Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year Celebrations: Include Your Family in Studying for the February Bar Exam

This weekend marks 2 months to go until the February bar exam. Take a few days off to relax your mind and have quality time with those that love you. Take the time off with no guilt attached.

Those that really love you want to see you pass the bar. Know that with certainty. Those who are pulling and picking at you, saying you don’t have to study that long or want you to go to the clubs and parties are not your true friends and do not want you to be successful. Hopefully, you have ejected them from your life for these final 2 months that you are studying.

Sometimes those loved ones see you study and see your struggle and wish they could help you, but don’t know how. Bar applicants who have children find it hard to be both a parent and have a full time study plan. Don’t ignore them. Try to integrate them into your “experience”.

During these weeks of celebration for Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years, look at those that are supporting you in ways you may not even realize. Maybe your mom makes you breakfast every morning before you leave to go study. Maybe your spouse is doing the heavy lifting as you study. Let them know you appreciate their support, even if they are just getting out of your way during this period before the bar exam.

No person is an island. You need your family and friends during this stressful period of bar exam studying. Have your family help you. They will be glad to help and they will be proud of the little part they played in your success. Give your family members or your children one of your study books and have them test you. This is particularly good for the elements of a cause of action. Have your family help you recite those causes of action. See if you can make a game out of it, with your children or family members each calling out an element of a cause of action.

You may be surprised on game day when you are calling up the exceptions to the hearsay rule and you remember the face of your loved ones yelling it out to you.

Have a terrific Christmas, Hanukah and New Years. Rest, relax and then get back to work. The February Bar Exam is right around the corner.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Importance of Having a Study Plan for the Bar Exam

A study plan is imperative to pass a bar exam, whether you are taking it for the first time or you are a repeat bar taker.

Why a study plan? In order to pass the bar, you need two things: time-management and discipline. Sticking to a study plan will conquer both requirements. Thorough preparation is the key to passing the exam and having a plan in place will allow you to manage your time and using your discipline to stick to the study schedule. For a plan to work, you have to address your learning style as well as the substantive areas you will be tested on.

What do I mean by learning style? Ask yourself, how do you learn? What worked for you in law school? Some people like reading outlines, some like to do practice questions and then read the answer explanations, some like to do their own outlines, or make up flashcards. You should know the answer to this question by now. How do you best learn or memorize the substantive law? Also, ask yourself, when do you best learn? . What works for you? Do you like the evening hours to study, do you take frequent breaks. Know all of that before you write your study plan. Also, just prior to the bar, switch over to the bar schedule. Get up early, as if you are taking the bar, and work for those 3 hours as if you are sitting for the bar, break for lunch and do another 3 hour stretch to mimic the bar.

For your study plan, you should first start with relearning and reviewing the outlines with some practice questions thrown in and as you pick up the pace, you’ll reverse it and do more practice questions and essays and only use your outlines for clarification on questions you get wrong or confused about.

Be realistic with your goals and your study habits. For example, you can’t go throughout the entire day with no lunch or no exercise or no breaks because you were unrealistic in the time aspect of your plan. You have to write a study plan that suits you and your personality without slacking off.

Don’t ignore your weak areas or your strong areas. You may not need to schedule as much time in your stronger subjects, but review them as consistently as you do all the other subjects. You may not need to read or reread the outlines of your strong subjects, but during those time periods, practice your questions. You may need those extra points on the bar. For your weaker subjects, do not ignore those subjects. All bar examinees have weak subjects. Spend time on those subjects as you would other subjects and just keep practicing. You’ll be surprised at how much you really do know in those weak subjects.

Where should you study? Again, that depends on your learning style. Can you get work done at home or does the distraction of the television or the computer or the phone make you turn it on? Does studying at your school make you study more or do your fellow students distract you and make you chatter rather than study? Make sure wherever you go that it is quiet. Turn off the phone, the text messaging, and the internet. This is too important for you and your career to be easily distracted. Let’s face it – none of us what to spend the next 6 weeks in constant study – it’s torture. Just remember this is your career you are talking about. You sacrificed to go to law school, you can sacrifice for the two months and you’ll be a lawyer for the rest of your career.

Good luck in your studying.

Please note Bar Professors offers private tutorial for the Florida 2010 bar. Send inquires to

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Repeat Bar Takers: Don’t Let the Odds Discourage Your Goal to Pass the Bar Exam

As a repeat bar taker, you are clearly at a distinct disadvantage for passing your next bar exam.

The pass rate for all repeat takers for the California July 2009 bar was a shocking 22%. In California, 2,515 applicants were repeat takers for July 2009 and only 553 applicants passed. In Texas, only 52% of the second time bar takers passed the July 2009 bar and only 38% of repeat takers in Massachusetts passed in July 2009.

It’s time for all repeat bar takers to start studying now for the February 2010 bar exam. The “key” to passing is obtaining a private tutor. Do not do what you did before – taking a commercial bar course a second time will not help you. Make sure you have a plan in place to ensure your success.

Please note Bar Professors offers private tutorial for the Florida 2010 bar. Send inquires to

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Call for Transparency about the Bar Exam Results by Law Schools or the State Board of Bar Examiners

In choosing a law school, a vital consideration for a law student must be the bar exam rate of the law school. If a law student chooses to go to a law school that struggles with its bar exam passage rate, then the likelihood of passing the bar for that student decreases when it becomes his/her turn 3 years later. Conversely, the higher the bar passage rate for your school, the chances of you passing the exam is increased.

Some law schools use its bar passage rate as a marketing tool. For example, Michigan State University, after scoring first on the July 2009 Michigan bar exam, immediately posted its numbers on its website. Other law schools obscure or hide its numbers, hoping the law school won’t be called out for a low bar passage rate. Still others schools, not only hide its numbers but claim the bar exam passage rate is actually higher than it is. For example, FAMU COL routinely scores only 50% on its bar, but, unbelievably, tells its students and the public that its overall bar pass rate is 77% when all statistics show that repeat takers normally do more poorly than first time takers on the bar. In fact, FAMU COL’s overall rate is closer to 37%.

Regardless, it is incumbent upon all law schools to practice transparency when it comes to its bar passage rate. If the school won’t publish its bar passage rate, then the state must publish it.

Let the public, the potential law students and the students at the school have all information available as to the school’s bar exam passage rate.

For repeat bar takers in Florida and California, please note that Bar Professors is offering a tutorial course for February 2010.

Friday, November 20, 2009

California Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Are Now Posted

The State Bar of California's Committee of Bar Examiners reported today that 56.4 percent of the applicants passed the July 2009 General Bar Examination (GBX). If the 4,888 people who passed the July 2009 exam satisfy other requirements for admission, they will become members of the State Bar.

Preliminary statistical analyses show that of the 8,667 applicants who took the GBX, 71.0 percent were first-time takers. The passing rate for 6,152 first-time applicants was 70.0 percent overall. The passing rate for the 2,515 applicants repeating the examination was 22.0 percent overall.

Here are the statistics for first time takers and then repeat takers:

California ABA: 79%/31%
Out-of-State ABA: 69%/27%
CA (but not ABA) Accredited: 32%/12%
Unaccredited:Fixed Facility: 4%/10%
Unacredited:Correspondence/Distance Learning: 32%/11%
All Others: 44%/20%

All Applicants: 70%/22%

California Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Will Be Posted at 6:00 pm Today

California bar exam results are expected to be posted today on Friday, November 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm.

Bar Professors wishes good luck to all applicants!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Waiting for the July 2009 California Bar Exam Results

On Friday, November 20, 2009, California will release its bar exam results for July 2009.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, the play follows two days in the lives of a pair of men who divert themselves while they wait expectantly and unsuccessfully for someone named Godot to arrive. To occupy themselves, they eat, sleep, converse, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide — anything "to hold the terrible silence at bay".

I'm sure this sounds familiar to approximately 8000 law school graduates who lives are on hold until 6:00 pm on Friday, waiting for the results of the hardest bar exam in the nation.

Unfortunately for the bar applicants who are waiting for the California results to come in, they still have a few more days to pass the time and are trying anything to "hold the terrible silence at bay" as they wait for their attorney lives to resolve successfully or, at least this time, unsuccessfully. Regardless of the result, your life changes dramatically in just a few days. Will you be successful or will you have the fortitude to go at it again if you are not?

In my experience, these last few days are probably the worst of the wait - knowing its coming in as the time seems to go by infuriatingly slowly. Your parents, your friends, your family, your co-workers are also taking that slow wait with you, hoping and praying that you will be successful.

Good luck for those who wait and we here at BarProfessors hope your legal dreams come true on Friday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Georgia Has Posted its Bar Exam Results for July 2009 by Law School

Georgia has posted its bar exam results for July 2009 by law school. Here are the statistics:

Total of All Taking Examination – 1213

•1002 or 82.6% Passed
•1066 First Timers Took Exam and 948 or 88.9% Passed
•0147 Repeaters Took Exam and 0054 or 36.7% Passed

By Law School:

Mercer Law School: 87.3% of first time takers passed; 86% of all takers passed (including repeat takers)

Emory University: 92.5% of first time takers passed; 92.7% of all takers passed (including repeat takers)

University of Georgia: 94.5% of first time takers passed; 93.6% of all takers passed (including repeat takers)

Georgia State University: 93.0% of first time takers passed; 91.9% of all takers passed (including repeat takers)

John Marshall Law School: 83.1% of first time takers passed; 89.4% of all takers passed (including repeat takers)

Also interesting is the average MBE scores of the schools:

Mercer: 147.1

Emory: 150.5

Georgia: 151.5

Georgia State: 150.1

John Marshall: 138.9

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

For Repeat Bar Takers and Foreign Lawyers Taking the California and New York Bar Exams

Bar Professors has expanded its bar review course for repeat takers from California and New York. A special course will be offered to foreign lawyers and/or LLM and ESL students taking the New York and California Bar Exam.

