The February 2022 Cal Bar (and to some extent, the UBE) applicant pool are wondering about the impact of the Omicron variant on the administration of the February 2022 Bar Exam. Here’s what we know:
The Cal Bar has issued four updates to its FAQ document since October 1 (12/1, 12/14, 12/17, and 1/3). The updates have mainly focused on what kinds of testing applicants need to take to take the exam in person (e.g., as of 1/6: vaccination by 2/8, negative PCR test between 2/20 – 2/22, or negative antigen test between 2/21 and 2/22).
To date, as of 1/6, the Cal Bar has not changed a syllable of its FAQ #1, which indicates that we are returning to normal (e.g., party like it’s 2017, in person exam, paper materials for essays and PTs, scratch paper).
However, the big question is whether the Cal Bar will indeed remain an in-person exam for February 2022. If the Cal Bar decided to go remote a la October 2020/Feb. 2021/July 2021, when would it need to make this decision? Who approves this decision? And how does a student prepare with all this uncertainty in the meantime?
Here’s what we know for now. Disclaimer: at Cal I was a history major, not epidemiology, immunology and not public health. And no, don’t rely on this blog post to your detriment. Your exam, not mine, personal responsibility, folks.
The lay opinion from a history major suggests that everything around us looks terrible in terms of trends from the Omicron variant. Examples:
Omicron numbers are doubling in LA county every 2 days per the LA Times
LA County is suspending criminal trials for two weeks per the LA Times
8 UC campuses have delayed in-person classes and have gone remote for 2-3 weeks (for now).
My law school (UC Hastings) announced on December 23 that we were going back in person on January 10. Seven days later, on December 30, Hastings announced that we were going to have most courses on Zoom for 3 weeks, with in-person classes currently slated to resume on January 31.
8 Cal State schools have delayed in-person education and will begin school on Zoom, per the LA Times. Long Beach State, for example, will begin school on January 20 and operate via Zoom for 3 weeks. That means in-person operations will begin no earlier than February 10.
Requirements for return to in-person operations have intensified, not reduced. For example, students and staff at many schools are required to have booster shots, not merely one or two shots as appropriate, to set foot on campus.
More than 70% of coronavirus cases in LA county were among adults younger than 50 for Dec. 22-28, per the LA Times.
Rates among youngest adults (18-29) are 8x higher than they were one month ago. Adults in the 30-40 year old range are 6x as high as per the LA Times. Guess what the ages are of the typical Cal Bar applicant?
The Grammy’s (an indoor event with a lot of people seated near each other for a few hours) were cancelled.
Sporting events have been postponed
That said, is Omicron less serious than the prior surges of COVID-19? Seemingly. Yes, Omicron is far more transmissible than prior forms of COVID-19. But cases generally seem less severe. Fewer deaths. Hospital beds aren’t filling up as quickly. According to the LA Times, Omicron appears to be “more infectious to the airways, but less infectious to lung tissue, where infections contribute to respiratory problems and death.”
And as reported on January 1 in the LA Times, COVID-19 patient hospitalizations jumped 48% from a week prior, but those 5,433 patients are a fraction of the 20,640 who were hospitalized in early January 2021, and the all-time peak was 21,938 on January 6. Hospitalizations have risen most dramatically in the last month in So Cal and in the Bay Area (double the rate), while Sacramento’s count increased 30%.
According to Bob Wachter from UCSF, supposedly Omicron should peak around mid-January and then recede relatively quickly.
Note the recommendations from state and local officials. Per the LA Times on January 1, state and local officials “have indicated no need for new orders closing certain businesses or mandating people to stay at home, but they have looked at bolstering requirements in certain settings for vaccinations or negative coronavirus tests.”
And the California Department of Public Health, really the final arbiter in our state on decisions about in-person v. remote events, announced a new order on December 31 that requires “those at indoor events with 500 or more attendees to show either proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test to enter. The order will go into effect Jan. 15. Currently, only indoor events with 1,000 or more attendees are subject to the requirement.”
In other words, businesses aren’t shutting down. People aren’t being forced to stay at home (except for undergrad and grad students at certain California schools).
So… what are the logistics moving forward?
