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Category: Bar Exam Tips

students take the test

Good luck on the July Bar Exam!

Hello everyone!

Whether you’re taking the Cal Bar or the UBE, I wanted to wish everyone good issue spotting, solid outlining, and analytical (and not conclusory!) analysis.  You can do it!

 

Arrive early.  Masks optional, but if you bring one, no writing on it.  Stay on time during the test.  Bring your admission ticket without writing on it.  NEVER USE YOUR CELL PHONE IN THE EXAM ROOM!  Good luck to everyone!

 

Steven

Test answer sheet with pencil. Examination test. Education conce

Friday before the Bar Exam! Mock exam deadline is TODAY! Masks optional

Hello y’all!

Friday before the Bar Exam, and today is all about the mock exam.  Today is the last day to get your mock exam done.  The first ability is availability!  They won’t let you in the room without it.  Triple-check that you’re in good shape.  Today’s the day!  The link to the mock exam is:  https://bar.examsoft.com/mock-exam/.  Remember the password is mock123.

 

Mask update:  The Cal Bar’s July 22 update indicates that you can bring a mask if you want.  It’s optional.  Final answer.  If you bring one, make sure it doesn’t have a valve.  I would recommend an N95 or KN95 (if you’re going to wear one, make sure you wear a good one).  And make sure there’s no writing on it.

 

One important update from the Cal Bar:

ExamSoft recently shared that new Windows laptops containing Intel 12th generation chipsets are not supported and may not be used to take the July 2022 bar exam.

Doublecheck your laptop!

Here’s the information from ExamSoft:

New Windows devices containing the Intel 12th generation chipset are triggering Examplify’s automatic virtual machine check. These are NOT currently supported. Therefore, they cannot be used for the upcoming July 2022 bar exam.

 

Please confirm that your device does not contain this chipset by following these instructions:

 

Confirm your Processor/CPU model

  • Navigate to Control Panel > System and Security > System to open it.

OR

  • Right-click on the Windows start menu icon on the bottom left-hand side of your screen. Click on ‘System’ in the menu that pops up.

Your computer’s Processor/CPU model is located to the right of ‘Processor’ under ‘Device Specifications’. Find a number that is displayed after the ‘Intel® Core™ i7-’. If you see a number 12, this device is not supported for the upcoming bar exam. For example, Intel® Core™ i7-12650HX Processor is the 12th generation processor because the number 12 is listed after i7. Here’s a full list of processors that are NOT supported: 12th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processors Product Specifications.

If your current device uses an Intel 12th generation processor, you must use a different device.

 

Your new device must meet all other minimum system requirements listed here: https://examsoft.com/resources/examplify-minimum-system-requirements/#bar. On the new device, follow all the steps from the email with the subject line: ‘IMPORTANT: Installation & Registration Instructions’. If you need assistance, contact ExamSoft support at 866-816-3065.

IMPORTANT: Take and upload a mandatory mock exam.

 

This is a mandatory step prior to exam day!Here’s how. The mock exam password is ‘mock123’.

 

Almost there, y’all!  Hang in there!  You can do this!

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Impact of the Dobbs abortion decision on the July bar exam

Hello friends.

Please note the following message from the NCBE regarding the July 2022 UBE exam, and regarding the MBE on the July 2022 Cal Bar Exam:

 

NCBE Statement on SCOTUS Decisions

Examinees taking the NCBE-developed July 2022 MBE, MPT, and MEE will not be required to be familiar with this term’s US Supreme Court decisions.

 

If you’re taking the Cal Bar, please know that the Cal Bar approved the questions for this exam in late April, even prior to the leak of the draft decision in Dobbs.  You could see an abortion issue in a Cal Bar Con Law essay.  Unlikely, but possible.  If you see this come up, mention that it was a fundamental right before June 24, and subject to rational basis review afterwards.  Maybe you get a bonus point as a result.