Private tutorials for the 2010 February Bar Exam are extremely limited and you must sign up by November 21, 2009. Classes will be offered in both California and New York starting May 1, 2010 for the July 2010 Bar Exam.

Please go to for more information

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Jersey Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Are Posted

New Jersey has posted the results from the July 2009 New Jersey Bar Examination. Of the 3183 candidates who sat for this examination, results have been mailed to 3072 candidates. Of the 3072 applicants, 2538 (82.6%) passed. The ID numbers of all applicants are posted on the website.

Congratulations to all who passed from BarProfessors.

New Jersey Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Will Be Posted at 4:00 pm Today

Bar results are expected to be mailed on Monday, November 9, 2009. Results are expected to be posted by Candidate ID number on Monday at 4:00 pm.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

July 2009 Bar Exam Results Coming Out - New Jersey and California

New Jersey bar exam results for July 2009 will be coming out on Monday. California will be coming out on Friday, November 20th.

Barprofessors will post the results as soon as the results are out.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The New York Bar Exam Pass Rate Has Been Posted

The New York State Board of Law Examiners announced that grading has been completed
for the July 2009 bar examination. The graduates of American Bar Association approved law schools taking the bar examination for the first time achieved a passing rate of 88.2%, believed to be the second highest passing rate ever recorded for that group.

The Board examined a record 11,532 candidates during the two days of testing conducted on July 28-29, 2009. The passing rate for all candidates, including U. S. domestic-educated candidates and foreign-educated candidates, first time and repeat takers, was 72%. The passing rate for candidates who took the bar examination for the first-time was 80% The number of foreign-educated candidates sitting for the New York bar examination continues to rise. This July, 2,955 (25.6%) of the 11,532 candidates taking the examination were foreign educated.

The passing rate for all foreign educated candidates who took the examination was

A list of the successful applicants is now posted.

Congratulations to all who passed from BarProfessors.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

July 2009 Texas Exam Results by Law School

Here are the statistics for the Texas Bar Exam Results for July 2009 by law school:

Baylor: 94.12% - first time takers; 0% - 2nd time takers

St. Mary: 82.80% - first time takers; 56.25% - 2nd time takers

South Texas: 89.66% - first time takers; 58.97% - 2nd time takers

SMU: 90.99% - first time takers; 35.71% - 2nd time takers

TSU: 71.11% - first time takers; 41.54% - 2nd time takers

U of Houston: 91.63% - first time takers; 85,71% - 2nd time takers

U of Texas: 92.36% - first time takers; 72.22% - 2nd time takers

Texas Tech: 94.52% - first time takers; 66.67% - 2nd time takers

TWU: 93.29% - first time takers; 59.09% - 2nd time takers

The overall bar pass rate for Texas is: 83.12%

Texas Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Are Now Posted

The results of the July 2009 bar examination for Texas were released to applicants today. The Board of Law Examiners have posted the individual names on its website.

Congratulations to those who passed from Bar Professors.

New York Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Are Out Today

The results from the July 2009 bar examination will be made available to candidates, by e-mail, on November 5, 2009. You must ensure that you can accept emails from There will also be a link on the website to privately view your individual result by mid-day.

A list of the candidates who passed the examination will be made available to the general public on Friday, November 6, 2009.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Michigan State University College of Law Claims Number One Spot in Michigan Bar Exam

Michigan State University College of Law recently announced the passage rate of Spring 2009 graduates who took the Michigan Bar examination for the first time in July. Reported results show 95 percent of MSU Law Spring '09 graduates passed the Michigan Bar examination (before appeals), which was the highest passage rate among law schools in Michigan, and well above the state's 88 percent average.

Michigan Has Updated Its Website to Name the Successful Applicants of the July 2009 Bar Exam Results

Today, Michigan has updated its website with the names of the successful applicants of the July 2009 bar exam results.

Again, congratulations to all those who passed from barprofessors.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Georgia's Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Are Now Out

The results of the July 2009 bar examination for Georgia were released to applicants today. The Board of Law Examiners have posted the individual names on its website.

Congratulations to those who passed from Bar Professors.

South Carolina Releases its Bar Exam Results for July 2009 By Law School

South Carolina has released its bar exam results for July 2009 by law school. Here are the results:

Charleston School of Law: 75.88%

University of South Carolina: 84.81%

Other Schools: 66.01%

Total: 76.28%

Massachusetts Released its Bar Exam Pass Rate Today

Massachusetts released its bar pass rate today.

For first time takers, the bar exam pass rate is 90.4%

For second time takers, the bar exam pass rate is 49%

For third time takers, the bar exam pass rate is 45%

For fourth time takers, the bar exam pass rate is 33.3%

For fifth time or more takers, the bar exam pass rate is 27.3%

The overall bar exam pass rate is 85.7%.

Georgia’s Bar Exam Results Will be Released Today at 4:30 pm

A list of successful applicants from the July 2009 Georgia Bar Examination will be posted at 3:30 pm on Friday, October 30, 2009. Applicant numbers are not needed to access this information.

Nearly 1,000 Applicants Pass July 2009 Ohio Bar Exam

The Supreme Court of Ohio Office of Bar Admissions released the results today of the July 2009 Ohio Bar Exam, which was administered in Columbus July 28 through July 30. Out of the 1,177 applicants who sat for the exam, 957 (81.3 percent) received passing scores; out of 1,046 first-time applicants, 87.8 percent received passing scores.

The successful applicants are listed by name and by law school on its website.

Congratulations to those who passed from Bar Professors.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Massachusetts Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Are Released

The results of the July 2009 bar examination for Massachusetts were released to applicants on Wenesday, October 28, 2009. The results were mailed by United States Postal Service.

Congratulations to those who passed from Bar Professors.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Michigan Bar Exam Results Have Been Released

The results of the July 2009 bar examination for Michigan were released to applicants on Tuesday, October 27, 2009. The results were mailed by United States Postal Service. The Board of Law Examiners will post, on its website, the names of the successful applicants on November 2nd.

Congratulations to those who passed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Virginia Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Have Been Released

The July 2009 bar exam results for Virginia have been released. The individual applicants are listed by name.

The statistic information is as follows:

Pass Rate:

Overall – approximately 75.4%
First-Time Takers – approximately 80.2%

Congratulations to those who passed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Will the New Grading System Affect the Michigan Bar Exam Results for July 2009?

Many applicants are waiting for Michigan’s bar exam results for July 2009. I’m looking forward to seeing the exam results in light of the changes to that bar. I predict the bar exam results will be lower than last year in light of the change to the grading system.

For those not in the know, the Michigan Board of Law Examiners changed the grading system of its bar exam effective to the February 2009 bar exam. In light of the number of takers in July 2009, this bar exam result will be the real test of the grading change.

The Michigan Board of Law Examiners eliminated the practice of not grading the essay answers of applicants obtaining a threshold score on the MBE.

All essay answers in the Michigan bar will now be graded and no applicant will pass the examination solely on the basis of the applicant’s MBE score. The Board of Law Examiners will now scale the essay examination scores to the scoring of the MBE. The combined score still remains at 135.

The Michigan Board of Law Examiners stated that this new grading system will more accurately gauge whether applicants have attained the level of specific competence in Michigan law necessary for the protection of the public. Other reasons include, consistency in the level of difficulty of Michigan bar examination essay questions from one examination another, to more accurately assess whether applicants have attained the level of competence in the law, and conformity to other bar exams.

It will be interesting to see how, in grading the essays, it will affect the applicants. We’ll know any day now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Washington, D.C. Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Are Out Today

Washington, D.C. Bar Exam results for July 2009 have come out today. The Board of Bar Examiners have released the individual names of all successful applicants.

155 applicants passed the bar out of a total of 293 applicants.

This represents a 72% pass rate among first-time takers or an overall pass rate of 53%.

Congratulations to all who passed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The July 2009 Nevada Bar Exam Results Came Out Today

Nevada’s “unofficial” bar exam results came out today.

Nevada's “unofficial” bar pass rate is 63%.

Nevada has listed all the successful individual applicants by name. Successful applicants number approximately 245 applicants.

Congratulations to all who passed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Repeat Florida Bar Exam Takers: A Structured Plan for Success

As we have analyzed in our previous blogs, Florida repeat bar exam takers should be very concerned with their ability to pass the Florida Bar Exam.

For those students coming from Florida A & M, you should be aware that your dean and the law school, with a first time bar exam rate of 52% over the last two exams, has reported that your school’s bar exam rate is higher than actual numbers. As we have shown through our blogs, the repeat bar exam taker numbers are substantially lower than first time takers. Absent a very structured study bar exam plan, many of the repeat bar exam takers will repeatedly fail the bar until they just give up on their dream of becoming a lawyer. As a law professor, I know too many students in this heart-breaking category. They are devastated with their failure beyond comprehension. They are literally paralyzed with indecision, depression and uncertainty about their career and, more importantly, they question their own ability to pass the bar.

My advice is to start with a very intensive structured plan. Obtain a tutor or enroll in a small bar review course and, more importantly, believe you will pass. Above all else, do not prepare for the exam as you did the first time. You have to change your approach with a structured plan for success.

Please note barprofessors will provide private tutorial for the Florida February 2010bar exam. Please go to or e-mail barprofessors at BarProfessors will also be conducting a seminar in November on how to pass the Florida Bar. The seminar will be held in Orlando and Miami. Seats are limited. Sign up is required.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

July 2009 Bar Exam Results for the States of Washington and Rhode Island Are Out

Rhode Island and Washington have released their bar exam results for July 2009.

