Category Archives: Fundamental

Bar Exam Success Commandment 2: Time to Apologize to Math (and Improve Your MBE Score)

Don’t play coy. I’ve heard the rumors. You went to law school because you’re terrible at math. Hehe, oh you! Too bad I got tired of that “joke” the first time I heard it.

Sure, it was cool to give wedgies to math and science nerds in middle school, until you found out half your class in law school was gunning for IP positions.

But you took the SAT and got into college. You calculated the interest on your student loans (which is billowing up by the day). You can prorate your rent so you can dispute the extra day they charged.

That’s pretty much all the math you need to know in everyday life, so why are you being all “Oh um haha yeah no math for me! Numbers confuse me! Right, fellow lawyers?” God, I hate law students. There’s no room for that tomfoolery here on my watch.

Remember that the classic three Rs—reading, writing and ’rithmetic—include arithmetic. Who the hell came up with that anyway? Are there really three “R” words there?

So I’m going to show you simple math that even elementary schoolers can do that will help you pinpoint your deficiencies at any given time so that you can make leaps in improvement on the MBE.

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Bar Exam Success Commandment 1: How to Gain a Superpower for the Bar Exam

Batman kicks ass! He’s also a classic embodiment of the idea that someone who can provide a unique benefit has a duty to offer it. A suffering pariah we can both relate to sometimes.

What? Are you one of those people who don’t care about animated characters because “they’re not real people”? Fortunately, superhero movies are all the rage nowadays, and I’m gonna use my favorite superhero as an exemplar regardless of what you think.

In conclusion, I think Batman is a pretty cool guy, especially with the current trend started by grimdark Nolan reboots. Is this post over? Everyone go home! Yeah right, like I’d ever fill your brain with nonsense (on purpose).

We’re pretty sure Batman hates the Joker, who always taunts Batman by causing chaos and even putting himself in harm’s way to see if he’d be rescued. So why doesn’t Batman just succumb to his temptations and commit the irreversible moral act? One life to save many. Here are some answers I like:

It always starts with one. That’s how justification works. But once you justify something once—you can do it again and again. It becomes easier. Right and wrong blur.
—Bruce Wayne

He refuses to become a murderer, because he knows that murdering the Joker leads to murdering all of them, making each killing easier than the last. And that casts him as the very thing that created him, as the thing he fights against, because at that point the only difference between Batman and the Joker would be that Batman thinks he’s able to justify his own murders.
—Mark Hughes, Quora

That is, Batman understands the dangers of a slippery slope and post hoc justification. Some even call his self-control a superpower.

Don’t you wish you could borrow this self-control superpower for bar success? Hold onto your tighties because I’ll show you a simple way to use it.

Wait, learn a superpower? Although we’d love to dress up in hockey masks and beat up the examiners who taunt us with their riddles, isn’t that a bit of a stretch?

Continue reading Bar Exam Success Commandment 1: How to Gain a Superpower for the Bar Exam

Bar Exam Success Commandment 4: I Will Give You Actual Confidence (to Identify Issues Without Issue Spotting)

The angel on your shoulder whispers to you as you hallucinate from studying… Don’t cry, you’re going to be a fine lawyer… You’re a good person no matter what… Life is short, just YOLO it…

Screw you, it doesn’t matter even if you never appear again! We’re trying to pass the bar here!


This is the last of a four-part series on what I think are fundamental study strategies, whether you’re a first timer or a repeater. They are fundamental in that they are important concepts that I focused on that made a difference in my second attempt, but you can tailor the concepts to your own needs.

Part 03 Options If You Failed the Bar
Part 1Why Doesn’t Batman Kill the Joker?
Part 2Time to Apologize to Math Now (and Improve Your MBE Score)

As mentioned at the end of Part 3: How to Exploit Scarcity on the Bar (and Improve Your Essays), recall that you can still salvage partial credit for incomplete rules and application. But without identifying the right issues, you get zero credit for those unraised issues.

I mentioned the WHAT (identifying issues) and said I would tell you the HOW (to systematize that mystical process).  We try not to use the s-word (“spotting”) around here. We don’t randomly “spot” issues that we happen to catch in the stream of facts.

This was actually one of the biggest game-changing insights I had for my second time.


Continue reading Bar Exam Success Commandment 4: I Will Give You Actual Confidence (to Identify Issues Without Issue Spotting)