 

 

Female hand writing, close up

July 2022 Bar Exam Admittance Bulletin Available

Link:  https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/admissions/Examinations/July-2022-Bar-Exam-Admittance-Ticket-Bulletin.pdf

 

Of note:  in person exam.

 

Only the following items are allowed in the exam areas without prior approval. All items are subject to inspection at the test centers: 1. Government-issued ID 2. The admittance ticket with no writing on it 3. Silent analog watches 4. Prescription medications (does not include cough drops) 5. Cash (must not have extraneous writing on it) 6. Credit/debit cards that might be needed for the lunch breaks 7. Keys 8. Face masks without valves (with no patterns or extraneous writing on them) 9. Protective gloves (latex or rubber only) 10. Nondigital pens (standard blue or black ink), nonmechanical pencils (with eraser incorporated; no separate erasers), pen-style highlighters (must not be used on answers), rulers and paper clips 11. Nondigital timers and nondigital clocks measuring 4”x 4” or smaller. 12. Eyeglasses (no cases or sunglasses) 13. Foam earplugs (cannot be wireless and must not be connected to any mechanism or device) 14. Menstrual products 15. Inhalers 16. Diabetes-related items and equipment (does not include food or drinks) 17. Eyedrops in single-use vials 18. One back support (without a cover) 19. One orthopedic cushion (without a cover) 20. One standard-size pillow (without a case) 21. One bookstand 22. One footrest 23. Splints, braces, casts, crutches, wheelchair 24. Hearing aids 25. TENS units 26. Disability-related items that have been approved through the testing accommodations petition process 27. Separate keyboard, mouse (wired or wireless), laptop riser/stand no higher than 4 inches and a solid color mouse pad with no writing on it. During the MBE sessions, the items listed above are allowed in the exam room, except pens, highlighters, back supports, orthopedic cushions, pillows, bookstands or footrests, and laptops or laptop accessories. If you need any of these items due to a disability, you must request them through the timely filing of a Testing Accommodations Petition. 3 Applicants who will be handwriting their exam answers, or who are required to handwrite in the event of a laptop/software malfunction, must bring their own standard blue or black ink ballpoint pens. Applicants must also bring their own pencils for the MBE portion of the exam (several sharpened pencils are recommended). Mechanical pencils are not permitted. Pencil sharpeners and separate erasers will not be allowed into the exam room. Please note that applicants cannot bring wallets, tissues, lip balm, cough drops/throat lozenges, gum, candy, or other food or drinks in the exam room. Water and tissues will be available nearby at the test centers.

paper with pen

July 2022 FAQ update – IMPORTANT

Hello everyone,

 

This morning, the FAQ document for the July 2022 exam was removed and in its place shows the following.  It is the Clear Health Pass App and mask mandatory information… copied/pasted from the February 2022 exam.  Yup, including the dates (as in, January/February 2022 – see below).

 

This APPEARS to indicate that you will need to download the Clear Health Pass app and that masks are mandatory for July 2022.  But let’s wait until the dates are updated to see how official this is.

 

Link:  https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Examinations/California-Bar-Examination/July-2022-Bar-Exam-FAQs

 

July 2022 Bar Exam FAQs

Under the direction of the California Supreme Court, the February 22–23, 2022, Bar Exam will be administered in person.

 

The State Bar recognizes that this is a difficult time for test takers and is doing everything it can—following state and national public health guidelines and taking additional precautions—to provide a safe and secure testing environment.  