Rhode Island has 166 successful applicants and they are listed by individual name on the bar examiners website.

The State of Washington also came out with its bar exam results for July 2009. All applicants bar pass rate is 68.6%; the first time taker bar pass rate is 71.8% and the repeat taker rate is 36.8%.

Congratulations to all who passed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bar Exam Round Up: Montana, Vermont, and New Hampshire Bar Exam Results for July 2009 are Out

Montana, Vermont, and New Hampshire, have released their results for the July 2009 bar.
In Montana, 124 examinees sat for the July 2009 bar exam and 111 of those examinees passed for 89.5% bar pass rate.

In Vermont, there were 65 candidates for admission who sat for all or part of the bar examination held on July 28 & 29, 2009 in Montpelier, Vermont. Forty or 62% have succeeded in passing both the essay examination and the Multistate Bar Examination portions. Certain applicants had previously certified essay or MBE scores. These are only reflected in the overall pass rate.

Sixty-three candidates sat for the essay examination given on July 28. Forty-two or 67% passed that examination portion. Fifty-nine candidates sat for the Multistate Bar Examination in Vermont, given on July 29. Thirty-five or 59% passed that examination.

In New Hampshire, the board of bar examiners have posted the successful applicants. 110 applicants passed the New Hampshire bar.

Congratulations to all successful applicants.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Free Florida Bar Exam Seminar in Orlando and Miami

Bar Professors will conduct and sponsor a free Florida Bar Exam Lecture on “How to Pass The Florida Bar Exam.” Law students, graduates, lawyers and repeat takers are encouraged to attend this seminar in mid-November 2009. A question and answer session will be offered.

Spaces are extremely limited and advanced registration is required. Please go to and fill out the contact sheet designating Orlando or Miami. You can also e-mail us at

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bar Exam Round Up: Maine and Arizona Bar Exam Results are Out for July 2009

Maine came out with their bar results today. The Maine Bar Examiners have listed the successful individual applicants. The Bar Examiners have yet to list the overall pass rate.

Arizona is also out. There were 559 applicants, of whom 438 achieved passing scores. The overall pass rate was 78%.

Arizona lists, by name, the highest scorers. They are: Robert Gonzalez; Tucson, Arizona placed first; a 2009 graduate of Stanford Law School. Jennifer Whitney Greenband; Springfield, Missouri placed second; a 2009 graduate of Creighton University School of Law. Aaron Randall Harmon; Lewes, Delaware placed third; a 2009graduate of Duke University School of Law.

Congratulations to all successful applicants.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Repeat Bar Takers: The Myths and Reality of Passing

Most law graduates are under the false impression that the more times you take a state bar exam the greater your changes are to passing This is one Florida law school dean’s marketing tool and position.

In fact, it is just the opposite. The more times you sit for a state bar, you increase your chances of being unsuccessful. This Dean’s position is not only detrimental to his school and its law graduates but a complete fabrication. Statistically, a law school cannot have a 52% first time pass rate and a 77% overall bar pass rate. Instead, if a law school has a 52% first time rate, realistically, that school has a repeat rate of only 25% - 30%.

The statistical proof is clear and convincing that repeat takers continuously do poorer on the bar exam than first time takers. Here are the hard facts:

The Pennsylvania July 2009 bar results indicate that the first time takers passed at an 87%. The average of the second and third time takers were 29.5% and the fourth time takers were 13.41%.

For the California February 2009 bar, results for instate ABA schools first time takers were 53% and all repeat takers were 37%. For the 13 California unaccredited law schools, 24 students took the exam with a 0% bar pass rate and 114 repeat takers sat and only 4 passed for a 4% pass rate.

In Massachusetts, for the February 2009 bar results, first time takers passed at a 69% and all other repeat takers passed at an 18% pass rate.

These statistical repeat taker numbers are a clear representation that repeat takers, on an average, only pass the bar exam at about a 33% rate. Obtaining a tutor should be the number one goal for all repeat takers.

Please note barprofessors will provide private tutorial for the Florida February 2010 bar exam. Please go to or e-mail barprofessors at

Monday, October 12, 2009

Repeat Bar Takers: Why You Should Be Concerned

Contrary to what some law school deans are telling their students about its bar passage rate, the clear reality is that your chances decrease dramatically, in passing any state bar exam, based on the number of times you sit for that bar. In other words, the first time you take the bar is your best chance of passing; your chances decrease the second time you take the bar; and your chances further decrease each and every time you take the bar.

In most jurisdictions, second and third time takers pass at a 33% pass rate. A law school in Florida with a bar pass rate, in recent times, of 52%, tells its law graduates, the public and the ABA that its students pass at a 77% rate after taking the bar exam 2 or 3 times. My law professor colleagues are shocked at this recklessly and untrue marketing machination. The truth is, after your second or third time, your chances of passing are remote. My advice to any repeat taker is to obtain a private tutor immediately after your first failure.

Next time, we will show you the statistical evidence and discuss the repeat takers actual bar numbers from states that publish this information.

Please note barprofessors will provide private tutorial for the Florida February 2010bar exam. Please go to or e-mail barprofessors at

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bar Exam Results Round Up: Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Connecticut Bar Exam Results Are Released

Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota and Connecticut have all released their bar results for the July 2009 bar. Kentucky, Minnesota and Connecticut have released their bar results by individual applicant.

Only Louisiana has released their scores by school:

LSU: 90.9%
LOYOLA: 67.0%
TULANE: 75.7%
OTHER: 55.6%
TOTAL: 69.3%

Congratulations to all who passed.

Delaware and Colorado Bar Exam Results for July Are Released

Delaware bar exam results were released by individual applicants. The Board of Bar Examiners have yet to release the bar pass rate for the state or by school.

Colorado bar exam results were also released. Colorado’s bar exam pass rate was 80%. 880 applicants took the bar, while 701 applicants passed.

By School, the pass rates for first time takers are:

University of Colorado: 94%
University of Denver: 89%
National: 100%
Other: 85%

The first time takers rate stands at 89%

By School, the pass rates for repeat takers are:

University of Colorado: 50%
University of Denver: 28%
National: 100%
Other: 26%

The repeat takers rate stands at 29%

(The national schools are: Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Duke, Michigan, Chicago, California Berkeley, Virginia, Texas)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pennsylvania Bar Exam Results for July 2009 Are Released

The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners today announced the results of the bar examination given on July 28th and 29th, 2009.

1997 applicants took the examination of which 1623 passed.

The overall pass rate is 81%

By School, the results are:

Drexel University: 89.84%

Duquesne University School of Law: 83.51%

Pennsylvania State University – Dickinson School of Law: 86.11%

Rutgers University School of Law – Camden: 76.22%

Temple University – James E. Beasley School of Law: 90.45%

University of Pennsylvania Law School: 92.45%

University of Pittsburgh School of Law: 88.02%

Villanova University School of Law: 86.83%

Widener University School of Law – Delaware: 75.88%

Widener University School of Law – Harrisburg: 81.55%

By Attempt:

First Time Takers: 87.29%

Second Time Takers: 34.43%

Third Time Takers: 25%

Fourth or More Time Takers: 13.41%

Congratulations to all those who passed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Passing the Florida Bar Exam When English is Your Second Language

I have been receiving e-mails from applicants who are having trouble with the bar exam because English is their second language. Also, I have had a multitude of people from foreign cities read this blog.

How should a person prepare for the Florida bar exam when English is their second language.

1. First, and for most, obtain a private tutor to evaluate your essays. Working with a tutor will dramatically improve your chances of passing.

2. Write, write and write some more. An applicant needs to learn to write on the Florida bar subjects to both understand the law and to develop a writing structure.

3. Memorize the law “cold” because you have a built in language barrier. You do not have the time to think about the law, you must know it.

Implementing the above will help you be successful on the Florida Bar.

BarProfessors offer private tutoring for ESL students and lawyers for the Florida bar. Please e-mail us at

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Illinois Bar Exam Results Are Out for July 2009

The Illinois Bar Exam Results came out on October 1, 2009. Although the examiners tried to avoid the rush for scores, unfortunately, the site crashed, causing many worried applicants a few more hours of agony waiting for the site to be restored. I believe this is not the first time this has happened and all of its best laid plans still do not work. Of course, the board "regrets the inconvenience that anyone may have experienced." Perhaps, next time, a new server would work better. Apparently, the "excess" traffic came from Chicago.

I'm still trying to find the Illinois scores by law school and I will post them as they become available.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Understanding Florida MBE: Scaled v. Raw

Many students have asked me what a scaled score is versus a raw MBE score.

A raw score is the actual score you received on the MBE. For example, you answer 120questions correctly out of 200. Your scaled score are points that are given to your raw scale based on the difficulty of the exam and how your fellow bar takers scored. For example, your raw score is 120. Your scaled score can have 15 points added and your actual score can end up to be 135.

Generally, you will receive between 10 and 18 additional points to your raw scale.

In Florida, my students are coming in with between 20-25 additional points added to their raw score.

Please note barprofessors will provide private tutorial for the Florida February 2010 bar exam. Please go to or e-mail barprofessors at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why Do Law Students Fail the Florida Bar Exam: How Can I Pass?

Most law students fail the Florida Bar Exam for three major reasons:

1. They revert back to bad writing habits developed in law school.

Under the pressures of the bar exam, many students revert back to bad habits. These bad habits allowed them to graduate from law school, but will be the kiss of death on the bar. Some of the bad habits include, not organizing your answer, no line by line analysis and not answering the call of the question.

2. Poor preparation and Time Management.

Many law students start their bar preparation entirely too late, leaving most in a rush mode. For the upcoming February 2010 bar, your preparation should start no later than October 15, 2009. You should allow yourself 5 to 6 hours per day for studying. But more importantly, studying correctly is the key. You need to write and answer many essays and MBE questions. Your answers must be evaluated by a private tutor.

