Stop “Studying” and Start Learning: The Underrated Practice of Practice in Bar Prep

You’ve sat still during lectures and tried to stay awake. You’ve taken notes. You’ve read outlines. You’ve even answered practice questions.

Then nothing works. Has this happened to you?

Back in college, I gave a copy of my cheat sheet for our engineering midterm to a girl. How do you say no to a girl? Answer: You can’t.

And then she got the lowest score in the class.

It had all the equations needed, but she didn’t know how and when those equations applied. She hadn’t seen those rules applied to similar problems. She assumed that just having the rules there would be enough. (Same reason open-book bar exams would change very little.)

It’s like when someone says, “b urself” or “learn to love yourself.” Okay… what’s that mean? Could you explain that a bit more, bro? Any specifics?

Same with your “black letter law”… What does “related” mean in your rule statement?

You get a better sense of what that means in the context of examples of how that rule is used. You gain an intuition.

You’d think these rules would be plug and play, but they’re not always. Context matters. Knowing when and how to use them matters.

Continue reading “Stop “Studying” and Start Learning: The Underrated Practice of Practice in Bar Prep”

Face Your Weaknesses to Pass the Bar Exam

Passing the 2024 February CA Bar Exam on her second try allowed Esme to put this nightmare behind her forever.

💬 “I passed the February 2024 CA bar exam on my second try! Can’t tell you how thrilled I am to never have to take that test again and finally get on with my life.

How exciting. But there’s a price to pay for this ultimate reward.

First of all, there’s way too much to know.

Pls tell me you recognize this classic meme template

You also go through a range of emotions.

You go from being anxious, overwhelmed, panicked, unmotivated, stressed, incompetent, ashamed, HAPPY YOU GOT SOMETHING RIGHT, depressed, embarrassed…

Not only is there a mental toll and an emotional toll, but there’s a financial toll as well. Each attempt involves exam fees, subscription fees for study supplements (which is why my study tools come with updates for life), and opportunity costs.

That adds even more stress!

Mental fortitude is key to bar prep. “The mind is 50% of this exam.”

Esme had to learn about these tolls the hard way on her first attempt. Then she conquered herself and the bar exam by facing inconvenient and uncomfortable emotions.

Continue reading “Face Your Weaknesses to Pass the Bar Exam”

Common Traits of Bar Passers & Why Mental Fortitude Is Important for Bar Preparation

They say knowledge is power (and you can never have too much power).

But why is it that with all the information out there, we don’t always get to where we want to go? Why do 80 percent of New Year resolutions fail by February? (Remember those? LOL)

“If more information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”

Knowledge applied correctly is power.

Knowledge is potential energy. It’s what we DO with the knowledge and the desire, not the fact that we have them, not the fact that we declare our desire.

But even then, the top differentiator that I’ve encountered with people taking the bar isn’t skills or knowledge.

It’s HOW they think. I lowkey hesitate to use the term “mindset” because it’s sometimes associated with impractical woo-woo things like visualization.

But the point remains: The hurdle is often internal.

If you have the raw material but can’t bring yourself to make a sand castle, if you can’t turn that potential energy in your mind into kinetic energy, what’s the use?

"half of bar prep involves preparing oneself mentally"
"the bar exam is all about your mental fitness and your ability to retain a crap ton of information without going crazy. Take care of yourself this time around."

It’s getting harder to pass the bar exam…and that’s exactly why you should go for it now. And make this your last time.

It’s not going to get easier. But when the bar is set high, it’s actually an opportunity to stand out more.


If you observe people who have passed the bar exam long enough, you notice some patterns in their behavior:

Continue reading “Common Traits of Bar Passers & Why Mental Fortitude Is Important for Bar Preparation”

Failing the CA Bar Exam After “Following the Bar Prep Course to a T”

Mattie passed the 2024 February CA Bar Exam on her second try 👏🏻

💬 “I am thrilled to report that I passed the February 2024 CA Bar Exam! I took the bar for the first time in July 2023 after graduating law school. I was absolutely devastated when I didn’t pass. But I also somehow did not expect to pass.

She’s got a pretty typical story for a repeater:

  • Trust the system
  • Not pass
  • Hear about MTYLT
  • Shift to a more independent study process
  • Pass

Wait, why is this even typical? Why does this keep happening?

Of course people still pass using mainstream programs. But you may get exhausted and burn out from forcing yourself through a rigid structure that doesn’t fit your needs. Where’s the balance?

Let’s see what Mattie did her first time and differently his second time so you can skip to the part where you pass.

And if you’re a first-time bar taker, how can you still use experience you think you may not have?

Continue reading “Failing the CA Bar Exam After “Following the Bar Prep Course to a T””

Predictions for the Bar Exam (What to Focus On for Efficient Study)

Before every exam, a handful of people come out of the woodwork and shamelessly ask about subject predictions for the bar exam.

“Does anyone know the essay predictions?”
“What do you think will be tested?”
“I don’t think ____ will appear on the exam.”
“Anyone think ____ will be tested?”
“I know we’re not supposed to listen to predictions, but…”
“What are ____’s predictions?”
“Here are my MEE predictions!”

Whose speculations are you going to listen to?

If you’re like many bar takers, or if you’re a repeater, you say: “Haha of course I’m not going to rely on the predictions. I shall adequately study all the subjects. You should too!”

And then you panic and look at the predictions anyway.

Did you want me to tell you, “Aww poor baby, don’t worry. It’s normal and happens to the best of us 🥺”?

You SHOULD worry if you’re secretly tempted to rely on predictions… because this kind of thinking is entirely predictable and avoidable. Sweating about predictions is not a good place to be and requires intervention.

Also, remember when subjects actually leaked for the California exam in 2019 and people got mad over it? Do you want to know the subjects ahead of time or not? Make up your minds!

Maybe you’re too young to remember ancient history. I’ve been dealing with you people for too long.

Here’s why you should look toward essay/MEE predictions for entertainment value and morbid curiosity only (and 3 things you can focus on instead):

Continue reading “Predictions for the Bar Exam (What to Focus On for Efficient Study)”