My guess is that if the trends continue that the Cal Bar Exam COULD be moved to a remote exam and not conducted in person. That’s my guess, and that’s not informed by any inside information. I think if the move to a remote exam occurs, it would need to occur between January 15 – 31 so that students can find places outside their home (if needed) to take the exam. Living in a loud area, too many people living with you to realistically take the exam in a quiet area, internet not reliable at home, etc. Law schools would need to prepare to allow former students to take the exam there as needed. Etc.
The Cal Bar would need to consult with the California Dept. of Public Health (especially if the CA DPH forces the exam to go remote), the Cal Bar must make a recommendation to go remote, and ultimately, the Cal Supreme Court must issue an order to hold the exam remotely. I hope that these entities are already consulting with each other and that a decision is made soon about what to do. Students deserve to know as soon as possible if the exam is in-person come what may, or if the exam will be remote. A January 15-31 window is responsible. A Valentine’s Day surprise would be difficult to implement logistically I would think.
As a Bar applicant, what should you do? Prepare for both options NOW. The registration deadline has passed. So that means if you’re taking this exam, you have an exam site. If the exam site is in person, great. If the exam goes remote, what are you going to do? Where are you going to go? Start developing that plan NOW. Take the exam at home? Going to a law school? Taking the exam at a hotel? Local law library? Public library? Figure it out. NOW. Don’t wait.
What about practicing exams? For MBEs, take some questions online for practice. For essays, you can get exams online and practice them online from the Bar’s site or my stie. Same with the PTs.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Have plans for in-person vs. remote about where you’ll take the test. Practice on hardcopy and online so that regardless of how you’ll take the exam, it won’t be a shocking event to you. Stocks going down 20 points, not 2000 points.
Here are my best tips to help you pass the bar exam on the first try.
You’ve finished law school, but the journey to becoming a practicing attorney isn’t over yet. Before you can hang out your shingle and start passing around business cards, you’ll need to pass the bar exam.
You’ve probably heard horror stories of friends and classmates who had to take the bar exam two or three (or more) times before they finally passed. Isn’t there a way to speed this process up?
Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to pass the bar exam on the first try. You just need to know a few tips.
Yes, it’s possible to pass the bar with only two weeks of hardcore study (I’ve seen it happen). But no one can goof off through all three years of law school and pull out a passing grade on their first stab at the bar exam.
By the end of your first semester of law school, you should be writing outlines and taking practice essays. Get your head in the game from the get-go.
2. Get Rid of Distractions
If you truly want to pass the bar exam on your very first try, you need to be laser-focused on that goal. Put everything else on the back burner.
If you’re single. Stay that way. Don’t start a relationship during bar review. You’re committed to the exam. If you’re with someone, don’t break up with them. It’s impossible to study with your emotions in turmoil.
Don’t allow yourself to develop any addictions during this time, either. Alcohol, cocaine, even caffeine pills are not your friend. You have no idea how addictive substances and behaviors can quickly become the most important thing in your life.
Right now, passing the bar is the most important thing.
The best way to understand material is by condensing it down again and again until you’ve reached the core principle. After that, everything else will fall into place.
Remember this, kids. Studying isn’t about cramming facts into your head. It’s about understanding what they mean and being able to apply them in real life. This is true whether we’re talking about science, literature, or the law.
4. Find a (Great) Program
I can’t tell you how many people have failed the bar exam after being so confident that they had it in the bag.
The bar exam is not law school. The bar exam is not a practice essay. The bar exam is its own animal.
The best way to pass the bar exam is by seeing how others have done it. Take a course, listen to a lecture, start a program. But remember that not all bar prep courses are created equal.
Some only cover one or two phases of the exam, rather than all three. Some just give you a “thumbs up” on your practice essay without ever telling you what you did right or wrong. Most don’t customize their content around the areas you need to work on.
I created my own system of bar prep by systematically analyzing the bar exam year after year until I developed a method that just worked.
But I don’t just have one system. Oh, no. That would be too easy for me and too hard for you.
And for the most dedicated tutoring that’s individually suited to your struggles and schedule, I offer 1-on-1 private tutoring from anywhere in the world. (Oh yeah…I’ve got three versions of this plan as well!)