3. They don’t really believe that they will pass

You must have a belief that you will pass. Get rid of all negative thoughts, people and things. You must truly believe that you will pass. You must say this every single day prior to the bar and you must have the confidence to succeed.

Please note that BarProfessors provides private tutorial for the Florida February 2010 bar exam. Please go to or send an e-mail to

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Lawyer’s Dress Code for Court Appearances

I found this news article conerning a lawyer challenging the dress code in court. Perhaps this lawyer should not have passed the bar or perhaps the adage is correct that a lawyer who represents himself is a fool:

Judge to Lawyer: Dress Well In Court

Friday, September 24, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) – If you plan to show up in court, it may be best to dress up for the occasion.

A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday threw out a complaint by a lawyer alleging a constitutional right to wear jeans and a baseball hat in a courtroom.

Todd Bank, whose office is in Kew Gardens, New York, showed up in a Queens housing court in March 2008 while wearing a button-down shirt, blue jeans, socks, shoes and a baseball hat that read “Operation Desert Storm.”

Judge Anne Katz told Bank he was dressed inappropriately, and court clerk Jude Albano told him to take the hat off.

Bank sued both, saying his right to free speech and his liberty to dress as he wishes, which he said are guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, allowed him to wear the clothing.

Not so, said U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

A courtroom is a “staid environment” where a judge may set reasonable limits on litigants’ behavior to enforce “commonly shared mores of courtroom civility,” he wrote.

He said the case raised “no serious dispute,” lamenting that the office of New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo “has now had to expend resources” defending the matter.

The judge added, however: “When he is not in court, plaintiff is free to express the ideas he wishes to express, and to wear the attire he chooses to wear.”

Bank did not immediately return requests for comment. He did not allege discrimination on the basis of the hat’s content.

The case is Bank v. Katz, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn), No. 08-1033.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Question 3 of the Florida Bar Exam: Real Property or Constitutional Law Question?

Our students have been asking us about question 3 on the Florida Bar Exam. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners, in their letters to the bar takers, has labeled Question 3 as a "Constitutional Law" question. In our evaluation of the question back in July, BarProfessors called it a Real Property/Ethics question. Who is right?

BarProfessors has always advised our bar students to read the call of the question. If you can read and understand the question and answer only that call of the question, you are on your way to getting the points you need to pass that essay.

The call of the question in Question 3 has more of a real property tint to it, although there are elements of constitutional law with the homestead issue. The call of the question asks for an evaluation of the interest each party holds in the subject property, evaluation of the title and claims against the property. The question also asks about legal fees.

But more importantly, the call of the question requests you, specifically, through a memorandum, to give certain legal analysis of the issues affecting the property status of the party.

To correctly answer any Florida question on the bar exam you must answer and understand the call of the question. Don’t worry about the label BarProfessors or the Florida Board of Bar Examiners use. Subject areas spill over into other areas. Yes, it may have constitutional law in it, but also real property. Always understand that the law has gray areas, whether on the bar exam or in legal practice.

Barprofessors will provide private tutoring for the February 2010 Florida Bar Exam. Send inquires to

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What Should I Do if I was Unsuccessful on the Florida Bar Exam: Important Advice for Repeat Florida Bar Takers

First, let the shock of failing the bar subside with a few days of reflection. Clearly, this may be one of your greatest disappointments, but don’t let it control or define who you are. You can pass the bar exam in February 2010.

Ok, now let’s start. Do not repeat the same class, study plan or approach you used the last time. It did not work. Coming close on the bar is good only in horse shoes. One size does not fit all. Get a private tutor and/or enroll in a “small” individualized bar review with contact and essay evaluation from your instructor. This structured, personalized program is the key to passing the bar for repeat takers. Above all, never give up.

Please visit for Florida bar review books. Private tutoring is also offered. Send inquires to

Monday, September 21, 2009

Florida Bar Exam Results by School

The July 2009 Florida Bar Exam results by school is as follows:

U. of Miami: 83.9% (224 took the bar, 188 passed)

U. of Florida: 86.3% (328 took the bar, 283 passed)

Stetson: 81.8% (209 took the bar, 171 passed)

Florida State: 91.4% (175 took the bar, 160 passed)

Nova Southeastern: 86.1% ( 208 took the bar, 179 passed)

St. Thomas: 75% (116 took the bar, 87 passed)

Florida Coastal: 83% (230 took the bar, 191 passed)

Barry 73.6% (110 took the bar, 81 passed)

Florida A&M: 52.6% (95 took the bar, 50 passed)

Florida International: 80.9% (89 took the bar, 72 passed)

Non-Florida law schools: 75.2% (719 took the bar, 541 passed)

Totals: 80% (2503 took the bar, 2003 passed)

The Florida Bar Exam Results are Up

The Florida bar exam results are now up.

Congratulations on passing the bar and a job well done.

To those who failed, keep your chin up; you can pass the next time. Have a good cry and get back to business.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Florida Bar Results Will Be Released on Monday at 12:00 pm

The Florida bar results will be released on Monday, September 21, 2009 at 10:00 am. I know the Florida takers are going crazy this weekend. Monday will be such a big day for you. This is your day of reckoning. Did you study hard enough, not enough, did you do enough to pass. Those thoughts will consume you this weekend. It will be hard, but try to relax; it is out of your control right now. There are no more second thoughts for you.

Monday will be a day of joy for some and hardship for others. For those who pass, enjoy this exciting and great accomplishment. You deserve all the praise from your friends and family for your hard work and sacrifice.

For those who were unsuccessful, do not feel dejected. Start studying for the bar now. Get right back up and say, “I will pass in February 2010.” Hard work will pay off. Also, do not do what you did last time. It is not working for you. Bar review courses are one size fits all, but you will need another way to study that fits your needs. Determine how you can get the most for your studies so that you can pass in February. Never give up.

Barprofessors now is offering private and confidential tutorial services for the February 2010 Florida Bar exam. Spaces are very limited. Forward your e-mail to

Friday, September 18, 2009

Passing the Florida Bar Exam Essay Day

The Florida bar exam essay is tested the first day with 3 essays and 100 multi-choice Florida tested subjects.

To pass the Florida bar exam you must do well on all of the 3 essays. You should average between 45 to 50 points per essay out of a possible 300 points.

On the multi-choice questions, you should score between 60% - 70% of the questions correctly.

However, the only way you will pass the Florida bar exam is by doing well on all of your essay questions.

Barprofessors provides private tutoring for the Florida, California and the United States Bar Exam for Puerto Rico. Formal bar classes will start in early December 2009for the February 2010 bar exams.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The MBE and the Florida Bar Exam

To pass the MBE in the State of Florida one must make a scale score of 136. This generally means that you would need a raw score of at least 126 or so. However, most of my students who passed the Florida Bar never received the magic numbers of 136, but score high enough on the essay portion to pass.

To pass you must receive a combined score of 272 on the Florida bar. Carry over points from the essay will determine, for many, their passing score.

Barprofessors will start private tutorial with its 5 volume bar review book set, starting in early December, 2009. Private tutoring starts immediately. Inquiries should be sent to

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Important Bar Exam Results Dates

I wanted to let my readers know that the California bar exam results will be mailed out on November 20, 2009.

Oregon's bar exam results will be available on September 25, 2009.

Florida's bar exam results will be available on September 21, 2009.

Kansas' bar exam results is now out.

Indiana's bar exam results is now out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bar Exam Results Round-Up, Part II – Oklahoma and Idaho Bar Exam Results Are Out

Oklahoma and Idaho have both come out with their bar results for the July 2009 bar exam.

Oklahoma had an overall bar pass rate of 89%.

Idaho has yet to release its overall bar pass rate.

Congratulations to all successful takers. To those who didn’t pass this time, do not give up hope. Keep working at it. You can do this.

Delaware’s barresults will be released aorund October 8, 2009 and, next up, is Florida – its bar exam results will be released a week from today.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Passing the Florida, California or State Bar Exam When English Is Your Second Language

Passing the Florida, California or State bar exam is hard enough, especially when English is your second language.

Here are some things you can do to help you be successful on the Florida Bar Exam:

• Start by obtaining a private tutor to critique and aid in practicing writing essays. Many ESL or EFL have trouble organizing essays because of the difference in language structure; you need to work hard on solving this potential problem.
• Practice writing one essay per day and have the essay evaluated.
• Follow all suggestions from your tutor.
• Memorize the state law, including all exceptions.
• As for the MBE, do as many questions as possible, around 3,500.

BarProfessors provide private tutorials for ESL and EFL students and repeat bar takers. Send all inquiries to

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bar Exam Results Round-Up – New Mexico, North Carolina and Iowa

New Mexico, North Carolina and Iowa have all come out with their bar results for the July 2009 bar exam.

New Mexico had an overall bar pass rate of 86% and a first time taker bar pass rate of 92%.

North Carolina and Iowa have yet to release their overall bar pass rate.

Congratulations to all successful takers. To those who didn’t pass this time, do not give up hope. Keep working at it. You can do this.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Florida Bar Results Will Be Released on September 21, 2009

The Florida bar results will be released on September 21, 2009. This will be a day of joy for some and hardship for others. For those who pass, enjoy this exciting and great accomplishment. Go out and party with family and friends.

For those who were unsuccessful, do not feel dejected. Start studying for the bar now. Get right back up and say, “I will pass in February 2010.” Hard work will pay off.

Barprofessors now is offering private and confidential tutorial services for the February 2010 Florida Bar exam. Spaces are very limited. Forward your e-mail to

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The MPRE Results Came Out Today

The MPRE results came out today. As we know, it is very important to the bar takers to get this part of the bar exam over and done with prior to the actual bar in February or July. Congratulations to all who passed.

