I Accidentally Convinced Someone to Never Take the Bar Exam Again

After results for the 2020 October California Bar Exam came out, my inboxes were flooded with over 100 messages and DMs.

I individually responded to almost all of those over the course of a week and a half. It’s part of a post-mortem ritual that involves celebrating my community’s wins, greeting new readers and followers, and commiserating with the reality some have to face.

One of the messages was from Tracy, who was completely overwhelmed as she planned to take the next exam (click to enlarge, text version below):

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Be a Producer, Not a Consumer

Reading outlines. Reading sample answers. Memorizing.

All good things to do. But that’s simply being a consumer. It feels like progress.

Being merely familiar with something or being able to recognize it—even being able to recite a rule statement—doesn’t mean you can USE it.

Just because you love reading books or watching videos doesn’t mean you’re going to make a good creative. You have to keep putting work out there under the eyes of scrutiny.

  • Can you recall the issues and rules?
  • Can you pick out the correct answer (for the right reason)?
  • Can you identify all the relevant issues by looking at a fact pattern?
  • Can you organize an answer for an essay or a performance test?
  • Can you write out an answer in time?

That’s being a producer. That’s what you’ll do on the bar exam. That’s what the bar exam will ask you to do: to know HOW TO USE your knowledge to solve problems.

Consuming only prepares you to do the work that matters. It’s not the main thing to focus on.

It’s harder to test yourself with a question, take way longer than it should, and realize you don’t know how to answer it.

That’s what preparation is for… so that doesn’t happen while you’re on the hot seat.

Be a producer. Don’t just stand there. Give it a try now.

How They Passed the First Online 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.

“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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My 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 because 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 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 2019 July California Bar Exam and people got mad over it?

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 what to focus on instead):

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Holiday Motivation for Bar Exam: 3 Ways to Keep Going During Prep

What do you say when you’re not sure how to talk to a new person at a networking event (or holiday party)?

Here’s a simple script that worked perfectly for me:

  1. Walk toward someone.
  2. Extend a hand. (Adjust for pandemic times)
  3. Say, “Hi, I don’t think we met. What’s your name?”

And then you’re off to the races.

If this seems too simple, that’s the point. It’s not the perfect tactical wordsmithing of your intro that makes or breaks you. It’s the fact that you acted on a good enough plan to overcome the threshold for approach anxiety.

The parallel to bar prep is worrying about which supplements to use, which tutor to use, which newsletters to follow… when the most important thing is to have a plan, start moving, and stay consistent.

You can only learn. You cannot be taught by something else.

In the end, whichever course or supplements you use, this is a self-study endeavor. You’re responsible for preparing yourself. Don’t forget that courses and supplements are just there to support that.

“But it’s too cold outside, and it’s too warm inside, and this temperature delta and holiday spirit are making me too relaxed to do anything.”

I’m not letting you off the hook thinking “new year, new me!” and then NOT following through with your plans.

Keep the following 3 ideas in mind to light a fire under your ass and keep those buns toasty:

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