good at being supportive during the rough period that is bar prep. I can’t say enough good things about them.
I hired Lee after failing the bar the first time. She came highly recommended by faculty at my law school so I knew she would be great. I had no idea how transformative my time with her would be. She opened my eyes to how I really needed to look at the essays I was writing. She was always available to explain the answers and walk me through the process step by step, including the melt-downs that naturally occur while studying for the bar as a repeat test-taker. I learned things about writing for the bar exam that would have been helpful to know while I was in law school. She is a person that pushes you to get results and has as much drive as you do to get a passing result. I truly enjoyed the time I spent working with Lee and would recommend her to anyone studying for the bar.
I didn’t pass the bar the first time and after taking some time off I decided to give it another shot. I knew I needed a tutor to help me with my writing because that was my main weakness the first time. After talking with several tutors about their program and the cost I was almost ready to give up. Then I discovered Lee. She honestly put me at ease with the first phone call. I was immediately ready and willing to work with Lee.
From the beginning Lee was there for me emotional and mentally. She made me laugh, cry, get over frustration and stay motivated. She held me accountable and pushed me to work harder for what I wanted, to PASS the bar. Studying for the bar isn’t easy nor is is fun. But Lee made it more enjoyable. She looked over my previous exam and pointed out my weaknesses and strengths to help me focus my time and energy where it was needed the most.
Lee approaches studying for the bar differently then most people, which makes her so unique. Her study schedule was rigorous and if you’re willing to put in the work you will definitely reap the benefits. I am so grateful that I discovered Lee because without her behind me to push me I don’t think I could have PASSED the bar the second time.
I have already recommended her to friends who weren’t successful on the bar and I would continue to recommend her to anyone else who is taking the bar for the first time or someone who is a repeat taker. If I had to do it all over again I would have hired Lee the first time I took the bar. She teaches you what most bar review programs don’t: how to write a passing bar exam answer.
After failing to pass on my first attempt at the California Bar, I knew I needed to change my routine. That’s where Lee came in. Not only did she offer great feedback on my past essay and performance exams, but also did she help me construct a study calendar and routine that fit my comfort level and most importantly, addressed where I was weak. Her feedback was easy to understand, quickly given, and tailored to my writing style so I could give myself the best shot at passing the second time around, which I did. Overall, while our work together was crucial for my Bar passage, Lee made me a better writer, which will serve me well for years to come. Bottom line, Lee is great at what she does. She’s an awesome person and will give you the best chance to put this test behind you.
I came to Lee because I failed the bar the first time, and I needed someone I could trust and depend on. Lee was deserving of that praise and even more. Lee knows her stuff — Lee was prompt, professional, easy to communicate with, and very flexible. She set high expectations for me and encouraged me to attain them. She helped me pinpoint what my weaknesses were and helped me develop strategies to attack them. Some of it was the law, but the majority of it was my test-taking approach. Lee was very encouraging at a time when I doubted whether passing that bar was something I could attain and questioned if it was actually more about luck.
If you are like me, you were in shock because you worked so hard the first time. If you are like me, you are super busy, have a full-time job, don’t have money or time to waste, and need to improve your chances at passing the bar. If you are like me, then you definitely need Lee.
Lee was the best match for me! She was very supportive about the whole bar-taking process and repeat bar process. She helped me remain accountable and fine-tune those points that I needed to help me pass the bar. It wasn’t easy, but I certainly could not have done it without Lee. I realized that I knew a whole bunch of law and I knew how to time myself, but that was not enough bar preparation for me. I needed the whole package, not just what everyone else had signed up for. I would recommend her to anyone who wants to pass the bar. THANKS LEE!
I came to Lee after failing the CA State Bar twice. After speaking to Lee over the phone, I knew immediately that I wanted to work with her. Lee is the perfect combination of cheerleader and taskmaster. I took all her suggestions and comments to heart and they drastically changed both the way I looked at the law and my style of writing. I credit her methods for the reason I was finally able to pass the bar! If you do everything that Lee tells you to do, you will pass the bar. I couldn’t recommend her more highly.
I was on advocacy teams and the law review at my school, I was a tutor, and I had excellent grades. Statistically, I was not supposed to fail the California Bar Exam, but I did. I had worked extremely hard to prepare, and I followed all of the bar prep course instructions to a fault. When I received the bad news last November, I was surprised and devastated. While I felt capable of tackling the subject matter itself on my own for the second time around, I knew that I needed the someone who was familiar with the test inside and out from a strategic standpoint, and who could give me individualized feedback based on my particular strengths and weaknesses. Lee was just that person.