For those who didn't pass, you have plenty of time to retake it prior to the bar exam. But be aware that your score may be a harbinger of things to come - namely the bar exam. If you didn't pass the MPRE, you must do a bit of soul searching and figure out why you didn't pass. Is it because you didn't study hard enough? Is it because your study habits are poor?

These questions must be answered prior to you starting to study for the real bar exam. You do not want to take bad habits or or poor testing skills to your bar or your chances of passing the bar exam will be slim. Change your habits now.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Arkansas Bar Results are Posted for July 2009

The state bar results are starting to come out. The first state to report is Arkansas.

The Arkansas Bar results for July 2009 has been posted on September 4, 2009.

The bar results are listed by individual. Congratulations for those who have passed. Interestingly, Arkansas also posts the person who posted the highest score. We offer special congratulations to Geoffrey Neal of Sherwood, Arkansas, who received the highest score in the general examination. That is quite the accomplishment.

We are awaiting the bar exam results by school for the two Arkansas law schools.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Multistate Bar Examination: Slaying the Dragon of the MBE

How do I score high on the MBE or improve my score as a second time taker?

The MBE is an intellectual monster and is the classic dragon of all multi-choice questioning. First, you must understand that this exam, unlike the essay portion of the bar, is a reading comprehension examination. Speed and accuracy are paramount to your success.

Now, how do I improve speed with accuracy?

There are several exercises that you can do.

1) Always time yourself when doing questions to improve your speed while emphasizing accuracy (Time is your enemy).
2) Do the same questions over and over until you see a pattern of legal logic.
3) Do a variety of questions varying easy, difficult and hard to develop and sharpen your legal analysis.
4) Read both the correct and incorrect answers.
5) Circle or underline all parties so that you understand status and legal relationships.
6) The most important tip is to understand and answer only the call of the MBE question.

These tips will help you dramatically improve your MBE scores.

Please see, for private tutoring for the February 2010 Florida Bar Exam.

Send inquires to

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Should I Do if I Think I was Unsuccessful on the California, Florida or other State Bar Exams

If you think you have failed the California, Florida or other state bar, start studying and preparing for the February 2010 Bar Exam NOW.

Many law students’ preparation time for the bar exam start entirely too late. Most start preparing for the July Bar in late May. For most students, that is just not enough time to properly digest and learn old and new legal principles.

Time is now on your side; use it to your advantage. The Florida Bar exam is the second most difficult exam behind California for a number of reasons. For Florida takers, practice writing your essays and average 7 a week until the next exam. The key for Florida is the carry over points obtained by writing a good essay.

Many students in Florida do not receive the minimum passing score of 136 on the MBE. However, doing well and receiving carry over points on your essay will allow a passing score.

As for California, you have twice as many essays to write and also a performance testing component, which requires 2 PT memos. Again, the key is reasoning and writing like a lawyer - not a law student - a lawyer. You must understand rule application and the practical aspects of legal reasoning. Blending the law with the facts will allow you success on the California Bar Exam.

Please visit for bar review materials and courses for California, Florida and the US District Court of Puerto Rico Bar Examinations.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

July 2009 California Bar Exam Essays and Performance Test – Third Day

The July 2009 California Bar Exam Essays tested on the last day of the exam were:

Constitutional Law

Criminal Procedure

Torts with Federal Civil Procedure and Professional Responsibility

The Performance Test was an objective memo on Privileges.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 2009 New York Bar Exam EssayTested Subjects

Today, the July 2009 New York Bar Exam Tested essay subjects were:

Question 1: Agency and Contract

Question 2: Domestic Relations

Question3: Criminal and UCC 3

Question 4: Tort and Conflict

Question 5: Wills and Trust

Please see for more information.

July 2009 California Bar Exam Tested Subjects – Essays and Performance Test

Today, July 2009 California Bar Exam's Tested Subjects were:

Essay Exam 1: Torts and Civil Procedure

Essay Exam 2: Professional Responsibility

Essay Exam 3: California Evidence

Performance Test: Motion and Demurrer is coming to California for February 2010. E-mail us at

July 2009 Florida Bar Exam Tested Subjects

Today, the July 2009 Florida bar exam essays tested were:

Contracts/Professional Responsibilities

Family Law

RealProperty/Professional Responsibilities

The July 2009 Florida Bar Exam Multiple Choice Questions tested were:

Criminal and Civil Procedure


Business Entities

Please see

Today is The Bar Exam and You Will Began the Rest of Your Life

Today is the bar exam. Relax, be confident and do your thng. You have studied hard for this day and you'll will perform to the best of your ability. Tonight, go back to your home or to your hotel and rest. Don't do anymore studying for the MBE. Eat, watch a little television and then go to sleep. You will be so tired, you will be asleep before your head hits your pillow. But it will be a well earned rest. Good luck to everyone. Keep believing in yourself. This is the first day of your life as an attorney.

Monday, July 27, 2009

1 Day Until the Bar: Relax and Be Confident

You are almost to the finish line. Get ready today by relaxing and being confident in your abilities. You have been preparing for your chance to be a lawyer for 3 years or more. You can do this. Go ahead on Tuesday and kick butt!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Schwarzenegger: Overlook Glitch, Let Paralyzed Grad Take California Bar Exam

I saw this at CNN today. Yet another example of bureaucratic nonsense.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Saturday called on the state bar to overlook a technical error and allow a paralyzed law school graduate to take the bar exam next week.

“It is outrageous that someone who has overcome so much in life is penalized by a bureaucratic error that prevents her from taking the bar exam next week,” the governor said in a statement.

“Government should work for the people, not against them, and I’m calling on the state bar to allow Sara Granda to take next week’s test. Sara is a fighter, and I am with her all the way.”

The state bar’s Web site never processed Granda’s application for Tuesday’s test because California’s Department of Rehabilitation paid her $600 fee with a check, according to the Sacramento Bee. The Web site requires a credit card number, but Granda said she was assured by a state bar representative that she was properly registered with the check, the newspaper reported.

Granda, 29, a University of California-Davis Law School graduate, has petitioned the California Supreme Court to allow her to take Tuesday’s test.

She said she was “surprised” to hear about Schwarzenegger’s statement in her defense.

“I’m not used to a lot of attention,” she told CNN television affiliate KCRA. She said she went to the governor’s office last week, “but they wouldn’t let me in.”

“So I knew there was no way that the governor was going to get involved,” she said.

Granda was paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident in 1997, when she was 17. The accident happened a month before she was to attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, on a full scholarship, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Granda, who has been studying 11 hours a day for the bar exam with the help of assistants, said she wants the state of California to resolve the matter because it spent about $100,000 for her education.

“I worked very, very hard for every cent,” she told KCRA. “So for everything to come together in the end and for it to just kind of fall through on such a minor, minor detail.”

2 Days Until the Bar Exam: Good Luck to All

For those taking the bar exam, good luck to all of you and remember the lessons I gave you in this blog. Come in with a plan, remember your goals and you will be calling yourself an attorney in a few months.

Be confident in your abilities. You have studied hard these past couple of months, you have practiced endlessly, and you know what you need to do. Don’t psych yourself out. You can do this and will do it. Keep your focus and you will do well.

A special shout out to my students. Good luck people – now you know why I was so hard on you and you know that the “Parson Group” believes in you.

Good Luck to all.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

3 days Until the Bar Exam: Find the Exam Zone

Being in the Moment

No matter how hard you’ve studied and how many practice exams you’ve taken, once you get to the bar exam, you will do well.
Everything you’ve been doing during your bar review has prepared you for this moment. And, if you’ve prepared properly, you will know what to do once you get started.

Allocating Your Time

Using the exact time you were told to begin the exam, set your timetable and write down the starting and ending times for each question.

You have to complete between 16 and 17 questions in a 30 minute period, averaging 33-34 questions every hour to complete the 100 questions in a three hour period; set your clock on the half hour with appropriate milestones.

If You Get Stuck on an MBE Question

Make your best choice, but circle the question and if you have time at the end of the exam, you can go back to it.
With only 1.8 minutes per question, there’s only so much time to allow for doubt. There will be questions you just don’t know. Don’t squander precious time that could be spent on questions you can answer.

If You Get Stuck on an Essay Question

Write the issue, whether or not you know the rule at this point. Formulating the issue will get your points from the grader even if you blank out on the rule. Rely on your knowledge of general legal principles and standards to guide you, even if you don’t know each and every element of the rule.

Be confident in your abilities to have prepared as best you could for the exam.

Friday, July 24, 2009

4 Days to the Bar Exam: Coach, Let Me In the Game

Take Monday off so you can rest and be alert during the exam. Keep the final day low key and try not to think about the exam. If you are staying at a hotel, get to your hotel early, check in and relax. Keep your anxiety under control and you’ll be fine.

The Night Before the Exam

The night before the exam is the one time you may want to read a little material or study because you probably will have trouble sleeping on Monday night. Try reading a bar outline or your one pagers. If you can’t fall asleep, just lie there. Don’t try to do extra studying, just rest. If you can’t fall asleep, don’t get out of bed, pace, watch television or do anything to keep your mind active. You want to keep your mind at rest, even if your body can’t rest.

The Exam is Now

Make sure you have a positive outlook. You’ve done hundreds of practice questions by now. You can do this

Food and Drinks

The night before the exam, eat something that gives you some strength but nothing that you know can make you feel sick. You know your own body, so play it smart. Avoid anything that makes you feel queasy.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and for those in California, Thursday, eat a solid breakfast that will get your mind working, but don’t eat so much it makes you sleepy. Don’t drink too much that it causes frequent restroom visits.

