Working with Steven was everything I needed it to be. As a second-time taker that fell just short of the passing line, Steven understood my strengths and weaknesses and cultivated a plan accordingly. I used a commercial bar prep program for my first time studying and completed 93% of it before taking the exam, as well as other resources recommended by my law school. I unfortunately learned the hard way that lectures were not the system I needed to best prepare for the exam. Once I decided to work with a tutor, I was able to focus on the areas that I previously struggled with and get even stronger in the areas I already excelled. The materials that Steven provides are top-tier; from the boilerplate templates, to the rule statements and outlines, to the filing system for the performance test, to the issue spotting materials, to MBE Primers and Flowcharts. I developed incredible issue-spotting skills using The Trigger List. I relied on the system outlined in WINNIN’ TIME! and saw my writing scores skyrocket. More critically, though, was the individualized calendar that helped me stay on track throughout the studying process. What I appreciated about Steven is his desire for his students to own their studying process – there is a degree of autonomy that goes with working with a tutor, but Steven wants and encourages his students to put in the work to pass.
In addition to great materials, the advantage of working with Steven is the amount of individual feedback he provides you. The amount of depth in his feedback provides students an opportunity to reflect and learn what to do on the next essay. The feedback is personalized and expansive – more feedback than I had ever gotten on any practice essay. The feedback helped me learn how to best organize my responses to maximize points on the exam. Steven’s writing system at first felt foreign and rigid, however it only took one week of his feedback for me to believe that it was the best approach to solidifying a passing score.
Though I cannot recommend the program enough, what I believe sets Steven apart is his ability to connect with his students and be an encouraging, supportive voice. For me, taking the bar exam was going to be a mental game. Steven listened to me – he empathized with my feelings of sadness when I found out I did not pass, but he turned that sadness into motivation to beat the exam the next time. He encourages his students to move on and celebrates all of the “wins” throughout the study process. He reminds you of your goals and how amazing it’s going to feel when you get the news that you passed. He knows that half of the battle is getting your mind situated around the exam. You’d be surprised how far a simple “I believe in you” goes when you are in the thick of studying! He helped instill a confidence and determination in me that I didn’t have before. A good tutor helps you develop strategies to pass the exam; but a great tutor helps you prepare mentally and emotionally as well. Without a doubt, working with Steven is the reason I passed on my second attempt.
Overall my advice is this: whether you are a first-time taker or a repeater, having a study plan that works for you is the most critical component of passing the bar exam. Because of the individualized program that Steven provides his students, you will be well prepared to beat the exam and will walk away with skills that will make you a better lawyer in the long run. Trust the process! – Emma, Esq., Hastings Alumna, passed the February 2022 California Bar Exam