If You Don’t Pass…Don’t Stress
As much as it pains me to say it, not everyone will pass the bar on their first try. I didn’t. Even Michelle Obama didn’t.
You won’t be the first to fail on your first try and you certainly won’t be the last.
I guarantee that, by the time you’ve built a successful and lucrative career as an attorney, you won’t even remember which questions you got wrong.
Need Help? I’m Here!
No matter how many times you’ve taken the bar exam in the past, my system can help you.
Between my books, courses, and my private tutoring programs, I offer the most useful bar prep of any other program in the country. In fact, I’m one of only three bar exam tutors who focuses on all three phases of the exam 1-on-1.
Whether you need a quick-fix solution or have four months until the next exam, I can give you the tools, the knowledge, and the support you need to pass the bar exam.
You’ve worked hard all through law school, hoping to finally reach the goal of a rewarding career in the field of law. But graduating with your J.D. isn’t technically the finish line.
First, you have to pass the bar exam.
If you’re planning on working as an attorney anywhere in the United States (with the exception of Wisconsin), you will have to pass the bar exam first. And if this is your first time, you might be asking yourself, “What is the bar exam?”
What Is the Bar Exam?
As a lawyer, you will have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Giving legal advice and representing clients in court is not a job that should be handled by just anyone. Jurisdictions need some way to prove that you have a certain level of competency needed to practice law.
Enter: the bar exam.
Rather, I should say, “Enter: the bar exams” because there is not just one type! The most common bar exam in the U.S. is the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), but it is currently adopted by only 36 states. Thirteen states (including California) have their own version of the bar exam.
I can hear you right now: “But Steven, that’s only 49 states!” You’re right. Wisconsin gives their law school graduates “diploma privilege.” They don’t have to take the bar exam in order to practice law!
California Bar Exam Format
As a UC Hastings alumnae and law professor, I eat, drink, and breathe the California bar exam. And while it’s changed a time or two over the last few years, I’ve managed to keep up with it.
Recently, the State Bar of California announced that the bar exam will be returning to an in-person format for February 2022.
Much like the UBE, the California bar is split up over two full days.
Day One consists of five 1-hour essay questions and one 90-min performance test. You will be given a lunch break after the first three essay questions.
On Day Two, you will take the Multistate Bar Examination, which is made up of 200 multiple choice questions. You will also receive a break after the first 100 questions.
That’s three distinct and separate phases, all with their own “secret code” that you’ll have to decipher in order to pass.
How Do I Study For the Bar Exam?
All bar exams are designed to be difficult, but the California bar is notoriously hard.
The advice I give my students tends to follow the same three steps:
Generally, it’s best to be a “jack-of-all-trades” in a variety of different subjects, rather than a master at one specific one. Patent lawyers and family law attorneys both have to pass the same bar exam!
If you go the “bar exam tutoring” route, choose your program wisely. Most of them will require a ton of your time and won’t focus on all three phases of the exam.
But Wait…There’s More!
There is one more step you must take before you can practice law: pass a moral character review.
According to the Rules of the State Bar of California, prospective lawyers must show that they have “good moral character.” Among the many things considered during the review are “honesty, fairness, candor, trustworthiness, observance of fiduciary responsibility, respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others and the judicial process.”
This review can take a minimum of six months, so start the application process early, preferably in January of your last year of law school. Once you receive the good news that you passed the exam, you’ll want to hit the ground running.
Are You Prepared?
I’ve built my career on helping students prepare for (and pass) the California Bar—it’s a skill I’ve been honing over the last 20+ years. I’m one of only three bar exam tutors in the country that offers 1-on-1 tutoring on all three phases of the bar.
The Cal Bar published FAQ’s today, 10/7. The matter is settled: paper materials for essays, PTs, and MBE for February 2022:
Does returning to an in-person exam mean the administration of the exam will return to “normal” – paper exam materials (question booklets and scratch paper), multiple questions administered per session, access to water, and ability to use the restroom during exam sessions?
Yes. The administration of the exam will be the same as it was prior to the remote exam administrations. Essays 1–3 will be administered together without breaks during the morning session of Day 1; then, after a lunch break, applicants will return for Essays 4, 5, and the Performance Test, which will be administered together without breaks during the afternoon session of Day 1. The morning session of Day 2 will be comprised of the first 100 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) questions, after which there will be a lunch break. The last 100 MBE questions will be given during the afternoon session of Day 2. Please see the full schedule here.
