How do grading and scoring work for the California Bar Exam?

“i WeNt tO lAw ScHoOL bEcAusE i SuCk aT mAth LOL”

I can feel a blood vessel dilating in my head and an urge to throw my keyboard out the window every time I hear someone say this. If this is your idea of a joke, just leave Earth now before things get more embarrassing for both of us.

While it isn’t politically incorrect for Americans to brag about deficiencies in their math skills, I won’t have that around here.

First of all, stop using this self-deprecatory language. You took the SAT and a shitload of math classes until you were old enough to drive. You can do basic math. Or “maths” if you’re British and like to make words unnecessarily complicated (Worcestershire sauce anyone?)

You are also capable of passing the bar exam btw.

Second of all, despite my optimism and faith in you people, why are some of us still confused about how the grading works for the California Bar Exam? Why are there so many misconceptions?

If you’re frustrated and confused by the numbers, let me put a rest to this once and for all.

Continue reading “How do grading and scoring work for the California Bar Exam?”

Remote/Online Bar Exam Logistics and Strategies

You’re probably wondering how this whole remote bar exam thing is going to work.

  • Do I get scratch paper?
  • Can I use a desktop?
  • How many monitors can I use for ExamSoft/SofTest/Examplify (or whatever exam software)?
  • Do I need to be online?
  • Can I print?
  • Are they going to proctor me through a camera?
  • Can I take bathroom breaks?
  • What about cheating?
  • What about the MBE? How many questions? Is it all on a screen?
  • What if I’m handwriting?

Uh, yeah, I’m sure you have a lot of questions.

Right now, all the states are having a brawl and doing whatever they feel is necessary to conduct their bar exams.

Many states are shifting from in-person paper testing to an almost entirely digital exam, at least for the 2020 Fall bar exam. This is a significant change, and something worth discussing in terms of preparation and test-taking strategies.

This post will address two things:

  1. Testing mechanics for taking a remote bar exam. See below for information on all states, but the initial focus here is on California
  2. Strategies for preparing for and taking a test entirely on screen, assuming your state is administering the exam online and doesn’t allow paper for at least some portion

Btw I’m not going to call this an “online bar exam” because it’s done almost entirely OFFline. Only the check-ins sessions require an Internet connection.

Continue reading “Remote/Online Bar Exam Logistics and Strategies”

Feeling Stuck and Burned Out with Bar Prep

It seems like time is continuing to expand along with the universe—agony stretching as bar examiners keep pushing exam dates back like a girl who isn’t really into you.

Isn’t more time good, though?

What do you do when you’re frustrated with your progress?

Are you even acknowledging the frustration, or are you actually dismissing it?

I was having a conversation with a coaching client for the California Bar Exam. Here’s an excerpt:

For non-CA takers, each CA essay is scored out of 100 raw points. 65 is considered on track to pass the exam and a target benchmark. 70 is solid. An 85 is rarely obtained.

To summarize, here are his issues:

  • Practicing essays takes too long
  • He feels he wastes time by overwriting the analysis
  • He wants to write in his own way and limit the analysis

What would be your feedback here? Think about it before I share my suggestions on getting clearer on an approach you may be taking as well.

Continue reading “Feeling Stuck and Burned Out with Bar Prep”

California Bar Exam passing score lowered to 1390 from 1440

Welp, it’s official. The Supreme Court of California announced the following today:

  • The second administration of the 2020 California Bar Exam is now online, on October 5-6, 2020 (September exam is canceled)
    • Last day to register for the October exam has been extended through July 24, 2020
    • Last day to withdraw and get a full refund of testing fees is September 8, 2020 (no longer right before the test date, may be changed later yet again)
  • A provisional license program under supervision will be available to 2020 law grads, but they will need to take the exam at some point. Such a program will remain at least until June 1, 2022
  • Oh, and the pass score has been lowered to 1390… permanently

Read more about it in the Court’s announcement page.

Does this mean grading will be harsher? Will online testing become the norm? Are we now closer to know the truth about whether we’re living in a simulation?

Hell if I know. But we now have more certainty about the exam. And there’s one thing that has always remained constant:

Take the exam as soon as is practical. Don’t prolong the inevitable to wait until 2022 if you plan to take the exam at some point (whether you plan to take the California bar or another bar exam). I have strong reasons why you should take the exam that’s coming up sooner.

Hopeful California attorneys now have until October to prepare for the 2020 California bar. While the lower cut score and more time to study may be good news for many, as always, watch for burnout.

Now that things have become more certain, make a plan. Get a better idea of how you should spend your time. Productivity comes from clarity.

Let’s watch out for more information about exam logistics as we move forward with bar prep.

Easiest Bar Exam in 2020: Which State Bar Should You Take If You Just Want to Pass with the Best Chance?

All right, so you just want to pass the easiest bar exam in the easiest state and get it over with.

No honor, no warrior spirit, or any of that shit—just gimme the bar card! This is especially true if you plan to practice in a state that accepts UBE scores (or MBE scores in some non-UBE states). You may be able to transfer your UBE score from an “easier” state.

You also want to avoid the hardest bar exams, naturally. Why waste a good six months torturing yourself again just because you missed a few points?

No judgment from me. You’re here to move on with your life and forget I ever existed. That’s cool.

So what are we going to look at to figure out the easiest bar exams to pass?

  • Recent pass rates by state
  • Minimum passing UBE scores
  • Number of applicants by state
  • Score portability and transferability
  • The verdict – a shortlist of three states to consider, and states to avoid
Continue reading “Easiest Bar Exam in 2020: Which State Bar Should You Take If You Just Want to Pass with the Best Chance?”