Below are measures being taken at all testing locations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

  • Regardless of test center size, all applicants most provide proof of full vaccination or a negative test at check-in via the CLEAR Health Pass app. Applicants who fail to do so will be denied entry to the exam and will not receive a refund of fees.
  • Full vaccination refers to a complete regimen (two dose or single dose, depending on the vaccine) of a vaccine authorized by the CDC. Vaccination must be completed by February 8, two weeks before the first day of the exam.
  • A negative test may be a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 48 hours of the start time for the first day of the exam or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of the exam’s first day start time. All tests must be performed at a test provider or laboratory. At-home tests are not accepted.
  • Those who test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms when they arrive will not be seated for the exam. They will withdraw and need to provide documentation to receive a refund.
  • If someone exhibits symptoms at the exam, State Bar staff may direct them to terminate their exam and leave the testing site.
  • Everyone at the testing site must follow safety protocols such as physical distancing in common areas and wearing a KN95/N95 mask or double masking.
  • All test-takers must read and sign a COVID-19 Code of Conduct form by February 17. The Office of Admissions emailed the forms on February 4. For security, everyone received a unique link to their form. Applicants who do not sign the form by February 17 will not be able to sit for the exam.

Health Pass by CLEAR

Use this link from your mobile device to download the CLEAR Health Pass app.

Applicants providing proof of vaccination should download the app and complete the one-time enrollment process by January 25. Make sure to enroll using the email address associated with your State Bar application.

The day before the exam, you will need to open the app and link again to the bar exam code–EFATTENDEE200.

Those who cannot provide proof of vaccination must upload their negative test result to CLEAR. Instructions for setting up the CLEAR Health Pass.

Mask Guidelines

Everyone at the testing site will be required to bring and wear either their own N95/KN95 mask or a 2-ply cloth mask along with a surgical mask. If you come to the test center with just a cloth mask, you will be provided with a surgical mask to wear under the cloth mask for double masking.

 

  • Your face mask must cover your nose and mouth and meet CDC guidelines the entire time you are at a testing site.
  • The only exceptions to wearing a mask are (1) if you are asked to remove your mask by a proctor for identification purposes, (2) if you are more than six feet away from any other person and engaged in the act of eating or drinking, or (3) if you are inside a fully enclosed vehicle.
  • Masks brought into the secured testing area shall not contain writing of any kind and will be subject to inspection by State Bar personnel.

For additional information about illness prevention, please refer to the CDC and the World Health Organization.

COVID-19 Global Economic Crisis Unemployed Worried Girl with Mas

Cal Bar Exam Applicant Update: Wear Your Mask for 3- to 3-1/2 hrs/day. NOW.

Hello everyone!  Happy June!

Graduation season has already begun.  I’ve heard from students who got COVID during this time.  And graduation season will continue for elementary school, middle school, high school, and undergrad levels, and even some law schools will have graduations.  And mask wearing will be spotty at best.

We’ve had Memorial Day – mask wearing isn’t at an all-time high.

Father’s Day?  I don’t know how many mass celebrations will be happening then.

But then, of course… July 4 – bad news for COVID positivity rates.

So the big question for Cal Bar Exam applicants:  will applicants be required to wear masks on July 26-27?  Sure seems like it.

Why?

UCLA and Cal Poly SLO have already reinstituted mask mandates.

Alameda County (home to the Oakland Cal Bar Exam testing site) reinstituted an indoor mask mandate on Thursday, June 2.  Per the San Francisco Chronicle:

On Thursday, Alameda County broke ranks by once again implementing an indoor mask mandate “to limit the impact of increasing COVID-19 cases on hospitalizations.” The mandate, which takes effect June 3, applies to most indoor settings, save K-12 schools and the city of Berkeley, which sets its own health protocols. The state lifted its school mask mandate earlier this year.

There is no end date for the Alameda County mandate.

Indoor mask mandate.  Not indoor mask mandate for events with more than 500 people.  Indoor mask mandate.

There’s more.  Note what the Los Angeles Times said on June 2:

With coronavirus-positive hospitalizations in Los Angeles County continuing to rise, officials said the nation’s most populous county could be poised to see a new universal indoor mask mandate later this month if the upward trends continue.

“Our weekly case rate and the rate of increase in hospital admissions are of concern,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday. “If we continue on the current trajectory … we’re likely to move into the CDC high [COVID-19] community level within a few weeks towards the end of June, indicating increased stress on the healthcare system.”