Applicants will receive the questions in a paper booklet and will be given scratch paper to use if they need.
Applicants will be allowed access to water during the exam.
Applicants may leave to use the restroom, but the clock will run continuously.
Registration is OPEN for February 2022. Timely filing occurs this month. Don’t pay late fees, people! Remember you can submit your Accommodations petitions at any time. If you haven’t submitted your Moral Character Application, note that it takes 5-6 months to get cleared and that’s if you’re boring. You want to be sworn in after you get the good news in May, right? Make sure your admission isn’t delayed due to not filing your Moral Character application as early as you can.
But what is FAR more important for the applicant pool, my friends, is the fact that the Cal Bar is going to be held IN PERSON. The February 2022 Cal Bar Exam Announcement was published today. In relevant part, it states:
February 2022 California Bar Exam
Date: Tuesday and Wednesday, February 22–23, 2022
Please note that the February 2022 California Bar Examination will be held as an in-person examination. Applicants will be required to select atesting locationand test in-person.
So we’re going to party like it’s 2019, people! Back to the Future, as it were.
No more remote video proctoring. Show up on Tuesday, take the exam for 3 hrs., then leave. Then come back, take the exam for 3-1/2 hrs, and then leave. Rinse and repeat on Wednesday. Your results will vary if you have accommodations.
And now you know! If you want a certain location, I’d suggest registering over the next 7 days.
By the way, some notable dates for you:
10/1 – 11/1 Registration period for Feb. 2022
11/1 Timely filing deadline
11/1 – 11/30 $50 late fee registration period.
12/1 – 1/3/22 $250 late filing fee
1/3/22 FINAL DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR FEBRUARY 2022
2/22 – 2/23/2022 February 2022 Cal Bar Exam
2/24, noon Laptop answer file upload deadline
2/25 OR 2/26, noon Extended time students’ exam answer file upload deadline (deadline dependent on student’s accommodations).
One is rarely disclosed: you’ll need to write 250-300% of the same number of issues in the same amount of time to succeed on your Evidence final or an Evidence essay on the California Bar Examination.
Yup, you read that correctly. Most essays on law school finals or the California Bar Examination require you to write 7-9 issues in an hour.
Evidence, on the other hand…first one to 20 issues wins! (It’s both a marathon and a sprint!)
Now, this conundrum should be common knowledge. The problem is, no one talks about it. Well, no one except me.
Evidence Essays Are Different
One of the most important secrets behind your law school final in Evidence or your California Bar Examination if one of your essays is an Evidence essay. It is, by far, the most demanding essay in all of the California Bar.
No, this essay won’t be confused for a depth question in Civ Pro, Con Law, or Torts. And it’s not a typical exam question. This is the most extreme shotgun-type essay question. 20+ issues.
You can’t linger on an Evidence question. There’s no time to “settle in”. You have to bring it early and often. And especially in the COVID testing area, you best believe you need to finish that exam on time!
“But I can’t transfer the skills I used on my Torts final or my Con Law final or my Bus Ass final. What should I do?”
How to Prep For an Evidence Essay
I invented the Evidence Boilerplate on June 28, 2003, while grading several evidence essays for Barbri in my apartment in Oakland, CA.
I was struck by a realization that, in most subjects, there are several different types of questions. For example, in torts, there are five types of questions:
Malicious prosecution/abuse of process,
How you approach each of those question types is pretty important, since if you wrote a negligence response to a defamation question, you’d fail the question.
Same with Civ Pro: you wouldn’t dare write a res judicata/collateral estoppel response to a personal jurisdiction question, would you? Or a 10(b)(5)/16(b) response to a duty of care/business judgment rule/duty of loyalty question? Of course not.
You need an attack plan for each type of question, in each subject, because all the questions are different.
Except when it comes to Evidence.
Sure, there are two different types of evidence questions: narrative fact patterns (i.e. the regular fact patterns like you see in the other subjects), and transcripts (i.e. the question/answer) fact patterns.
