Category Archives: Fundamental

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 1How to Gain a Superpower for the Bar Exam
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)

Bar Exam Success Commandment 3: How to Exploit Scarcity (and Improve Your Bar Essays)

Excuses, excuses… Let me know if any of these sound familiar.

We like to tell people we “don’t have time” or that “time is the most valuable resource” or that “life is short~” (even though we love to procrastinate).

You’ll never hear me say that last one. Life is actually really long! Can you even imagine being confined in prison for more than 1-2 years? Compare that time to our lifespan of 80-90+ years. Having lived 31 years already feels like forever, and with my luck, I’ll have to go through it two more times.

Point is, we do have a lot of time at our disposal. We just choose to squander a lot of it, too.

Whatever “squander” means to you, if that’s the way you want to live your life, I support your right to do so. But don’t blame the human condition or your age for a “short” life; blame yourself.

Then what’s the true scarcity of this world? What is the one thing that’s radically limited and expires very quickly?

Money? Everyone wants it, but you can always make more.

Time? You don’t necessarily lose time forever. You can get your time back to do what matters to you: Hire a maid instead of cleaning, get takeout instead of cooking, get Magicsheets & Approsheets to assist with practice instead of painstakingly recreating condensed outlines and essay attack sheets, etc.

(BTW the time for investigating and hemming and hawing is over; do not get them if you’re a tool collector who wonders why they’re so overwhelmed)

I think there’s something even more scarce.

Read on to see my answer and how you can use this scarcity principle to give yourself an edge on the written portions of the bar exam.

Continue reading Bar Exam Success Commandment 3: How to Exploit Scarcity (and Improve Your Bar Essays)

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.

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