Stuck on Where to Begin? 3 Myths to Discard and 3 Systems to Adopt to Improve Your Approach to Studying for the Bar Exam

As we reflect on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Sexy Saturday (that’s today), some difficult questions in life:

  • How do I get these damn wrinkles out of my dress shirts? (guy problems)
  • Do #nomakeup selfies actually involve makeup? Women, please be honest and tell me the truth (guy problems)
  • Effort doesn’t necessarily bring results. How do I achieve the desired results?

“Generally bad” things can sometimes be good. Normally you don’t want to be dry humped from behind while simultaneously and pumped in the solar plexus by a stranger unless you’re choking or at a middle-school dance (what’s wrong with today’s youth).

Likewise, “generally good” things can be bad for you. Water is like the holy grail of our solar system (have you seen the NASA budget?), but it will kill you if you dip your face in it for a couple minutes.

It’s not about moderation. I hate the phrase “everything in moderation, including moderation” because that basically gives me no guidance. Does it mean it’s OK to do whatever I feel like as long as I don’t do too much of it? Why do I need to moderate? How much is “just enough”? You can’t get any less specific than “moderation.”

Rather, desired results come from doing the right things at the right time. At that point, quantity or moderation matters much less than what, when and how you do something.

Continue reading Stuck on Where to Begin? 3 Myths to Discard and 3 Systems to Adopt to Improve Your Approach to Studying for the Bar Exam

How to Be the Ultimate Sore Loser (to Pass the Bar Exam Next Time)

The demonic countdown reads 1 minute…and it’s finally 6 PM.

You waited for this moment for months, maybe years. Schroedinger’s bar results are available, where irreconcilable possibilities, zero and one, coexist as long as you resist observation.

“Do I really check right now? Should I leave it alone?” Do you choose purgatory or risk hell? “I could just wait until Sunday so I could avoid anxiety / have a relaxing weekend!” Good luck with that, dude.

You can’t handle the anticipation bursting out of the seams of your heart. You slap in your applicant code, endure the few seconds of pristine agony, and see that you…

Did not pass. Only 43% did (for the July 2016 California Bar Exam).

FORTY-THREE PERCENT… That’s a February-level low. This was extremely tough.

This is the third-lowest pass rate on record for the July exam, and the trend is getting worse. It hasn’t been this low for the July exam since 1984, and the only other known low of this magnitude was back in 1951. What the hell is wrong with these people?

So you are in the majority. I don’t think that’s all that comforting, though. You still failed the bar.

I’m truly sorry and regretful to hear this news. After reading this, let me know if you want to discuss anything or just vent.

Nonetheless, I can’t sugarcoat it forever. At this point, a time machine is the only thing that will make you feel better.

Maybe you have a job or loans or children or a relationship dependent on your passage. Maybe you need your bar license to get a job in the first place. And maybe this wasn’t your first time taking the bar and need to change strategies (if something didn’t work for you, don’t do more of it).

Whatever the case, how frustrated are you? If you’re the type who hates to lose, who will struggle like an ugly worm because you care about what you are and what you want to do with your talents, I can show you how you just might pass next time…

Continue reading How to Be the Ultimate Sore Loser (to Pass the Bar Exam Next Time)

Studying for the MBE and Managing Your Time While Working

Did you know that the president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners thinks newer MBE takers are “less able”?

1) Uh, well, given the lowkey increase of the bar exam’s general difficulty in recent years which we can’t prove anyway, it doesn’t even matter if you’re less able or the MBE is actually getting harder because you’re gonna get screwed regardless.

2) That kinda sucks because about HALF your score (also in CA starting July) is determined by scanning a series of alphabets you bubble in. Do you trust the machines? They can’t even autocorrect.

3) Fortunately, you can tilt the odds to your advantage.

I had a phone convo with Luis, a reader taking the Flordia bar who wanted to discuss how to approach studying for the MBE and doing so while occupied in a full-time job and a family. Check out the recording below.

Continue reading Studying for the MBE and Managing Your Time While Working

The Waiting Metagame: What If You Fail the Bar Exam?

Miss me yet? Aww really? :) But it’s only been like a month since the bar!

Instead of walking around like zombies or recovering your exuberance for life like regular people, why not think about the 2017 February bar for a bit?

Jeez, that escalated fast. You might think February is too far away to be concerned, but there’s power in anticipating the worst scenario (i.e., you fail the bar).

Take a look:

1. Changes to Real Property MBE (and MEE) in 2017 February
2. Should you retake a bar prep course? What’s the alternative?
Continue reading The Waiting Metagame: What If You Fail the Bar Exam?

Memorizing for the Bar Exam (to Recall and Recite Rules)

There’s this weird phenomenon where you meet someone new and then 1 second later it’s impossible to remember each other’s names.

To be honest, if I didn’t care about them 10 seconds ago, I’m not gonna care about them all of a sudden as if they were my newborn (whom I’d name Genghis (Hahn) so I don’t forget).

But what can I say? It’s impressive, for that exact reason, when someone actually uses your name in conversation without having to say, “Sorry what was your name again? I’m so terrible with names hahahahaha.”

When I was a 1L, I used a notepad to write down new people’s names so I could refer to it and remember the names forever. Kristina has no clue who I am now (she clearly forgot my name just like my Legal Ethics prof who referred to me as “one of us here” when I was dropping some truth in his class)… but I sure remember meeting her on the metro bus on the way to the APALSA bonfire in 2010 thanks to that notepad.

Useless information I wish I could forget—I tend to remember the very things I want to forget about the most. But it reveals a principle to remember all the shit you need to know on the bar.

And the fact is, your bar exam requires you to remember a LOT of shit. The typical brain is made for processing data but not so much for forcing discrete information to be inscribed into your memory forever.

Continue reading Memorizing for the Bar Exam (to Recall and Recite Rules)

The Courage to Make Mistakes Now

Our first date ended with her car getting towed. She was the type of person to schedule her showers by the minute because of her absurd rotation schedule in med school. Yet she had taken three hours out of her life to go on a walk with me.

I wanted to hold her hand so bad. A perfect pretext to creep on her… that I ruined! All because I lacked three seconds of courage.

Continue reading The Courage to Make Mistakes Now

Studying for the MBE, Whether to Delay the Bar to 2017, Working While Studying, and Scheduling with Tunnel Vision

There’s nothing like hearing your own recorded voice for instant cringe. Despite your reasonable assumptions, I am not a peak human and always have things to improve upon.

Meanwhile, let’s instead focus on what you can learn today from a coaching call I did with a reader so that you might be able to take away some insights for improving your performance on the bar exam.

Here’s a recording of my discussion with Kristy about:

  • Her score report and studying for the MBE to improve her score next time
  • Whether it’s right for her to delay her retake to the two-day CA bar in 2017
  • Working while studying
  • Scheduling with one-track tunnel vision.

Continue reading Studying for the MBE, Whether to Delay the Bar to 2017, Working While Studying, and Scheduling with Tunnel Vision

A candid, no-BS look at bar exam preparation after everyone else has bounced