In the narrative fact pattern, what do you write? Logical relevance, legal relevance rel, personal knowledge, hearsay, exceptions, right? Absolutely. And what of the transcript? Yup, you guessed it: Logical relevance, legal relevance, personal knowledge, hearsay, exceptions! The same thing!
So I wondered how to take advantage of this realization that evidence fact patterns are generally the same, no matter what. I reviewed several bar exam questions and whadda ya know…the issues were almost always the same!
As it turns out, you can predict evidence questions to a remarkable degree of accuracy!
But why are there so many more issues in evidence questions than in other subjects?
Well, I don’t know why, but you’ve noted a very serious consideration. The average evidence question has at least 20 issues. Most other exams have 5-7. So how can you “speed up” your exam time? Or to put it another way, even if you know all 20 issues, how can you increase your output of issues by 250-300% in the same amount of time?
The Answer: The Evidence Boilerplate
On June 28, 2003, I thought about both of these critical questions:
To a degree of 80-90% accuracy, what are the issues on all evidence exams?
Even if you know all 20 issues, how can you increase your output of issues by 250-300% in the same amount of time?
On that fateful day, I figured out the answers to both those questions in what has become known as the Evidence Boilerplate.
Does it work? Sure has. Undefeated in 18 years of testing at the law school and the Cal Bar Exam level.
Some students have even received awards for the top grade in their Evidence class. And one Evidence professor was so impressed with the Evidence Boilerplate that he told his students, “If you don’t practice the Evidence Boilerplate, you are EMBRACING FAILURE!”
When Do I Start?
That’s the beauty of the Evidence Boilerplate.
You can start writing it on the first day of the semester. That’s right: you don’t have to know ANYTHING about Evidence law to start generating points on your final! In fact, you can start writing even before the first day of classes if you wanted to.
Draft the Evidence Boilerplate once a week, for 30 minutes a week, and you’re good to go. Be sure to use The Trigger List to see how to implicate each issue on an Evidence Essay.
What if I am reading this a month into the semester and I need to prepare for my midterms?
Write the Evidence Boilerplate once a week until 10 days before your midterm. Then write the Evidence Boilerplate once a day until your midterm. Then write the Evidence Boilerplate once a week until the last day of classes, and be sure to use The Trigger List to see how to implicate each issue on an Evidence Essay!
Overcome the problems of digital online essay writing for the California Bar.
The California Bar exam isn’t your grandparent’s, parent’s, or even your older sibling’s California Bar exam.
This is not only due to the fact that laws are constantly changing, but because a global pandemic is shaping everything about our lives, including how exams are administered and proctored.
In the past, taking the California Bar used to mean paper and pencil in a room full of people. But rather than an in-person exam, it’s a digital experience (much like everything else nowadays!).
But even though “virtual living” has made some things easier, it can complicate your life in other ways…such as essay writing for the California Bar.
Problems With Online Essay Writing For the California Bar
If this is your first time taking the California Bar (or the first time in a while), you might be unaware of the unique issues associated with taking this test in a digital format.
The first thing you should know is that there is no single “start time.” You can log in and begin taking the test anytime between 8 – 8:30 am. Once you click that button and are verified, the test begins immediately.
When people tell you that you have one hour per essay, they are not lying. You will get exactly 60.000 minutes to finish each essay.
Since that time includes outlining as well as writing, every second counts on the Bar exam. You do not have time to hem and haw about your answer!
But even if you hit the ground running, there are two major issues with online essay writing for the California Bar.
1. It’s All Digital
You already know the test is administered digitally, but have you given any thought to what this will actually look like?
That’s right: no scratch paper!
The only available option you’re told about is a digital scratch pad that you will have to click on to expand (so you can read it) or contract (to get it out of the way).
2. Scrolling Hell!
Because your entire exam is on a screen, it’s very easy to find yourself scrolling up and down (and back again), trying to read the fact pattern.
I call this “Scrolling Hell” for a very good reason: it does not make this test any easier for an applicant! In fact, this combination can make you feel like you’re playing 4D chess!
I Can Help!
If this is starting to seem like a nightmare, I can’t blame you. But I do have a solution that can help.