Also important is your lunch. Once again, avoid heavy foods that will make you sleepy. Avoid food that makes you sleepy. Again, limit your drinks to avoid frequent restroom breaks.

Leave your cellphone at the hotel or in the car. Do not bring it in to the site. You can be kicked out of the bar if your phone rings. If your cellphone rings, you will be back in the same place, taking the bar again in 6 months if you get kicked out of the bar.

During Your Breaks

Do not talk to anyone about the exam during your breaks. Inevitably someone will want to talk about the bar and inevitably that person put down something different from what you did. Do not second guess yourself by rehashing the exam.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

5 days until the bar exam: Powering Down This Weekend

Like most law students, you’re probably conditioned to study hard even the day before the exam. In fact, you may think it’s wise to study right up to the last minute. With the bar exam, that’s a serious mistake. This isn’t a two or three hour exam. The test’s duration is nearly eight hours, including your lunch break.

One of the most important factors in your performance is going to be your endurance. You need to remain focused and energized throughout the bar exam and this is difficult. Most students find themselves hitting a brick wall somewhere during the exam day. There are some ways to try and minimize this detrimental impact.

First, you need to catch up on your rest and start powering down on your studying.

This weekend try to have a “normal” couple of days. Put in study time, but also sleep, rest, watch tv, go out to dinner and relax. Do your sleeping this weekend. Why? Because you probably will not be able to sleep soundly on Monday night. Tuesday night you will sleep like a rock because you will be exhausted from a good day of focusing. Sleeping longer on the weekend prior to the exam will enable you to get rest and not be too groggy on Tuesday.

Second, eat well this weekend since you probably have had a lot of fast food these past 6 weeks. You may not be able to eat much on Monday if your nerves start showing. Do not drink any alcohol. You do not want that in your system. Obviously, no drugs are needed now or any other time. Try not to eat rich food or foods you know have adverse effects on your stomach. Monday, eat solid but light foods to keep you alert. Just think boring foods because you stomach may be upset due to nerves. Try to relax a bit because you have done your preparation and now its time to get in the game.

Tomorrow, we will talk about Monday and the exam days.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

6 Days Until the Bar Exam: Blueprint for the Taking the California Performance Test

I’ve had a number of questions about the California performance tests. Here is an Outline for taking the California PT and the MPT.

1. Review the Instructions

a. Skim the paragraphs to check the requirements. There is an instruction sheet on the back of every MPT. Read it during your preparation so as not to waste precious time on the exam.
b. Verify the jurisdiction paragraph to know what is mandatory as opposed to what is merely persuasive authority. You must know the court structure before you read the cases so you can determine what is mandatory and what is merely persuasive authority.

2. Scan the Table of Contents

a. Identify the general area of law. From the listings in the Library, you can often determine the general subject area and use it to inform the rest of your reading. Don’t freak out if the subject area is unfamiliar to you. You’ll be given all the relevant law you need to solve the problem.
b. Determine whether it’s a statutory or common law problem

3. Read the Task Memo Carefully and Completely

a. Identify the issue you’re asked to resolve. Are there sub-issues? The Task Memo reveals the precise issue you’re asked to resolve. Read these paragraphs two or three times to be certain you have identified the issue. It’s usually in the last 2 paragraphs of the memo. Write the issue on your scratch paper so that you remain focused as you proceed. Be careful not to change or vary the language of the question.
b. Read the directions carefully. You may be asked to identify additional facts. Also, note any exclusions.
c. Identify your specific assignment by noting the precise nature of the task: memo, persuasive brief, client letter, contract provision, etc. Identify your point of view – whether it’s objective or persuasive. This will inform the nature of your reading because you’ll read the materials with a critical eye.
d. Identify your audience – is it a lawyer or layperson?
e. Note any exclusions. Sometimes you are told not to consider a specific issue. Your job is not to discuss it.

4. Review the Instruction Memo

a. The bar examiners include this memo if they think you need guidance in completing the assigned task.
b. Note for a particular format or structure required for your answer. The memo provides guidelines for opinion letters, persuasive briefs, memos, etc. telling you exactly what to include and sometimes what not to include.
c. If a brief is required, make sure you need to include a statement of facts, a jurisdictional statement or persuasive subject headings. The Instruction Memo will advise whether your persuasive brief requires a statement of facts or not. A persuasive brief might require a factual statement while a trial brief might not.
d. Are there specific examples/models to follow.

5. Read the Library

a. Although the first part of the exam booklet is the File, you’re going to begin with the Library. Reading the law first informs your subsequent reading of the File. If you read the File first, with its various excerpts from depositions, client communications and attorney notes, it would be very difficult to sift the relevant from the irrelevant information. It would not be possible to know which fact were “relevant” until you knew the law and how the cases in your jurisdictions have interpreted that law. While reading the Library first does not guarantee you won’t have to review it again, it will make your subsequent reading of the File meaningful and immediately productive.
b. Read the cases first. Often, they will explain the statutes that are also in your file, thus saving some time.
c. For each case read the earliest case first and proceed chronologically; verify the jurisdiction to determine whether it is mandatory or persuasive authority for your problem; skim the facts to get a sense of story; identify the statement of the rule including determining if it is element-based or if you need to synthesize the rule from the cases or if it is a multi-part test formulated by the court; note any footnotes.
d. Adapt the rule in the cases to form your outline. Use the elements, the prongs of a rule or the components of a statute to form the roman numerals of your outline. A general outline is then in place as you read the rest of the Library. Add to and refine your understanding of the rule as well as add any exceptions or limitations to the rule as you read the other materials in the Library.
e. Be sure to leave adequate space under each section of your outline so you can add the appropriate facts when you read the File.

6. Read the File

a. After reading the Library and outlining the rule, you’re ready to read the File and add the relevant facts to the appropriate places in your outline. Use your outline of the issues and rules to keep focused.
b. Write your issue above your rule outline. By reading the File with the issue clearly in place, you can more easily identify the legally relevant facts from the sea of material in front of you. As you proceed, add the critical facts to the appropriate part of your outline.
c. Characterize the legal relationship of the parties
d. Identify the relevant facts based on your knowledge of the law from the library.
e. Add these facts to the appropriate sections of your rule outline.

7. Begin to Write Your Answer

a. Review the Task memo and make sure your outline incorporated or accounted for each required issue; note the relevant facts; cite applicable legal authority; account for how the law and facts support your theory; and if appropriate, cite contrary authority and distinguish it.
b. Review the Instruction Memo quickly to verify your task format and its required components

8. Write the Required Response

a. After completing your reading of the Library and File, you’re ready to begin the task of writing. Your job is to discuss the issues and the controlling rule of law. Here is where you get your points. Don’t waste time by reciting the facts or providing needless background information.
b. Answer the question that was asked of you
c. Adopt the tone and format required for the task
d. Write persuasive subject headings including stating the legal conclusion you want the court to reach and the factual basis on which it can do so; write each point heading as a conclusory statement combining the law with the relevant facts; and write in a coherent, logical and persuasive thesis sentence.
e. Gove adequate treatment to the cases in the Library.
f. Avoid copying passages from cases or statutes.
g. Make the relevant arguments on how the law and the facts support your theory
h. Make sure the contrary authority has been cited and distinguished.
i. Cite to the appropriate authorities for statements of the rule.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1 Week Until the Bar Exam: Stay the Course

Your goal for this last week is to stay the course while you solidify your knowledge of the black letter law and improve your timing. The week before the exam is a time when you should stay the course personally and professionally.

Take care of your body and mind. This means eating well, getting some sleep and working on self-confidence.

As to practical things, make sure you have confirmed your hotel reservation, that you have packed what you need to take with you, including your admission ticket, your identification, your watch, etc.

Whatever it is you’ve been doing the past couple of weeks, keep it up. Stick with what you know, confirm you knowledge and reinstall your confidence in the material.

As to the bar exam itself, make sure you have taken at least one or two simulated exams.

• Make sure your timing was within range for the MBE, MPT and the essay questions.
• Make sure your scores are within range to pass

Your focus is critical.

Monday, July 20, 2009

MBE Question Worksheet for the Bar Exam

As you practice your approach to the MBE, you might want to use this MBE Question Worksheet to track your reasoning process until it becomes second nature.

1) What is the Subject Area?

2) What is Happening?

3) Isolate the Legally Relevant Facts

4) Steps of Analysis:

a. What is the Legal Issue?
b. What Rule of Law Addresses this Issue?
c. What Should be the Outcome?

5) Identify the Issue in Each Answer Choice:

a. What is the Issue in Answer Choice A?
b. What is the Issue in Answer Choice B?
c. What is the Issue in Answer Choice C?
d. What is the Issue in Answer Choice D?

6) What Answer Choice Best Corresponds to My Answer?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Analyzing the Answer Choices of the Multistate Questions for the Bar Exam

Watch out for “Because,” “If,” and “unless”

a) Working with because

On the MBE, because is the predominant modifier and the simplest to master. Because statements are relatively straightforward. Simply ensure that the reasoning supports the conclusion both on a factual and legal basis. If either is incorrect, then the entire answer choice is incorrect and can be eliminated.

b) Working with if

Unlike because, when if is the answer choice modifier, you need determine only whether the reasoning could support the conclusion. It need not always be true, but only possible under the facts in the hypothetical. Be alert to possible if synonyms: as long as, and so long as.

c) Working with unless

In its own way, unless is as restrictive as because. For an unless answer choice to be correct, it must present the only circumstance under which the conclusion cannot happen. If you can conceive of even one other way the result could occur, then the answer choice cannot be correct.