From the first time we spoke on the phone, it was clear to me that Lee was an expert in bar exam preparation, and I was very impressed with how detail-oriented, organized, and knowledgeable she was. Since I was living outside of San Francisco while studying, it was crucial to me that my tutor be someone I could depend on from a distance and communicate with on the phone and online. Lee was able to schedule remote meetings with me every week to assess my progress and offer individualized critiques, and she graded every single one of my essays via e-mail right up to the days before the exam. Lee customized a detailed study calendar for me and gave me the honest feedback I needed to hear on almost a daily basis in a way that I could understand and learn. She graded my practice essays in a very detailed way that was both encouraging and helped me see the exam from a grader’s perspective. Now, a few short months later, I have just received the good news that I passed the bar on my second try, and I can honestly say that without Lee, I would have been lost through this difficult and exhausting process.
In the past few months, I have learned that bar success is not about studying every minute of every day, and it doesn’t matter what grades you got in law school. It is about studying smartly and efficiently and learning the tactics of the game. These tactics are exactly what I was missing when I studied on my own the first time. If I had it to do over again, I would have, without a minute of hesitation, hired Lee the first time I took the bar. She is brilliant and has an amazing work ethic and she knows exactly the steps to take to succeed in law school and on the bar exam. I would recommend her to any of my friends or my students above any other tutor or bar preparation course. Hiring Lee was without a doubt the best decision of my entire law school career. I only wish I had started working with her sooner.
I am a practicing attorney admitted to the New York Bar and, like many other out-of-state attorneys, I sat for the July 2014 California Bar Examination. I used a well-known bar prep program, and despite working hard through numerous practice essays, performance tests and re-learning the law, I failed the July 2014 California Bar Exam.
Once the initial shock wore off and I received my graded essays, I got in touch with Lee in advance of the February 2015 California Bar Exam. She came highly recommended, especially for out of state lawyers. During our initial call, I immediately liked Lee’s approach – in addition to being pleasant to speak to, she took the time to thoroughly discuss my practice of transactional law, initial study habits, the number of essays I outlined/wrote, the number that were timed, etc. It was based on this conversation that Lee suspected that I was writing essays in a style suitable for either clients or the New York Bar Exam, but completely wrong for the California Bar Exam. Lee’s hunch was confirmed when she reviewed my July 2014 essays – I knew the law, but needed to learn how to write an essay specifically for the California Bar, and that would require me to put aside the writing style I had developed in my practice.
Ariel Salzer, one of Lee’s colleagues, was a superb tutor. She helped me prepare a comprehensive study plan and worked diligently to ensure that I had the essay-writing style down by exam day. Naturally, this included me submitting my timed essays and performance tests for review, but what I came to appreciate was the HIGHLY-detailed analysis (and constructive criticism!) that Ariel provided on every submission. Ariel would always offer specific suggestions on ways I could improve my organization, analysis or timing. During the later stages of prep, even If I was happier with my submission, Ariel would confirm what I had done correctly but also note specific ways I could improve the essay and where I was missing points. Admittedly, it was an exhaustive process, but I learned how to write a lean, properly structured and substantive California Bar Exam essay within the time allotted. Ariel kept me on track, focused and motivated throughout the process – I could not have been better prepared when I walked into the Ontario Convention Center.
I passed the February 2015 California Bar Examination, and that was because Lee and Ariel did a tremendous job helping me prepare for it. I enjoyed working with them and highly recommend them to anyone preparing to take the California Bar Exam. Thank you both!
I called the Bar Exam Toolbox in a panic about five weeks before the February 2014 California bar exam. It was my first time taking the exam, and I knew that BarBri was not working for me. Although I was studying full-time, I was unable to keep up with the Paced Program. I was completely overwhelmed by the volume of course materials. I didn’t know where to focus my time or efforts, and I felt like I was spinning my wheels.
Working with Ariel, who takes a holistic approach to bar exam tutoring, was the key to my success on the exam. She was patient and compassionate, but never short on tough love — she kept me on track and motivated to pass the exam. Ariel helped me identify my weaknesses and pushed me to work on the subjects I needed to address most. Her feedback on my practice essays and performance tests was very thorough, and she always gave me concrete tips on how to improve my writing.
I cannot recommend Ariel highly enough. My investment in her services is one I will never regret. She helped me pass the exam on the first try, and for that I am forever grateful.
The Bar Exam Toolbox provided a structured framework and individualized approach for my bar exam prep. My tutor’s review and feedback on PTs and essays helped me discover areas that I needed to improve before the exam. This allowed me to learn what I needed to fix before exam day, which helped me pass the California bar exam. I highly recommend Lee and her team.
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We look forward to helping you find bar exam success!