Yes, simply being prepared for what’s ahead can help a great deal in getting you across that finish line. By telling you what to expect on the digital bar exam, you might have a slightly, or far better, outcome than someone going into the test totally unprepared.
But I can do you one better.
I came up with a solution to avoid Scrolling Hell, make outlining easier, and eliminate the digital scratch pad to keep you from getting distracted.
If you have the time, my 1-on-1 tutoring program is unmatched in the industry. I’ve taken the last 21 years of experience teaching law at UC Hastings and distilled it into a 2-, 3-, or 4-month customized program that meets you where you are.
WINNIN’ TIME! is my most popular book, helping students pass the Bar exam year after year. Just about everything you need to know about the exam is in here, from memorization to outlining.
Need help issue spotting? The Trigger List is the way to go! This book is the only place I know of where students can find a plan of attack to identify trigger words and phrases that will help spot issues 100% of the time.
The Future of the California Bar
It would not be unreasonable to expect the California Bar exam to continue digitally in 2022. We’ve seen the same trend in jurisdictions around the country. As more and more employers realize that their employees can work well from home, they’re allowing a much more virtual work space.
Perhaps the California Bar will continue in that direction, too.
However you end up taking the Bar exam, you should have a plan in place to pass in as few tries as possible. Luckily, I have a plan for that.
If you’re nervous about your upcoming exam (hey, who isn’t?), let’s talk about it! Spaces fill up quickly, so contact me as soon as possible to save your spot.
This is the test that will make or break your career.
Here’s what to do before the California Bar exam.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re studying for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) or the notoriously difficult California Bar exam, bar prep is never easy.
The lectures are long and boring. You’re getting no guidance on how to outline or spot issues. And you’re not even getting any feedback on the work you’re doing. It’s no wonder things are falling apart!
Luckily for you, I have a way to jumpstart your study sessions to get you ready to take (and pass!) the bar, no matter how much time you have left.
Whether you have two months left or two days, here’s what to do before the California Bar exam so you’re prepared.
Why Traditional Bar Prep Doesn’t Work
Bar prep courses have been around for decades. Yet despite their popularity, most people don’t pass the bar exam on their first try. What are these courses teaching again?
Every program (and every student) is different, but there are a few common reasons why your bar prep fell apart.
Maybe you thought you had everything under control, so you became your own tutor. Or your girlfriend dumped you. Or you caught the flu. Now, you only have three weeks until exam day and it’s painfully obvious how behind you are.
Lectures Are Too Long
Even if you have all the time in the world, do you really want to sit through a 12-hour lecture?
After a few hours, you’ll either be bored out of your skull or so overwhelmed with information that you’ll never be able to sort through it all.
And what if you only have a couple of days until the exam? Having to lose an entire day to hear a lecture is hardly the “smart studying” process your professors keep talking about.
Outlining essays is one of the most daunting tasks you’ll come across in your bar prep. And so far, law students have had three (equally distasteful) options:
Read a 300-page hornbook;
Use a prior student’s outline; or
Spend hours creating their own outlines.
The problem is that each of these methods involves reading hundreds of pages of incredibly dense information, analyzing it, and distilling it down to fit the three lines you’ll be given in the bar exam.
I’ve been in the business for the past 21 years, both as a law professor and a tutor for the California Bar.
I failed the bar exam (twice!), but I wasn’t content to simply keep studying. I meticulously analyzed that test and figured out exactly what I needed to do to pass.
Eventually, I passed the bar exam. Then—more importantly—I passed that information on to you.
1. Take My Lectures
You shouldn’t have to sit there for 8-12 hours to get the substantive law details you need. You have a life!
My MBE subject lectures are 3-5 hours instead of 8-12. My California subject lectures are 1-1.5 hours each, instead of 4. Think of it as condensed learning. All of the necessary information, none of the time wasting.
You may not need every lecture, but you probably need one. And if it’s the exact one you need, that one shorter lecture that can save your entire exam.
Not to mention each lecture has a corresponding PDF, in case you’re more of a “visual learner.”
Issue spotting is arguably the most important part of the California Bar exam. Now, you can either take your professor’s advice (“Just look at enough essays and you’ll be fine!”) or you can read The Trigger List and learn how to systematically use words and phrases to find the issues you need to pass.