4) If You Must Guess, Do So With a Strategy

a) Eliminate all the obviously incorrect answer choices

Usually you can safely eliminate one or even two responses as incorrect. Now that you’ve narrowed the field a bit, even if it’s a little bit, you’re ready to make the most of some informed guesses.

b) Dismiss answer choices that address other principles or unrelated rules of law

c) Be wary of words which speak in absolutes

Assuming that the issue is disguised, then you still need to distinguish between answer choices. In this case, carefully consider statements that include such words as always, never and must. No doubt you’ve learned as a first year law student that there are few if any certainties in the law. For practically every rule, there is an exception, if not two or three.

d) Finally, move on

With only 1.8 minutes per question, there’s only so much time to allow for doubt. No matter how well you’ve prepared, there are bound to be questions that present difficulty.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Analyzing the Answer Choices of the Multistate Questions for the Bar Exam

It is important to recognize that analysis of the answer choices deserves as much of your time and attention as the fact pattern or story. Perhaps, this analysis deserves more.

1) Identify the Issue in Each Answer Choice

Not only is there an “issue” in the fact pattern, but there is an “issue” in each answer choice. It’s more of a legal theory that’s operating in each of the answer choices and unless you figure out the individual theories, you won’t be able to distinguish between the answer choices. Only the issue that addresses and answers the one presented in the fact pattern can be the correct answer choice.

Use “the Process of Elimination”

Sometimes, despite all you best efforts to work through a question according the your process, you may find that the only way to arrive at an answer choice is through the process of elimination. In these cases, you’ll have to examine each of the answer choices and eliminate those that can’t possibly be correct.
When can’t an answer choice be correct?

a) When it’s Not Completely Correct

The first rule for eliminating incorrect answer choices is that an answer choice must be entirely correct or it is wrong.

b) When It Misstates or Misapplies a Rule of Law

You need to know the law to distinguish between answer choices that misstate or misapply the law.

c) When the Answer Choice Mischaracterizes the Facts

Look for contradictions between the facts in the story and the facts as characterized in the answer choice. Such an answer choice cannot be correct. Nor can an answer choice that requires you to make assumptions that go beyond the facts in the fact pattern. While it’s often necessary to make reasonable inferences, you should never have to add facts to arrive at the correct answer choice. If the bar examiners want you to consider additional or different facts, they will provide them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to Analyze Multistate Questions for the Bar Exam

Now that you know how to read multistate questions, let’s talk about analyzing MBE questions and coming to the correct answer.

Perhaps because of the stringent time constraints on the MBE, the tendency to panic is greatest on this section of the bar exam. When you panic, you’re no longer in control. When you give up control, you’re at the mercy of the answer choices. They, then pick you, instead of the other way around. Instead of panicking, have a plan. This way, you’re going to act in response to the question presented and not react to the answer choices. How do you act and not react to the answer choices?

Very simply, you have an answer in mind before you even look at the answer choices.
There are 4 basic steps for answering an MBE question. You should follow this sequence for every question you practice and on bar exam day. After a bit of practice, the process will become second nature to you, although initially it will seem difficult.

1. Read from the bottom up

Begin each MBE question by reading the question stem. It helps to identify the area of law. Often, you can determine the subject area of the problem from the call of the question. Then you can use this information to inform your subsequent reading of the fact pattern.

It often identifies the point of view you must adopt to answer the question. For example, if you’re asked to determine a party’s most likely claim or best defense, then you’ll want to read the fact pattern with an emphasis on the party’s point of view.

2. Find the issue in the facts

After reading the interrogatory, you’re ready to read the fact pattern and find the issue. Your ability to identify the main issue in each question is crucial to selecting the correct answer choice.

3. Move from the issue to the rule to articulation of the answer

After you’ve identified the issue raised in the facts, determine the appropriate rule of law, apply the rule to the facts, and reach a conclusion. All without so much as a peek at the answer choices.

4. Look at the choices from answer to answer

After you’ve decided what the answer should be, you’re ready to look at the answer choices. Don’t expect the bar examiners to phrase the answer in precisely the words you’re looking for – these words won’t be there.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2 Weeks to the Bar Exam: Practice Makes a Passing Score

You have 2 weeks until the bar examination. Instead of spending the day getting nervous about the time, concentrate on what you have left to do.
By this time, you should have pretty much memorized as much black letter law as you can cram into your brain. It is now time to put away the books and stop studying the law.

What you now need to do in these final 2 weeks to prepare yourself for the bar exam is to practice, practice, practice and do more practice tests. You want to become some familiar with your state test and the MBE that you can almost do it in your sleep.

Try to do an essay or two every day, testing yourself on a variety of subjects that you know your state tests. Do the essays under test conditions. If your state is Florida, do a series of 1 hour essays, including subjects like property, torts, constitutional law, family law, trusts and the other subjects Florida likes to test. If you are from a state that does 30 minute tests, do 3 or 4 a day. Once you finish your essay under time constraints, an equal amount of time reading your essay and comparing it to the model answer. Read for comprehension, also. There might be a point of law that you did not know that you can learn from reading the model answer.

For those states like California who have performance tests, you also must include taking the time to do the performance test also. In California, your performance tests take 3 hours, so your practice sessions will be much time intensive. Try doing 1 performance test every other day. This way you can probably get 7 or 8 performance tests in practice prior to the bar exam. On the days you do not do a performance test, practice your essays.

In between the essays and performance tests, you also need to prepare for the Multistate. Try to get in at least 50-100 MBE questions per day, if you can. This way you can really be sharp when exam time comes.

Don’t take the time to panic, but do take the time to practice. You will be more prepared than you think possible if you follow this schedule.

Monday, July 13, 2009

How to Read Multistate Questions for the Bar Exam

I will concentrate on the Multistate for a few days since everyone must go through the process and with the weight of the test on your overall grade.

Reading a Question

Because of time constraints, you will have time for only one reading of the fact pattern. However, don’t make the mistake of sacrificing a careful reading for a quick one. Do not read the fact pattern as a novel. As you know, one of the major changes of the multistate is that there will be one fact pattern for one question.

You must read carefully and actively to spot signal words and legally significant facts. Pay attention to the bar examiners’ particular use of language and look for the following as you read:

1) Relationships between parties that signal the area of law and legal duties: landlord/tenant, employer/employee, principal/agent, buyer/seller;

2) Amounts of money, dates quantities and ages;

3) Words such as “oral” and “written,” “reasonable” and “unreasonable,” among others;

4) Words that indicate the actor’s state of mind. These are crucial for Criminal Law and Tort questions. Look for such language as:

• Intended
• Decided
• Mistakenly thought
• Deliberately
• Reasonably believed

Since you may write in the test booklet, circle or highlight these words and others which “legally” characterize the behavior of the actors.

Never Assume Facts

The bar examiners carefully construct MBE questions to contain all the facts you need to answer the question. You must rely solely on these facts and no others, to answer the question. Of course you may draw reasonable inferences from the facts but you cannot fabricate your own or create “what if” scenarios.

Don’t go off on tangents based on possible theories you see raised in the facts. Sometimes when you read a fact pattern, you’ll see the potential for a number of possible causes of action. In such instances, you must refrain from anticipating what the bar examiners will ask by moving forward on your own and formulating responses based on what you think might be asked. This is one of the reasons you have to read the call of the question before you read the fact pattern – to keep from going astray. This is just as dangerous as misreading or adding facts.

Stick to the Law

You must apply the rule of law to the facts without hesitation or equivocation. You cannot get emotionally involved with the parties or substitute your instincts for what you know is legally correct. Don’t think someone is guilty when the call of the question say he is not. That is not what the question is asking you.

Do not consider what you think would happen if you were in actual practice. This isn’t real, this is the bar exam. The bar exam is no time to worry about the great divide between theory and practice – simply apply the rule of law as you’ve learned it to answer the questions and you’ll do fine.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Bar Exam Writing Process: Make It Automatic

As you practice your bar exam question, you want to make the writing process as automatic as possible so you can go into overdrive while you write your answer. Here is a suggested list that you might want to try as you continue to practice your essays.

Once you read the fact pattern, you will organize your essay, then you must analyze.
This is where you make the outline looking for issues. Look back to the fact pattern for facts which should be used for applying the law and then you can apply the facts to the law.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finding Debt a Bigger Hurdle Than Bar Exam

I saw this in the New York Times last week. I could not believe the arrogance of the judges for refusing the applicant’s admission. How else do they think he’ll be able to pay off his incredible $400,000 student loans? They have admitted applicants who have committed criminal behavior in their background. Is debt worse than committing crimes? Or do they think he will succumb to pressure to steal his client's money in order to pay his overwhelming debt?

But more importantly, for us, is the fact that the applicant passed the bar after his 4th attempt. If you have failed the bar, know that you can pass the bar as long as you don’t give up.

Finding Debt a Bigger Hurder Than Bar Exam

By Jonathan D. Glater

All his life, Robert Bowman wanted to be a lawyer. He overcame a troubled childhood, a tragic accident that nearly cost him a leg and a debilitating Jet Ski collision.

He put himself through community college, worked and borrowed heavily to help pay for college, graduate school and even law school. He took the New York bar examination not once, not twice, not three times, but four, passing it last year. Finally, he seemed to be on his way.

In January, the committee of New York lawyers that reviews applications for admission to the bar interviewed Mr. Bowman, studied his history and the debt he had amassed, and called his persistence remarkable. It recommended his approval.

But a group of five state appellate judges decided this spring that his student loans were too big and his efforts to repay them too meager for him to be a lawyer.

“Applicant has not made any substantial payments on the loans,” the judges wrote in a terse decision and an unusual rejection of the committee’s recommendation. “Applicant has not presently established the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counselor-at-law.”

Mr. Bowman, 47, appears to have crossed some unspoken line with his $400,000 in student debt and penalties, accumulated over many years.