L.A. County health officials have already said once the county enters the high COVID-19 community level, that will trigger a local requirement to wear masks in indoor public settings.

Also note that several counties with Cal Bar Exam sites are already in the high community level:

Nearly 1 in 6 Californians live in a county with a high COVID-19 community level. The affected counties are Santa Clara, Sonoma, Solano, Marin and Napa in the San Francisco Bay Area; Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado in the Sacramento Valley area; and Monterey, Mendocino, San Benito and Del Norte counties elsewhere in Northern California.

As you are aware, Santa Clara and Sacramento counties have Cal Bar Exam sites.  San Diego and Orange County are already in the middle community level.

The Cal Bar has not updated its FAQ document (originally issued April 14).

The current momentum of this crisis strongly suggests that at least one county with a Bar Exam site will require masks on exam day.  Things could change, of course.  But you don’t know that.  And I don’t either.

So what to do?  Simple.  Assume that masks are required on exam day.  Wear a mask, EVERY SINGLE DAY, SEVEN DAYS PER WEEK, for 3- to 3-1/2 hours every day.  EVERY DAY, until the Cal Bar guarantees that you won’t have to wear a mask on exam day.

So, if the Cal Bar says on July 15 that you don’t have to wear a mask on exam day, you can laugh while taking off your mask.  But if you hear on July 15, July 20, even July 25 that you have to wear a mask on exam day.  How will you prepare for that?  You can’t.  Unless you start wearing masks.  NOW.

You’ve been warned.

pencil

February 2022 Exam Percentile Table

Applicants will find this to be of interest:

The overall pass rate was 33.9%.

The Percentile Table shows us some relevant info:

45% scored higher than 1340.

40% scored over 1355.

35% scored higher than 1382.

30% scored higher than 1400.

The overall pass line is 1390, and you need more than 1350 to get a re-read.

So… roughly 32.5% passed on the first read.  About 10% of the applicant pool got a second read, and the second read appears to have increased the pass rate by roughly 1.4%.

 

 

Education after Corona Pandemic - College students wear protective face mask in campus, outdoor

Happy New Year! Omicron update… Bar Exam in-person? Remote?

 

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

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.

Hang in there!  Happy 2022 everyone!

How To Pass The Bar Exam (on Your First Try)

It’s difficult, but not impossible.

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.

As a law professor and tutor for more than 20 years, you could say I wrote the book on the California bar…literally. Allow me to give you a few tips on how to pass the bar exam quickly so you can get to work.

 

1. Prep Ahead Of Time

Success, like a sourdough starter, doesn’t happen overnight.

You have to lay down the groundwork within your first few semesters of law school if you want to give yourself the very best chance of a winning score.

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.

 

woman's hand taking notes

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.

 

3. Learn How to Study

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Making flashcards is not studying!

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.

For a quick, “oh-crap-it’s-the-night-before-and-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-walking-into” approach, read my books, The Trigger List and WINNIN’ TIME! For a more in-depth dive, take one of the many courses available on my website.

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!)

 

girl with book on her face

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.

But the secret is not to let yourself wallow in misery and “woe is me”-ism. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and ask yourself what else you can try the next time.

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.

Pretty woman reading a book with question marks coming out from

What Is the Bar Exam Like?

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

 

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:

  1. prepare yourself as early as you can,
  2. as often as you can, and
  3. on all three phases of the bar exam.

It’s never too early to start preparing for the California bar! In fact, you should have that goal in mind on your very first day of law school.

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.

 

After the bar exam, you also have to pass a moral character review.

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.

Don’t have time for private bar exam tutoring? No problem. My books WINNIN’ TIME! and The Trigger List have everything you need to decipher the bar exam and finish in record time.

You won’t just feel better prepared, you’ll be better prepared!

Ready to get started? Contact me today!