Predictions for the Bar Exam (What to Focus On)

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

“What do you think will be tested?”
“I don’t think ____ will be tested.”
“Anyone think ____ will be tested?”
“Does anyone know the predictions?”
“What are ____’s predictions?”
“Here are MY predictions!”

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 look at the predictions anyway.

BTW, I’m calling out California mostly because it’s almost entirely California bar takers who do this shit and (as a resident myself) Californians think the world revolves around them.

Did you expect 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 about relying on predictions… because this kind of thinking is entirely predictable and avoidable. Sweating about predictions is not a good place to be in and requires intervention.

Also, remember when subjects actually leaked for the CA exam in 2019 and people got mad over it? Maybe you’re too young to remember. Good times.

Make up your minds! Do you want to know the subjects ahead of time or not? Jesus

Here’s why you should only look toward subject predictions for entertainment value (and 3 things you can focus on instead):

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Stupid Simple IRAC

Everyone says “just IRAC” when it comes to writing essays on the bar exam.

That drives me crazy too. I’ve heard that since I was a 1L. And it kinda makes sense until you ACTUALLY TRY TO DO IT.

It’s supposed to be one of the most basic skills in law school (and on the bar exam), but it’s frustrating when you have no idea what you’re writing.

Coming up with things to write is hard! Know the pain of creation. But you don’t have to suffer.

Let’s break down “IRAC” so it finally becomes simple and the least of your concerns. We’re going for the win!

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What to Do in the Final Month of Bar Prep (“I’ve fallen into the trap of relying on what Barbri tells me to do”)

A question about what to do in the final month of bar prep after sitting through Barbri:

“I have fallen in the trap of relying on what Barbri tells me to do. I am 200 hours in and have watched all the videos for the 7 main MBE sections. I know basics, but I feel vastly unprepared to tackle this exam and kind of hopeless. Now that I have your materials, do you have any advice on what I can do to master all this material will four weeks left? Sitting through hours of lectures did nothing for me. Thank you so much for preparing all these materials.”

Sound familiar?

The Plan isn’t working. Panic sets in, and cold sweat oozes down your unkempt hair.

First off, this understandable and common. Still, in years past, many people have made it out in the final month and even in the final two weeks.

So right off the bat, know that you can do this (as cliché as it sounds). You are capable. And you will make it out, even if you don’t believe so right now. You have to make it out, to be exact.

No pressure, right? The thing to do right now to regain your sanity is to take stock of what you need to do and have at least a rough idea of what to do from here. Create a plan of attack if you don’t have one yet.

Here are some areas to prioritize and some pointers on how to spend the remaining few weeks (and when to stop relying on notes for closed-book practice):

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How They Passed the First Remote California Bar Exam: Keep Your Bar Prep SIMPLE!

2020 was an unprecedented time for bar exam takers.

They were given extra time to study (until October for the California exam). Everything went remote/online, including the exam itself. There were only 100 MBE questions, making each one count that much more.

We all had to adapt and push through the fog and uncertainty.

I got a couple of success stories from readers who passed the 2020 October California Bar Exam and cut through the uncertainty using a simple, minimalist approach…

Jeff emailed me to let me know how he passed on his FIRST try, despite his initial unrest and reservations about the preparation process.

💬 “This whole experience has been a total mindfuck.”—Jeff

Stephen let me know that he had been out of law school for 10 years… and how he passed on his FIRST attempt since then (three attempts total).

💬 “It’s damn hard to be a decade out from school and take the bar.”—Stephen

Preparing for the bar exam isn’t EASY, but it is SIMPLE. Ignore the noise, and focus on what moves the needle!

Below, you’ll see how they approached their quest to pass the (first-ever remote/online) bar exam — getting it one and done as simply as possible.

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What to Do in the Weeks Leading up to the Bar Exam

Not really sure what’s working in the weeks leading up to the bar exam? Or what you should be doing?

If you’re taking a bar review course like Barbri, Themis, or Kaplan, then first make sure that you’ve been using it correctly (and that it hasn’t been using you to fill up its completion meter). Sometimes they don’t make clear what you should be doing to be prepared by the end of it all, other than the endless lectures and review sessions they make you sit through.

It’s like you aren’t feeling as confident or ready as you feel you should be after all that time spent. Studying for the bar exam can be a grueling process, so it’s important to have strategies in place to help you stay focused and motivated — and most important — make progress.

What should you be doing to make sure you’re really preparing enough for the big day? Here’s a framework to help you in the weeks leading up to the test:

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