New York’s courts have overlooked misconduct like lawyers’ solicitation of minors for sex, efforts to deceive judges and possession of cocaine. Those instances have led merely to temporary suspensions from practice.

“It usually takes a pretty significant record of some underlying misconduct to keep you out permanently,” said Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor at Stanford who has studied bar admissions across the states. Excluding someone for having too much debt was odd, she said; the hard questions about loans usually involve applicants who have used bankruptcy to try to escape loans, she said, and Mr. Bowman has not.

Mr. Bowman concedes that he has never made a payment on his loans, partly because of medical and other deferrals and problems with his lender. But he says he intends to make good, adding that his only hope is to begin practicing law — which means overturning the judges’ decision.

While thousands of indebted students have complained about their treatment by lenders, Mr. Bowman has documented his personal debt crisis with remarkable, obsessive intensity.

He claims Sallie Mae overcharged him, imposing hefty and unjustified fees; did not allow him to defer payments when he was entitled to do so and improperly accounted for periods when he did defer.

According to his detailed records, a Sallie Mae representative even threatened him. “If you default, your license will be taken from you,” the representative said. “Do you understand that?”

When Mr. Bowman said that he did not yet have a law license, the representative responded that the company would prevent him from getting one.

Martha Holler, a Sallie Mae spokeswoman, said that such threats would violate the company’s rules.

“The size of this account is extremely unusual, but not surprising given that the customer took out 32 loans to pursue undergraduate, law and masters of law studies and has not made a single monthly payment over his 26-year student loan history,” Ms. Holler said. “We are performing an extensive review of his extraordinary case, and if we identify any errors we will quickly rectify them.”

Mr. Bowman has not had an easy time of it. He was shuffled through foster care and various legal proceedings as a child. He was impressed by the lawyers who represented his interests and saw a possible life’s work.

Getting a college degree took 10 years because he had spent nearly six in rehabilitation, relearning how to walk after an all-terrain vehicle hit him while he was stopped on his motorcycle. The accident nearly cost him his left leg; he graduated from the State University of New York in Albany in 1995.

He enrolled at the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco in 2000.

After his third year, he began a masters of law program in London, where he lived with a girlfriend. He graduated in December 2004 with about $230,000 in student loan debt, and she helped support him while he studied, and studied again and again, for the bar exam.

In 2007, Mr. Bowman asked for an accounting of his loans, the payment deferrals he had used and his repayment options. He said he did not receive that information for nearly two years — a point disputed by Sallie Mae, which said it tried to reach Mr. Bowman several times in 2007.

Mr. Bowman passed the New York bar in February 2008. Soon after, while living with his once-estranged mother in Miramar, Fla., he was swimming at a beach when a Jet Ski lost control and slammed into him, breaking his good leg in four places.

“My luck on these things,” Mr. Bowman said. “So I contacted Sallie Mae and I’m like, I need a medical deferment and advice. Their response is, none available.”

Sallie Mae transferred Mr. Bowman’s private student loans, the ones not guaranteed by the federal government, to a collection agency, which tacked on a 25 percent fee. That agency transferred the loan again, and he said the next collection agency tacked on another 25 percent fee. Sallie Mae denied this, saying he was charged the fee only once. But suddenly, Mr. Bowman found that he owed more than $400,000.

Knowing it would be difficult to explain his debt to New York’s Committee on Character and Fitness, which reviews applications for admission to the bar, Mr. Bowman gathered correspondence with Sallie Mae, loan statements, even the emergency room report on the Jet Ski incident.

The three lawyers who interviewed him in Albany in January found Mr. Bowman’s “determination to pursue a postsecondary education remarkable,” according to the written evaluation. As for the loans, they continued, “it appears unconscionable that a student loan indebtedness could go from $270,000 to $435,000 in four years.”

Two of the committee members did not return calls seeking comment; the third could not be reached.

In April the judges rejected the committee’s recommendation and ruled Mr. Bowman could not be a lawyer. Michael J. Novack, the clerk of the court that handled Mr. Bowman’s application, declined to comment specifically on his case.

“Generally speaking, if the committee on character and fitness recommends admission of an applicant, the court approves of it,” Mr. Novack said. “But not always.”

Along with asking the court to reverse its decision, Mr. Bowman has consulted lawyers and is preparing a lawsuit against Sallie Mae. One way or another, he vows, he will make the switch from client to lawyer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

3 Weeks to the Bar Exam: The End Game

3 weeks to the bar exam is a good time to evaluate how you are doing. You have enough time to now pinpoint your weak areas and enough time to change your schedule if you feel you’re spinning your wheels. Consider this day your line in the sand.


By now you should have done several hundred multistate questions, at least 10 state essays and at least 5 performance tests.

If you haven’t done it, get busy. Change your schedule if you need to, work on your weak areas and keep testing.

Make sure you are absolutely on exam time. If you are like some of my students who study all night, stop it today. Get up at 6 am or 7 am and start studying at 9 am until 12 pm, with no breaks, then study from 1 pm to 4 pm, with no breaks. Then go do your exercise, take a nap, eat, relax and, if you think you need it, do a more relaxed evening session.


Don’t pretend you’re not nervous. We know you are, so just accept it. Accept that it’s okay to be nervous. Channel that nervous energy properly by attacking your study schedule and transform it into confidence.

One of the most important things to do during this 3 week period is not to doubt your abilities. You can pass this bar and you know it.

Take Time Off

You have been studying hard for the last month. Now that it’s almost end game, you can take a few hours off. As I said above, if you feel good about your knowledge, take the evenings off. Don’t goof off, but you will start to wind down the studying in anticipation of resting and having enough brain power left for the bar exam. You do not want to be overly tired for the bar exam. This is the time to take an occasional few hours off.

Keep those Distracting People Away

In prior blogs, I’ve talked about those districting people in your personal life, but I have one more. I have found that there are a group of toxic law students in every law school that try to distract their fellow law students that have been studying hard. Those toxic law students haven’t studied as hard as you have and they’re going to be a detriment to you. They’re going to be freaking out and if you listen to them panicking and re-analyzing rules you already have mastered, they’re going to make your question your own confidence and freak you out too. Those are the benign ones, but others are more lethal. There was one student in my school last year who tried to get people to ditch their work to go play golf with him. Then on the day of the exam, he was walking around asking about the elements of negligence, or some other such nonsense. Of course, he failed the bar exam and apparently wanted others to fail with him. Stay away from those people.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Controlling Your Jitters on Bar Exam Day: How Not to Panic

A question I am asked is what to do if you mind draws a blank as you open the test book on bar exam day. I have seen my own share of interesting happenings in bar exam land and heard stories from colleagues regarding the bar exam test day. You too will have your own stories to swap with your fellow lawyers. Even when you are old and gray, you will remember the guy who threw up near you and nobody even looked up, or, in my case, the power failure (in my day we didn’t take the bar exam in windowless warehouses) and, of course, like a good bar taker, I didn’t even stop when the lights went out. I’ve been in a bar exam when 5 minutes in, people start to return their test materials and walk out. You do not want to be the one who throws up or runs out because you are in a panic.

That is why having a plan with enough time to put your plan in practice will help you turn on your auto pilot and get down to work before you wonder what the heck you got yourself into.

For the next 3 weeks start to envision yourself in the bar exam testing area, working and answering the bar exam. Since it is your own vision, you know you are going to be a star, correctly answering every question.

As the proctors yell out, the words “begin” or “time”, take a deep breath, exhale and break the seal. You want to regain your sense of control and composure immediately.

Then follow your method:

Review the question

Start with what you know; identify the area of law again and see if it provides insight.

Focus on the basics. See if you can provide definitions. Remember, rules are just definitions. The next step is to see if you can build on these definitions to write a paragraph of law.

Finally, call on the resources you developed in law school. Lawyers act; they do not react. Think deliberately and respond accordingly. Reread the interrogatory and begin again.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The 4th of July Weekend: Incorporating Your Family and Loved Ones in Studying for the Bar Exam

Those that really love you want to see you pass the bar. Know that with certainty. Those who are pulling and picking at you, saying you don’t have to study that long or want you to go to the clubs and party are not your true friends and do not want you to be successful. Hopefully, you have ejected them from your life for these 2 months that you are studying.

Sometimes those loved ones see you study and see your struggle and wish they could help you, but don’t know how. Bar applicants who have children find it hard to be both a parent and have a full time study plan. Don’t ignore them. Try to incorporate them into your “experience”.

I’ve known students who bring their mom to the test site. What mom does is to make sure their kid has food during the breaks, go over study material or just give their kid a shoulder to rely on during this trying event.

During this 4th of July weekend, look at those that are supporting you in ways you may not even realize. Maybe your mom makes you breakfast every morning before you leave for your bar course. Maybe your spouse is doing the heavy lifting as you study. Almost 3 weeks before the bar, let them know you appreciate their support, even if they are just getting out of your way during this stressful period.
If you have family that would like to attend a cookout this weekend, go and take a few hours off to relax your mind and have quality time with those that love you. At this point in your studies, you deserve an afternoon off. Go see the fireworks. Take the time off with no guilt attached.

For those who still want to study and for other times beyond this weekend, have your family help you. They will be glad to help and they will be proud of the little part they played in your success. Give your family members or your children one of your study books and have them test you. This is particularly good for the elements of a cause of action. By now you should be close to having them mostly memorized, but especially with those subjects that are difficult for you, have your family help you recite those causes of action. See if you can make a game out of it, with your children or family members each calling out an element of a cause of action.
You may be surprised on game day when you are calling up the exceptions to the hearsay rule and you remember the face of your loved ones yelling it out to you.

Have a wonderful 4th of July. If you worked hard, you deserve it.