You’re the Dean of Your Own Bar Exam Studies

Here’s something that people who pass the bar never say:

“All I had to do was listen to all those bar course lectures. They were so helpful!”

Can you imagine?

Sometimes we think “doing whatever it takes” to pass the bar means throwing thousands of dollars into a black hole. (But it doesn’t have to be expensive.)

Or following some unsustainable cookie-cutter schedule (which doesn’t care if you have other responsibilities like work or family). Good luck if you fall behind by one day.

Or letting a perfectly fine morning slip through by religiously sitting through 4 hours of droning lectures. Worse, pausing lectures to fill in all the notes. Then not even remembering 99% of it.

tfw you think the lectures are making sense

I remember those days. Those are things I didn’t do my second time. Here’s what I would do instead:

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Preparing for the 2020 Bar Exam: Learn from Their Biggest Mistakes

It’s that time again. Results for the 2019 July bar exam are in for every state.

You’ve endured the obligatory “aww… you got this” and “I’m sure you passed” comments for weeks and months.

Anxiety squirting into your heart every time you thought of the moment of truth. Heart ricocheting around your ribcage as you check for your name on the pass list. Waiting is the hardest part.

Well, the insanity of the wait is over. But it turns out your nightmare isn’t over…

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Tom goes from many-time repeater of the California Bar Exam to passing after changing the “how to” principles of bar preparation (while working full time)

Tom* sat for the California bar exam several times—many times. He didn’t have any particular strengths when it came to essays, the MBE, or performance tests. It was an overwhelming ordeal from the start.

“I struggled with all of them because I think the whole process was overwhelming. In law school, they told me that if you wanna pass the exam, you need to lock yourself in a room and don’t think about having a relationship. . . . I kind of believed it and subconsciously realized I’ll never be able to do that, and I think I struggled on all facets. That’s from a psychological level.”

At the same time, like many bar takers, Tom was also working to support himself while preparing. This is a common obstacle among success stories. (But as you’ll see below, it isn’t a handicap as much as you might think.)

“I was working two jobs and doing some consulting work back when I took in July of 2017 and just missed it. I worked one job in February and July this time. But I’m working full-time. I mean I don’t have a lot of time.”

On top of that, he also had dad duties. But he decided to focus on what moved the needle.

“I have an autistic son, but mostly it was the working. I had to put 110% at work, and do that with the practicing. I use the word ‘practice’ because to me ‘studying’ is counterproductive, which you describe that in [Passer’s Playbook 2.0] about not wasting too much time.”

More specifically, “practicing” paid dividends for Tom.

“When I use the word ‘practice’ in my mind, it helped me consciously . . . because I feel like every moment I’m spending is valuable and it’s giving me dividends. It’s repaying me. Whereas if I just keep going over the definition, it’s meaningless. But if I’m going over an issue in an essay and I see how it’s tested and I reverse engineer the question, or I go over an MBE question which also helps with the essays as well, that’s beneficial.”

Everyone preaches practice, but what does “practice practice practice” really mean? Tom stacked several principles that finally resulted in his passing the 2018 July California Bar Exam (which had the lowest pass rate on record for July exams in CA: 40%).

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