WINNIN’ TIME!—my most popular book—is your go-to guide for outlining like a champ. But this isn’t your average study guide. This is bluebook-ready content here, designed to help you learn the rule, apply the facts, and move on.
Other programs will get you conversational in the language, but at some point, you need to be fluent. My lectures and books will get you there.
Jumpstart Your Bar Prep
Success isn’t just knowing what to do before the California Bar exam, it’s also about taking those steps and getting it done.
I’ve helped dozens of people from all walks of life prep for (and pass!) the California Bar exam and they’ve all told me how much of an impact I made on their passing grade.
Obviously, my lectures and books are great, but if you really want to maximize your bar prep, I also offer completely customized 1-on-1 tutoring sessions to help you overcome any limitation, obstacle, or setback.
With lectures for all 15 subjects, personalized calendar/coursework, comprehensive tutoring on all three phases of the bar exam, and feedback on areas of improvement, this is the single greatest step you can take to crush the bar.
Many students think that studying for the California Bar Exam or the Uniform Bar Exam is only about understanding the third element of a rule or figuring out why B is right and C is wrong on an MBE question.
But there is so much more than that. You also need to persevere against the Psychology of Failure.
The Psychology of Failure does not apply to first-time takers of a Bar Exam. (After all, you can’t fail what you haven’t attempted yet!) But it is something you’re likely to come up against at some point in your path to becoming a full-fledged attorney.
What Is the Psychology of Failure?
If you experience it, you’ll know it. That feeling that says “I’ve failed.”
It seeps into your bones. From the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, you only have one thing on your mind: You failed the Bar Exam.
Worse yet, you feel a sense of shame. You don’t talk to your spouse or significant other about it. You don’t tell your parents, friends, or co-workers.
You don’t tell anyone, but that doesn’t stop you from thinking about it.
Every. Single. Day.
So, what can be done about this feeling?
I have a plan.
Get Over Yourself!
Here’s the thing about the Psychology of Failure: it’s useless.
Some people might argue that failure is merely the launchpad for success. But when you’re so steeped in it that it becomes part of your identity, that launch never gets off the ground.
In fact, when you’re that wrapped up in what you haven’t done, you can’t prepare yourself for future success.
I developed a plan to deal with the Psychology of Failure because I was there (twice). I know what it means to fail the Bar Exam, but I also know what it takes to pass. People call it my greatest strength.
You can defeat this monster.
It all starts with you confronting this feeling head-on.
Trust me, I know how you feel. But you know what? Your result is the same as yesterday. And the day before. And the day before. And months ago when you saw the results letter in the first place!
If unchecked, this reminder—haven’t passed yet—will control your day and debilitate you. It’s as if you’re writing down -10 in the Bluebook before the essay even begins!
So what’s the answer? Attack it.
Confront that emotion that says you haven’t passed yet. But then go do something about it! Take that MBE question. Or outline an essay. Write a PT.
As Hastings Academic Dean Leo Martinez said at my law school orientation, “Chop the wood in front of you.” Or as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “When in doubt, do something.”
So confront the emotion. Do something about it by doing something tangible so you have a sense of control about that emotion.
The goal isn’t to blow smoke up your ass and convert that -10 in the Bluebook to +30! You won’t buy it and it’s disingenuous.
Nay, the best thing to do is to reduce that (digital) page in the Bluebook from -10 to what it actually shows: 0.
If you can return yourself to a place of zero every time you feel the Psychology of Failure taking over, you are in control of yourself and in control over your exam. Now you’re at a place where you can mark Answer D, or write your answer, and generate some points.
Does This Really Work?
I’m not going to bullshit you here: the first 25, 30, 35 times you try this, it’s not going to do a damned thing. Won’t help at all!
But eventually it will. You’ll return that digital page in the Bluebook to a place of zero, where you can now generate some points.
And THAT turns into a habit. You remove -10 to 0, and then you generate positive points. And then you develop a great, pithy way of confronting that synapse when it fires many times a day.
At first, you’ll argue, “How many points is that worth?” Later you’ll shorten it to: “How many points?” And then you’ll put yourself into the best possible mental place to pass.
The Psychology of Failure. Acknowledge. Confront. Minimize. Generate points!