Published On:   July 3, 2020

Attention all Attorney Applicants for the California Bar Exam!!!! Don’t worry any longer…Steve Harris has created the perfect method to allow attorneys to pass the California Bar Exam. I passed the February 2012 attorney applicant exam. This was my fourth attempt after practicing for 11 years. Let me briefly tell you the road I took to get here and add my testimonial to the others as to why WINNIN’ TIME! and The Trigger List were my keys to success.

In December 1999 I graduated from the University of Santa Clara School of Law. Santa Clara is ABA approved but I did not take advantage of anything that the school had to offer. As a full-time student I worked full-time in a law office and rarely studied. I did just enough to pass my classes. Having never failed a class or test in my life I thought I could walk into the bar exam and pass—even if just barely.

How wrong I was! I believe I bought a used set of Barbri books from a former Santa Clara student. I studied them pretty rigorously, but nothing near the amount that those who pay for Barbri or a similar course do. I sat for the February 2000 California Bar Exam. Needless to say I failed. I barely failed, but I still failed. I am sure that I was a disgrace to Santa Clara . My life seemed to stop.

I immediately signed up for the July 2000 exam. This time I did not study at all thinking that I was so close before that I would for sure pass this time. Wow, how arrogant! I learned very dramatically, when I got my second rejection letter, that the California Bar Exam is not for the ill-prepared. Once again my life was in turmoil. I did not know what to do.

An opportunity arose to move to Oregon for a new job in the legal field. This seemed like the answer because I would have time to study and rumor had it that the Oregon Bar Exam was easier than California ’s. I studied well. Still only from my old used Barbri books. Chalk it up to luck, and now some experience in taking the test twice, I passed the Oregon Bar Exam. I opened up my office and never looked back.

Flash forward to January 2011. Another opportunity arose to expand my practice but this time I would need a California license. And to my dismay California and Oregon do not have reciprocity. So that I meant I would have to take the California Bar Exam again. All the horrific memories began to resurface of my failures a decade earlier. Could I really subject myself to this torture again? The opportunity was calling, but the gloom of potential failure was almost tangible. The biggest concern I had was now as a practicing attorney I had very little time to dedicate to studying for the exam. It wasn’t like when I was a student, a lot younger, with a small family, and very few demands on my time.

Impulsively I signed up for the test. I know, crazy! My thinking was if I sign up then I will force myself to get a return on my investment. I will find the time to study.

I quickly bought up a bunch of guides I found online. I would list them here but the titles really are not relevant. They each gave their secret to success. I printed off all of the past exam questions and answers I could find. I began to overwhelm myself with methods and strategies. I spent most of my time looking for study tricks instead of spending the time answering the nagging voice in the back of mind that what I really needed was to spend time memorizing. I hate memorizing. I thought that there had to be a way to pass this test without memorizing everything. Heck, my mind just doesn’t memorize like it used to.

So I am sad to say I failed the third time I took the California Bar Exam. Here are my scores: Q1 55; Q2 60; Q3 55; Q4 50; Q5 50; Q6 55; PTA A 70; PTA B 60. Grand total was 1360.1961. Don’t ask me what that all means. I just know it was bad. I was really embarrassed. Didn’t all my years of practicing law mean anything? Why couldn’t I pass this darn exam? I am lucky that I had a good life in all other respects otherwise this failure might have really made me depressed.

Instead, a new feeling emerged in me—anger. I was angry at myself for all my prior follies. And angry at the exam and its writers. In my fit of anger I signed up for the February 2012 exam.

The next day I woke up wondering what I was doing. This was insanity! Why keep taking a test that I would not study for expecting to pass? Because I was a good person?

Now the plug for Steve Harris…I probably would have repeated my failures if it were not for something I consider miraculous now, finding WINNIN’ TIME! and The Trigger List. Finally, books that made sense. The perfect mix of strategy and comprehensive, memorizable study materials. I loved how Steve made the definitions into opening sentences for my paragraphs. And I finally saw the forest from the trees. I could see how I should put down the definition and then follow it with sentence after sentence of “Here, this element is not met because…”

I know without a doubt that I never would have passed in February if it were not for WINNIN’ TIME! That book was my life saver. I could handle three hundred or so pages of material that was absolutely relevant. (I only wish there were boiler plate answers for more than just Evidence and Professional Responsibility) And The Trigger List really works. I loved the spotted issues with their corresponding triggers. I could now look at an exam question and almost see all the triggers in my mind.

I admittedly went into the February 2012 exam thinking that I was still going to fail. I mean I had confidence in Steve’s methods, but failure breeds the feeling of further failure. But after day one of the exam I felt something completely different. I now thought that I did pretty well. I kicked myself when I realized that I missed an easy Organizational Standing issue in Con Law. But I knew that I was close based on my now well-founded understanding of WINNIN’ TIME! and The Trigger List. Like I said I could clearly see Steve’s books in my mind while I took the exam. The second day was a breeze and I know that I really nailed it.

So now I can close this chapter on my life. I have exorcised the demon of the California Bar Exam. And I attribute it all to WINNIN’ TIME! and The Trigger List. I am a Steve Harris convert. Now to tackle my next demon—my waistline. Best of luck on passing the exam. I know that you can do it with Steve’s help. Damian M. Idiart, Esq. – passed the February 2012 California Bar Examination

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